This Week in History

The Victory of the Longbow:

October 25, 1415

This text comes from our book, Light to the Nations I: The History of Christian Civilization. To peruse sample chapters of our books, go hereFor ordering information on Light to the Nations I and our other texts, please click here.

The Battle of Crecy

For another six years after the Battle of Sluys, the English and French fought no important battles. In 1346, however, Edward III crossed the English Channel with 15,000 men and captured the city of Caen in Normandy. The English then moved east, pillaging the country as they went. Philip, with an army of about 20,000 men, moved north. On August 26, 1346, the English and the French met at Crecy, near the Flemish border.

At Crecy, Edward III’s army used a new weapon, the cannon. The cannon used by the English, however, was not the powerful weapon it would become. It was a crude, smooth-bore gun capable of only short-range firing of two- to three-pound iron balls. But Edward’s cannon caused panic in the French cavalry lines, scaring and crippling horses and men with bouncing blows. (more…)



This Week in History

Assault at Harper’s Ferry:

October 16, 1859

The following text comes from our high school book, Lands of Hope and Promise: A History of North America. To see sample chapters of this book, go here. For ordering information on Lands of Hope and Promise and our other texts, please click here. 

John Brown in 1859

Old Osawatomie John Brown, now sporting a long, gray beard and bearing the alias Shubel Morgan, had returned to Kansas. He had been in Chatham, Ontario in May 1859 meeting with 12 white and 24 black abolitionists, including Harriet Tubman; they had been discussing a plot of Brown’s for a violent revolution to free the slaves. Back in Kansas, John Brown was again causing trouble. Answering a plea for help from a slave who was to be sold at auction, Brown, his sons, and others crossed over into Missouri, freed the slave (along with five of his fellow slaves), and stole some horses and a wagon. Proceeding to another farm, Brown’s party freed five more slaves, killing a white man who opposed them. When the government placed a $500 bounty on Brown’s head, the old abolitionist again fled to Canada. (more…)



This Week in History

Duke William Conquers England: October 14, 1066

This text comes from our book, Light to the Nations I: The History of Christian Civilization. To peruse sample chapters of our books, go hereFor ordering information on Light to the Nations I and our other texts, please click here.

King Harold, from the Bayeux Tapestry

Early in 1066, the childless old Saxon king of England, Edward the Confessor, died without settling the question of who should inherit his throne. Two men claimed the crown of England. One was Edward’s nephew, Harold. The other was William, the duke of Normandy in northern France.

Fearing Duke William, the Saxon nobles of England elected the Saxon prince Harold as king. Refusing to give up his claim to the English throne, William set out with all his forces, sailed across the channel separating England from France, and landed near the town of Hastings. The new Saxon king, Harold, and his major nobles and warriors were in the north near York, putting down a rebellion and repelling an invading force of Danes. After defeating the invaders and putting down the rebellion, Harold and his men turned south to meet William. Fifteen days later, they reached the channel coast and Hastings. (more…)



This Week in History

The Crowning of an Unpopular Pope: October 5, 1824

This text comes from our book, Light to the Nations II: The Making of the Modern World. See sample chapters, here. For ordering information on Light to the Nations II and our other texts, please click here.

Fernando I

Following the end of the Carbonari rebellion in the Two Sicilies in 1821, governments throughout Italy took severe measures against Liberals and members of revolutionary societies. Such measures were very severe in Habsburg-controlled regions, especially Milan, for Metternich thought governments should show no mercy to the forces of revolution and anarchy. Yet, no ruler was more brutal than Fernando I, the Bourbon king of the Two Sicilies. He had one rather savage military commander, Colonel Guglielmo del Carretto. Once, after putting down a rebellion, Carretto not only ordered many executions but also paraded the heads of rebels through the villages where their kindred, wives, and children lived. For his victory over the rebels, Fernando made Carretto a marquis and granted him a pension.

Yet, repression only seemed to increase the numbers of those who longed for the “liberation” of Italy. Cruelty merely hardened their hearts to further resistance. Their numbers, however, were not overwhelmingly great. Mostly drawn from the middle class, Liberals and revolutionaries did not include the vast majority of the peasantry. And though they agreed on some things (all Liberals wanted an end to Austrian rule in Italy, for instance) they differed on other matters. Some fought for a united Italian government, while others wanted to form a federation of Italian states. The more radical wanted to overthrow all monarchies and establish republics, while the more moderate favored constitutional monarchy. Then there was the problem that a rebellion in one part of Italy would find no support in any other part of the peninsula, and so was easily crushed. (more…)



This Week in History

The Religious Peace of Augsburg: September 25, 1555

The following text comes from our high school book, Lands of Hope and Promise: A History of North America. To see sample chapters of this book, go here. For ordering information on Lands of Hope and Promise and our other texts, please click here. 

Charles V in 1548, by Titian

Charles V’s last years were spent trying to break the power of the Schmalkaldic League of Protestant German princes while protecting the eastern borders of the empire against the Turks. In 1544, he was forced to grant religious rights to the Protestant princes in return for their aid against Suleiman. In 1546, however, the emperor opened a war against the Schmalkaldic League. Over the next year, he conquered southern Germany and then moved into Saxony. In 1547 he imprisoned Philip of Hesse, one of the most powerful Lutheran princes.

Charles had humbled the Protestant princes, but they were still powerful. In 1551 the new king of France, Henry II, made a new alliance with the German Protestant princes. The following year, King Henry invaded territories in the western part of the empire. Though Charles signed a treaty with the Protestant princes, for the next three years, three of them waged a war of plunder in Germany. Finally, in 1554, a tired Charles left the reins of the empire to his brother Ferdinand, the archduke of Austria. (more…)