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150Mil BC
In 2009 paleontologists in eastern France reported the discovery of some of the largest dinosaur footprints ever documented, measuring about 1.4 meters to 1.5 meters (4.6 feet to 4.9 feet) in diameter. The well-preserved footprints dating to about this time were found high in the Jura mountains, a literal sauropod stomping ground.
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1.76Mil BC
US and French researchers in 2011 identified Acheulian stone tools dating to about this time near the shoreline of Kenya’s Lake Turkana.
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800000 BC
Soleilhac, in the Massif Central of France, is the oldest unquestionable site of hominid occupation in Europe. It offers faunal remains and tools, but no hominid bones.
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560000 BC
In 2015 French students found a human tooth from about this time in a cave at Tautavel in southwestern France, the oldest human body part ever discovered in the country.
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176500 BC
In France Neanderthals created two stone rings in a cave in Bruniquel. The oval structures, measuring 172 and 25 square feet, and were discovered in 1990 and dated to about this time in 2016.
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25000 BC
In 2006 France took over ownership of a cave in the Vilhonneur forest where a human skeleton that dated to this time was found in a decorated room.
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4500 BC
Neolithic burial mounds dating to this time were later discovered at Carnac, northwest France.
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54 BC
52 BC
The Gauls rose in revolt against Caesar.
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202
St. Iranaeus around this time was Bishop of Lugdunum, Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire (later Lyons, France). He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology.
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236
250
In the third century Denis was sent from Italy to convert Gaul, forging a link with the "apostles to the Gauls" reputed to have been sent out with six other missionary bishops under the direction of Pope Fabian (236-250). He was Bishop of Paris. He was martyred, with his companions Rusticus and Eleutherius, in connection with the Decian persecution of Christians, shortly after 250 AD.
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268
Marcus Cassianius Latinius Postumus, a Roman emperor of Batavian origin, died about this time. He usurped power from Gallienus in 260 and formed the so called Gallic Empire. He was recognized in Gaul, Germania, Britannia and Iberia until his murder in 268.
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273
The Gallic Empire of the Batavian Postumus ended.
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286
Carausius, a Roman naval officer, seized power in Britain and northern Gaul ruled until he was assassinated in 293.
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300
400
Saint Nectarius of Auvergne (also known as Nectarius of St-Nectaire, Nectarius of Limagne, Necterius of Senneterre), venerated as a 4th century martyr and Christian missionary, was one of the seven missionaries sent by Pope Fabian from Rome to Gaul to spread Christianity there. Nectarius was accompanied by the priests Baudimius (Baudenius, Baudime) and Auditor (Auditeur); tradition states that they were all brothers.
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451 Apr 8
Attila's Huns plundered Metz and continued moving south along the Moselle River.
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451 Jun 20
Roman and Barbarian warriors halted Attila’s army at the Catalaunian Plains (Catalarinische Fields) in eastern France. Attila the Hun was defeated by a combined Roman and Visigoth army. Theodoric I, the Visigothic king, was killed. The Huns moved south into Italy but were defeated again. Some sources date this on Sep 20. Attila and his brother Bleda jointly inherited the Hunnish Kingdom, headquartered in what later became Hungary. Attila later murdered Bleda to gain full control.
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451 Sep 20
Roman General Aetius defeated Attila the Hun at Chalons-sur-Marne (Battle of the Catalaunian Plains). Many sources date this on Jun 20.
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708
In France Bishop Aubert of Avranches had a dream in which Archangel Michael persuaded him to build an oratory dedicated to the saint on the rock off the Normandy coast known as Mont Tombe. Over the years it grew and became known as Mont St. Michel.
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794
Charlemagne created a single currency for his empire.
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800 Dec 25
Pope Leo III crowned Frankish warrior-king Charlemagne as heir of the Roman emperors at the basilica of St. Peter's at Rome.
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870 Aug 8
The Treaty of Mersen (Meerssen) partitioned the realm of Lothair II by his uncles Louis the German of East Francia and Charles the Bald of West Francia, the two surviving sons of Emperor Louis I the Pious.
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962 Feb 2
Otto I (912-973), founder of the Holy Roman Empire, was crowned Holy Roman Emperor by Pope John XII.
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1017
1144
A Romanesque nave was added to the abbey Mont St. Michel off the coast of Normandy, France.
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1053 Jun 18
In Italy Richard of Aversa helped win the Battle of Civitate, inflicting a decisive defeat over the papal army, which had joined Byzantium in an alliance against the Normans.
