20 Weird & Wonderful Facts About 1400s


1Voynich manuscript

Voynich manuscript

The Voynich manuscript which is dated to the 15th century consists of 240 pages of text in an unidentified language, and obscure illustrations seemingly related to topics such as astronomy and biology. Despite the considerable scientific effort, it remains mostly undeciphered to this day.

2King James IV of Scotland

King James IV of Scotland

In the 15th century, King James IV of Scotland conducted an experiment by sending a mute woman and two infants to an empty island to learn what the 'natural human language' would be.



The Korean alphabet, known as Hangul, was introduced by King Sejong in the 1440s to improve literacy. The difficulty of Chinese characters favored privileged aristocrats, whereas Sejong's phonetic alphabet allowed Koreans of all classes to learn how to read and write.



In 1475, Turkish law stated that it was legal for a woman to divorce her husband if he does not provide her with the daily quota of coffee.

5Goth legacy

Goth legacy

In 1434, Sweden and Spain got into an argument about who was more Gothic and deserving of higher honors. The Swedes claimed direct descent from the Goths. The Spanish claimed that only lazy Goths had stayed in Scandinavia while the heroic ones conquered Spain.

6Lausanne City

Lausanne City

Since 1405 until the present day without interruption, the city of Lausanne (Switzerland) has maintained a lookout in the Cathedral bell tower. The lookout announces the time by yelling the hour from 10 pm to 2 am, 365 days a year. The lookout cries the hour to each cardinal direction.

7Queen Isabella

Queen Isabella

In 1475, when Queen Isabella was crowned, the queen chess piece became female, and could only move one square at a time, like the King. In 1495, when Isabella was the most powerful woman in Europe, the present rules of chess were established, in which the Queen moves in all directions on the board.

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8English sweating sickness

English sweating sickness

In 1485, a disease named English sweating sickness broke out causing people to sweat to death in a matter of hours. The disease claimed the lives of tens of thousands before mysteriously vanishing.

9King James II of Scotland

King James II of Scotland

In 1457, King James II of Scotland banned golf because he felt that young men were playing too much golf instead of practicing their archery. The ban was not removed until 1502 by King James IV who was a golfer.

10Mehmed II

Mehmed II

In 1462, it is said that Mehmed II, who conquered Constantinople and was noted for his own psychological warfare tactics, was so sickened by the sight of 20,000 impaled corpses outside Vlad the Impaler's capital that he turned around and went home.


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