This is part 2 of the Alternate History of Europe Timeline. In this part of the timeline, you will witness the unification of the Spanish kingdoms, the beginnings of the Age of Colonialism, and the continuing rise and strengthening of Muscovy and the Ottoman Empire.
In Britain, Queen Mary I continued her reforms and innovations. The British queen reorganized the entire nobility system of Britain. She divided her domain into nine duchies, eighteen earldoms, five viscounties, and twenty lordoms (or noble estates). The dukes and earls would be invested and removed directly by the Queen, while the viscounts and the lords would ascend to their position through family or hereditary succession. Mary I also expanded and reorganized the Order of the Garder. She also established the Royal Order of Knighthood as well. These reforms affecting the nobility further contributed to strengthen the authority and influence of the British Crown. More importantly, these reforms were written down and codified in law.
In Portugal, King Henry I finally gathered and assembled at the coast, a naval expedition. The expedition consisted of around 10 ships, including 2 ships of the first line and 5 of the second line. In the authorization decree, the King stated that the purposes of the expedition were "to find and seek out a new trade route to the Lands of wealth in the Far East (Asia), to find ways of commerce that bypasses the savage Mohammedans (Ottomans), and to bring back information on such discoveries to the royal Person, and make recommendations for further action." The expedition would be commanded by Portuguese navigator and sailor Bartholomew Dias. The expedition would be launched in the next year.
In Russia, Ivan III of Muscovy launched the first of two military campaigns against the Principality of Novograd, to the north. At that point, Novograd was the largest of the remaining Russian principalities, even surpassing Muscovy in territorial size. It exerted control and domain over territories that even went beyond the Ural Mountains. The Novogradians were well known for their democratic form of government and for their focus on commerce and trade. They had remained relatively immune from Tatar authority. However, the Muscovites had a powerful and well-organized army. By the end of the year, Novograd had been forced to secede most of it's eastern territories to Muscovy. Muscovy thus gained access to the sea, having previously been landlocked.
Suleiman I of the Ottoman Empire subordinated the Crimean Khanate, which became a Ottoman protectorate and puppet state. The Crimeans would continue to maintain control over their domestic and internal matters, but their defense, international relations with most European states, and economic commerce would all be under the control and influence of the Ottomans. However, the Crimeans would be able to control their own affairs with the other Tatar khanates and with Muscovy. The Crimean khan would also be appointed and dismissed by the Ottoman Emperor at will. Mengi-Giray, a pro-Ottoman Tatar nobleman, was appointed by Suleiman as the first khan of Crimea's puppet state incarnation.
In Muscovy, Grand Prince Ivan III continued his innovations and internal consolidations of royal power. The grand prince reorganized the Boyar Duma, transforming it into the Royal Advisory Council (Королевский Консультативный Совет). The Council, like the Duma before it, would be a advisory and consultative council to the Grand Prince. However, unlike the Duma, the Council's members would be government officials, appointed, controlled, and dismissed solely by the Grand Prince. The Council would be responsible for the state's finanical revenues and for the day-to-day management of government affairs. Ivan III also began bringing in Italian and German architects, engineers, designers, and military experts to Muscovy, intent on catching his state up with Western Europe. He began the Russian Renassiance, and became known as a patron of arts, the sciences, and architecture. Ivan also relieved the burdens on the peasant population.
In Castile, Princess Isabella ascended to the throne upon the death of King Henry III. Ironically, at the same time, in Aragon Alfonso VI died after a long battle with lung cancer, which was considered "a malady of speech" at the time. Thus Prince Ferdinand ascended to the throne of Aragon. And another ironic fact was that their ascensions to the respective thrones occurred just within a few days of eachother. Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand thus became joint rulers of what would eventually become Spain. Both monarchs were jointly crowned and anointed by the Archbishop of Toledo in Madrid. Thus began the reign of the Catholic Monarchs.
King Louis XI of France continued his own innovations and reforms within France. The king further strengthened the authority and influence of the French Crown at the expense of the nobles and the bishops. He established a Commission of Priests (Commission des Évêques). The Commission would consist of French archbishops, bishops, and deacons appointed and dismissed by the King at will. The Commission would be in charge of all Church properties, monasteries, and cathedrals. The approval of the Commission would be required for all new French Church doctrine. The Commission was also charged with executing papal bulls and indictions. Since the Commission was under Royal control and direction, the religious authority of the French Crown was greatly increased.
Emperor Suleiman I of the Ottoman Empire also began his own reforms and innovations. He would become known as the Lawgiver to his own subjects, for his extensive administrative and legal innovations, reforms, and modifications. The Emperor expanded and revised the General Code of Laws of the Ottoman Empire, which had been issued by his father Sultan Hatui I. These revisions included information on taxation and properties, a list and compilation of all royal decrees and laws between 1442 and 1473, and a detailed description of the local justice system. Suleiman considerably expanded the secular criminal justice system, making it as powerful as the Islamic law system, the Sharia. He also became known for his benevolent judgments and his fair rulings.
The Ottoman Empire, under the leadership of Suleiman I, as well as it's puppet state, the Crimean Khanate, began a military campaign against the Khanate of the Great Horde, which was continually weakening and fracturing. Nearly 40,000 Ottoman troops and 56,000 Crimean warriors flooded into the southern territories of the Horde. Khan Akhmed, who was embroiled in disputes with his nobles and focused on civil rebellions and dissent, did little to stop the invasion of his domain. By the end of the year, the Great Horde had lost it's limited access to the Sea of Azov and had been shorn of it's southern Russian and Transcaucasian territories. At the same time of the Ottoman invasions in the south, Ivan III of Muscovy, seeing a chance of expansion, expanded into the northern part of the Khanate, annexing many of the Horde's territories near Kazan and Ryazan. Ivan III also annexed much of Ryazan itself, reducing the remainder into a puppet state.
In Spain, Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand I began a program of reform and consolidation. The Kingdom of Castile, as a result of the disastrous and harmful rule of Henry III, had been left impoverished, weak, and politically unstable. The nobles of the royal court hatched numerous plots and conspiracies against the Queen, all of which, thankfully, were exposed and destroyed by Royal agents and spies before they could become a true effect. Castile had a immense debt, and the taxation system was extremely ineffective. Also, Castile's military was weak and on shaky ground. The Catholic Monarchs were determined to change all of this. The King and Queen began by placing the nobility under strict Royal control and by reorganizing the taxation system, increasing the power and revenues of the joint Spanish Crown.
In Britain, Queen Mary I began a expansion and revitalization of London, the British capital. Her mother, Queen Margaret I, had created much of London's modern street grid plan and had reorganized the city's local government. Queen Mary also contributed to London's development. She expanded the city's territorial size, constructed numerous palaces, galleries, and other buildings, and rebuilt London's dockyards.
After four years, the Portuguese naval expedition finally returned. King Henry I and his Royal Court, who had believed that the mission had been a failure, were relieved, surprised, and grateful for their return. Dias, the leader of the expedition, informed the King that the ships had went around the southern tip of Africa, which he named the Cape of Good Hope, and that they had sailed across the Indian Ocean. Then he reported they had landed in India, and had acquired a large variety of spices, silk, and valuable minerals. He explained to the King the reason the expedition had been delayed was due to some navigation problems as well as natural storms. Portugal thus had found a new trade route to Asia. The king rewarded Dias greatly. He knighted him, gave him vast amounts of money and land in Portugal, and made him a Admiral. The men of the expedition were given land and money as a reward as well. Portugal began organizing another expedition, to establish a trading fort in India. However, the interest of other nations was aroused as well, including Britain, France, and the Spanish Kingdoms.
Charles the Bold, the Duke of Dutch Burgundy, died when he fell off his horse while out on a hunt. As a result of his death, his lands passed into the possession of his only child, his daughter Mary. Mary would eventually come to marry Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, which would thus extend the territory ruled by the House of Hapsburg. Although relatively unimportant now, this will later form a focus point in European history.
