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§Of World Interest

March 14 - A perfect Pi Day (3/14/1519).



Barbarossa (Aruj) died a couple of years prior and his place was taken by his younger brother Hizir who inherited the name Barbarossa. Needing the support of a powerful ally against the might of Spain, in 1519 Hizir sent an envoy to the Ottoman court, bearing gifts and a petition from the Algiers population asking for protection in the war against Christian invaders and offering to submit themselves to Ottoman rule. The envoy duly returned home with an Ottoman flag and a detachment of 2,000 janissaries. The arrival of Ottoman forces in the western Mediterranean shifted the balance of power there decisively.

Barbarossa defeated a Spanish-Italian army that tried to recapture Algiers. In a separate incident he sank a Spanish ship and captured eight others.

§Caribbean Sea


Spanish find Barbados.


Havana moved from the Southern to Northern part of Cuba.

§Central America

§Costa Rica

Hernán Ponce de León and Juan de Castañeda who set sail from Panama in 1519 and reached as far north as the Gulf of Nicoya.


The stories brought back from the Grijalva expedition of a rich empire in the West prompted the Hernán Cortés expedition in 1519. Cortés spent some time at the island of Cozumel, tried with mixed results to convert the locals to Christianity, and heard stories of other bearded white men living in the area. He sent messengers to these reported castilianos, who turned out to be the survivors of the 1511 shipwreck, Aguilar and Guerrero. Aguilar petitioned his Maya chieftain to be allowed leave to join with his former countrymen, and he was released and made his way to Cortés's ships. According to Bernal Díaz, Aguilar relayed that before coming he had unsuccessfully attempted to convince Guerrero to leave as well. Guerrero declined on the basis that he was by now well-assimilated with the Maya culture, had a Maya wife and three children, and he was looked upon as a figure of rank within the Maya settlement of Chetumal where he lived.

Aguilar, now quite fluent in Yucatec Maya as well as some other indigenous languages, would prove to be a valuable asset for Cortés as a translator, a skill of particular significance to the later conquest of the Aztec Empire which would be the end result of Cortés's expedition.


Panama founded.

In 1519, Balboa moved to Acla with 300 men and, using the manpower of the natives and African slaves, managed to gather the materials necessary to fashion new ships. He traveled up to the Rio Balsas (Balsas River), where he had four ships built. He travelled 74 km (46 mi) through the Pacific, surrounding the Pearl Islands and the coasts of Darién, up to Puerto Piñas, so named because of the large amounts of pineapples (piñas) he found there. He then returned to Acla, to continue the construction of sturdier ships.

However, on his return, Pedrarias wrote warm letters urging Balboa to meet him as soon as possible. Balboa quickly obeyed. Halfway to Santa María, he encountered a group of soldiers commanded by Francisco Pizarro, who arrested him in the name of the governor and accused him of trying to usurp Pedrarias' power and create a separate government in the South Sea. Outraged, Balboa denied all charges and demanded that he be taken to Spain to stand trial; Pedrarias, however, together with Martin Enciso, ordered that the trial take place without delay.

Balboa's trial began in January, 1519, and on the fifteenth of that month, de Espinosa sentenced him to death by decapitation. Four of Balboa's friends, Fernando de Argüello, Luis Botello, Hernán Muñoz, and Andrés Valderrábano, accused as accomplices, were sentenced to the same fate. The sentence was to be carried out in Acla, to show that the conspiracy had its roots in that colony.

As Balboa and his friends were being led to the block, the town crier announced: "This is the justice that the King and his lieutenant Pedro Arias de Ávila impose upon these men, traitors and usurpers of the Crown's territories." Balboa could not restrain his indignation and replied: "Lies, lies! Never have such crimes held a place in my heart, I have always loyally served the King, with no thought in my mind but to increase his dominions." Pedrarias observed the execution, hidden behind a platform. The executioner beheaded Balboa and his four friends with an axe. Balboa's head did not come off clean on the first try; it took three. Their heads remained in public display for several days, as a sign of Pedrarias' might.


Cacao comes to Europe.


St Olav church is completed in Tallinn, Estonia.


Barbarossa raided Provence, Toulon and the Îles d'Hyères in southern France


Franz von Sickingen, often called the ‘Last Knight’, lived most of his life along the Rhine. After spending some time in the service of the Emperor Maximillian against Venice, he spent many years terrorising cities and Princes up and down the Rhine, which made him a very rich man. When the election of 1519 took place, he had accepted heavy bribes from Francis I of France, but had eventually led his troops to Frankfurt where their presence helped to insure the victory of Charles V.

