15th century

Millennium:2nd millennium
State leaders:
Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, victorious at the Islamic conquest of Constantinople and the fall of the Byzantine Empire. Various historians describe it as the end of the Middle Ages.
The Capitulation of Granada by Francisco Pradilla Ortiz, 1882: Muhammad XII surrenders to Ferdinand and Isabella
Gergio Deluci, Christopher Columbus arrives in America in 1492, 1893 painting.

The 15th century was the century which spans the Julian dates from January 1, 1401 (MCDI) to December 31, 1500 (MD).

In Europe, the 15th century includes parts of the Late Middle Ages, the Early Renaissance, and the early modern period. Many technological, social and cultural developments of the 15th century can in retrospect be seen as heralding the "European miracle" of the following centuries. The architectural perspective, and the modern fields which are known today as banking and accounting were founded in Italy.

Constantinople, known as the Capital of the World and the Capital of the Byzantine Empire (today's Turkey), fell to the emerging Muslim Ottoman Turks, marking the end of the tremendously influential Byzantine Empire and, for some historians, the end of the Middle Ages.[1] This led to the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy, while Johannes Gutenberg's invention of the mechanical movable type began the printing press. These two events played key roles in the development of the Renaissance.[2][3] The Roman Papacy was split in two parts in Europe for decades (the so-called Western Schism), until the Council of Constance. The division of the Catholic Church and the unrest associated with the Hussite movement would become factors in the rise of the Protestant Reformation in the following century. Islamic Spain (Al-Andalus) became dissolved through the Christian Reconquista, followed by the forced conversions and the Muslim rebellion,[4] ending over seven centuries of Islamic rule and returning Spain, Portugal and Southern France to Christian rulers.

The search for the wealth and prosperity of India's Bengal Sultanate[5] led to the colonization of the Americas by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and the Portuguese voyages by Vasco da Gama, which linked Europe with the Indian subcontinent, ushering the period of Iberian empires.

The Hundred Years' War ended with a decisive French victory over the English in the Battle of Castillon. Financial troubles in England following the conflict resulted in the Wars of the Roses, a series of dynastic wars for the throne of England. The conflicts ended with the defeat of Richard III by Henry VII at the Battle of Bosworth Field, establishing the Tudor dynasty in the later part of the century.

In Asia, the Timurid Empire collapsed, and the Afghan Pashtun Lodi dynasty was founded under the Delhi Sultanate. Under the rule of the Yongle Emperor, who built the Forbidden City and commanded Zheng He to explore the world overseas, the Ming Dynasty's territory reached its pinnacle.

In Africa, the spread of Islam lead to the destruction of the Christian kingdoms of Nubia, by the end of the century, leaving only Alodia (which was to collapse in 1504). The formerly vast Mali Empire teetered on the brink of collapse, under pressure from the rising Songhai Empire.

In the Americas, both the Inca Empire and the Aztec Empire reached the peak of their influence, but the European colonization of the Americas changed the course of modern history.

Filippo Brunelleschi, regarded as one of the greatest engineers and architects of all time.
Portrait of the founder of accounting, Luca Pacioli, by Jacopo de' Barbari (Museo di Capodimonte).


Joan of Arc, a French peasant girl, directly influenced the result of the Hundred Years' War.



  • 1410: The Battle of Grunwald is the decisive battle of the Polish–Lithuanian–Teutonic War leading to the downfall of the Teutonic Knights.
  • 14101413: Foundation of St Andrews University in Scotland.
  • 1410-1415: The last Welsh war of independence, led by Owain Glyndŵr.
  • 1414: Khizr Khan, deputised by Timur to be the governor of Multan, takes over Delhi founding the Sayyid dynasty.
  • 1415: Henry the Navigator leads the conquest of Ceuta from the Moors marking the beginning of the Portuguese Empire.
  • 1415: Battle of Agincourt fought between the Kingdom of England and France.
  • 1415: Jan Hus is burned at the stake as a heretic at the Council of Constance.
  • 1417: A large goodwill mission led by three kings of Sulu, the Eastern King Paduka Pahala, the Western king Maharaja Kolamating and Cave king Paduka Prabhu as well as 340 members of their delegation, in what is now the southern Philippines, ploughed through the Pacific Ocean to China to pay tribute to the Yongle emperor of the Ming Dynasty.[9]
  • 1417: The East king of Sulu, Paduka Pahala, on their way home, suddenly died in Dezhou, a city in east China's Shandong province. The Yongle Emperor Zhu Di commissioned artisans to build a tomb for the king.[10]
  • 14191433: The Hussite Wars in Bohemia.


  • 1420: Construction of the Chinese Forbidden City is completed in Beijing.
The renaissance king Matthias Corvinus of Hungary. His mercenary standing army (the Black Army) had the strongest military potential of its era.



Depiction of Skanderbeg, who led the Albanian resistance against the Ottoman Empire


Modern painting of Mehmed II marching on Constantinople in 1453
Detail of The Emperor's Approach showing the Xuande Emperor's royal carriage. Ming Dynasty of China.
King Henry VII, (1457–1509), the founder of the royal house of Tudor
  • 1456: The Siege of Belgrade halts the Ottomans' advance into Europe.
  • 1456: Girishawardhana, styled Brawijaya III, becomes ruler of Majapahit.[11]
  • 1457: Construction of Edo Castle begins.