The Ottoman Empire, under the leadership of Suleiman I, launched a campaign against the kingdoms of Georgia. Suleiman's reasons for launching the campaign were: to extend the Ottoman Empire's territory to the south-western Caspian Sea, and two, to further encircle the Black Sea, which was rapidly becoming a "Ottoman lake". The superior and well-organized Ottoman armies rampaged throughout the Georgian lands, defeating and crushing every Georgian force they encountered. They were assisted greatly by Crimean marauders and raiders as well. By the end of the year, the Ottomans had annexed Georgia into their Empire. Suleiman I banished all of the old Georgian kings and imposed the Ottoman government structure in his newly acquired territories. The Ottomans' further expansion alarmed numerous Western and Central European powers, including Aragon, Portugal, Hungary, Bohemia, the Holy Roman Empire, Venice, and Poland-Lithuania, as well as the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia.
In Genoa, a new and ambitious prince came into power: Lorenzo I. He would become known for his appetite for power, wealth, influence, and luxury. As a result, Lorenzo would attempt to extend his domain throughout northern and central Italy, a policy which will bring him into conflict with the other Italian city-states, such as Milan and Venice, as well as foreign nations such as France and Aragon.
In Muscovy, Grand Prince Ivan III continued his wide-scale innovations and reforms. The grand prince continually brought in Western and Central European architects, engineers, scientists, writers, and military mercenaries. Using these men, he would continue to bring his princedom up to the standards of Western Europe. Ivan III established a series of trade routes throughout his land, created a school of crafts and arts in Moscow, began a massive construction campaign to expand and revitalize the Kremlin, and introduced the printing press. He also remodeled his armed forces, introducing a conscription and levies system. Ivan III also converted the peasants into free workers, thus diverting Russia from a process of serfdom. All of these innovations would come into handy in his second and final campaign against Novograd.
The Ottomans constructed a massive military fortress on the islands of Crete and Cyprus, in order to strengthen their military position in the eastern Mediterranean Sea. They also began launching raids and pillaging operations into the Danubian Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. All of these actions further alarm numerous Western and Central European powers. As a result, Hungary (ruled by Mattheus Cornivus I), Moldavia (ruled by Stephen I), Wallachia (ruled by Vlad II the Impaler), Poland-Lithuania (ruled by Casmir IV), Bohemia (ruled by Frederick III), Portugal (ruled by Henry I), and Venice (ruled by Fernando II), formed a grand anti-Ottoman alliance. However, this is a foolish action on their part, since they would now attract the Ottomans grand attention. A great War would break out soon that would usher in Ottoman victory. In the meantime, the Sultan of the Hafsids submitted to Ottoman dominance and rule.
Portugal launched a second expedition to the "lands of the Indian riches" (India). This expedition was again commanded by Dias, now a Portuguese Admiral and nobleman. The expedition was even larger then the first one, consisting of nearly 50 vessels, including 8 ships of the first line and 20 ships of the second line. The king, in order to build up such a massive expedition, had conducted a massive construction effort at the coast. By the end of the year, the expedition was sailing down the coast of Africa.
Grand Prince Ivan III of Muscovy launched his final campaign against the northern principality of Novograd. For years, he had been eying the remainder of that state, of which he had already conquered half in 1471. Ivan had two reasons for launching his second and final invasion of Novograd: one, Novogradian envoys had acknolweged him as their sovereign, instead of as a foreign prince; second, the Novogradians had threatened to ally themselves with Casimir IV, King of Poland, in a attempt to regain their lost lands and to curb Muscovy's increasing power and strength. Ivan decided to eliminate this possible threat before it budded. Muscovite armies swarmed into Novograd, even besieging the city itself. Finally, the Novogradian government surrendered and the Archbishop of Novograd signed a document, seceeding all of Novograd's remaining lands to Muscovy. Ivan thereafter claimed the title of "grand prince of all the Rus", since he was now the ruler of the largest and most dominant Russian state, and conducted a victory celebration in Moscow and in Novograd.
Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand I of Castile-Aragon (Spain), continued their internal projects. The King and Queen reorganized the Royal Council, which was a powerful body of civil and judicial administration. Previously, the members of the council had wielded considerable influence and authority. The Council was divided into two overlapping categories, which provided for great ineffiency in government administration. Isabella and Ferdinand placed the Council under direct Royal supervision, eliminated the division categories, and reduced the Council to a mere consulative and advisory board, similar to the Royal Advisory Council of Muscovy or the Privy Council of Britain. The monarchs also began to rely on professional and loyal administrators and advisors, rather then on corrupt and rude noblemen and courtiers. The Catholic Monarchs also established the Council of State, responsible for foreign relations and diplolmatic embassies.
In the Holy Roman Empire, Emperor Maximillian I finally came of age, and as a result the Imperial Board of Councilors, which had acted as the regency council of the Empire, surrendered it's regency duties to the Emperor. Maximillian I was determined to extend the power and influence of the Hapsburgs into numerous other territories throughout Europe, especially Burgundy, Switzerland, Hungary, and the Italian city states. However, this policy will bring him into direct confrontation with numerous countries, including Bohemia, which was now virtually independent of Hapsburg authority, as well as Venice, Genoa, and the Swiss Confederacy.
In Genoa, Prince Lorenzo I began his own internal political reforms, similar to those that occurred in Muscovy, in Britain, and in the Spanish Kingdoms. Lorenzo I primarily codified his reforms in decrees and proclamations, thus allowing for clarification and easy interpetition. For one, he assured his supreme authority over the minor Genose noblemen, courtiers, and merchants. He placed the nobilty under his direct supervision, reduced their considerable privileges and rights, and established a Commission to supervise and control their estates and properties. Lorenzo restricted the rights of the merchants in rural areas, raised taxes considerably, and established a Commission to maintain their affairs. He also forced most of the noblemen to reside at his court, reducing them to ceremonial courtiers. All of these actions thus further increased and insured his authority over his realm.
The Ottoman Empire launched a massive offensive in the East, against the Empire of Turkish Persia, which in the preceding decade had ascended to predominance and control over the remaining Muslim and Turkish emirates. Emperor Suleiman I sought to gain control of the region of Mesopotamia, which had once been a province of the ancient Roman Empire. This would further consolidate his prestige, influence, and wealth. However, the European Grand Alliance, seeing how the Ottomans were distracted to the East, decided to strike. Hungary, Wallachia, and Moldavia attacked the Ottoman territories in the Balkans, Poland-Lithuania assaulted the Crimean Khanate, Venice assaulted Greece and the Ottoman bases in the Mediterranean Sea, while Portugal struck in North Africa. The Ottomans, however, will react with overwhelming force. They quickly conclude their campaign in the East, signing the Treaty of Nasira with the Persians, extending their territory to the Euphrates River. The Ottomans then began organizing their armies to counter the Grand Alliance. They would be assisted by their puppets, the Crimeans, the Georgians, and the Hafsids.
At the same time of the outbreak of the First Great Ottoman War, Emperor Maximilian I of the Holy Roman Empire, foolishly launched a war against the Swiss Confederacy. The reason the Emperor did so was to extend the territory of the Hapsburgs and to increase his own power, wealth, and influence. However, he had acted foolishly, not even considering how his decision could affect manners. The Swiss states aligned themselves in a military confederation to confront the Emperor's army. By the end of the year, the Hapsburg and Swiss armies were bogged down in heavy combat.
Tsar Ivan III of Muscovy subordinated the Principality of Pskov into a Muscovite protectorate. He also reduced the principalities of Tver and Ryazan, the other remaining independent Russian principalities, into puppet states as well. These steps were to increase and strengthen the already great dominance of Muscovy in Russian affairs. The next few years would see the elimination of the remaining independent Russian principalities, thus seeing the consolidation of all of the Russians under Muscovite rule.
