"There is perhaps a better age in store; this slumber of forgetfulness will not last forever. After the darkness has been dispelled, our grandsons will be able to walk back into the pure radiance of the past."

- Italian poet Petrarch, capturing the spirit of the Renaissance in his epic poem "Africa" (1338).


In the year AD 1338...

  • The Hundred Years War begins in earnest.
    • The previous year, King Phillip II of France had declared English king Edward III's lands in the Aquitaine forfeited to the French Crown. Technically possessing a better claim to the French throne than the French King himself, Edward responds to this provocation by declaring himself King of England and France and makes preparations to invade France via friendly territory in Flanders. Meanwhile, French forces begin making armed incursions into the Aquitaine.
    • However, as Edward tries to muster an army, he discovers he is completely broke. Desperate for cash to pay his own troops and to continue purchasing the friendship of his Flemish, Dutch, and German "allies," he first tries imposing an onerous confiscation of wool from wealthy English wool merchants, but this effort is meet with widespread resistance, so he is forced to sell his crown, pawn his jewels, and borrow at incredibly usurious rates from Italian merchants (at rates as high as 50%).
    • Edward now travels to Germany where he throws enough of his newly borrowed money around to get Holy Roman Emperor Louis of Bavaria to proclaim him Imperial Vicar, meaning Edward's commands are now equal in weight to that of the Emperor himself. Edward immediately uses his newfound authority to order the German princes to prepare for war.
    • Meanwhile King Phillip, recognizing that the English are still in disarray, seizes the opportunity to strike first, names dislikable paper-pusher Nicholas Béhuchet as Admiral of France and orders him to launch raids on English coastal towns and shipping. With the English Navy little more than a name and English coastal defenses not yet prepared, the French initially meet with great success, razing Portsmouth to the ground, raiding the isle of Jersey, and sacking Guernsey and Southampton.
    • With Edward so preoccupied with France, he has precious little time, men, or money to devote to continuing the fight against the rebellious Scots. The ongoing Second Scottish War of Independence now turns decisively in favor of Scotland as the English siege of Dunbar Castle fails and Edward essentially decides to pursue a policy of containment rather than conquest against the Scots so he can throw everything he has into the French conflict.
  • Japanese warlord Ashikaga Takauchi declares himself shogun, inaugurating the Ashikaga Shogunate, and eliminates the last major resistance to his control of Japan by defeating and killing Nitta Yoshisada at the Battle of Fushimi.
  • The rising power of the Ottoman Empire finally completes its conquest of the Turkish peninsula, leaving the once mighty Byzantine Empire confined primarily to Greece.
  • Hasan Kucek brings an end to the Ilkhanate and establishes the Chupanid dynasty in Persia by defeating the forces of Hasan Buzurg and Muhammad Ilkhan, the great-great-great-great-grandson of Genghis Khan and the last true Ilkhan of the Ilkhanate, at the Battle of Alataq.
  • Robert Mannyng completes his chronicle The Story of Inglande, a history of England from the time of the Biblical flood to the present day.
  • The Fonthill Vase becomes the earliest known example of Chinese porcelain to reach Europe, when it is received by Louis the Great of Hungary from a Chinese embassy on its way to visit Pope Benedict XII.
  • Rumors of a horrible new, fast-acting plague sweeping Central Asia begin to reach Europe for the first time, although it will be another 10 years before the Black Death strikes Europe in full force.

These people were born in 1338:

These people died in 1338:


1337 - 1338 - 1339

14th century

How they were made

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