Dates Everyone Should Know, from AP European History
476: Romulus Augustus deposed, end of the Roman Empire
1492: Columbus finds the new world, Moores kicked out of Spain as the Reconquista comes to a close, Jews also kicked out
1521: Diet of Worms, Protestant Reformation begins
1555: Peace of Augsberg, Princes can worship however they want in the German states
1648: Peace of Westphalia, the Netherlands officially recognized
1713: Treaty of Utrecht finishes War of Spanish Succession, universal monarch of Louis XIV (the "Sun King") avoided
1763: Treaty of Paris ends French and Indian (N America)/Seven Years' (Europe) war between France and everyone else
1815: Congress of Vienna ends Napoleonic wars
1848: Revolutions sweep everyone
1871: Foundation of "modern" Germany under Emperor Wilhelm I, shepherded by Otto von Bismarck
1918: Treaty of Versailles ends WWI
1945: End of WWII
So, for those of you keeping score, that's 12 dates: 476, 1521, 1555, 1648, 1713, 1763, 1815, 1848, 1871, 1918, 1945.
Here's a few more that aren't vital, but good for party talk:
1066: Battle of Hastings: Normans conquer England, ensure that French will become a vital root of modern English, start the Middle Ages, end the Dark Ages
1588: A "divinely inspired" storm destroys the Spanish Armada, along with machinations by Francis Walsingham et. al. Also, two words: fire ships.
1792: French Revolution breaks out.
1812: The year in which the War of 1812 was fought.
1861: American Civil War. Pesky Europeans all try to influence it, while maintaining neutrality.
1914: Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated by Gavrilu Princep, causes chain reaction leading to WWI. First major continental warfare since Germanic Reunification wars of 1871
1917: Russian Revolution. 'Nuff Said.
1929: NYSE market crash starts the Great Depression worldwide
1931: Spanish Civil War breaks out. Fascist and Communist forces duke it out via proxy in Spain. Hitler and Stalin try out their new toys: gas, tanks, bombers, etc.
1939: On September 1st, Hitler's Nazi Germany invades Poland, starting WWII.
1941: Pearl Harbor ensures American entry into the war.
1960: DeGaulle withdraws France from NATO, because, well, he's a dick.
1989: Fall of the Berlin Wall
1991: December 25th, USSR falls.
So, to recap: 476, 1066, 1521, 1555, 1588, 1648, 1713, 1763, 1776, 1792, 1812, 1815, 1848, 1861, 1871, 1914, 1918, 1929, 1931, 1939, 1945, 1960, 1989, 1991.
Not so hard.