It’s incredible to see how far humanity has come as the centuries go by. This week we’d like to start a new series on our blog in which we will periodically discuss major events that have occurred over the centuries. For this first round we will be discussing five of the major events that occurred in 1521, five hundred years ago. Feel free to do your own research if any of these events peak your interest. And, as always, we hope you enjoy the read!

Pope Leo X Excommunicates Martin Luther

Martin Luther was a monk living in Germany. Overtime he began noticing things in the Catholic Church which he didn’t agree with. He ended up writing 91 theses discussing the different issues he found within the doctrine of the Church. Many people were inspired by his arguments and began to rebel against the Church’s teachings openly, leading to the Pope excommunicating Luther in 1521. This was a huge step in the beginnings of Protestant reformations across Europe. Such reformations would later inspire many to come to the Americas in search of religious freedom. Eventually, the United States of America would be born as the only nation in the world that offered such freedom.

Jiajing Emperor Ascends to the Throne in the Ming Dynasty

In the same year in Asia, the 12th Emperor of the Ming Dynasty came into power. The previous Emperor died without children, leaving the throne to his brother’s line. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a particularly lovable leader. Years later his concubines and palace maids began to organize an assassination plot against him. The plot failed, however, and those involved were executed. Jiajing Emperor would eventually die, likely due to mercury poisoning as he consumed it in pursuit of eternal life.

Fall of Tenochtitlan

On the other side of the world, in the Americas, Spanish conquistador Hérnan Cortés along with allied indigenous people took down the last of the Aztec Empire. Cortés, like many conquistadors, sought gold in the palaces of the Aztec people, however he found little. The Aztec Emperor, Cuauhtémoc, was allowed to continue in his position under the Spanish, but he was tortured for a time for information regarding the location of the riches the Spanish believed they had. He was not able to give them what they desired, but they allowed him to live for another few years. Unfortunately, Cortés did eventually have him executed.

Possible Birth of Catherine Howard

Unfortunately records at the time were not well kept. That being said, historians believe King Henry VIII’s fifth wife may have been born in this year. She would rise from practical obscurity to become Queen of England in 1540. At the time of their marriage, it is believed Catherine was between 17 and 19 years old while Henry was nearly 50. After only a year of marriage, evidence was discovered that she had engaged in relationships with other men. Due to this evidence, she

was forced to follow the path taken by her cousin, Anne Boleyn, several years before. She was beheaded on the 13th of February 1542.

Battle of Mactan: Death of Ferdinand Magellan

Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. His greatest accomplishment was his organization of the first circumnavigation of the earth. The main purpose behind this plan was to find a western route to reach the east indies. He was able to reach the east indies where he converted many of the locals to Christianity. Unfortunately, the leader of Mactan (one of the islands) was not pleased with this and decided to take up arms against the white invaders. In the battle that followed Magellan was killed, leaving his second in command to complete the circumnavigation by returning to Spain.

References: Wikipedia (2021, January 7). 1521.

Wikipedia (2020, December 19). Jiajing Emperor.

Wikipedia (2020, December 26). Cuauhtémoc.émoc.

Wikipedia (2020, December 16). Ferdinand Magellan.