Young Readers—Europe

500 to 1800
Baptism of Clovis to French Revolution

Era Summary       Characters       Timeline       Reading Assignments      

Era Summary—Europe

European history is the most complicated of the divisions covered in the Young Readers collection because it is so varied. The European is a patchwork of national histories, legends, and hero stories. The Young Readers collection includes dozens of books that cover important incidents and characters in European history, but few that give a broad view of the period.

Sir Walter and Queen Elizabeth
Since European history is such a large topic the Heritage Classical Curriculum breaks the History of Europe into several different divisions, focusing on Britain, continental Europe, and Spain. All of these divisions are grouped together in the Young Readers collection for the sake of simplicity, so only a few famous characters and events from each nation are introduced. A comprehensive review of European history is postponed until students are more advanced.

The European history section of Young Readers is composed mostly of short biographies and historical fiction. Even those books, such as Old Time Tales and Stories from French History, that cover a range of stories from European history only touch on a few incidents of special interest. Most of the stories the European section focus on the Middle Ages, rather than modern times, since knights and chivalry, kings and queens, monks and crusaders, and medieval heroes are easy to romanticize in a way that interests young students. Some modern topics, such as the French Revolution, are covered briefly, but most topics regarding Modern European history are left for later years.

The Young Readers European selections help students become familiar with famous European characters, folklore, literature and nationalities without undertaking anything too ambitious. Most of the European history Study Questions are based on Evan's Old Time Tales, and selections from Baldwin's Famous Stories series.


Character/Date Short Biography

Fall of Rome

Leader of Vandals. Conquered Northern Africa and Sicily. Invaded and ransacked Rome.
Attila the Hun
Barbarian chieftain who overran and terrorized much of Europe. Defeated at the Battle of Chalons.
Founder of the Frankish Kingdom. Converted to Christianity by his wife Clotilda.
Founder of Islam, author of the Koran.

Middle Ages

First Holy Roman Emperor. Unified most of Western Europe into a Frankish Empire.
Alfred the Great
Noblest of Saxon kings. Fought the Danes and made peace. Built churches and schools.
Rollo the Viking
d. 931
Viking Leader who was granted the Dukedom of Normandy if he became Christian.
William the Conqueror
Claimed the crown of England and won it at the Battle of Hastings. Ruled forcefully but justly.
Peter the Hermit
Monk who helped instigate the First Crusade, by preaching against the Moslems of Jerusalem.
Richard I
Son of Henry II. Spent almost his entire reign crusading and fighting in France.
Marco Polo
Traveller from Venice who spent 30 years at the court of Kublai Khan in China.
The Black Prince
Excellent general and leader who ruled alongside his father, Edward III. Victor at the Battle of Poitiers.
Joan of Arc
Led the French Army to Victory at the Siege of New Orleans. Burned at the stake by English.
John Gutenberg
Invented printing press. Made improvements over many years on types, inks and methods.


Henry VIII
King of England famous for marrying and dispensing with six wives.
Elizabeth I
Led England through tumultuous age of reformation and discovery. Reigned 45 years.
Walter Raleigh
Courtier of Queen Elizabeth. Explorer, mastermind of the Jamestown colony in Virginia.
Francis Drake
Greatest sea adventurer. Sailed around the world, harassed Spanish ships. Fought in Armada.
Martin Luther
Leader of the Protestant Reformation. Excommunicated by Catholic Church.
Galileo Galilei
Promoted Heliocentric theory against pressure from the Pope. Invented the telescope.
Oliver Cromwell
Military leader of Parliament who headed the Commonwealth government after death of Charles I.
Isaac Newton
Outstanding scientist. Made important breakthroughs in physics, optics, and mathematics.
Peter the Great
Modernized Russia in spite of great resistance. Improved the army. Won coastal territory.

Early Modern

Robert Clive
British soldier, who rose to be a hero in the Carnatic Wars and delivered Bengal to Britain at the Battle of Plassey.
Captain Cook
Discovered Australia and New Zealand. Helped establish colonies there.
Horatio Nelson
Great Naval hero of his age; victor at the Battle of the Nile, Copenhagen, and Trafalgar.
Key figure of the French Revolution. Leader of the Reign of Terror.
Maria Antoinette
Extravagant Queen of France. Beheaded during French Revolution.
Frederick the Great
Great Prussian military leader in the War of the Austrian Succession and Seven Years War.
Victorious general who rose to power during the French Revolution. Crowned himself Emperor and restored France to greatness.


AD YearEvent
451 Attila the Hun is defeated at the Battle of Chalons.
476 Collapse of the western Roman Empire.
598 Augustine of Kent converts the Saxons, becomes first Archbishop of Canterbury.
600 Frankish King Clovis converts to Christianity, France becomes Catholic.
732 Moslem invaders from Spain are driven out of France at the Battle of Tours.
800 Charlemagne is crowned first Holy Roman Emperor.
880 Alfred the Great saves Britain from the Danes (Vikings).
1066 Norman Conquest of Britain at Battle of Hastings.
1096 Heroes of the First Crusade capture Jerusalem.
1190 Richard I leads the Third Crusade.
1350 Black Plague
1431 Death of Joan of Arc, end of Hundred Years War.
1453 Fall of Constantinople, capital of the Byzantine Empire.
1492 Christopher Columbus discovers America.
1517 Martin Luther initiates the Protestant Reformation.
1534 Henry VIII marries Anne Boleyn, breaks with Rome.
1650 Peace of Westphalia—end of the Thirty Years War.
1783 Britain loses her colonies in the American Revolutionary War Revolutionary War
1789 Beginning of the French Revolution. King of France is overthrown.
1815 Napoleon is defeated at the Battle of Waterloo

Recommended Reading—Europe

Book Title
Selected Chapters (# chapters)
Evans - Old Time Tales    entire book
Lang - Story of Joan of Arc    entire book
Dalkeith - Stories from French History    entire book
Marshall - Story of Napoleon    entire book
Stein - Our Little Crusader Cousin of Long Ago    entire book
Perkins - Belgian Twins    entire book
Perkins - Dutch Twins    entire book
Perkins - French Twins    entire book
Perkins - Swiss Twins    entire book

British History

Skae - Stories from English History    entire book
Lang - Story of Robert Bruce    entire book
Elton - Story of Sir Francis Drake    entire book
Duncan - Story of Sir Walter Raleigh    entire book
Lang - Story of Lord Clive    entire book
Lang - Story of Captain Cook    entire book
Sellar - Story of Nelson    entire book
Lang - Stories of Gulliver's Travels Told to the Children    entire book
Baldwin - Robinson Crusoe Written Anew for Children    entire book
Stein - Our Little Celtic Cousin of Long Ago    entire book
Cowles - Our Little Saxon Cousin of Long Ago    entire book
Perkins - Scotch Twins    entire book

Norse History

Johnson - Our Little Viking Cousin of Long Ago    entire book
Stein - Our Little Norman Cousin of Long Ago    entire book
Hall - Viking Tales    entire book
Macgregor - Stories of the Vikings    entire book