In Muscovy, Grand Prince Ivan III constructed in Moscow the Cathederal of the Assumption. The Cathederal was designed by Artolis Bartelli, a renowned Italian architect and engineer. The Cathederal's revolutionary design would inspire furhter cathederals and structures all across Russia. The Cathederal would come to be the place where all future Grand Princes, and eventually Tsars, Emperors, and Empresses of Russia are to be crowned. Anyways, the Grand Prince himself presided over the dedication ceremony.
A large Ottoman army of 260,000, commanded and led by Suleiman I himself, encountered a combined Hungarian-Bohemian-Polish-Lithuanian-Venician-Portugese army of nearly 300,000 commanded by King Matthus Cornivus of Hungary, King Casimir IV of Poland-Lithuania, and Duke Ferrando II of Venice. The Grand Alliance army had advanced greatly into Ottoman territory, having occupied land and devestated cities and villages in it's wake. However, their reign of success would be coming to a end. The armies confronted each-other near Sarid, a small village near Athens. There, Suleiman I defeated Matthus Cornivus, Casimir IV, and Ferrando II in the grand Battle of Sarid. This victory decidied the rest of the war. The Ottomans threw the Grand Allies out of their territory, and then began preparing for their own string of offensives.
In Spain, Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand I began a reorganization and expansion of the joint Spanish military. They expanded the military levies system, reorganized the command, and established a stable supply reserve. Their reasons for doing so where to prepare for a planned campaign against the Turkish Emirate of Grenada to the south-east. Grenada was the final remant of the Al-Andalus Sultanate, a Islamic state in Spain which had been established by the Moors in the 700s. The Reconquista, conducted by Catholic Spanish monarchs, had been going on for the past eight centuries. Isabella and Ferdinand intended to finally bring it to a end and thus consolidate their control of all of present-day Spain.
In Russia, Grand Prince Ivan III further extended the territory and power of Muscovy. The Grand Prince annexed the remainder of Ryazan, which had lost almost all of its autonomy already to Muscovite authorities. The Grand Prince exiled the last Prince of Ryazan to the East, more particularly to the Khanate of Kazan, confiscated the lands and properties of most of the Ryazan nobles, and consolidated his authority in his newly annexed lands. Only Tver and Pskov remained outside of Muscovite control, and they too would be extinguished by the end of the decade.
The Ottoman Empire launched it's own string of offensives against the Great Alliance, in retaliation for the failed invasion which had been ended and defeated a year before. These offensives were personally commanded by the Ottoman Emperor himself. Ottoman forces assaulted the Polish-Lithuanian territories on the Black Sea Coast, the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, southern Hungary, as well as Venice's outermost remaining islands. Ottoman forces traversed the territory of the Zayynanids, a non-incorporated Ottoman ally, attacking the Portuguese North African territories. By the end of the year, all of these lands had fallen to the Ottomans, to the great surprise of the Grand Alliance. The Ottomans' key to success was their large, powerful, and "modern" army. They also had a large and powerful navy. Moldavia and Wallachia were made into incorporated Ottoman puppet principalities, given to Suleiman I's brothers. The Black Sea was now a Ottoman lake. Shortly after the campaigns, the Ottomans betrayed their Zayynaid allies, incorporating their territory directly into the Empire.
In Spain, Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand finally launched their long-awaited offensive against the Emirate of Grenada in the South. More then 60,000 Castillian-Aragonese troops flooded into the Grenadian territories. However, the Emirate of Grenada had a small, but efficiently organized military, well-organized and large military defenses and fortresses, and a great amount of money. They also received military support from the Ottoman Empire, which sent 18,000 professional Janssaries. The Spanish armies are quickly halted. It will take the Catholic Monarchs ten years to conquer Grenada.
In France, King Louis XI the Prudent, well known for his centralization of the French government and his internal reforms, suffered a heart attack in his personal bedchambers and died. He had reigned for 18 years. Louis XI would be succeeded by his son, who became King Charles VIII of France. Charles will become known for instigating the 50-year long Italian Wars, which will leave France in disarray and debt to be fixed by his successors. Charles is crowned by the Archbishop of Rheims in Paris.
In Switzerland, the forces of Emperor Maximilian I were defeated by a army of the Swiss Confederation at the Battle of Zurich. As a result of their victory, the Swiss annexed the Hapsburg territories between their Confederation and the Holy Roman Empire proper. As such, the Hapsburgs were forced to come to the treaty table. The Treaty of Zurich, negotiated by British mediators (Britain was beginning to take a more active position on the continent), confirmed the Swiss annexation of the aforementioned territories. Maximilian I also granted the Swiss Confederation considerable immunity from Imperial taxes, military levies, and legislation, although Switzerland still officially remained a province of the Holy Roman Empire. The loss of the Swiss-Hapsburg War was a blow to Maximillian's ambitions.
At the same time, the naval forces of the Grand Alliance were scattered and defeated by Ottoman Admiral Haraydan Barbarossa at the Battle of Aegis. As a result, the First Great Ottoman War was wounding to a end. The Grand Alliance were also forced to come to the peace table with the Ottomans. Negotiations, again mediated by British diplomats, were conducted at Karsolaw, a small village in Ottoman-occupied South Hungary. The result was the Treaty of Karsolaw. In the Treaty, Poland-Lithuania seceded to the Ottomans it's Black Sea coastal territories, while Portugal seceded Portuguese North Africa, Hungary it's southern territories, and Venice it's outermost islands. The Ottoman suzerainty and control of Wallachia and Moldavia was also recognized. The Grand Alliance were forced to downscale the strength of their armed forces and to pay reparations to the Ottomans. Emperor Suleiman I thus had gained his greatest victory. The rest of his reign will be relatively peaceful, focused on domestic and economic affairs. However, the Alliance will seek revenge, which will cause diplomatic relations to be on fragile ground for the next century.
Duke Lorenzo I of Genoa begins to extend the territory of his realm, primarily through marriage and diplomatic endeavors. The Duke marries the daughter of the Duke of Savoy, which insured him a place in the line of succession of that Italian state. He also established a alliance with the Italian states of Siena and Florence. However, his actions are viewed warily by Milan, Venice, and France.
In Spain, Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand I instigated the Spanish Inquisition. They obtained a papal bull from the Pope to this effect. The Catholic Monarchs had two reasons for doing so: one, to suppress religious dissent in the ongoing war against Grenada, and two, to consolidate their own religious authority and security. The Inquisition would be lead by Tomas de Torquemada, the Queen's childhood confessor and priest. Torquemada was absolutely ruthless and brutal, using every method to crack down on religious dissent. The Inquisition will become feared across Europe.
In Britain, Queen Mary I's health began to suffer. The queen's mental condition had degraded considerably in the past six years, and she had never been completely healthy. As such, the Privy Council of Britain began preparing for the ascension of Mary's eldest son, Henry, who by then was 17 years old. Henry dipped himself into crash courses about British government, law, and diplomacy. Before then, he had been primarily interested in sports and the arts. But he would be ready. By the end of the year, Mary is near death.
Emperor Maximilian I's wife, Duchess Mary of Burgundy, died from breast cancer. The Emperor was grieved at his wife's death, for she had been the love and joy of his life. Despite this, Maximilian recovered from his loss and immediately began to assert Hapsburg authority in Burgundy. He made his 2-year old son Philip the Duke-in-name of Burgundy. This will be a stepping-stone to eventually incorporating the Burgundian territories into the Hapsburg lands.
