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The 1290s was a decade of the Julian Calendar which began on January 1, 1290, and ended on December 31, 1299.
- Year without winter – Exceptionally rare instance of uninterrupted transition, from autumn 1289 to the following spring, in Britain and mainland western Europe.
- March 1 – The University of Coimbra is founded in Lisbon, Portugal by King Denis of Portugal; it moves to Coimbra in 1308.
- July 10 – Ladislaus IV of Hungary is assassinated by three Cumans (Árbóc, Törtel and Kemence), at the castle of Körösszeg (modern-day Cheresig) in Romania.
- July 18 – By the Edict of Expulsion, King Edward I of England orders all Jews (at this time probably numbering around 2,000) to leave England by November 1 (All Saints' Day); on the Hebrew calendar this is Tisha B'Av, a day that commemorates many calamities.
- July 23 – Andrew III of Hungary is crowned in Székesfehérvár by Lodomer, Archbishop of Esztergom, having escaped from captivity in Vienna.
- August 1 – The country of Wallachia is founded (traditional date).
- December – The twelve Eleanor crosses are erected between Lincolnshire and London in England, as King Edward I mourns the death of his queen consort, Eleanor of Castile.
- December 18 – Upon the death of Magnus III, he is succeeded by his 10-year-old son Birger as king of Sweden. Although Sweden is an elective monarchy at this time, Birger has been appointed heir to the throne already in 1284.
- Construction of Llandaff Cathedral is completed in Cardiff, Wales, 170 years after it was begun.
- The Mongol Golden Horde invades the Bessarabia region of Moldavia.
- The second of the Statutes of Mortmain are passed under King Edward I of England, which prevents land from passing into possession of the church. The statute Quia Emptores is also passed, reforming the feudal system of land leases, and allowing the sale of fee simple estates.
- King Denis of Portugal decrees that Portuguese is the official language of Portugal, replacing classical Latin in that capacity.
- Construction on the Akershus Fortress of Oslo, Norway is begun.
- September 27 – The 6.8 Ms Chihli earthquake affects the province of Hebei, China with a maximum Mercalli intensity of IX (Violent), killing 7,270–100,000.
- The founding Mamluk dynasty of the Sultanate of Delhi is overthrown, by Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji of the Khalji dynasty.
- Spring – Vandino and Ugolino Vivaldi set sail from Genoa with the goal of reaching India; they never return.
- May 10 – Scottish nobles recognize the authority of King Edward I of England, in mediating the resolution of the succession crisis, created by the death of King Alexander III of Scotland, five years earlier.
- August – The Swiss Confederation is formed by Uri, Schwyz, and Unterwalden (the "three forest cantons"), at Rütli, by the Federal Charter.
- Sancho IV of Castile captures Tarifa from the Moors.
- The Habsburgs acquire the Swiss city of Lucerne.
- Pope Nicholas IV confirms the independence of San Marino, via papal bull.
- All glassmakers in Venice are forced to move to the island of Murano, in order to contain the risk of fire, thus establishing the glass industry there.
- Klenová Castle is constructed in southern Bohemia, as part of a frontier defense system.
- King Andrew III of Hungary gives royal town privileges to Bratislava, the present-day capital of Slovakia.
- Switzerland officially gains its independence.
- May 18 – Al-Ashraf Khalil of Egypt captures Acre, thus exterminating the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem (the final Christian landholding remaining from the Crusades), and ending the Ninth Crusade and effectively all Crusades, by eliminating the possibility of further attacks on the Holy Land (see Siege of Acre (1291)).
- The artificial Kunming Lake is constructed as a reservoir for Dadu, Yuan Dynasty, China, by famous engineer and astronomer Guo Shoujing.
- Emperor Kameyama of Japan establishes the Zen Buddhist temple of Nanzenji, in Kyoto.
- Four towns of the county of Holland (Dordrecht, Haarlem, Leiden and Alkmaar) and two of the county of Zeeland (Middelburg and Zierikzee) agree for the first time to collectively secure a loan by their sovereign, Floris V. This system gives important securities to the lenders, and allows the ruler to access the same low interest rates as the cities’ governments.
- April 5 – The Papal election, 1292–94 begins.
- November 17 (Julian calendar) – John Balliol is selected by King Edward I of England as King of Scotland, from among 13 competitors for the Crown of Scotland; Edward then treats John as a puppet ruler and Scotland as a vassal state, eventually provoking the Wars of Scottish Independence, commencing in 1296.
- King Mangrai the Great of Ngoenyang conquers and annexes the Mon kingdom of Hariphunchai, creating a political union in the form of the Lanna Kingdom.
- The Vaghela Dynasty in Gujarat is subjugated by the Deccan Yadava Dynasty of Daulatabad.