Luther's writings circulated widely, reaching France, England, and Italy as early as 1519, and students thronged to Wittenberg to hear him speak. He published a short commentary on Galatians and his Work on the Psalms. At the same time, he received deputations from Italy and from the Utraquists of Bohemia; Ulrich von Hutten and Franz von Sickingen offered to place Luther under their protection.

Finally on May 30th in 1519 when the Pope demanded an explanation, Luther wrote a summary and explanation of his theses to the Pope. While the Pope may have conceded some of the points, he did not like the challenge to his authority so he summoned Luther to Rome to answer these. At that point Frederick the Wise, the Saxon Elector, intervened. He did not want one of his subjects to be sent to Rome to be judged by Italians so he prevailed on the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V who needed his support to arrange a compromise.

July 4 - Martin Luther joins the debate regarding papal authority against John Eck at Leipzig.

An arrangement was effected, however, whereby that summons was cancelled, and Luther went to Augsburg in October to meet the papal legate, Cardinal Cajetan. The argument was long but nothing was resolved. Cajetan said the practice of indulgences could not be wrong or else God Himself would have revealed the fraud. Luther however would have none of this sanctification of history.


Mannerism, artistic form appears in Italy and spreads.


Erasmus publishes his Colloquia.

In 1519, farmer Pier Gerlofs Donia's health deteriorated. He was the leader of the peasant army, Arumer Zwarte Hoop. He retired to his farm where he died in 1520. He is buried in Sneek in the 15th-century Groote Kerk (also called the Martinikerk)


When Olsztyn (Allenstein) was besieged by the Teutonic Knights during the Polish-Teutonic War (1519–1521), Copernicus oversaw the castle's defense at the head of Royal Polish forces. He also participated in the peace negotiations


After the death of his paternal grandfather, Maximilian, in 1519, Charles inherited the Habsburg lands in Austria. He was also the natural candidate of the electors to succeed his grandfather. With the help of the wealthy Fugger family, Charles defeated the candidacy of Francis I of France by aggressively bribing prince-electors and was elected on 28 June 1519. Charles won, becoming Emperor Charles V. Charles left Aragon to return to the wealthier Castile to raise funds to pay down the debts he'd incurred in the election. The taxes granted to Charles at a Castilian cortes in Corunna would help spark the Revolt of the Comuneros of Castile. Of more importance for Aragon, in the summer of 1519 Charles granted his permission to the Germanies to arm themselves against the raiding Muslim fleets. While permission had previously been granted under Ferdinand, Charles was able to force the Valencian nobles to accept this decision.

On August 10th, five ships (Trinidad, San Antonio, Concepcion, Victoria, and Santiago) under the command of Portuguese admiral, Ferdinand Magellan's command left Seville and traveled from the Guadalquivir River to Sanlúcar de Barrameda at the mouth of the rivers, where they remained more than five weeks. Spanish authorities were wary of the Portuguese admiral and almost prevented Magellan from sailing, and switched his crew of mostly Portuguese men with men of Spain, but on September 20th, Magellan set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with about 270 men.

King Manuel ordered a naval detachment to pursue Ferdinand Magellan, but Magellan avoided the Portuguese.

Revolt of the Brotherhoods

The Revolt of the Brotherhoods (Catalan: Revolta de les Germanies, Spanish: Rebelión de las Germanías) was a revolt by artisan guilds (Germanies) against the government of King Charles I in the Kingdom of Valencia, part of the Crown of Aragon. It took place from 1519–1523, with most of the fighting occurring during 1521. The Valencian revolt inspired a related revolt in the island of Majorca, also part of Aragon, which lasted from 1521–1523.

§North America


March 4 - Hernán Cortés lands in Mexico.

In April 1519 Hernán Cortés, the Chief Magistrate of Santiago, Cuba, came upon the coast of Mexico at a point he called Vera Cruz with 508 soldiers, 100 sailors and 14 small cannons. Governor Velazquez, the highest Spanish authority in the Americas, called for Cortés to lead an expedition into Mexico after reports from a few previous expeditions to Yucatán caught the interest of the Spanish in Cuba. Velázquez then revoked Cortés' right to lead the expedition and soon after sent an army led by Pánfilo de Narvaez to take Cortés into custody. Cortés lacked the authority to execute his plan, a fact that would return to haunt him when he returned to Spain.

