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Ninth Century History

800 Coronation of Charlemagne, king of the Franks and now first Holy Roman Emperor, on Christmas day. Crowned by Pope Leo III as “Augustus, crowned of God, emperor of the Romans” in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, he would become Charles I of France, called Charles the Great.

802 Byzantine empress Irene deposed and exiled to the island of Lesbos: minister of finance Nicephorus I succeeds her.

805 Japanese Buddhist priest Saicho returns from China to Japan and popularizes the medicinal value of tea.

807 Abbasid caliph Harun al Rashid decrees that Baghdad Christians are to wear a blue badge and Jews a yellow badge.

808 City of Fez established in Morocco by Abbasid King Idris.

809 Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid dies; he will be memorialized in Arabian Nights.

814 Charlemagne dies of pleurisy. He is succeeded by his son, Louis I (the Pious).

829 Nile frozen over (happens again in 1010).

840 Emperor Louis the Pious dies. Wuzong becomes emperor of China.

841 Vikings build a settlement on the south bank of the River Liffey; it will eventually become the city of Dublin.

843 The three sons of deceased Emperor Louis the Pious sign the Treaty of Verdun, dividing the Carolingian Empire into much of what modern Europe is today.

850 Toilet paper thought be used first in China. The Taoist book of alchemy, the Classified Essentials of the Mysterious Tao of the True Origin of Things describes gunpowder. Arab scientists perfect the astrolabe, an instrument used to observe celestial bodies.

858 The Nakatomi family of Japan change its name to Fujiwara. Macedonian missionaries Cyril and Methodius invent the Cyrillic alphabet, used by Bulgarians, Russians, Serbs and others by 863.

861 Iceland discovered. Scandinavian chief Rurik founds Novgorod and names himself grand prince, inaugurating the Russian royal family that will rule until 1598.

867 Byzantine Emperor Basil I establishes the Macedonian Dynasty that will rule Byzantium until 1054.

868 The world’s first printed book The Diamond Sutra is produced in China.

869 Greek brothers Saints Cyril and Methodius develop the Cyrillic alphabet, based on the Greek alphabet of the time, for the Slavic peoples. (The Cyrillic alphabet is now used in Bulgarian, Russian, Serbian, Ukrainian, and other languages. The original alphabet had 43 letters, but the modern languages have fewer: Bulgarian 30, Russian has 32, Serbian 30, and Ukrainian 33.

874 Vikings settle in Iceland.

890 First record of an automatic instrument, an organ-building treatise called Banu Musa.

896 In England, Alfred the Great ends the threat of the Danes, who return to the mainland or settle in Northumbria and East Anglia.

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