In Britain, Queen Mary I, after a reign of 20 years, died in her sleep, in her bedchambers. Her dead body was discovered by one of her closest servants. Her eldest son, Henry, became King Henry VII of Britain. Since Henry had reached the age of 18 a few days before the death of his mother, the Queen, no regency for him was required, as had been feared by many. Henry's reign would see increased British involvement on the continent, more so then the reigns of his mother, grandmother, and grandfather, as well British expeditions to the New World, which would see the beginning of the British Colonial Empire. He would also be noted for his finanical and judicial reforms. Henry was crowned at Westminster Abbey by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
In the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman I resumed his domestic innovations and reforms, which had been halted by the First Great Ottoman War against the Grand Alliance. The Emperor issued a Legal Code of Criminal and Economic Justice (Yasal cezai ve ekonomik adalet kodu), which established most of the framework of the Ottoman Empire's economic and criminal justice systems. The code established a system of courts and judicial tribunals for the trying and punishment of various crimes, including rape, murder, and robbery. The code also established a system of tribunals for the punishment of tax evasion or mismanagement, and placed strict regulations on the processes of the economy. Suleiman I also issued a further compilation of royal decrees and edicts between 1473 and 1485, and decreed that every Ottoman Emperor after him would be obliged to issue such a compilation every ten years. The Emperor also issued the Statue of Local Government of the Ottoman Empire (Heykel yerel Osmanlı imparatorluk hükümeti). This statue completely reorganized the local and regional government organization of the Ottoman Empire, which had previously been disorganized and inefficient. Under the statue, the Ottoman Empire's direct territories (or territories besides puppet states) was divided into thirty districts, or bucaks. Each district was further subdivided into eight communes, or yerel idares. Each district would have a governor and a Council, appointed and dismissed directly by the Emperor. The governor would be assisted by a recorder of state, a general of garrisons, and a treasurer. Each commune would have a commissioner, assisted by his own Council of Advisers. The puppet states of the Empire (the Hafsid Sultanate, the Crimean Khanate, the Kingdom of Georgia, and the Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia) would all have their own government systems, subject to Ottoman control and influence. This code greatly improved Ottoman government administration.
In Spain, King Ferdinand I and Queen Isabella I continued their war against the Emirate of Grenada. For the first three years of the war, the fighting had been extremely bogged down and limited. Grenada had, with it's superior military organization and the assistance of the Ottomans, effectively resisted the Spanish invasion forces and held on. However, Suleiman I, who was now diverting his attention to the internal affairs of his Empire, began to considerably reduce aid to Grenada. Thus Grenadian resistance weakened. By the end of the year, the Catholic Monarchs had managed to capture parts of the western half of Grenada.
In Russia, Grand Prince Ivan III further extended the territory of Muscovy. The grand prince annexed the Principality of Tver, which had been the home of his first wife, Princess Maria, who had died in 1467. Immediately, Ivan III imposed his authority in Tver. The principality's capital city, of the same name, was occupied by Muscovite forces, the Prince of Tver was exiled to north-eastern Muscovy, and the Tverian government was dispersed. With the Muscovite annexation of Tver, only one other Russian state remained outside of Muscovite control: Pskov. That too would be destroyed by the end of the decade.
During all of this time, covering the various wars and changes occurring throughout Europe, the Renassiance, which had begun in Italy, was in full swing and thriving. The Middle Ages were coming to a close by this time, as the eventual discovery of the Americas was inching ever closer. The Renassiance had caused great cultural, economic, and political changes all across Europe. Serfdom in most European nations, such as Britain, the Spanish Kingdoms, the Holy Roman Empire, and others had completely or almost completely disappeared. The Renassiance had inspired a bloom in the arts and sciences, and was especially prevalent in the Italian city-states (of course), Muscovy, Britain, France, the Spanish Kingdoms, the Holy Roman Empire, and even the Ottoman Empire. Also, most monarchs had taken steps to reduce the influence of the nobility and strengthen their own stand.
King Henry VII of Britain married the love of his life, the Duchess Elizabeth of York. The two had been close ever since they were children, and had been exchanging love letters for some time. The marriage occurred at Westminster Abbey, and was administered by the Archbishop of Canterbury. In time, the couple will have six children: Arthur (born 1487), Mary (born 1489), Margaret (born 1491), Elizabeth (born 1492), Henry (born 1493), and Richard (born 1495). All of these will also be married into royal houses across Europe. It must be noted that the British Royal Family was related to the royal families of Aragon, Castile, France, Portugal, and Denmark, due to the marriages of the children of King Henry VI and Queen Margaret I.
In Spain, the Catholic Monarchs (Isabella and Ferdinand) intensified and continued their war against the Emirate of Grenada. By this time, the Ottomans had withdrawn all of their support from the Grenadians, who now had to rely on their resources and fortresses in order to survive. As a result, the Spanish Kingdoms progressed greatly in this year, being able to occupy many of Grenada's northernmost territories. Several important Grenadian fortresses and posts fell to Spanish armies. By the end of the year, however, fighting again bogged down.
A Italian navigator named Christopher Columbus appeared at the court of King Henry I of Portugal. Columbus, who had traveled far from his homeland, was a ambitious and determined person. For years, he had been searching for a European monarch to fund a expedition he had in mind: to sail west across the Atlantic Ocean in order to reach Asia. He had already approached the courts of the Danish Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and Venice, but had been rejected by all. Now he would face another rejection. The Portuguese, still distressed over the loss of their North African territory to the Ottomans, rejected his offer. Columbus, upset at this decline, then decided he would try Britain next.
In Britain, King Henry VII began his finanical and judicial reforms. Although the reign of Mary I had been beneficial to Britain in many ways, and had included various local and regional government reforms, the state of Britain's treasury was simply horrible. Britain was deeply in debt, primarily due to Mary I's construction campaigns in London and elsewhere across Britain. The nobility, although they were under Royal control and supervision, paid very little taxes and constantly found ways to avoid doing so. The taxation system of Britain, as it was, dated from the reign of William the Conqueror, and was extremely inefficient and outdated. Henry was determined to change all of this. Assisted by his able advisors, Chancellor John Morton and President of the Privy Council Edmund Dudley, he first embarked on increasing the British Crown's revenues. He implemented the "Morton's Fork" method, which insured the nobility played taxes. It was based on this theory: if a noble was wealthy and spent plenty, then he would have something to spare to the King; and if a noble was spartan and lived minimally, then he would have considerable savings to surrender to the King. This method, although very unpopular with the nobility, tripled the revenues of the Crown. Henry also imposed a agricultural tax on British farmers and field laborers as well.
In France, King Charles VIII began a series of military reforms and expansions. The king intended to increase France's involvement in military affairs with other European nations. The king was assisted by his able Chancellor, Count de Fleur. The reforms included: the reorganization of the military levies and conscription system, the introduction of the infantry tax, the establishment of France's first organized discipline code, and the modification of the field command system. All of these innovations greatly strengthened and improved the state of France's military.
Meanwhile, Christopher Columbus arrived at the court of Queen Isabella I and King Ferdinand I in Madrid, the capital of Castile. Over the past year, he had traveled to Britain and France, attempting to seek those nations' sponsorship for a expedition to sail west across the Atlantic Ocean, to reach Asia. However King Henry VII of Britain, who was tight and strict about the British budget and revenues, and King Charles VIII of France, who wanted to save money in order to contribute to his military reforms, both rejected. Thus Columbus turned to his last hope: the Spanish Kingdoms. Ferdinand and Isabella let him stay as a honored guest at the court, but informed him their attention was still on the ongoing war against Grenada. Columbus will have to wait for another five years before his expedition can become reality.
Britain signed the Treaty of Medina del Campo with the Spanish Kingdoms (Castile and Aragon). The treaty included economic, military, and marriage provisions. As early as 1487, the Catholic Monarchs of Spain (Ferdinand and Isabella) had approached King Henry VII of Britain with a offer of marriage between their children, Catherine of Aragon and Prince Arthur respectively. Henry, seeing how the Spanish Kingdoms could be of use to Britain, had accepted the offer. The Treaty stated that Catherine and Arthur were to marry, at a "acceptable" age. It provided a marriage dowry of 200,000 Pound Sterling (or 180,000 crowns), proclaimed the removal of various tariffs between Britain and the Spanish Kingdoms, and also stated the three powers would assist each-other if war with France broke out.
