Here Comes the Cannon
The French are credited with having invented the cannon in 1325. Edward III of England will copy and use it in battle a few years later. The first cannon is a vase-like bottle, tipped on its side, set on a wooden frame with a large arrow sticking out of the barrel. The cannon brought fear to the battlefield... mostly to those men who had to light it off. Medieval technology makes it difficult to cast reliable iron cannons. They tend to crack and blow up. The first recorded fatality from direct cannon fire will occur in 1428 when a cannon ball bursts through a window as Thomas Montique, the 4th Earl of Salisbury, is looking out. He will die six days later.      
How the Dark Ages Became Dark
The poet, Francesco Petrarch, enters the city of Florence and falls in love. Florence is considered the cradle of the Renaissance and it begins right here with Francesco Petrarch. Petrarch's poetry will define the sonnet and his work will be studied by Shakespeare and Milton. Petrarch will also write a series of dialogs with his hero, Cicero, an ancient Roman philosopher. He will point to that period between the fall of Roman Empire and his own age as lost in darkness and ignorance.... a dark age. His view of the past will also darken for him after witnessing the Black Death.
"My fate is to live
amid varied and confusing storms.
But for you perhaps, if as I hope and wish
you will live long after me,
there will follow a better age.
This sleep of forgetfulness
will not last for ever.
When the darkness has been dispersed,
our descendants can come again
in the former pure radiance."
-- Petrarch, Africa.
Aztecs Finally Find Their Capital
The founding of Tenochtitlan is dated from this time. It will sit on an island in the midst of a basin located in present day Mexico City. It will eventually fall to the Spanish Conquistadors in 1521 led by Hernando Cortez. Much of the lake around Mexico City was drained in 1900 but the land itself is unstable, prone to earthquakes and the basin tends to hold in the air pollution, making it difficult to breathe.       
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