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The 1440s decade ran from January 1, 1440, to December 31, 1449.
- February 21 – The Prussian Confederation is formed.
- April 9 – Christopher of Bavaria is elected King of Denmark.
- April – Murad II lays siege to Belgrade. The city is heavily damaged, but the defenders' use of artillery prevents the Turks from capturing the city.
- September 13 – Gilles de Rais is taken into custody, upon an accusation brought against him by the Bishop of Nantes.
- September – The term of Regent of Sweden Karl Knutsson Bonde ends, as newly elected king of Denmark Christopher of Bavaria is also elected king of Sweden.
- October 22 – Breton knight Gilles de Rais confesses, and is sentenced to death.
- Itzcóatl, Aztec ruler of Tenochtitlan, dies and is succeeded by Moctezuma I (Moctezuma Ilhuicamina).
- Lorenzo Valla's De falso credita et ementita Constantini Donatione declamatio demonstrates that the Donation of Constantine is a forgery.
- Eton College is founded by Henry VI of England.
- Sir Richard Molyneux is appointed constable of Liverpool Castle, in England.
- The Ming Dynasty government of China begins a decade-long series of issuing harsh edicts towards those who illegally mine silver, the latter known as 'miner bandits' (kuangzei), a trend begun in 1438. The government wants to cap the amount of silver circulating into the market, as more grain taxes are converted into silver taxes. The government establishes community night watches known as 'watches and tithings' (baojia), who ensure that illegal mining activities are brought to a halt. However, these are desperate measures, as illegal silver mining continues to thrive as a dangerous but lucrative venture.
- Zhu Quan writes the Cha Pu ("Tea manual") in China.
- February – The Republic of Venice annexes the seigniory of Ravenna, ending the da Polenta Dynasty.
- February 12 – King's College, Cambridge, is founded by King Henry VI of England.
- March 1 – Battle of Samobor: The army of Ulrich II, Count of Celje, defeats the army of Stjepan Banić at Samobor, Croatia in union with Hungary.
- November 10 – Alfonso V of Aragon lays siege to Naples.
- November 20 – The Peace of Cremona (1441) ends the war between the Republic of Venice and the Duchy of Milan.
- Ouagadougou becomes the capital of the Mossi Kingdoms.
- Two subjects of the Ethiopian Empire attend a Christian ecclesiastical council at Florence as part of negotiations concerning a possible union of Coptic Orthodoxy and the Latin Church. This is the earliest recorded contact of the Ethiopian branch of the Coptic Church with Europe.
- A revolt occurs in the Mayan nation of Mayapan; the Maya civilization splits into warring city-states.
- With the help of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, governor Hacı I Giray declares his province independent of the Golden Horde and establishes the Crimean Khanate.
- Nuno Tristão reaches the Ras Nouadhibou (Cabo Branco) on the western coast of Africa. This is probably the first voyage where a caravel is used for maritime exploration.
- The first black African slaves are brought to Europe at Lagos in Kingdom of Portugal.
- March 18–25 – Battle of Hermannstadt: John Hunyadi defeats an army of the Ottoman Empire 80,000 strong, led by Mesid Bey of Vidin, near Sibiu in Transylvania.
- June 2 – Alfonso of Aragon proclaims himself King of Naples.
- September – John Hunyadi defeats another army of the Ottoman Empire (70,000 strong), led by Hadım Şehabeddin, Beylerbey (or governor) of Rumelia, near the Ialomița River. Following this, he places Basarab II as ruler of Wallachia.
- The community of Rauma, Finland is granted its town rights.
- The municipality of Juva, Finland is founded.
- The national law of Kristofers landslag is introduced in Sweden.
- After being imprisoned (before September) by the Sultan, Vlad II Dracul is temporarily replaced, as ruler of Wallachia, by his son Mircea II.
- A fourth tower is added to Liverpool Castle in England.
- Jelena Balšić completes writing the Gorički zbornik manuscripts at her church of St. Mary, on the island of Beška in the Serbian Despotate.
- Portuguese sailors first arrive at the Senegal River
- July 22 – Battle of St. Jakob an der Sihl (Old Zürich War): The forces of the city of Zürich are defeated, but the Swiss Confederacy have insufficient strength to besiege and take the city.
- April 15 – Queens' College, Cambridge is first founded by Margaret of Anjou.
- November 8 – Battle of Niš: John Hunyadi and the army of the Crusade of Varna defeat three armies of the Ottoman Empire, and capture the city of Niš in modern-day Serbia; Skanderbeg deserts the Ottoman camp and goes to Albania.
- November 28 – Skanderbeg and his forces, rebelling against the Ottoman Empire, liberate Krujë, in Middle Albania, and raise the Albanian flag.
