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1450s: Genoese invent the commercial lottery (derived from a system they used for choosing officials).
1454: King Gerhard II of the Netherlands dies without heir, so his lands fall to his old brother-in-arms Reinald I of Geldern, who marries Gerhard's daughter (although she's 30 years younger than him... but well, this is royalty).
Since 1466: Returning pilgrims spread the news that Rome was conquered by the infidels. Many sects believe that the end of time is near (the date of 1500 is mentioned). At first the war gives them hope that Rome can be reconquered, but when England-Castille-Portugal gives up Rome in 1472, they become desperate. Unrest spreads. At the same time, the growing riches (and corruption) of the church (which rules many territories in Germany) and the growing power of the princes makes some people wonder about secularization of said territories.
1470: The young king of Poland has to accept a new constitution, which gives every noble (15% of the Polish population!) the right to vote in the parliament, and introduces separation of powers.
1475: When king Heinrich VIII secularizes and annexes the bistums of Augsburg and Trient for his lands, the HRE falls into a kind of Civil War. All the princes try to annex the clerical lands, which leads to lots of confusion and little wars for said lands, which are subsumed as the Twenty-Year War. The most important of those wars are the Bavarian-Austrian War for Salzburg (1485-93) and the French-Dutch War (1486-91). For some time, there are three kings in the Empire (of Luxemburg, Brandenburg and Geldern respectively).
In the same year, in the bisthums of Würzburg and Münster, millenialist sects take the power, declare the Gottesfreistaat (God's republic - another kind of theocracy). The latter ones even manage to extend their lands during the chaos of the war, deposing some small princes of NW Germany.
The Swiss use the opportunity and conquer the remaining lands of their archenemies, the Habsburgs, in the Black Forest.
And to make the situation even worse, there are peasant uprisings (mostly in western Germany) who feel suppressed by the nobles. Those who can't flee to the territories of the Gottesfreistaaten where they're let in if they only swear to obey God's laws, are brutally suppressed.
1475-95: Germans fleeing from the Twenty-Year War in the HRE, and especially the religious fanatics ruling in Münster, go to the colonies of Braunschweig and the Netherlands.
1481: Printing press with movable letters invented in the free city of Cologne by Jakob Hahn.
1493: The former monk Karl Koch who read a bit too much about the Roman republic during his time as library assistant in the monastery, starting as a "soap box preacher", declares the "Rheinische Republik" (republic of the Rhine), which is soon defeated by the duke of Jülich-Berg, however.
1495: King Karl V of Luxemburg deposes anti-king Otto of Brandenburg, is accepted as Roman king (better said: nobody complains). Not however in Switzerland and the theocracies of Münster and Würzburg, who have stopped caring about the HRE. The wars are over, but Germany lost about one fifth of its population. It takes them about half a century to recover.
|Earlier in time:||Central Europe
|Later in time:|