All posts by carlrylett

Battle of Diu 1509 Part 3

Portuguese Conquests in India
The Portuguese begin to seize control of the spice trade of the Indian Ocean, by a mixture of diplomacy and brute force. For King Manuel of Portugal, his new maritime empire becomes not just an end in itself but a possible opportunity to weaken the Mamluk Sultanate, and perhaps even a means to recover the Holy Land for Christianity. Pictured: the Zamorin of Calicut

Battle of Diu 1509 Part 2

Portuguese Discovery of India
The epic voyage of Vasco Da Gama 1497-1499, who sailed from Portugal, around the southern tip of Africa, along the eastern coast of Africa and then onto India. The discovery of a sea route from Europe to India began the European age of exploration, with huge consequences for both Europe and the rest of the world

Battle of Diu 1509 Part 1

Portuguese Voyages of Discovery
Portugal, having established its position in Iberia, begins to make conquests in Morocco. At the same time the Portuguese prince Henry the Navigator (pictured) sponsors the beginning of a series of discoveries along the west coast of Africa. In 1487-88 Europeans, led by Bartolomeu Dias, circumnavigate the southern tip of Africa for the first time, and reach the Indian Ocean

Battle of Fornovo 1495 Part 5

King Charles VIII of France, following his conquest of Naples, heads back through Italy to France but is attacked on his way back by a combined Venetian-Milanese army. The two sides meet near the village of Fornovo, near Parma. Although ultimately a failure, Charles’ expeditions had major repercussions for it triggered the decades long Italian Wars (1494-1559), when the Italian peninsula became a battleground between foreign powers. Pictured – ‘The Madonna of the Victory’, by Andrea Mantegna (1496), commissioned by Francesco Gonzaga, ruler of Mantua

Battle of Fornovo 1495 Part 4

Charles VII leads his army into Italy to invade the Kingdom of Naples. He is invited into the peninsula by Ludovico Il Moro of Milan, concerned about aggression from Naples. Ludovico had expected the French to travel to Naples largely by sea, and with a smaller force, not the full deployment of the French crown

Battle of Fornovo 1495 Part 3

Lorenzo il Magnifico, ruler of Florence 1469-1492. In the so-called Pazzi Conspiracy Pope Sixtus IV organises an assassination attempt on Lorenzo and his brother Giuliano. Lorenzo survives and goes on to help negotiate a peace treaty between the five great powers of Italy. For his influence and diplomatic skills he becomes known as ‘the needle of the Italian compass’. Lorenzo also sponsored great artists such as Botticelli and Michelangelo da Vinci. However, towards the end of his reign, the people of Florence grow increasingly resentful about economic disruptions and turn to the radical preacher Savonarola

Battle of Fornovo 1495 Part 2

Renaissance Florence and Medici
Rise of the Medici dynasty in Florence. Renaissance Italy sees a remarkable flourishing of art and literature, with such writers as Dante, Bocaccio and Petrarch, the architects Brunelleschi and Michelozzo, and the artists Giotto and Pisano. Florence creates a republican system of government, although imperfect, democratic for its time. Cosimo de Medici, a skilled diplomat, rises to power in Florence and helps organise the Peace of Lodi, which brings a period of relative peace and stability to the Italian peninsula