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1095 Nov 27
In Clermont, France, Pope Urbana II made an appeal for warriors to relieve Jerusalem, defeat the Turks and recapture the Holy Sepulchre from the Muslims. He was responding to false rumors of atrocities in the Holy Land. The first Crusade sparked a renewal of trade between Europe and Asia. Urban declared to the assembled that Europe was "too narrow for your large population" and urged them to take up swords against the Saracens who defiled "that land that floweth with milk and honey," thus inspiring the Crusaders. Peter, a disheveled former soldier, seized the moment, preaching the "People’s Crusade" and quickly gathering a following of more than 20,000 Crusaders, including Walter, a French Knight.
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1119
The French knight Hugues de Payens approached King Baldwin II of Jerusalem and Warmund, Patriarch of Jerusalem, and proposed creating a monastic order for the protection of the pilgrims.
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1137 Aug 1
Louis the Younger (1120-1180) of France was crowned King Louis VII. He had married Eleanor, the Duchess of Aquitaine, just a few months earlier.
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1147 Oct 25
At the Battle at Dorylaeum (Turkey) Arabs beat Konrad III's crusaders. Conrad III of Germany and Louis VII of France had assembled 500,000 men for the 2nd Crusade. Most of the men were lost to starvation, disease and battle wounds.
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1148 Jul 24
Crusaders, led by Louis VII of France and Conrad III of Germany, attacked Damascus. It was a dismal failure and effectively ended the 2nd Crusade.
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1152 Mar
The marriage between King Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine was annulled at a royal council in Beaugency.
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1152 May 18
Eleanor of Aquitaine married Henry Plantagenet, a rebellious vassal of King Louis VII.
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1166
Diarmaid Mac Murchada, King of Leinster, met with Henry II in Aquitaine after he was dispossessed of land by Ruaidhri O Conchobair, the High King of Ireland. This meeting instigated the Norman invasion of 1169.
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1169 May 1
The Norman invasion of Ireland, a two-stage process, began when a force of loosely associated Norman knights landed near Bannow, County Wexford. This was at the request of Dermot MacMurrough (Diarmait Mac Murchada), the ousted King of Leinster, who sought their help in regaining his kingdom. Stage 2 began in 1171 with the arrival of Henry II.
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1171 Oct 18
Henry II (1133-1189) arrived in Ireland from France with an army and declared himself "Lord of Ireland". All of the Normans, along with many Irish princes, took oaths of homage to Henry by November, and he left after six months. He never returned, but in 1177 he named his youngest son, Prince John, as Lord of Ireland.
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1173
The Waldensian church was founded about this time by a wealthy merchant from Lyon, France, Pierre Valdo (c1140-c1205), who gave up his belongings to preach a Gospel of simplicity and poverty that condemned papal excesses. He was excommunicated in the early 1180s and his followers persecuted as heretics by Rome. By 1215, the Waldensians were declared heretical and subject to intense persecution; the group endured near annihilation in the seventeenth century, and were then confronted with organized and generalized discrimination in the centuries that followed. In 2015 Pope Francis asked forgiveness for the Catholic Church's persecution of members the Waldensian church.
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1180 Nov 14
Laurcan O'Toole (b.1128), Archbishop of Dublin (1161-1180), died in France. His name was later anglicized to Laurence O'Toole. He was canonized only forty-five years after his death.
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1184
The first medieval inquisition, the episcopal inquisition, was established by a papal bull entitled Ad abolendam, "For the purpose of doing away with." The inquisition was in response to the growing Catharist heresy in southern France. It is called "episcopal" because it was administered by local bishops, which in Latin is episcopus. In 2012 Cullen Murphy authored “God’s Jury: The Inquisition and the making of the Modern World.”
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1194
The French cathedral at Chartres was mostly destroyed by fire. The Sancta Camisia relic survived intact and the cathedral was rebuilt in 29 years. In 2008 Leo Hollis authored “Universe of Stone: Chartres Cathedral and the Triumph of the Modern Mind.”
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1204 Apr 1
Eleanor of Aquitaine (81), wife of Louis VII and Henry II, died in Poitiers. In 1950 Amy Kelly authored “Eleanor of Aquitaine and the Four Kings.”
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1211
1228
Vaulted halls called “La Marveille” were added to the abbey of Mont St. Michel off the coast of Normandy, France.