Meanwhile, the Catholic Monarchs continued their campaign against the Emirate of Grenada. By this time, they were constantly improving and updating their military. The King and Queen had established various workshops and production places to produce weapons and equipment for their men. They also had recruited thousands of soldiers from various other European nations. They had also raised taxes on their subjects and confiscated the properties of many noblemen, in order to finance the war. With this, they intensified their offensive. By the end of the year, Grenada had lost most of it's remaining eastern provinces.
The Danish Empire begins to disintegrate. Emperor Christian I of Denmark, who had ascended to the Danish imperial throne the previous year, was a cruel and despotic ruler, having none of the talents of his grandmother, the Empress Mary I. He angered the Danish nobility, by confiscating many of their properties, heavily restricting their rights and privileges, and reducing their considerable influence at the Danish court. He also angered the common population, by strengthening serfdom and binding peasants to the land. By the end of the year, civil tension was beginning to simmer across the Empire.
Grand Prince Ivan III of Muscovy annexed the Republic of Pskov. Thus the last Russian state outside of Muscovite control had been destroyed, and thus all of the ethnic Russians were now under Muscovite rule. During the previous decade, the Grand Prince had continued to solidify his authority over the nobles and other subjects of his state. He had issued a statue, which had placed obligations on the nobility in peace-time. He considerably reduced the number of boyars in Russia from nearly 2,000 to a more manageable 200. He also established a commission to supervise the lands and properties of the nobles.
In Britain, King Henry VII continued his reforms. The king began measures to bind the nobility ever closer to central control and authority. Henry established a effective spy network, His Majesty's Most Loyal Spies and Investigators, in order to keep a close watch on the activities and affairs of the nobles. He issued a statue which placed obligations on the nobles, restricted their privileges, and imposed a system of rewards and punishments. He also began instigating measures against retaining, a system which allowed nobles to maintain private armies. The king knew the nobility could use these armies to threaten his power. So he issued a decree which severely restricted the use of retainers, exempt in extraordinary or emergency occasions. This would be a stepping stone to eventually abolishing the system altogether.
In the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman I began construction on a new royal palace in Constantinople: the Kopackai Palace. This Palace was to be one of the grandest in Europe at the time. The Palace would consist of nearly 600 rooms, spread out across a complex of three buildings. The Palace would have 20 corridors and 14 staircases. It was designed by Italian, German, and French engineers and architects, which thus contributed to the Palace's grand design.
Numerous important events occurred in this year that would change the course of both European and world history. All of them involved the Spanish Kingdoms and the Catholic Monarchs. In this year three major events occurred: the completion of the conquest of Grenada, Columbus's discovery of the Americas, and the expulsion of the Jews and Muslims from Spain. I shall endeavor to explain each of these events, one at a time, below:
First, the Reconquisita, after seven centuries, was finally wound up. The Catholic Monarchs (Isabella and Ferdinand) laid siege to the city of Grenada itself, the last remaining territory of the Emirate of Grenada. The Grenadian defense force of 5,000 resisted for months against the large Castillian-Aragonese force of nearly 50,000. Boadli, or Muhammad XI, the last Emir of Grenada, tried to resist the Spanish forces. However, their superior organization, tactics, and numbers determined the outcome of the battle. On 8 March, the Emir and his forces surrendered. Isabella and Ferdinand, victorious, marched into Grenada with their forces and were given the keys to the city. Thus the final remnant of the Al-Andalus Sultanate was extinguished, and the Reconquisita came to a end.
Second, with the end of the Reconquisita and the final defeat of Grenada, the King and Queen finally took Christopher Columbus' proposal into complete consideration. Columbus had been waiting for a decision for six years, and was just about to give up. However, the end of the War came in at a good time. Isabella and Ferdinand summoned Columbus to their presence, and informed him that they would sponsor a expedition. Each of the Catholic Monarchs had their own reasons for doing so. Queen Isabella, on the one hand, wanted to extend Christianity overseas and discover new lands for colonization and exploration. King Ferdinand, on the other, wanted to expand and strengthen the power and influence of the Spanish Kingdoms, which were now being collectively referred to by many, including other European nations, as simply Spain. Anyways, the King and Queen provided Columbus with three ships: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. He set out on 3 August. On 12 October, a lookout sighted land, and Columbus and his expedition landed on the island of San Salvador, in the Caribbean. Columbus had discovered the Americas. He explored the island, taking some gold and natives back with him. He also explored the coasts of Cuba and Hispaniola and then returned to Spain by the end of the year. Ferdinand and Isabella, in reward, made him "Admiral of the Ocean Sea", awarded him money, titles, and honors, and gave him authorization to colonize the newly discovered lands. Thus the Spanish Colonial Empire had begun. However, the interest of other European nations would be aroused, such as Britain. Portugal, meanwhile, rejuvenated it's interest in a colonial empire.
And third, with the conquest of Grenada, the last Muslim stronghold on the Iberian peninsula had been extinguished. However, as a result of over seven centuries of the Muslim presence and occupation, Spain had a large population of Jews and Muslims, who primarily lived in the southern, more recently-conquered regions. The King and Queen considered both of these groups "heathens", anti-Christians who posed a threat to their power and security. They debated on what to do with them, but eventually made a decision. In March 1492, they issued the Alhambra Decree, in Grenada, which ordered the expulsion of all Jews and Muslims from Spain. They were given a option of converting to Christianity, if they wanted to remain. However, most did not take up the offer and left. Nearly 200,000 Jews and Muslims flooded into other European countries, such as the Italian city-states, the Ottoman Empire, Portugal, and France.
Elsewhere, across Europe, other events also occurred. In Britain, King Henry VII continued his innovations and reforms. Having dealt with the nobility and their retaining practices, the king now turned to expanding and revising Britain's judicial and law enforcement system. Although his mother, Queen Mary I, had divided Britain into districts, each one with a magistrate and enforcement agency, much of the judicial system remained disorganized and inefficient. There was no single charter or legal code compiling or organizing all of Britain's laws. And the nobles still acted as law enforcement agents and executors in many localities, especially in parts of Ireland. Henry, again, was determined to change this. He began by assigning a Justice of the Peace to each district in Britain. The Justice was to be the chief enforcer of the law in each district. They were responsible for executing and enforcing the laws of the United Kingdom, for maintaining civil peace and order, and for handling certain civil cases. However, the King took care to limit their powers. Like he had done with the nobility, a system of obligations and restrictions was placed on the Justices, and they were not provided a salary. However, they were efficient and loyal, which to the King was important both in the short and long term.
In Italy, Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, began pressuring Charles VIII, the King of France. He had a reason for doing so: the Duke was, like Lorenzo of Genoa, a ambitious and determined man, intending to extend the territory, power, and influence of his duchy throughout northern and central Italy. He wanted a reliable ally to assist and support him in his upcoming expansion campaigns, and France, a strong and centralized state, seemed to be that potential ally. Charles VIII eventually did give in, signing the Treaty of Marsielle with the Duke. However, this is seen in a hostile light by the Italian city-states, including Genoa, Venice, Florence, the Papal States and Naples. Also in this year, a Spanish cardinal named Rodrigo Borgia ascended to the Papacy, taking control as Alexander XI. He will become known for his ambition, ruthlessness, and cruelty.
In the Danish Empire, Emperor Christian I continued his actions which aroused the anger and dissent of the Danish nobility. By this time, he was reducing them to mere courtiers and had stripped most of their privileges. The Emperor went so far as attempting to regulate their marriages and their personal lives. The nobles, of course, considered his actions "tyrannical", and saw Christian I as a tyrant. One of primary noblemen, a Swedish man named Gustavus Vasa, began to rally around him a circle of supporters. He secretly began building his own private army. By the end of the year, civil war and rebellion was on the verge of breaking out.
