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Millennium: 2nd millennium
1221 in various calendars
Gregorian calendar1221
Ab urbe condita1974
Armenian calendar670
Assyrian calendar5971
Balinese saka calendar1142–1143
Bengali calendar628
Berber calendar2171
English Regnal yearHen. 3 – 6 Hen. 3
Buddhist calendar1765
Burmese calendar583
Byzantine calendar6729–6730
Chinese calendar庚辰年 (Metal Dragon)
3917 or 3857
    — to —
辛巳年 (Metal Snake)
3918 or 3858
Coptic calendar937–938
Discordian calendar2387
Ethiopian calendar1213–1214
Hebrew calendar4981–4982
Hindu calendars
 - Vikram Samvat1277–1278
 - Shaka Samvat1142–1143
 - Kali Yuga4321–4322
Holocene calendar11221
Igbo calendar221–222
Iranian calendar599–600
Islamic calendar617–618
Japanese calendarJōkyū 3
Javanese calendar1129–1130
Julian calendar1221
Korean calendar3554
Minguo calendar691 before ROC
Nanakshahi calendar−247
Thai solar calendar1763–1764
Tibetan calendar阳金龙年
(male Iron-Dragon)
1347 or 966 or 194
    — to —
(female Iron-Snake)
1348 or 967 or 195
Jalal al-Din Mangburni (left) crosses the Indus River and escapes Genghis Khan.

Year 1221 (MCCXXI) was a common year starting on Friday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.


By place[edit]

Byzantine Empire[edit]

  • November – Emperor Theodore I (Laskaris) dies after a 16-year reign and is succeeded by his son-in-law John III (Doukas). John fends off Theodore's brothers, who believe that they have the better claim for the throne of the Empire of Nicaea. In December, he becomes the sole ruler, and during his reign, the Empire becomes the most powerful of the Byzantine successor states and the frontrunner in the race to recover Constantinople from the Latin Empire.[1] John also cultivates a close relationship with Emperor Frederick II and negotiates with Pope Honorius III about the possibility of reuniting the Church.

Fifth Crusade[edit]

  • June – Sultan Al-Kamil again offers peace terms to Cardinal Pelagius with the cession of Jerusalem and all Palestine apart from Oultrejordain, together with a 30 years' truce and money compensation for the dismantling of Jerusalem. Meanwhile, a German contingent under Louis I of Bavaria arrives at Damietta, with orders from Frederick II not to launch an attack on Cairo until the emperor's arrival. Louis and Pelagius decide to advance into Egypt towards Mansoura, where Al-Kamil has built a fortress to protect Cairo. The Crusaders assemble their armies and tents are set up just up the Nile, on June 29.[2]
  • July 4 – Pelagius orders a three-days fast in preparation for the advance. King John I of Jerusalem arrives at Damietta, to rejoin the Crusade at the command of Honorius III. The Crusader force moves towards Sheremsah, halfway between Faraskur and Mansoura on the east bank of the Nile, occupying the city on July 12. Sources tell of 630 ships of various sizes, 5,000 knights, 4,000 archers, and 40,000 men. A horde of pilgrims march with the army. They are ordered to keep close to the river, to supply the Crusaders with water. Pelagius plans a new offensive and leaves a large garrison at Damietta.[3]
  • July 24 – Pelagius moves the Crusader forces near Ashmun al-Rumman, on the opposite bank from Mansoura. Queen-Regent Alice of Cyprus and leaders of the military orders warn Pelagius of a large Muslim army being formed in Syria. Meanwhile, the Egyptian army under Al-Kamil crosses the Nile near Lake Manzaleh and establishes themselves between the Crusader camp and Damietta. In the Ushmum canal at Sheremsah, Al-Kamil's ships sail down the Nile and block the Crusaders' line of communications to Damietta. In August, Pelagius orders a retreat, but the route is cut off by Egyptians.[4]
  • Battle of Mansoura: The Crusader army led by Pelagius and John I of Jerusalem is defeated by the Egyptian forces, at Mansoura. John and the military orders fight a last stand on the river banks of the Nile. He beats off a Nubian assault (supported by elite Turkish cavalry) and drives them back, but only after thousands of soldiers have perished. The remaining Crusaders are surrounded by Al-Kamil's forces and begin a desperate retreat to Damietta. The city is well-garrisoned and supplied with arms, a naval squadron under Henry (or Enrico Pescatore) defends the harbour against the Egyptians.[5]
  • August 26 – The Crusaders retreat under cover of darkness. Many of the soldiers can not bear to abandon their stores of wine, and drink them all rather than leave them. The Teutonic Knights set fire to the stores that they can not carry, thus informing the Egyptians that they are abandoning their positions. In the meantime, Al-Kamil orders to open the sluices along the right bank of the Nile, flooding the area. Pelagius on his ship is carried by the floodwaters past the blockading Egyptian fleet. Other ships, carrying the medical supplies of the army and much of its food, escape. But many are captured.[6]
  • August 28 – Pelagius sues for peace and sends an envoy to Al-Kamil. The terms of surrender are accepted, which includes the retreat from Damietta – leaving Egypt with the remnants of the Crusader army and an 8-year truce. After the prisoners are exchanged on both sides, Al-Kamil enters Damietta on September 8. The Fifth Crusade ends with nothing gained for the West, with much lost, men, resources and reputations. The Crusaders blame Frederick II for not being there. Pelagius is accused of ineffectual leadership and a misguided view, which has led to rejecting the sultan's peace offerings.[7]

Mongol Empire[edit]