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1211
In France construction began on the Reims Cathedral about this time and continued for 60 years.
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1220
In France the main structure of Chartres cathedral was completed. In 2008 Philip Ball authored “Universe of Stone: A Biography of Chartres Cathedral.”
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1250 Feb 8
1250 Feb 11
The Battle of Al Mansurah was fought between crusaders led by Louis IX, King of France, and Ayyubid forces led by Emir Fakhr-ad-Din Yussuf, Faris ad-Din Aktai and Baibars al-Bunduqdari.
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1250 Apr 6
Louis IX (1214-1270), King of France, lost the Battle of Fariskur, Egypt, and was captured by Muslim forces .
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1305 Apr 2
French Queen Jeanne de Navarre (b.1273) died. In 1919 a “Book of Hours” prayer book, that was made for her, sold for a record price at Sotheby’s.
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1306 Jul 22
King Phillip the Fair ordered the expulsion of Jews from France. They returned to Montpellier in 1319, having been recalled by King Sancho, who protected them in 1320 against the fury of the Pastoureaux.
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1311 Oct 16
The general Council of Vienne opened just south of Lyons. During the 2-year council Pope Clement V made the belief in the right to usury heresy and abolished all secular legislation which allowed it.
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1315
Louis X, Philip's brother and successor, allowed Jews back into France for financial considerations. Jews were often expelled because of pressure from the Church, economic or political considerations, only to be readmitted at a later date.
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1331
Bernard Gui, Inquisitor in Toulouse, died. He authored “Practica Inquisitionis Heretice Pravitatis” (Conduct of the Inquisition into Heretical Wickedness), a manual for Inquisitors in which he listed heretics including Cathars, Waldensians, Beghards, Jews and witches.
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1337
Edward III’s claim to the French throne sparked the Hundred year’s War between England and France.
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1347
1350
The Black Death: A Genoese trading post in the Crimea was besieged by an army of Kipchaks from Hungary and Mongols from the East. The latter brought with them a new form of plague, Yersinia pestis. Infected dead bodies were catapulted into the Genoese town. One Genoese ship managed to escape and brought the disease to Messina, Sicily. The disease quickly became an epidemic. It moved over the next few years to northern Italy, North Africa, France, Spain, Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, the Low countries, England, Scandinavia and the Baltic. There were lesser outbreaks in many cities for the next twenty years. An estimated 25 million died in Europe and economic depression followed. In 2005 John Kelly authored “The Great Mortality: An Intimate History of the Black Death, the Most Devastating Plague of All Time.”
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1348
The Black Plague struck the Mediterranean Basin.
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1356 Sep 19
In a landmark battle of the Hundred Years' War, English Prince Edward, the Black Prince, defeated the French at Poitiers. Jean de Clermont, French marshal, died in battle.
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1358
The French peasantry staged an uprising that came to be called the Jacquerie revolt. It was in part a reaction to widespread poverty during the Hundred Years War. Peasants revolted against the écorcheurs (mercenaries who fought in the war), who pillaged their land, and the nobles, who made extortionate demands but did not protect them.
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1390 Jul 1
A French and Genovese armada sailed out against Barbary pirates.
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1415 Aug 13
King Henry V of England took his army across the English Channel and laid siege on the French port of Harfleur.
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1415 Oct 25
An English army under Henry V defeated the French at Agincourt, France. The French had out numbered Henry’s troops, but Welsh longbows turned the tide of the battle. The French force was under the command of the constable Charles I d’Albret. Charles I d’Albret, son of Arnaud-Amanieu d’Albret, came from a line of nobles who were often celebrated warriors. His ancestors had fought in the First Crusade (1096-99) and his father had fought in the Hundred Years War himself--first for the English before joining the side of France. Charles’ own exploits in the ongoing conflict came to an end at the Battle of Agincourt. The decisive victory for the outnumbered English saw the death of not only Charles, but a dozen other high-ranking nobles as well. But Charles’ fate did not end the Albrets as his descendants went on to become kings of Navarre, and later, France. In 2005 Juliet Barker authored “Agincourt: The King, the Campaign, and the Battle.”
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1415 Oct 25
Edward (b.1373), duke of York, died at the Battle of Agincourt.
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1417
145
This period was covered by Juliet Barker in her 2009 book: “Conquest: The English Kingdom of France 1417-1450.”
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1419
An English army under Henry V captured the duchy of Normandy.
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