In Muscovy, Grand Prince Ivan III began a series of diplomatic maneuvers, which were meant to strengthen and consolidate Muscovy's position in European relations. The Grand Prince sent the first Russian embassy to the Holy Roman Empire, which was received by Emperor Maximilian I, established commerical contacts with the Danish Empire, Britain, and Poland-Lithuania, and formed a military alliance with the Crimean Khanate, the puppet state of the Ottoman Empire along the Black Sea. All of these maneuvers thus improved and nurtured Muscovite relations with many of these nations.
Pope Alexander XI (Rodrigo Borgia), issued a papal bull concerning the newly discovered lands in the New World. The bull drew a Demarcation Line on the western side of the planet, roughly through the location of the Americas. In the bull, the Pope granted Spain authority and control of all lands west of the Demarcation Line, calling it "the sole and only colonizer of these lands in our name, for the glory and greatness of God". The Bull authorized King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to "bring Christianity to the lands of those who practice heathen religions, to extend the holy Catholic authority into corners of the world, and to maintain such honorable extension." Ferdinand and Isabella were pleased at the Bull, believing they would be the only ones allowed and able to colonize the New World. However, other European nations were angered at the Bull, especially Portugal, which was beginning to rejuvenate it's colonial attempts, and Britain, which wanted to launch it's own expedition to the New World. Meanwhile, anyways, Columbus set out on a second voyage. In this voyage, he would explore many of the islands of the Caribbean, including Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. He claimed most of these lands for Castile-Aragon (Spain).
Meanwhile, Britain declared war against France and launched a invasion of French Normandy, with 8,000 troops. King Henry VII had one primary reason for doing so: King Charles VIII had been harboring a pretender to the throne, Perkin Warbeck. For years, ever since Henry had ascended to the throne, Warbeck, the son of the Earl of Gloucester, had claimed that he had a strong geological claim to the throne. Warbeck, who lived in France, had even been assembling a army of mercenaries and supporters to invade Britain and claim the throne by force. And the French had provided Warbeck and his men military supplies, money, and shelter. Henry had made several appeals to have this treatment dropped, but had been ignored. However, King Charles VIII did not want to fight a war with Britain, since he was planning on launching a campaign into Italy anyways, in support of his ally the Duke of Milan. So he quickly sued for a peace. Britain and France then signed the Treaty of Etaples, just nine days after the British declaration of war. By the Treaty, France ended its support for Warbeck and paid Britain a war indemnity of 200,000 crowns, or 180,000 pounds. In return, Britain surrendered it's remaining diplomatic claims to French territory besides Calais, it's final continental possession. However, the King of Britain would continue to claim the title "King of France".
In the Danish Empire, Christian I committed one final action which set off the spark of rebellion: he announced that all of the Danish nobles would have to become the Emperor's personal servants, attending to him and maintaining his household. This absurd decision angered the nobles to the point of rebellion. Gustavus Vasa, the Swedish noble who for the past year had been gathering a large group of supporters and mercenaries, instigated rebellion in Danish Sweden. Quickly, most of the nobility and their servants joined him. Simultaneous rebellions also broke out in Norway, Finland, and Denmark. The Emperor and his army, not determined to give up, began engaging the rebellions in combat. Denmark had slid into civil war. Certain European nations such as Britain, the Holy Roman Empire, and Bohemia supported the Emperor and his government, while the rebels received support from Venice, the Ottoman Empire, and Poland-Lithuania. Anyways, Ivan III of Muscovy took the opportunity, annexing parts of eastern Finland.
The Spanish Kingdoms (Castile and Aragon) and Portugal signed the Treaty of Tordesillas on March 4. The Treaty concerned the division of all non-Christian lands amongst the three powers. Portugal heavily detested the Demarcation Bull which had been issued by Pope Alexander XI the year before. The Bull had granted Spain the right to control and colonize all lands west of the line, including most of the still largely undiscovered Americas. Portugal, which wanted to extend control into these lands as well, was angered. Other European nations such as Britain also considered it unfair. Thus King Henry I of Portugal demanded to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella that the terms of the Bull be modified. In the Treaty, the Demarcation Line was moved nearly 1,000 miles westwards, allowing Portugal to colonize parts of eastern Brazil (which a Portuguese explorer had discovered the year before). The Treaty, although it satisfied the Spanish Kingdoms and Portugal, angered Britain, which was considering launching it's own expedition. Eventually, most European countries will ignore it altogether.
Elsewhere, King Charles VIII of France gathered a massive army of nearly 40,000 troops, along with 500 cannon and a siege train. After this force had been assembled, he invaded the Italian city-states on May 5. Charles had two reasons for doing so: one, for honoring his military alliance with Duke Ludovico of Milan, and two, for claiming the crown of the Kingdom of Naples for himself. Charles' army marched with overwhelming force into Italy, and quickly began a devastating campaign. He marched through Savoy and then Genoa, devastating villages, towns, and farms in his wake. He invaded and captured Florence, installing a religious priest, Savonarola, as a French puppet Duke. He then devastated much of the Papal States and then marched into Naples. Charles deposed King Alfonso II of Naples and annexed the kingdom into France, crowning himself King of Naples. He also helped Ludovico of Milan extend his territory at the expense of Mantua. Ludovico then made himself King of Milan. By the end of the year, Charles' forces were settling down in Naples, but a alliance of powers would be gathered to oppose him.
In the Danish Empire, the massive Rebellions continued in full force. Gustavus Vasa, the leader of the massive Swedish rebellion, managed to capture Stockholm. Meanwhile, in Denmark, rebel forces ravaged the villages surrounding Copenhagen and brought much of the rural countryside under their control or influence. Emperor Christian I, however, managed to quell the rebellion in northern Norway, though at great cost to his treasury and his military forces. Rebellions in Finland, however, flared even greater then before. By the end of the year, the Danish Empire continually slipped into ever greater civil dissent.
King Henry VII of Britain summoned a Italian navigator, John Cabot, to his court in London. By this time, the King and the rest of the British Government were considering a naval expedition to the New World, as the lands discovered first by Columbus were called. The purpose of this expedition would be to explore more of the "new lands of the West" and collect information on such lands. Eventually, Britain would send a colonization expedition. Like Columbus, Cabot had been traveling around Europe, trying to gain support for a expedition. But finally, he was listened to. The King offered Cabot a position in the Royal Navy and governorship of some of the new lands if he successfully completed his mission. Cabot accepted. By the end of the year, Britain was actively assembling the expedition at Portsmouth, which would eventually consist of 20 ships, including 3 ships of the first line.
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella intensified Spain's burgeoning colonial efforts. By this time, Columbus had returned from his second expedition, bringing back a considerable amount of navigational and geographical information, as well as moderate amounts of gold, natives, and goods from the new lands. As a reward, the Catholic Monarchs had knighted Columbus and given him another estate in Spain. But anyways, Ferdinand and Isabella were now interested in acquiring territories overseas. As a result, they concluded the conquest of the Canary Islands and sent a colonization mission to North Africa, which established a post in the Sultanate of Morocco. They also began arranging for a third expedition to the New World as well, to counter Britain's planned expedition.
Meanwhile in Italy, the first Italian War continued in full swing. Although in the previous year no resistance had been presented to the invasion force of King Charles VIII of France, the Italian states were shocked and alarmed. Pope Alexander XI, who up to that time had been bickering with other Italian city-states in order to extend the power and wealth of his family, saw the true threat and decided to react. The Pope formed the League of Venice with Venice, Genoa, Ferrara, Mantua, and even Milan, whom Charles VIII was now setting his eyes on obtaining for himself. Soon, King Ferdinand I of Castile-Aragon and Emperor Maximilian I of the Holy Roman Empire joined the alliance as well. By the end of the year, the League had amassed a army of 35,000 to resist the 40,000 strong army of Charles VIII.