  • 1461: The League of Mayapan disintegrates. The league is replaced by seventeen Kuchkabal.
  • 1461: The city of Sarajevo is founded by the Ottomans.
The seventeen Kuchkabals of Yucatán after The League of Mayapan in 1461.
The Siege of Rhodes (1480). Ships of the Hospitaliers in the forefront, and Turkish camp in the background.


  • 1478: Muscovy conquers Novgorod.
  • 1478: Reign of Singhawikramawardhana ends.[11]
  • 1478: The Great Mosque of Demak is the oldest mosque in Java, built by the Wali Songo during the reign of Sultan Raden Patah.
  • 1479: Battle of Breadfield, Matthias Corvinus of Hungary defeated the Turks.


Ivan III, Grand Duke of Moscow.


Inventions, discoveries, introductions

List of 15th century inventions


  1. ^ Crowley, Roger (2006). Constantinople: The Last Great Siege, 1453. Faber. ISBN 0-571-22185-8. (reviewed byFoster, Charles (22 September 2006). "The Conquestof Constantinople and the end of empire". Contemporary Review. Archived from the original on 22 August 2009. It is the end of the Middle Ages
  2. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Renaissance, 2008, O.Ed.
  3. ^ McLuhan 1962; Eisenstein 1980; Febvre & Martin 1997; Man 2002
  4. ^ Harvey 2005, p. 14.
  5. ^ Nanda, J. N (2005).Bengal: the unique state. Concept Publishing Company. p. 10. 2005. ISBN 978-81-8069-149-2. Bengal [...] was rich in the production and export of grain, salt, fruit, liquors and wines, precious metals and ornaments besides the output of its handlooms in silk and cotton. Europe referred to Bengal as the richest country to trade with.
  6. ^ Winstedt, R. O. (1948). "The Malay Founder of Medieval Malacca". Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Cambridge University Press on behalf of School of Oriental and African Studies. 12 (3/4): 726–729. doi:10.1017/S0041977X00083312. JSTOR 608731.
  7. ^ "An introduction to the Ming dynasty (1368–1644)". Khan Academy. Asian Art Museum. Retrieved 29 September 2018.
  8. ^ Modern interpretation of the place names recorded by Chinese chronicles can be found e.g. in Some Southeast Asian Polities Mentioned in the MSL Archived 12 July 2012 at the Wayback Machine by Geoffrey Wade
  9. ^ "Thousands in China are descendants of an ancient Filipino king. Here's how it happened". Filipiknow.
  10. ^ "New Sulu King research book by Chinese author debuts in Philippines". Xinhuanet.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Ricklefs (1991), page 18.
  12. ^ Leinbach, Thomas R. (20 February 2019). "Religions". Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  13. ^ Noorduyn, J. (2006). Three Old Sundanese poems. KITLV Press. p. 437.


Media files used on this page

Zonaro GatesofConst.jpg
Mehmed II, Entering to Constantinople
It shows Pacioli standing behind a table and wearing the habit of a member of the Franciscan order. He draws a construction on a board, the edge of which bears the name Euclides. His left hand rests upon a page of an open book. This book may be his Summa de Arithmetica, Geometria, Proportioni et Proportionalità or a copy of Euclid. Upon the table rest the instruments of a mathematician: a sponge, a protractor, a pen, a case, a piece of chalk, and compasses. In the right corner of the table there is a dodecahedron resting upon a book bearing Pacioli's initials. An rhombicuboctahedron (a convex solid consisting of 18 squares and 8 triangles) suspends at the left of the painting. The identity of the young man at the right is uncertain, but one commentator recognizes the "eternal student" instructed by Pacioli. Some authors have also mentioned the possibility that the student is Dürer.
Charles the Bold 1460.jpg
Karl der Kühne von Burgund (1433-1477), hier noch als Graf von Charolais dargestellt. Auf dieses Original beziehen sich alle weiteren Darstellung Karls als Herzog von Burgund
Matthias Corvinus.jpg
Author/Creator: , Licence: CC-BY-SA-3.0
Porträt Matthias Corvinus from Image:Beatrix und Matthias.jpg
La Rendición de Granada - Pradilla.jpg
آخر مُلُوك غرناطة أبو عبد الله محمد الثاني عشر يُسلِّم غرناطة آخر معاقل المُسلمين في الأندلُس إلى الملك الكاثوليكي فرديناند الثاني الأراغوني، لِتسقط بِذلك الأندلُس وتقوم على أنقاضها الإمبراطوريَّة الإسپانيَّة.
Ivan III of Russia.jpg

"Albus rex" Ivan III of Russia (the Great) (1440-1505).

  • А. Теве. Гравюра из книги "Космография". 1575.
  • André Thevet. "Cosmography" (1575)

From: H.F. Helmolt (ed.): History of the World. New York, 1901.

Helmolt, H.F., ed. History of the World. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1902.
Masaccio, cappella brancacci, san pietro in cattedra. ritratto di filippo brunelleschi.jpg
Masaccio, cappella brancacci, san pietro in cattedra. ritratto di filippo brunelleschi.jpg
Siege of Rhodes in 1480. Two Neapolitan ships bring reinforcements
Columbus Taking Possession.jpg
Christoper Columbus arrives in America
Cacicazgos mayas - es.svg
Author/Creator: , Licence: CC BY-SA 3.0
Maya kingdoms according to Ralph Roys