- In Moldavia, the conflict between brothers and co-rulers Iliaș and Stephen II reignites, and Stephen captures Iliaș and blinds him, thus remaining sole ruler of the country.
- Portuguese explorer Nuno Tristão penetrates the Arguin Gulf, off the west coast of Africa.
- King Sejong the Great establishes Hangul, as the native alphabet of the Korean language.
- Vlad II Dracul begins his second term as ruler of Wallachia, succeeding Basarab II.
- The Buddhist Zhihua Temple (智化寺) is built in Beijing, at the order of Wang Zhen, chief eunuch at the court of the Zhengtong Emperor of Ming Dynasty China.
- A powerful earthquake destroys the Timișoara Fortress in Kingdom of Hungary
- March 2 – The League of Lezhë, an alliance of Albanian principalities, is established in Lezhë; George Kastrioti Skanderbeg is proclaimed commander of the Albanian resistance.
- May 22 – The Treaty of Tours, signed between England and France, secures a truce in the Hundred Years' War for five years.
- June 15 – Cosimo de' Medici founds the Laurentian Library in Florence.
- June 29 – Battle of Torvioll: Skanderbeg defeats an Ottoman army.
- August 8 – A Portuguese fleet of caravels, led by Lançarote de Freitas, lands 235 slaves at Algarve, Portugal.
- August 15 – The Peace of Szeged is signed between the Turkish Ottoman Empire and Hungary.
- August 26 – Old Zürich War – Battle of St. Jakob an der Birs: Charles VII of France, seeking to send away troublesome troops made idle by the truce with England, sends his son (the Dauphin Louis) with a large army into Switzerland, to support the claims of Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor. The massively outnumbered Swiss force is destroyed in this battle, but inflict such casualties on the French that they withdraw.
- August – After making peace with the Karamanids, Ottoman Sultan Murad II abdicates in favor of his son Mehmed II.
- November 10 – Battle of Varna: The crusading forces of King Władysław III of Poland and Hungary are crushed by the Turks, under Sultan Murad II. Władysław is killed, ending the Jagiellonian Union of Hungary and Poland.
- Constantine XI Palaiologos, as ruler of the Despotate of the Morea, invades the Duchy of Athens (at this time under Florentine control), and forces it to pay tribute and return Thebes to the Byzantine Empire.
- Forces of the Sultan of Egypt fail to take Rhodes from the Knights of Rhodes.
- Portuguese explorers reach the mouth of the rivers Senegal and Gambia.
- The first European slave market for the sale of African slaves, the Mercado de Escravos, opens in Lagos, Portugal.
- A serious fire occurs at Old St Paul's Cathedral in London.
- The Iguvine Tablets are discovered at Gubbio, Italy.
- Stephen II of Moldavia takes as co-ruler his step brother Petru, also brother-in-law to John Hunyadi.
- October 10 – Battle of Mokra: The Albanian forces under Skanderbeg defeat the Ottoman forces (Pope Eugene IV raises a hymn of praise, that Christendom has been provided with a new defender, after he hears of the battle).
- The Portuguese set up their first trading post (Feitoria) in Africa, on the island of Arguin.
- Portuguese explorer Dinis Dias discovers the Cap-Vert, on the western coast of Africa.
- Battle of Gomit: Emperor Zara Yaqob of Ethiopia defeats and kills Sultan Arwe Badlay, of Adal.
- Vlad II Dracul, aided by a crusaders' fleet from Burgundy, attacks Giurgiu, and massacres the Ottoman garrison after their surrender.
- Stephen II remains sole ruler of Moldavia.
- September 27 – Battle of Otonetë: Skanderbeg defeats the Ottomans.
- Before October – Sultan Mehmed II of the Ottoman Empire is forced to abdicate, in favor of his father Murad II, by the Janissaries.
- October – Murad II invades Attica, forcing Constantine XI to return Thebes to the duchy of Athens, and remove the tribute imposed in 1444. Murad II imposes his own tribute.
- October 9 – The hangul alphabet is created in Korea, by King Sejong the Great of Joseon. The Hunmin Jeongeum, published during the year, is considered the start of this brand new scientific writing system.
- December 10 – After hesitating for several weeks, Sultan Murad II of the Ottoman Empire, destroys the Hexamilion wall, in an assault that includes cannons. Murad and the Ottoman governor of Thessaly, Turakhan Beg, ravage the Peloponnese Peninsula at will, with the Sultan devastating the northern shore, while Glarentza and Turakhan raid in the interior. The Despotate of the Morea is turned into an Ottoman vassal state.
- Nuno Tristão is killed by natives in the coast of Senegal.
- Portuguese navigator Álvaro Fernandes reaches the mouth of the Casamance River in Senegal.
- The Precious Belt Bridge in China is fully reconstructed.
