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13th century 1200-1299 CE

The 13th Century begins with the proclamation of a new crusade

Out of the Mongolian Steppes rose a new leader, Genghis Khan. In England, King John continues to divide and rule his country, his conflict with both the church and the barons leading to the writing of the Magna Carta.
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Fibonacci wrote the Book of Calculation and introduced the Hindu numbering system 0 – 9 to Europe.  Universities continued to be established, Cambridge University was founded by scholars relocating from Oxford. These great universities rose out of the 13th century and in Europe universities such as those in Bologna drew in scholars whose work would spread throughout the west.

The 13th Century brought us the Papal Inquisition.

The point of the inquisition, to expunge all heretics from society. The Fourth Lateran Council met in Rome to enact legislation as to what is heresy and what is not. There was a growing antipathy towards the Jews and amongst other things, the Council decided that Jews would wear a yellow label. In the French city of  Avignon there were concerns about cleanliness. These concerns  led to the edict that Jews and whores would be forbidden from touching bread or fruit in the market place.

Jews in Britain in the 13th century

In England, Jews were considered instruments of the king’s oppressions. Jewish communities were attacked and many inhabitants killed. The King of England had been borrowing money from Jews but then he switched to Italian bankers, reducing his dependence on Jews. Jews were restricted from holding land and Jewish children from inheriting their parents’ money. On death, Jewish money would be confiscated by the royal government. By the end of the 13th Century life for Jews in Britain was becoming increasingly uncertain and difficult. Jewish communities were attacked and many inhabitants killed. The persecution continued, until by the end of the 13th Century when King Edward I expelled all the Jews from England.

As the 13th century progresses there is a growing weariness and lack of support for the crusades.

Early in the 13th Century, thousands of children, along with a few adults and clerics, headed for Jerusalem to rescue the Holy Land from Muslims. They were deficient in money and organization but believed that as children, they were favored by God and could work miracles that adults could not. The children’s crusade ended in disaster. Many children died or were sold into slavery.

Amongst the general population there was a growing weariness and lack of support for the crusades. It was time to focus on national politics and the things that concerned the people at home.

In the 13th century, the explorer, Marco Polo traveled to China and wrote about his journey through Mongolia at the height of it’s empire.

The Genoans and Venetians each built bigger and better galleys, capable of carrying more cargo than ever before and of dominating the European sea lanes.

As the century tipped towards it’s end, the English and the Scottish were in conflict with one another, the Stone of Destiny was brought to England and the Scottish Nationalist, William Wallace, led a revolt against English dominance but was defeated at Falkirk.

Coal and iron production became very important industries in Europe and huge tracts of forest were cut down. Coal was mined for the first time in England.

A timeline of the 13th century of British History will follow shortly

Our 13th century chronology and timelines are being created and curated but already via each century page you can quickly locate our collections for each 100 years of history. These evolve as we explore topical themes, but if you are looking for something you can’t see here then please feel free to contact us and request, Thanks for taking a look.