In the Danish Empire, the civil war intensified. By this time, Emperor Christian I was losing support even from his own army and advisers, who were now feeding military and political secrets to the various rebellions, especially the one lead by Gustavus Vasa. Eventually, by June, they had defected to the rebellions altogether, thus severely weakening the Emperor's ability to win the civil war. By this time, all of Denmark proper had fallen to the Danish rebellion and it's leader Duke Sigismund. Sigismund proclaimed the restoration of the Kingdom of Denmark and had himself crowned King. Denmark was soon recognized by Bohemia (under Frederick III), Muscovy (under Ivan III), and the Ottoman Empire (under Suleiman I).
In Muscovy, Grand Prince Ivan III issued the Muscovite Legal Code and Compilation (Московит Юридический Кодекс и Компиляция), a sweeping piece of legislation which greatly affected Muscovy's legal and judicial systems. The code established the Muscovite system of courts and bureaus, which was based off those of Britain and France, established procedures concerning the conduct and operation of trials, standardized the laws of the local Muscovite districts and provinces, and established a series of punishments, including the death penalty, for various crimes. The code also compiled and listed all decrees, laws, and proclamations of Muscovy issued between 1280 and 1494.
In Italy, the army of the League of Venice quickly began offensives in order to throw the French out of the Italian peninsula. The army, led by the Pope personally, marched into Florence, which had been made a puppet state of France by Charles VIII. Promptly, at the Battle of Ledis, the League army defeated the French garrison in Florence, as well as the Florence defense force. As a result of the Battle, Savonarola, the puppet Duke of Florence, was deposed, and Florence was restored as a fully sovereign state. Charles VIII, now angered and alerted, marched his army out of Naples and into the Papal States to confront the Pope's army. However, he left Naples undefended. Ferdinand I of Castile-Aragon, seeing the opportunity, launched a invasion of Naples from Sicily. He landed with 8,000 troops. By the end of the year, much of southern Naples had been occupied by Spanish forces.
Meanwhile, three events occurred involving Britain and King Henry VII. One of these events concerned a diplomatic endeavor. Britain and Burgundy, which was within the influence of the Hapsburgs, had had tense relations for the past three to four years. Burgundy, lead by Duchess Margaret, the second wife of Emperor Maximilian I, had supported the pretender Perkin Warbeck, who had been claiming the British throne for several years. Burgundy also provided finanical and diplomatic assistance to several other such pretenders as well. As a result, in 1494 Britain had imposed a economic sanction against Burgundy, although it did not invade (due to Maximilian's military protection of the Duchy). However, the sanction had harmed the economies of both nations, whom had heavily depended upon commerce. So Henry VII decided it was worthless. After intense negotiations, Britain and Burgundy signed the Valde Commercial quod Diplomatic Consensio, Latin for Great Commercial and Diplomatic Agreement on 18 April. The Agreement consisted of economic and diplomatic provisions. In the agreement, Margaret of Burgundy agreed to terminate any and all support to pretenders of the British Crown. In exchange, Henry VII pledged his daughter, also named Margaret, in marriage to the youngest son of Margaret of Burgundy, Robert. Concerning commerce, the two countries abolished certain tariffs between them, and British merchants were granted certain privileges in Burgundian ports. The agreement also outlined terms of economic investment as well and lifted the British sanction against Burgundy. As a result of the agreement, commerce and relations between the two nations flourished.
Second, the planned British expedition to the New World was finally ready. The expedition, which consisted of 20 ships as explained previously, would be under the direct command of Cabot. The King issued a decree which outlined the objectives and mission of the expedition, which was "to find and discover more new lands in the name of this crown and this united Kingdom, to explore and search across such lands, for geographical and other such information, and, if possible, to stake a claim of our royal Person to such lands thereof." The Charter granted Cabot extensive leeway in the manner of the mission's conduct. Anyways, the expedition left Portsmouth on 8 May, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. Sea winds and the tides diverted the expedition north. After nearly two months, the expedition reached Newfoundland on 3 July. Cabot and a team landed on Newfoundland, which he gave it it's name, as provided before. He and his group then traveled along the coast, gathering extensive information on the geography. climate, and landscape. They also gathered information on the seas surrounding Newfoundland as well. All of this information was recorded in the ship logs. Cabot then formally claimed Newfoundland for Britain, but did not establish a colony. He then returned to Britain by 3 September. The King, pleased about the discovery of Newfoundland, knighted Cabot and gave him a estate in the Highlands of British Scotland. A second expedition, this time for colonization purposes, was prepared for the following year.
And finally, King Henry VII issued the Legal Code of Justice of the United Kingdom, a sweeping piece of legislation, affecting Britain's legal and judicial systems. As explained previously, several sections above, Britain's legal system did not have a law code, and as such remained largely disorganized. Various statues, charters, decrees, and proclamations contradicted with each other, overlapping numerous times and providing for great inefficiency in the interpretation and enforcement of the law. The legal system had remained unchanged in many respects since the times of the Normans. Henry VII, again, was determined to change this. The legal code which he issued provided clarification and complete detail about Britain's central and local judicial system, including the Justices of the Peace and the local magistrates. The Privy Council's role as Britain's highest court of justice was confirmed. The code compiled, organized, and listed all of the decrees, proclamations, statues, and charters issued from the time of Alfred the Great, during the late 800s AD, all the way to the reign of Henry VII himself. It included a section which clarified each of these laws and removed or answered any contradictions. The code also listed a series of punishments for crimes and provided further regulation about trials and legal proceedings.
In the Danish Empire, Christian I, the last Emperor of Denmark, was killed by one of his own bodyguards, at his army's camp near Oslo. As a result of his death, the final remnants of the Danish imperial government and military collapsed and disintegrated. Thus, two new kingdoms appeared on the map. Gustavus Vasa rode victorious into Stockholm (which he had already captured), and was proclaimed the first Emperor of Sweden, as Gustavus Vasa I. Sweden also consisted of what had been Danish Finland. Meanwhile, Danish Norway became the Kingdom of Norway, lead by the leader of the Norwegian rebellion, Carl Augustus, who became Carl Augustus I. Estonia was annexed by the Livonian Order, with the approval of it's suzerain Poland-Lithuania; a small part of it was annexed by Muscovy. Thus the Danish Empire had ceased to exist. Most European nations formally recognized the existence of both Sweden and Norway, as they had Denmark.
In response to Britain's successful exploration expedition to the New World, King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella quickly hastened the collection of the third Spanish expedition to the Americas. By September, the expedition, which consisted of 40 ships, had been organized. This time, the expedition would both explore and colonize. Again, the expedition was lead by Christopher Columbus. It set out on 6 September. The Maria, Pinta, and Santa Maria, all of which had been the ships of the first expedition, and had been at the head of the second expedition, lead this third expedition. Columbus and his expedition crossed the Atlantic, reaching Hispaniola by the end of November. They then landed on Hispaniola, which was claimed for Spain, and established a settlement on the coast. In the process, they drove most of the natives from the Hispaniolan coast.
King Henry I of Portugal, having experienced numerous health issues and problems in the past decade, collapsed from exhaustion and died. His son, the 25-year old John, ascended to the throne, becoming John II of Portugal. John was totally determined in establishing and expanding the Portuguese colonial empire, establishing colonies and settlements in every corner of the globe. As such, he would be responsible for rejuvenating Portugal's colonial attempts. However, he also believed in sharing the New World and other overseas lands with Britain, Portugal's long-time diplomatic ally, and Spain, whom Portugal had signed the Treaty of Tordesillas with concerning colonial matters. To start his attempts, John expanded the School of Navigation in Lisbon and began assembling a expedition to colonize Brazil, which the Portuguese claimed but had not yet actually colonized.
