Did a Pacific volcano change Western history?
From http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/book/may29.html: May 29, 1453 The 'fall' of Constantinople was preceded by heavenly wonders. On a Tuesday, Constantinople (now Istanbul) fell to the Turks, or, as it is said in the Muslim world, Constantinople was liberated, after a siege, ending the Byzantine Empire.
It was a major turning point in world history as Constantinople, founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, was a seat of learning and the tangible presence of Western civilization in the East. It has been said that the flight of many scholarly refugees from Constantinople to Italy was the single most important mainspring of the European Renaissance. Yet the antagonists of the siege of Constantinople had the minds of the Middle Ages era, and the effect of 'ominous' heavenly wonders probably affected the outcome ...