16th Century Religious Reformation: What Did the Term “Reform” Mean?

by Heather R. Darsie The idea of ‘reform’ is multifaceted, with its meaning changing from Reformer to Reformer. This article looks at the German Martin Luther’s,  itinerant German-turned-Swiss preacher Melchior Hoffman’s, and Swiss Heinrich Bullinger’s basic thoughts on church reform. It is by no means inclusive of all their ideas, but is hopefully a springboard for further discussion. Martin Luther, who famously posted his 95 … Continue reading 16th Century Religious Reformation: What Did the Term “Reform” Mean?

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Sebastian Cabot and the Loss of Sancti Spiritu

by Heather R. Darsie On 1 September 1529, Charles V von Habsburg lost one of his major forts in what is now Argentina. Charles V became King of Spain on 23 January 1516, right before his sixteenth birthday on 24 February. A few years later, on 28 June 1519, Charles effectively inherited the Holy Roman Empire from his paternal grandfather, Maximilian I von Habsburg. The … Continue reading Sebastian Cabot and the Loss of Sancti Spiritu

Sir Francis Drake’s 1570s Adventure in Panama

by Heather R. Darsie During the Elizabethan period, English privateers careened up and down the Atlantic coast of the Americas in an attempt to capture Spanish ships. One of the more famous privateers was Sir Francis Drake. Regarded as an all-out pirate by the Spanish,  Drake harassed Spanish ships wherever he found them. This included attacks in what is now Central America. In 1572, Drake … Continue reading Sir Francis Drake’s 1570s Adventure in Panama

Elector Johann Friedrich: Anna of Cleves’ Powerful Brother-in-Law

by Heather R. Darsie Please note that this article first appeared at On the Tudor Trail. Johann Friedrich Wettin, Elector of Saxony, was born 30 June 1503 to Elector John of Saxony and his first wife Sophia of Mecklenburg. Sadly, Sophia passed away on 12 July 1503, shortly after Johann Friedrich’s birth.  Johann Friedrich was born in Torgau, Saxony. His father married again, bringing Johann Friedrich … Continue reading Elector Johann Friedrich: Anna of Cleves’ Powerful Brother-in-Law

Ibn Battuta and the Roc

by Heather R. Darsie The scholar named Shams al-Din Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Abdallah ibn Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Ibn Battuta al-Lawati al-Tanji, or simply Ibn Battuta (meaning son of Battuta), was twenty-one years old when he set off on 13 June 1325 to travel the world. Ibn Battuta left from his birthplace of Tangier, traveling across northern Africa, across the Arab peninsula, through India, and … Continue reading Ibn Battuta and the Roc

The White Rose

by Heather R. Darsie The other day I was looking for anything interesting which might have happened during the reign of Henry VIII to mark the first day of summer. I tripped across a note about a “Blanche Rose,” stating, “Receipt from Jacques de Eesbeke, messenger of the King Catholic, for 60 gold florins paid him by Th. Spinelly for two journeys into Metz, in … Continue reading The White Rose

Tudor Speeches: My New Podcast!

by Heather R. Darsie Greetings, Dear Reader! I am pleased to announce that I launched a podcast over on Patreon called Tudor Speeches!  I hope to post the first podcast this weekend. I will provide historical background for speeches and letters from the Tudor time period. I think hearing a speech or letter can impact the beholder differently than just reading it. Each patron will be … Continue reading Tudor Speeches: My New Podcast!

The Powerful African Songhai Empire during the Reign of Henry VIII of England

by Heather R. Darsie Personal note: This summer I am learning more about African history during the 16th century.  The Songhai Empire existed in Western Africa in the late 15th to early 16th century. With a healthy grasp on trade, the Songhai Empire used cowrie shells and plain gold coins as local currency, and salt as international currency. The Askia Dynasty ruled the Songhai Empire … Continue reading The Powerful African Songhai Empire during the Reign of Henry VIII of England

Wilhelm V, Anna of Cleves’ Brother

by Heather R. Darsie Please note that this article originally appeared on Medieval Archives. Wilhelm was born on 28 July 1516, the third living child and only son of Maria of Jülich-Berg and Johann III of Cleves- Mark. He was a mere thirteen months younger than his sister Anna, born 28 June 1515, and over four years younger than Sybylla, born 17 July 1512. As the … Continue reading Wilhelm V, Anna of Cleves’ Brother

What was the Frauenzimmer?

by Heather R. Darsie Please note that this article originally appeared on Tudors Dynasty. In the 15th century, the word “vrouwenzimmer” slowly entered the German lexicon, becoming a fully-fledged concept by the late 15th to early 16th century. Literally meaning “woman’s room,” the word applied to the secondary court which developed around the women of a noble household. The word “Frau,” now simply meaning a woman … Continue reading What was the Frauenzimmer?