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<< 1608 CE | 1601-1610 CE | 1610 CE >>

§Eastern Asia


February 4 - According to the Japanese lunar calendar, last day of Keichō 慶長 13.

Japanese clan of Shimazu conquers Okinawa.

A Dutch trading post is established at Hirado.


The Japanese Tokugawa Shogunate sent Harunobu Arima on an exploratory mission of Taiwan.


§Czech Republic

July 6 - Bohemia is granted freedom of religion (Letter of Majesty).


July 26 - Thomas Harriot made the first drawing of the Moon through a telescope, over four months before Galileo.

October 12 - "Three Blind Mice" is published by London teenage songwriter Thomas Ravenscroft.

The first published rounds in English are published by Thomas Ravenscroft.

The Douay Rheims bible is published in England.


January 15 - One of the world's first newspapers, Avisa Relation oder Zeitung, is published in Augsburg, Germany.

July 10 - The Catholic League was founded. It was initially a loose confederation of Roman Catholic German states formed on July 10, 1609 to counteract the Protestant Union (formed 1608), whereby the participating states concluded an alliance "for the defence of the Catholic religion and peace within the Empire." Modelled loosely on the more intransigent ultra-Catholic French Catholic League (1576), the German Catholic league initially acted politically to negotiate issues with the slightly older Protestant Union. It helped ignite the Thirty Years War.

The representatives of the Prince-Bishops of Augsburg, Constance, Passau, Regensburg, and Würzburg assembled at Munich. The Prince-Archbishop of Salzburg, having shown disapproval, was not invited, and the Prince-Bishop of Eichstädt hesitated. On July 10, 1609, the participating states concluded an alliance "for the defence of the Catholic religion and peace within the Empire." The most important regulation of the League was the prohibition of attacks on one another. Instead of fighting, conflicts had to be decided by the laws of the Empire or, if these failed to solve the conflict, by arbitration within the League. Should one member be attacked, it had to be helped with military or alternatively legal support. Duke Maximilian was to be the president, and the Prince-Bishops of Augsburg, Passau, and Würzburg his councillors. The League was to continue for nine years.


August 25 - Galileo demonstrated one of his early telescopes, with a magnification of about 8 or 9, to Venetian lawmakers. His telescopes were also a profitable sideline for Galileo, who sold them to merchants who found them useful both at sea and as items of trade. One of his observations was the planet, Mars.

Claudio Monteverdi publishes his first opera, Orfeo.


March - Twelve Years' Truce: The Netherlands and Spain agree to a 12-year ceasefire (1609-1621) in the Eighty Years' War.

Many Puritans, conservative English Protestants, settle in Leiden, Holland, in search of religious freedom.


Warsaw becomes the capital of Poland.


April 4 - Felipe III (Phillip III), King of Spain, signs an edict of expulsion of all moriscos from Spain .After the suppression of the revolt in 1571 CE, Philip ordered the dispersal of about 80,000 Moriscos of Granada to other areas. Philip expected that this would break down the Morisco community and facilitate their assimilation into the Christian population. Instead, the measure worsened the situation. The Granadine Moriscos were scattered across Castile, influencing the local Moriscos who had been become more integrated. Conflict between Moriscos and Christians increased, leading to the final expulsion of the Moriscos by Philip III in 1609.

A child witch panic hit the Basque areas of Spain. La Suprema, the governing body of the Inquisition, recognized it as a hoax and issued an Edict of Silence which prohibited discussion of witchcraft. child witches. Beginning in 1609, thousands of cases were seen by the Inquistion, and 2000 witches were tried. in response La Suprema sent an Inquistor: Salazar for investigation into the matter. The inquisition in Spain differed from the witchhunts in other areas, especially that of Germany, primarily because of the oversight. “La Suprema was vigilant in ascertaining that its laws and regulations were strictly adhered to and this was primarily ensured by the inspections which each provincial court was subjected to from time to time and which could last for years.

April 9 - Spain recognizes Dutch independence.

September 11 – Valencia expels all the Moriscos (see April 4).

§North America


On June 2, 1609, the Sea Venture set sail from Plymouth as the flagship of a seven-ship fleet (towing two additional pinnaces) destined for Jamestown, Virginia as part of the Third Supply, carrying 500 to 600 people. On July 24, the fleet ran into a strong storm, likely a hurricane, and the ships were separated. The Sea Venture fought the storm for three days. Comparably-sized ships had survived such weather, but the Sea Venture had a critical flaw in her newness: her timbers had not set. The caulking was forced from between them, and the ship began to leak rapidly. All hands were applied to bailing, but water continued to rise in the hold. The ship's guns were reportedly jettisoned (though two were salvaged from the wreck in 1612) to raise her buoyancy, but this only delayed the inevitable. The Admiral of the Company, Sir George Somers himself, was at the helm through the storm. When he spied land on the morning of July 25, the water in the hold had risen to nine feet, and crew and passengers had been driven past the point of exhaustion. Somers deliberately drove the ship onto the reefs of what proved to be Bermuda in order to prevent its foundering. This allowed all 150 people aboard, and one dog, to be landed safely ashore.

Bermuda is first settled, by survivors of the English Sea Venture, en route to Virginia.

§United States

John Smith left Virginia to get medical treatment because he somehow blew up a bag of gunpowder while wearing it around his neck.

May 23 - Official ratification of the Second Charter of Virginia, which is intended to replace the council with a Virginia Governor who has absolute control in the colony.

July 23 - Jamestown: A hurricane at sea separates the 9 ships (600 more settlers) en route, one ship sinks, and the ship Sea Venture wrecks at Bermuda (see Bermuda).

August 28 - Henry Hudson is the first European to see Delaware Bay.

August - Jamestown: Seven ships arrive at the colony, with 200-300 men, women, and children, reporting that the Sea Venture wrecked near Bermuda.

September 2 - Henry Hudson enters New York Bay aboard the Halve Maen.

September 10 - Jamestown: Capt. George Percy replaces Captain John Smith as president of the Council, and Smith returns to England.

September 11 – Valencia expels all the Moriscos (see April 4).

October 12 - "Three Blind Mice" is published by London teenage songwriter Thomas Ravenscroft.

In the exceptionally rough winter of 1609, the colonists were forced to eat their feces and their dead to keep alive. In 2013, anthropologists discovered evidence of Jamestown of cannibalism when they discovered evidence of butchering of a young girl.

Anthropologists studying the partial remains of a teenage girl—including her skull, jaw, and leg bone—say they bear the unmistakable marks of a cleaver and knife.


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