When Pope Benedict XVI announced Monday morning that he would step down at the end of the month, the news spread around the world in minutes.
The last time this happened, things were a bit different.
When Pope Celestine V abdicated in December 1294, five months after being elected, just 37 years had passed since the first recorded meeting of the seven electors of the Holy Roman Empire, according to Ohio State University’s History Timeline.
Only three years had passed since the Crusades had ended, and a scant 79 years —a single human lifetime — had gone by since King John of England signed the Magna Carta.
A few scratches with a pencil will tell you Celestine abdicated 719 years ago. But let’s have some more context. That same year, Kubla Khan, the last of the great Mongol rulers, died.
The next year, Marco Polo returned from China, full of all sorts of stories about the Far East and its exciting products. Accounts vary, but he is widely credited with introducing Europe to the ideas of paper money, coal and eyeglasses, among other things.
There is much more to this story from NBC News, to read about it CLICK HERE.