The army of Pope Alexander XI, the Duke Fernando III of Venice (Fernando II had died the year before), Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I, and even the King of Milan, Ludovico I, surrounded the army of King Charles VIII of France at the field of Halfsia, just three miles outside of Rome. The French king and his army attempted for days to resist, but, despite causing heavy causalities on the League army, they eventually ran out of supplies. Charles VIII surrendered on 9 June. He was taken prisoner by the League and was forced to sign the Treaty of Halfsia, which surrendered French Naples to Aragon and paid the League considerable finanical reparations and a ransom for the King. Shortly after, Charles VIII was released, and he and his army returned to France. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella crowned themselves King and Queen of Naples.
King Henry VII of Britain finally dispatched the second colonization expedition, which had also been assembled at Portsmouth, to the New World, on 23 April. By now, he and the rest of his Privy Council were firm in the belief that Britain would be able to increase and expand it's power by establishing colonies and settlements on other landmasses outside of Europe. He believed that the United Kingdom and the British Crown would both gain further influence by this instead of campaigns on the continent. Most of the British population were also heavily in favor of this as well. Several renowned writers, including Richard Hakluyt and Privy Council President Edmund Dudley, published pamphlets which urged the establishment of a "overseas empire of colonies and territories". The expedition was again commanded by Cabot, who was now a British Lord and nobleman. The expedition, following the previous course of the prior British expedition, reached Newfoundland on 30 May. Cabot, again, landed, and this time established a colonial settlement, which he named Kingstown, after the King. Kingstown had, at the beginning, around 200 settlers. Cabot constructed a colonial fort and began to build a colonial government. He returned to Britain by the end of the year, reporting on his activities. The King formally granted Kingstown a Royal Charter. Thus the British Colonial Empire had formally begun. Kingstown thrived and prospered.
King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, concerned about Britain's second successful expedition, launched the fourth Spanish expedition to the New World, which was again commanded by Christopher Columbus. The expedition followed Columbus' previous travel route, crossing the Atlantic Ocean. It reached the Caribbean by the end of June. The expedition traveled around the Caribbean, visiting the islands of Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Hispaniola, and some of the Lesser Antilles. Settlers were planted on Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Cuba, while further settlers arrived in the Spanish colony on the Hispaniolan coast. All of these lands thus formally became colonies of Spain, and upon Columbus' return to Spain on 16 August, were each granted a Royal Charter by the King and Queen. Columbus brought with him considerable amounts of gold, natives, sugar cane, and tobacco. He was further honored by being made the highest ranking Admiral of the Spanish Kingdoms and awarded governorship of the colonies of Hispaniola and Cuba.
The United Kingdom and Portugal signed the Second Treaty of Windsor. The Treaty concerned colonization, diplomatic, and military manners. King John II of Portugal, who wanted to share the overseas territories with Britain, Portugal's long-time diplomatic ally, had requested to King Henry VII of Britain that negotiations be conducted concerning such matters. King Henry, who had also wanted to reach such a cooperation agreement, had agreed. The Treaty was signed at Windsor Castle, in rural British England. In the Treaty, Britain agreed to recognize Portugal's rights of colonization in Brazil, along the coasts of Africa, and along the western coast of the lands of India. In return, Portugal recognized Britain's rights of colonization in the eastern parts of the "northern portion of the New World" (North America), as well as in parts of the Caribbean outside of territories claimed by Spain and in territories in Africa. The Treaty also provided that the youngest daughter of King Henry VII, Elizabeth, would be given in marriage to the eldest son of John II, Rodrigo. A marriage dowry of 450,000 crowns would be paid to Portugal. It also included a secret provision, which stated that Britain would firmly support Portugal militarily and diplomatically if it encountered any obstacles or troubles with the Spanish Kingdoms. In return, Portugal would support Britain if it encountered any obstacles and challenges with France. This provision will later prove instrumental in the British-Spanish War and in the various British-French Wars.
In France, King Charles VIII, whose health had suffered due to his loss in the first Franco-Italian War, died. He was succeeded by his cousin, who became Louis XII of France. Charles had left France in deep finanical troubles. Although he had wisely saved money in his earlier years, meant to contribute to his military reforms, which strengthened the French military in preparation for the Italian campaigns, he had begun to ignore French finances once actually invading Italy. He had defaulted on his debts, considerably raised taxes on both the nobility and the common population, and even negotiated finanical relief deals with Britain and Muscovy, both of which had prospering and strong economies. Louis wanted to continue his cousin's campaigns into Italy, but realized he had to reconstruct French finances first. Louis thus embarked on this campaign by issuing the Ordinance of Taxation, Finances, and Revenue of the State and the Crown (L'ordonnance de taxation, les Finances, et les recettes de l'État et la couronne), which completely reorganized the French taxation and finances system. The ordinance eliminated many ancient and inefficient levies and duties, established the Royal Bureau of Tax Collection (Royal Bureau de collecte de l'Impôt), streamlined the French currency, and expanded the reserves of the treasury. It reorganized the local tax collection system as well, assigning finanical inspecteurs to each province and provincial commune in France to supervise and maintain the collection of taxes on a local and regional level. The ordinance greatly improved France's finanical situation, and money began to once again flow to the coffers of the French government. Louis, however, will wait for another year before launching another military campaign.
The Crimean Khanate (acting on authorization from its suzerain, the Ottoman Empire) and the Grand Principality of Muscovy, jointly declared war against the Khanate of the Great Horde, which by then had been reduced to a minor, third-class state, even inferior to the Khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan in political and military terms. The Crimeans and the Muscovites believed that the time was to extend their territory and power, and also to destroy a state which they considered useless and weak. Anyways, a joint Muscovite-Crimean army of 40,000 assaulted the Great Horde. Khan Sajud, the successor of Khan Akhmed (who had been killed in 1493), was a weak commander and leader. By the end of the year, the Muscovites and Crimeans had occupied most of the Great Horde, dividing it between them.
King Louis XII of France, after restoring and expanding France's revenues and taxation system, launched the second French invasion of the Italian city-states. He marched into Italy with a army of nearly 50,000 French troops and 20,000 Swiss mercenaries, which he had organized and assembled over the past year. The French army also had 800 cannon and three siege trains as well. Louis was completely determined to reverse France's humiliating losses in Italy during the reign of Charles VIII. Promptly, the French army began it's campaign of devastation and conquest. The King and his army occupied parts of the Duchy of Savoy, imposing a French puppet government over the rest of it's territories. He then marched into Milan, deposing the treacherous King Ludovico I from the throne and imposing a French family of nobles as the new rulers of Milan. Louis's army then conquered the remainder of Mantua and devastated Florence. By the end of the year, however, he and his army were halted as the second League of Venice was assembled by the Pope. This League included the Papal States, Venice, the Holy Roman Empire, and Aragon.
The steady development of the British Colonial Empire continued. The United Kingdom, having solved colonial concerns with Portugal through the Second Treaty of Windsor, could focus completely on it's colonial attempts. King Henry VII was determined to extend and strengthen the power of the British Crown, believing that it would be beneficial to himself, his family, and his subjects. As such, he dispatched another expedition to Kingstown, which brought in a further 1,000 settlers to the burgeoning settlement and explored more of the Newfoundland region. A group of ambitious British merchants in London established the British East Indies Company, to conduct commerce and trade with India and the lands of the far East, in friendly competition with Portugal, which had begun establishing trading posts in India. The King granted the Company a Royal Charter and provided great finanical support. Britain thus was growing stronger and wealthier.
The Spanish Kingdoms (Castile and Aragon), in response to the colonial expeditions and endeavors of the British, intensified their own colonial efforts. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella established another post in Morocco, intent on facilitating the trade of gold, salt, and eventually, slaves, with the powerful West African state of Songhai. The Catholic Monarchs dispatched another expedition to the New World. This one was commanded by Amerigo Vespucci (Columbus was in the Caribbean governing and administering Spain's colonies there). Vespucci named the New World landmasses North and South America, after himself. He explored the northern coast of South America, as well as along Central America. He gathered information on the geography of the region, just like Columbus had done.
Continued at Alternate History of Europe Timeline/3