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The first major witch hunts began in many western European countries. The Roman Catholic Church created an imaginary evil religion, using stereotypes that had circulated since pre-Christian times. They said that Pagans who worshiped Diana and other Gods and Goddesses were evil Witches who kidnapped babies, killed and ate their victims, sold their soul to Satan, were in league with demons, flew through the air, met in the middle of the night, caused male impotence and infertility, caused male genitals to disappear, etc. Historians have speculated that this religiously inspired genocide was motivated by a desire by the Church to attain a complete religious monopoly, or was "a tool of repression, a form of reining-in deviant behavior, a backlash against women, or a tool of the common people to name scapegoats for spoiled crops, dead livestock or the death of babies and children."


May 8 - Jack Cade's Rebellion: Kentishmen revolt against King Henry VI.

June 18 - Battle of Seven Oaks: Jack Cade's rebels are driven from London by loyal troops, bringing about the collapse of the rebellion.

July 6 - Surrender of Caen to the French.


The Abbot de Baigne, a man of great wit, had invented many things relating to musical instruments ; and being in the service of the king, was once commanded by him to pro- cure him harmonious sounds from the cries of hogs, imagin- ing the thing was absolutely impossible. The Abbot was not in the least perplexed at such a command, but asked the king money to perform it, which was immediately delivered to him, and he effected the most surprising and remarkable, thing that was ever heard. He got together a large quantity of hogs, all of different ages, and put them into a tent or pavilion covered with velvet, before which tent there was a wooden table all painted, and he made an organical instrument, with a certain number of stops, so contrived that, when he hit upon those stops, it answered to some spikes, which, pricking the hogs that stood behind in due order, made them cry in such harmonious manner that the king and all the attendants were delighted with it.

February 7 - John de la Pole, 2nd Duke of Suffolk, marries Margaret Beaufort. March - French troops under Guy de Richemont besiege the English commander in France, Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, in Caen.

April 15 - Battle of Formigny: French troops under the Comte de Clermont defeat an English army under Sir Thomas Kyriel and Sir Matthew Gough which was attempting to relieve Caen.

August 12 - Surrender of Cherbourg, the last English territory in Normandy, to the French.

Winter - Les Loups de Paris — the Wolves of Paris — were a pack of man-eating wolves who terrorized Paris during the winter of 1450. Normally, of course, wolves in France and elsewhere remain in the forest to hunt wild animals and don't pose a threat to humans, but this particular winter was especially harsh and prey were scarce, so the desperate and starving wolves had no choice but to make Paris their new hunting ground.

The wolves were able to enter Paris through breaches in the city's poorly maintained outer walls, which had been erected in the early 13th century by King Philippe Auguste to protect the city from invaders of the human variety. The walls had fallen into a state of disrepair during more peaceful times, and the wolves managed to get through — I'm unable to find record of any huffing or puffing involved. And throughout that one long winter in 1450, the wolves managed to kill forty Parisians, sending the city into a state of panic. The wolf problem dominated gossip city-wide, and the Parisians even gave a nickname to the pack's leader: "Courtaud," meaning Bobtail.

Eventually the besieged citizens of Paris had had enough, and they concocted a scheme to get rid of Courtard and his bloodthirsty pack once and for all. A large group of brave Parisians lured and prodded the wolves onto the isolated Ile de La Cité in the center of town, and the crowd stoned and speared the entire pack to death right in the public square in front of Notre Dame.

§German Industry

Johannes Gutenberg began operation of the first printing press in Europe using movable type, oil-based ink and the improved wooden printing press. He is credited with the inventions of these, while evidence of movable type exists from the year 868 in China.

Around 1439, Gutenberg was involved in a misadventure making mirrors for pilgrims to Aachen, and when the question of repaying the money came up, Gutenberg is said to have promised to share a "secret". It has been widely speculated that this secret may have been the idea of printing with movable type. Legend has it that the idea came to him "like a ray of light".

At least up to 1444, he lived in Strasbourg, most likely in the St. Arbogust suburb. It is not clear what work he was engaged in, or whether some early trials with printing from movable type may have been conducted there. After this, there is a gap of four years in the record. In 1448, he was back in Mainz, where he took out a loan from his brother-in-law Arnold Gelthus, presumably for a printing press.

By 1450, the press was most likely in operation, and a German poem had been printed, possibly the first item to be printed there. Gutenberg was able to convince the wealthy moneylender Johann Fust for a loan of 800 guilders. Peter Schoeffer, who became Fust's son-in-law, also joined the enterprise. Shoeffer had worked as a scribe in Paris and designed some of the first typefaces.

Gutenberg's workshop was set up at Hof Humbrecht, a property belonging to a distant relative. It is not clear when Gutenberg conceived the Bible project, but for this he borrowed another 800 guilders from Fust, and work commenced in 1452 CE. At the same time, the press was also printing other, more lucrative texts (possibly Latin grammars). There is also some speculation that there may have been two presses, one for the pedestrian texts, and one for the Bible. One of the profitmaking enterprises of the new press was the printing of thousands of indulgences for the church, documented from 1454–55.


University of Barcelona founded.


Charles VIII of Sweden who was also serving as Carl I of Norway is declared deposed from the later throne in favor of Christian I of Denmark.

§South America


Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui is the ninth emperor and ruler of Cuzco until 1471.

About this time (according to radio carbon dating) A mass child sacrifice of about 140 Chimú children from ages 5 - 15 and 200 llamas buried facing the Andes took place near the town of modern Trujillo.

§South Pacific


A large earthquake hit Indonesia, probably causing a large tsunami.


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