  • Spring – Genghis Khan orders an armed reconnaissance expedition into the Caucasus (consisting of Georgia and Armenia) under the command of Subutai and Jebe (the Arrow). The Mongols defeat two Georgian armies around Tbilisi, but lack the will or equipment to siege the capital city. During the fighting, King George IV himself is severely wounded and his elite knights are massacred. The Mongols then return to Azerbaijan and Persia, and burn and pillage a few more cities. In October, the Mongol army raids Georgia for the second time, and Subutai and Jebe allow their forces to pass through the Caucasus Mountains.[8]
  • Battle of Parwan: Sultan Jalal al-Din Mangburni recruits an army of Turkic and Afghan warriors numbering some 60,000 men. As soon as news of this reaches Genghis Khan he sends a Mongol army of 30,000 men, led by his stepbrother Shikhikhutug. Meanwhile, Jalal al-Din moves to Parwan (modern Afghanistan), where the two armies meet in a narrow valley. Jalal al-Din takes the initiative, ordering his right-wing of Turks to dismount and engage in a skirmish. On the third day, the Mongols are finally defeated by the Khwarezmian forces and are forced to retreat. Shikhikhutug is driven off in defeat, losing over half his army.[9]
  • February – The cities of Merv, Herat and Nishapur who have peacefully surrendered rise up in arms. Genghis Khan sends his son Tolui to spend an extra month to subdue the revolts. Contemporary scholars report over a million people are systematically killed in a genocide. Meanwhile, left with some 20,000 men Jalal al-Din Mangburni heads for the Indus River to find refuge in India. During autumn, Genghis makes his way to Parwan and catches up to Jalal al-Din at the Indus River. In a desperate battle on November 24 the Khwarezmain forces are destroyed, while Jalal al-Din flees across the river and escapes into India.[10]


  • June 16 – In Germany, the Jewish population is massacred at Erfurt, after a ritual murder libel. A crowd storms the synagogue where the Jews have gathered. The threat is baptism or death. The Jewish quarter, including the synagogue, is razed: many Jews are tortured and killed.
  • Siege of Tallinn: An Estonian Crusader army tries to conquer the Danish stronghold of Tallinn with the help of Revalians, Harrians and Vironians. They besiege the stronghold for 14 days but finally retreat their forces.







  1. ^ George Akropolites (2007). The History, p. 160. Trans. Ruth Macrides. New York: Oxford University Press.
  2. ^ Steven Runciman (1952). A History of The Crusades. Vol III: The Kingdom of Acre, p. 140. ISBN 978-0-241-29877-0.
  3. ^ Steven Runciman (1952). A History of The Crusades. Vol III: The Kingdom of Acre, pp. 140–141. ISBN 978-0-241-29877-0.
  4. ^ Steven Runciman (1952). A History of The Crusades. Vol III: The Kingdom of Acre, p. 141. ISBN 978-0-241-29877-0.
  5. ^ Maalouf, Amin (2006). The Crusades through Arab Eyes, pp. 225–226. Saqi Books. ISBN 978-0-863-56023-1.
  6. ^ Steven Runciman (1952). A History of The Crusades. Vol III: The Kingdom of Acre, pp. 141–142. ISBN 978-0-241-29877-0.
  7. ^ Steven Runciman (1952). A History of The Crusades. Vol III: The Kingdom of Acre, pp. 142–143. ISBN 978-0-241-29877-0.
  8. ^ Steven Runciman (1952). A History of The Crusades. Vol III: The Kingdom of Acre, p. 207. ISBN 978-0-241-29877-0.
  9. ^ Tanner, Stephen (2009). Afghanistan - A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War against the Taliban, p. 94. Da Capo Press.
  10. ^ Steven Runciman (1952). A History of The Crusades. Vol III: The Kingdom of Acre, pp. 205–206. ISBN 978-0-241-29877-0.
  11. '^ Agnes Mure MacKenzie (1957). The Foundations of Scotland, p. 251.
  12. ^ Perkins, George W. (August 1998). "Mourning Attire". The Clear Mirror: A Chronicle of the Japanese Court During the Kamakura Period (1185-1333). Stanford University Press. p. 59. ISBN 0804763887.
  13. ^ Richard Bodley Scott; Graham Briggs; Rudy Scott Nelson (2009). Blood and Gold: The Americas at War. Osprey Publishing. p. 35. ISBN 978-1846036910. Archived from the original on December 27, 2014. Retrieved December 27, 2014.
  14. ^ Bancroft, Hubert Howe (1883). The native races. 1882-86. British Columbia: History Company.
  15. ^ V.A. Kuchkin (1986). О дате рождения Александра Невского [About the Birthdate of Alexander Nevsky]. Вопросы истории [Questions of History] (in Russian) (2): 174–176. Archived from the original on February 22, 2015.
  16. ^ Rayborn, Tim (October 9, 2014). "Popular Religion, Heresy and Mendicancy". Against the Friars: Antifraternalism in Medieval France and England. McFarland. p. 17. ISBN 978-0786468317.
  17. ^ Francisco Márquez Villanueva; Carlos Alberto Vega (1990). Alfonso X of Castile, the learned king, 1221-1284: an international symposium, Harvard University, 17 November 1984. Dept. of Romance Languages and Literatures of Harvard University. p. 165. ISBN 0940940434.
  18. ^ M. Walsh, ed. (1991). Butler's Lives of the Saints. New York: HarperCollins. p. 216.
  19. ^ Perkins, Charles Callahan (1864). "The Arca Di S. Domenico.". Tuscan sculptors: their lives, works and times, Volume 1. Longman, Green, Longman, Roberts, & Green. p. 19. Saint Dominic 1221 August 6.