- The Mamluk sultan of Egypt, Al-Ashraf Khalil, invades the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia.
- The Isfendiyarid Dynasty is founded in the Kastamonu Province.
- The Mongols land on Java, taking the capital, but it proves impossible to hold.
- The Taxatio Ecclesiastica, compiled in 1291–92, is completed under the order of Pope Nicholas IV.
- December – Mamluk sultan of Egypt Khalil is assassinated by his regent Baydara, who briefly claims the sultanate, before being assassinated himself by a rival political faction.
- May 26 – An earthquake in Kamakura, Japan kills an estimated 23,000.
- May 31 – The forces of Raden Wijaya win a major victory in the Mongol invasion of Java, which is considered to be the founding date of the city of Surabaya.
- The Japanese era Shōō ends, and the Einin era begins.
- Khubilai sends a fleet to the islands of Southeast Asia, including Java.
- The Hindu Majapahit Empire is founded by Kertarajasa in Java. It benefits from internal conflict and Mongol intervention, to defeat the Singhasari Kingdom and establish the empire.
- Torkel Knutsson leads Sweden in beginning the Third Swedish Crusade against unchristianized Finnish Karelia.
- The Ordinances of Justice are enacted in the Commune of Florence.
- The Isle of Wight is sold to King Edward I of England by Isabella de Forz, Countess of Devon, for 6,000 marks.
Arts and culture
- May 20 – King Sancho IV of Castile creates the Studium General, forerunner to the modern Complutense University of Madrid.
- February 18 – Kublai Khan dies; by this time the separation of the four khanates of the Mongol Empire (the Chagatai Khanate in Central Asia, the Golden Horde in Russia, the Ilkhanate in Persia, and the Yuan Dynasty in China) has deepened.
- July 5 – Following the Papal election, 1292–94, Pope Celestine V succeeds Nicholas IV, becoming the 192nd pope.
- Autumn – In response to the actions of new royal administrators in north and west Wales, Madog ap Llywelyn leads a revolt against his English overlords.
- December 24 – Pope Boniface VIII succeeds Pope Celestine V, becoming the 193rd pope, after Celestine V abdicates the papacy on December 13, only five months after reluctantly accepting his surprise election on July 5, wishing to return to his life as an ascetic hermit.
- John Balliol, King of Scotland, decides to refuse King Edward I of England's demands for support in a planned invasion of France, the result being the negotiation of the Auld Alliance with France and Norway in the following year. These actions play a part in precipitating the Scottish Wars of Independence, which begin in 1296.
- Strata Florida Abbey is rebuilt; it had been destroyed some years earlier, during King Edward I of England's conquest of Wales.
- Architect Arnolfo di Cambio designs Florence Cathedral (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore, better known simply as Il Duomo); he also begins work on the Basilica of Santa Croce, Florence.
- England and Portugal enter into the first iteration of the Anglo-Portuguese Alliance, the oldest alliance in the world still in force.
- Edward I of England and Philip the Fair of France declare war on each other. To finance this war, both kings lay taxes on the clergy. Pope Boniface VIII insists that kings gain papal consent for taxation of the clergy, and forbids churchmen to pay taxes.
- June 20 – Pope Boniface VIII proposes the Treaty of Anagni, seeking to bring peace between the house of Anjou and Sicily; the effort is in vain.
- June 26 – Przemysł II is crowned King of Poland in Gniezno Cathedral, the first coronation of a Polish ruler in 219 years.
- October 23 – The first treaty forming the Auld Alliance, between Scotland and France against England, is signed in Paris.
- November 13 – King Edward I of England summons the Model Parliament to Westminster, the composition of which serves as a model for later parliaments.
- Mongol leader Ghazan Khan converts to Islam, ending a line of Tantric Buddhist leaders.
- Jayavarman VIII of the Khmer Empire in Cambodia abdicates; Srindravarman succeeds him.
- Marco Polo returns to Venice, from his travels to China.
- Philip IV of France and Pope Boniface VIII begin having disagreements.
- Construction begins on Beaumaris Castle in Anglesey, the last of the ring of castles built by Edward I of England, to subdue Wales.
- March 30 – Capture of Berwick: King Edward I of England storms and captures Berwick-upon-Tweed, sacking what is at this time a Scottish border town, with much bloodshed. He slaughters most of the residents, including those who flee to the churches.
- April 12 – King Mangrai the Great of Ngoenyang establishes a new capital by founding Chiangmai, and founds the Mangrai Dynasty, that will rule the Lanna Kingdom of Chiangmai from 1296 to 1578 (the 700th Anniversary Stadium was built in remembrance of this foundation).
- April 27 – Battle of Dunbar: The Scots are defeated by Edward I of England.
