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Millennium: 2nd millennium

The 1270s is the decade starting January 1, 1270, and ending December 31, 1279.

In Europe, power struggles within the Holy Roman Empire escalated into civil war as the 23-year interregnum without an emperor came to an end. Election of Rudolph I of Germany as King of Germany over Otakar II of Bohemia in 1273 led to open war in 1276 and Otakar's death in 1278 at the climactic Battle of Marchfeld; the resultant power structure in central Europe firmly established the Habsburg dynasty's rule, one that would continue in Austria and other regional territories until the end of World War I in 1918. King Edward I of England returned from the Eighth Crusade to take the throne and was able to subjugate Wales by the end of the decade; Scotland quelled an uprising on the Isle of Man, in doing so confirming the concession of that territory made in 1266 by Norway in the Treaty of Perth; the Statute of Westminster established a series of individuals' rights in England. Both the Eighth Crusade and Ninth Crusade were brief efforts that quickly ended in failure, with King Louis IX of France dying during the former.

In Asia, the Mongols continued expanding their territories. Kublai Khan moved his capital to present-day Beijing and renamed his empire the Yuan Dynasty, reflecting the new eastward focus of the empire; the Yuan Dynasty conquered the Southern Song Dynasty of China by the end of the decade. By this time the Mongols had subjugated most of continental Asia; the conquest of Southern Song witnessed the first use of firearms in war. The western Ilkhanate established a capital at Tabriz, in present-day Iran; the Mongols were able to quell the Sambyeolcho Rebellion in Korea and defeat the Nakhi and Pagan Empires, but failed an attempted invasion of Japan in 1274. Marco Polo reached Kublai Khan's summer court Shangdu by 1275, and stayed with the court for over 20 years.

The Mamluk sultanate of Egypt continued to expand its territory and dodge two crusades—the Eighth Crusade never reached its intended target, and the Ninth rapidly became a failure; the sultan Baibars was successful in expanding his territory as far north as the Sultanate of Rum in Anatolia, east into Syria, and south into Makurian Nubia. After Baibars died in 1277, his successor Qalawun continued expansionist policies.

European culture witnessed the arrival of several important scientific works in translation from centuries-old Arabic sources, including Alhazen's work on optics and Al-Razi's medical works; the two major surveys of the English census known as the Hundred Rolls were conducted. Thomas Aquinas completed his seminal work Summa Theologica late in 1273, and died in 1274. Leadership of the Catholic Church attempted to address the East-West Schism of the church through the Second Council of Lyons, but despite apparent success the effort was ultimately doomed to fail. In Japan, Nichiren continued to lead a life that would come to be revered in Nichiren Buddhism.

In North America, a severe 23-year drought began in the Grand Canyon area, which would eventually force the local Anasazi people to emigrate from the region.

War and politics[edit]


War and peace[edit]

Political entities[edit]

Political reform[edit]

  • 1271 – September 1 – Pope Gregory X is elected pope by compromise between French and Italian cardinals, ending a three-year conclave, the longest ever.
  • 1274 – Pope Gregory X decrees that conclaves (meetings during which the electors have no contact with the outside) should be used for papal elections, reforming the electoral process which had taken over three years to elect him.
  • 1275 – April 22 – The first Statute of Westminster is passed by the English parliament, establishing a series of laws in its 51 clauses, including equal treatment of rich and poor, free and fair elections, and definition of bailable and non-bailable offenses.
  • 1279 – The first of the Statutes of Mortmain are passed under king Edward I of England, which prevents land from passing into possession of the church.

Asia and Africa[edit]

Mongolian sphere of influence[edit]

Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt sphere of influence[edit]

South Asia[edit]



  • 1276 – A severe 23-year drought begins to affect the Grand Canyon area, eventually forcing the agriculture-dependent Anasazi culture to migrate out of the region.


Science, literature, and industry[edit]

Art, architecture, and music[edit]







  • 1278 – The earliest known written copy of the Avesta, a collection of ancient sacred Persian Zoroastrian texts previously passed down orally, is produced.