The Reformation: A Most Significant Event

Multiple news outlets list the Reformation as one of the most significant events of the last 1000 years. Here’s how it ranks in Life magazine’s list of top ten events:

10. Invention of the nautical compass in 1117. Without it, the great voyages of discovery would never have happened.

9. Hitler comes to power, 1933. Hitler made genocide a multinational industry, escorting in a global war and a word we’d love to forget: the Holocaust.

8. Signing of the Declaration of Independence, 1776. By any measure, this path breaking document changed the course of human history.

7. China develops gunpowder weapons, 1100. Among its many affects, the invention gave colonizers a huge advantage over native populations.

6. The Germ Theory of Disease, 1882. Disease was once thought to be caused by evil spirits. Connecting germs to disease ushered in the science of microbiology and led to massive improvements in medicine and health.

5. Galileo sees the moons of Jupiter in 1610, supporting the idea that the earth and planets revolve around the sun.

4. The Industrial Revolution gears up, 1796, paving the way for urbanization, landscapes loaded with mines and quarries, and the exploitation of child labor.

3. Luther nails 95 Theses to the church door, 1517. Because of his skepticism about papal authority, indulgences, and the idea that church tradition was on par with holy scriptures. The reformation led to massive changes in the church, theology, the arts, philosophy, and the political landscape of Europe.

2. Christopher Columbus “discovers” a new world, 1492. Although stumbling upon it, Columbus’ adventurous spirit helped to create a new, global civilization.

1. Gutenberg prints the Bible, 1455. Throughout history, the ability to read and write had been confined to the elite. A growing middle class in Europe hungered for knowledge, and Gutenberg’s invention — which allowed for the mass production of the written word — unleashed an information epidemic that rages to this day.


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