As he moved inland Cortés came into contact with a number of polities who resented the repressive Aztec rule; Cortés clashed with some of these polities, among them the Totonacs and Tlaxcalans, who surrounded his army on a hilltop for two agonizing weeks, protected by the fire from his cannons. Bernal Diaz del Castillo wrote that his numerically inferior force probably would not have survived if it were not for Xicotencatl the Elder and his wish to form an alliance with the Spaniards against the Aztecs.

It once was widely believed that the Aztecs first thought Cortés was Quetzalcoatl, a mythical god prophesied to return to Mexico--coincidentally in the same year Cortés landed and from the same direction he came. This is now believed to be an invention of the conquerors, and scholars agree that the Aztecs were well aware that Cortés was not a god.

Aztec leader Moctezuma sent a group of noblemen and other emissaries to meet Cortés at Quauhtechcac. These emissaries brought golden jewelry as a gift, which greatly pleased the Spaniards. According to the Florentine Codex, Lib. 12, f.6r., Moctezuma also ordered that his messengers carry the highly symbolic penacho (headdress) of Quetzalcoatl de Tula to Cortés and place it on his person. As news about the strangers reached the capital city, Moctezuma became increasingly fearful and considered fleeing the city but resigned himself to what he considered to be the fate of his people.

October 12 - Cortez and his men arrived in Cholula. They stormed the streets, looted religious treasures, burned holy pyramids and killed 3,000 people within a few hours – although some say the death toll was as much as 30,000.

Cortés continued on his march towards Tenochtitlan. Before entering the city, on November 8, 1519 Cortés and his troops prepared themselves for battle, armoring themselves and their horses, and arranging themselves in proper military rank. Four horsemen were at the lead of the procession. Behind these horsemen were five more contingents: foot soldiers with iron swords and wooden or leather shields; horsemen in cuirasses, armed with iron lances, swords, and wooden shields; crossbowmen; more horsemen; soldiers armed with arquebuses; lastly, native peoples from Tlaxcalan, Tliliuhquitepec, and Huexotzinco. The indigenous soldiers wore cotton armor and were armed with shields and crossbows; many carried provisions in baskets or bundles while others escorted the cannons on wooden carts.

Cortés' army entered the city on the flower-covered causeway (Iztapalapa) associated with the god Quetzalcoatl. Cortés was amicably received by Moctezuma, who told him, "You have come to sit on your throne." The captive woman Malinalli Tenépal, also known as La Malinche or Doña Marina, translated from Nahuatl to Maya chontal; the Spaniard Gerónimo de Aguilar translated from Maya chontal to Spanish.

Moctezuma was later taken hostage as a safety measure by the vastly outnumbered Spanish. According to all eyewitness accounts, Moctezuma initially refused to leave his palace but after a series of threats from and debates with the Spanish captains, he agreed to move to the Axayáctal palace with his retinue. The first captain assigned to guard him was none other than Pedro de Alvarado. Other Aztec lords were also detained by the Spanish. The palace was surrounded by over 100 Spanish soldiers in order to prevent any attempt to rescue the Huey Tlatoani (emperor).

Hernando Cortez brought the first cattle to North America. He got his first sight of popcorn when he invaded Mexico and came into contact with the Aztecs. Popcorn was an important food for the Aztec Indians, who also used popcorn as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of their gods, including Tlaloc, the god of rain and fertility.

§South America


After stopping at the Canary Islands, Ferdinand Magellan arrived at the Cape Verde Islands, where they set course for Cape St. Augustine in Brazil. On November 27th, they crossed the equator and on December 6th, the crew sighted Brazil.

Since Brazil was Portuguese territory, Magellan avoided it, and on December 13th anchored near present-day Rio de Janeiro. There the crew was resupplied, but bad conditions caused them to delay. Afterwards, they continued to sail south along South America's east coast, looking for the strait that Magellan believed would lead to the Spice Islands.


  • The Arumer Zwarte Hoop Peasant Revolt in Friesland until 1523 CE


  • Lucrezia Borgia died in Ferrara on 24 June 1519 from complications after giving birth to her eighth child. She was buried in the convent of Corpus Domin


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