- July 20 – Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji dies, and his nephew and son-in-law Ala-Ud-Din-Khalji comes to the throne of the Delhi Sultanate in Hindustan, becoming the most powerful ruler of his dynasty.
- Boniface of Verona expels the Byzantines from their last remaining strongholds on Euboea.
- Chinese diplomat Zhou Daguan spends a year at the court of Khmer King Indravarman III at Angkor, and pens a journal setting forth his observations.
- approximate date – Tarabya, self-proclaimed king of Pegu, is defeated in single combat on war elephants by Wareru.
- January 8 – The forces of Francesco Grimaldi storm the castle of Monaco (the House of Grimaldi will remain rulers of the principality into the 21st Century).
- May 3 – Near Rome, Stefano Colonna captures the treasure sent by the Caetani family to the Pope.
- July 11 – King Louis IX of France is canonized.
- August 28 – Edward I of England unsuccessfully invades Flanders.
- September 11 – Battle of Stirling Bridge: The Scottish armies of Andrew Moray and William Wallace defeat the English.
- September 12 – King Denis of Portugal and King Ferdinand IV of Castile sign the Treaty of Alcanizes. The geographic limits of Portugal are fixed permanently (with the exception of São Félix de Galegos, lost in 1640 and Olivenza, lost in 1801).
- As part of the Treaty of Anagni, the king of Aragon is recognized as ruler of the Kingdom of Sardinia and Corsica by the Pope, but both islands remain in practice under Pisan and Genoese control.
- A Portuguese Water Dog is first described in a monk’s report of a drowning sailor, who had been pulled from the sea by a dog.
- August 28 – Emperor Go-Fushimi succeeds Emperor Fushimi on the throne of Japan.
- John Tarchaneiotes is appointed governor of the southern portions of Byzantine Anatolia.
- April 20 – Rintfleisch-Pogrom: The Jews of Röttingen are burned en masse; other Jewish communities are destroyed later in the year.
- June 1 – Battle of Turaida: Residents of Riga and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania defeat the Livonian Order.
- July 2 – Battle of Göllheim: Albert I of Habsburg defeats and kills Adolf of Nassau-Weilburg.
- July 22 – Edward I of England defeats a Scottish army led by William Wallace in the Battle of Falkirk.
- August 1 – The "ideal city" of Marciac, Gascogne, France is founded by King Philip IV of France and Guichard de Marzé.
- September 9 – Battle of Curzola: The Genoese fleet defeats the Venetians. Marco Polo is one of the prisoners taken, and while in prison in Genoa, he begins dictating his Travels to Rustichello da Pisa.
- After a year's siege, the revolting commune of Palestrina near Rome surrenders, and is razed to the ground and salted by order of Pope Boniface VIII, in an act of debellatio.
- The foreign creditors of the Sienese Gran Tavola Bank start demanding their deposits back, thus accelerating the liquidity crisis faced by the firm.
- Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, and Pope Gregory I are named the first Doctors of the Church. They are known collectively as the Great Doctors of the Western Church.
- The Chinese governmental minister Wang Zhen invents a wooden movable type printing (Bi Sheng invented ceramic movable type in the 11th Century).
- February 24 – Alauddin Khalji, sultan of Delhi, sends his generals Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan to conquer Gujarat.
- May 10 – Kyawswa of Pagan and Crown Prince Theingapati are executed at Myinsaing, by the three brothers of the Myinsaing Kingdom (nominally Kyawswa's viceroys), as traitors for submitting to the Mongol Empire.
- July 27 – Osman I declares his Anatolian beylik (principality) to be independent of the Seljuq Dynasty Sultanate of Rum, originating the Ottoman Empire, with Söğüt as the original capital, which will last until the 1920s.
- A Mongol khan launches a campaign into India with 200,000 men, but Alauddin Khalji, sultan of Delhi, defeats them.
- The Kingdom of Singapura is founded by Sang Nila Utama, a Srivijaya prince.
- April – The Scots take Stirling Castle from the English, after a siege.
- April 1 – Kings Towne on the River Hull (Kingston upon Hull) is granted city status, by Royal Charter of King Edward I of England.
- July 31 – Pisa and Genoa agree to a thirty-year truce. Part of the treaty includes the end of the Pisan support to Genoa's enemies, in particular Sinucello della Rocca in Corsica.
- November 1 – Håkon V Magnusson becomes king of Norway.
- December 1 – Battle of Falconaria: Frederick II of Sicily defeats Philip I of Taranto.
- The House of Holland becomes extinct. The County of Holland becomes part of a personal union with the County of Hainaut.
- Early evidence is uncovered of the king of England borrowing from the Italian merchants. Edward I obtains a loan of 2,000 pollard marks, from agents of the Frescobaldi Firm in London.
- The city of Florence bans the use of Arabic numerals for commerce, allowing only Roman numerals.
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