- In Italy, the siege of Cremona, by the condottieri troops of Francesco Piccinino and Luigi dal Verme, is raised after the arrival of Scaramuccia da Forlì.
- The Blarney Stone is set into a tower of Blarney Castle in Blarney, County Cork in Ireland.
- March 6 – Pope Nicholas V succeeds Pope Eugene IV, to become the 208th pope.
- March 16 – A major fire destroys the centre of Valencia.
- July 15 – The Spanish Inquisition is revived.
- Roman II seizes the throne of Moldavia after killing his uncle, Stephen II, and will have his other uncle, Petru as co-ruler.
- The Siege of Soest occurs, in the course of the Soest Feud.
- According to Ryū's own sources, Iizasa Ienao founds Tenshin Shōden Katori Shintō-ryū, the earliest historically verifiable Japanese koryū martial art, that is still extant in modern times.
- January 6 – Christopher of Bavaria, King of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, dies with no designated heir, leaving all three kingdoms with vacant thrones. Brothers Bengt Jönsson Oxenstierna and Nils Jönsson Oxenstierna are selected to serve as co-regents of Sweden.
- August 14 – Battle of Oronichea: Albania is victorious over Venice.
- June 20 – The Regency period of Sweden ends with the election of Karl Knutsson Bonde, as King Charles VIII of Sweden.
- June 28 – Charles VIII of Sweden is publicly hailed as king at Mora Stones, and is crowned in Uppsala Cathedral the following day.
- September 28 – Christian of Oldenburg, betrothed to Queen Dowager Dorothea of Brandenburg, becomes King Christian I of Denmark.
- October 4 – Peace between Albania and Venice is established.
- October 17 – Battle of Kosovo: Hungarian forces under John Hunyadi are defeated by the Turks, due to Ottoman superiority.
- December – Jonas, a Russian bishop, is installed by the Council of Russian Bishops in Moscow, as Metropolitan of Kiev and All Rus; as this is without the consent of the Patriarch of Constantinople, it signifies the beginning of an effectively independent church structure in the Grand Duchy of Moscow.
- Queens' College, Cambridge is founded by Margaret of Anjou.
- The Vatican Library is founded by Pope Nicholas V.
- Vlad III the Impaler becomes reigning Prince of Wallachia for two months, before being deposed by Vladislav II.
- After a long episode of drought, flood, locust infestation, and famine in Ming Dynasty China since the year 1434, these natural afflictions finally wane, and agriculture and commerce return to a state of normality.
- Roman II flees to Poland, when an army sent by John Hunyadi, and led by Csupor de Monoszló, comes to put Petru on the throne of Moldavia. Petru dies suddenly, and Csupor takes on the throne for two months, as Ciubăr Vodă.
- January 6 – Constantine XI Palaiologos is crowned Byzantine Emperor at Mistra; he will be the last in a line of rulers, that can be traced to the founding of Rome.
- February – Alexăndrel seizes the throne of Moldavia, with the support of the boyars.
- April 7 – The last Antipope, Felix V, abdicates.
- April 19 – Pope Nicholas V is elected by the Council of Basel.
- April 25 – The Council of Basel dissolves itself.
- May 14 – Second Siege of Sfetigrad (1449): The Albanian garrison surrenders, and the Ottomans seize the fortress.
- May 20 – Battle of Alfarrobeira: King Afonso V of Portugal defeats the forces of Peter, Duke of Coimbra.
- August 13 – First Margrave War: Albrecht III Achilles, Elector of Brandenburg takes Lichtenau Fortress from Nuremberg.
- September 1 – Battle of Tumu Fortress: The Oirat Mongols defeat the Ming Dynasty army, and capture the Zhengtong Emperor of China; the latter is officially deposed, while his brother ascends as the Jingtai Emperor the next year.
- October – Bogdan II of Moldavia enters the country with troops from John Hunyadi, and takes on the throne after Alexăndrel flees.
- October 29 – The French recapture Rouen from the English.
- Hazlitt, W. Carew (1900). The Venetian Republic: Its Rise, its Growth, and its Fall, 421–1797. Volume II, 1423–1797. London: Adam and Charles Black. pp. 79–80.
- Green, Toby. A fistful of shells : West Africa from the rise of the slave trade to the age of revolution. Chicago. ISBN 9780226644578. OCLC 1051687994.
- Thomas, Hugh (1999). The Slave Trade: The Story of the Atlantic Slave Trade: 1440 - 1870. Simon and Schuster. pp. 22. ISBN 9780684835655.
- Setton, Kenneth M. (1978), The Papacy and the Levant (1204–1571), Volume II: The Fifteenth Century, DIANE Publishing, pp. 96–97, ISBN 0-87169-127-2
- "ИОНА". Retrieved 5 March 2015.
- "College History | Queens' College". www.queens.cam.ac.uk. Retrieved 2020-02-04.
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