AmericaThe last major volcanic eruption occurs of Sunset Crater, in Arizona.
AsiaDuring the third year of the Jishō era of Japan, a devastating whirlwind damages Kyoto.
Emperor Antoku succeeds Emperor Takakura as emperor of Japan.
Prince Mochihito amasses a large army and instigates the Genpei War between the Taira and Minamoto clans.
Kilij Arslan II allies with Saladin after the death of Byzantine Emperor Manuel I Komnenos.
EuropeApril 13 – Frederick Barbarossa issues the Gelnhausen Charter.
September 24 – Alexios II Komnenos succeeds as Byzantine Emperor on the death of his father Manuel I Komnenos.
September 18 – Philip II becomes King of France.
Afonso I of Portugal is taken prisoner by Ferdinand II of León.
The Portuguese admiral D. Fuas Roupinho wins a second victory in two years against the Almohad fleet.
Artois is annexed by France.
Frederick Barbarossa removes Henry the Lion from the Duchy of Saxony, and creates the Duchies of Westphalia and Styria.
The Wittelsbach family takes control of Bavaria.
CultureAlexander Neckam becomes a lecturer in Paris, and writes De Natura Rerum, an early mention of chess (approximate date).
DemographyEstimation: Hangzhou, capital of Southern Song China, becomes the largest city of the world, taking the lead from Fes in the Almohad Empire.
Jayavarman VII defeats the Cham and assumes control of the Khmer kingdom.
The Yowa era, marked by famine, begins in Japan.
After a series of defeats, the Almohad navy, under the admiral Ahmad al-Siqilli, crushes the Portuguese fleet and reassert their control over the Atlantic Ocean.
The word Albigensians is first used by chronicler Geoffroy du Breuil of Vigeois to describe the inhabitants of Albi, France.
Philip Augustus annuls all loans made by Jews to Christians and takes a percentage for himself. A year later, he confiscates all Jewish property and expels the Jews from Paris.
ScienceChinese and Japanese astronomers observe what has since come to be understood as supernova SN 1181. One of only eight supernovae in the Milky Way observed in recorded history, it appears in the constellation Cassiopeia and is visible in the night sky for about 185 days. The radio source 3C58 is thought to be the remnant from this event.
Guilhem VIII, lord of Montpellier in France, frees the teaching of medicine from any monopoly (January).
ReligionSeptember 1 – Pope Lucius III succeeds Pope Alexander III as the 171st pope.
AsiaRaynald of Chatillon has seven ships freighted over the isthmus of Suez, which he then uses to pillage the shores of the Red Sea, as far as the gates of Mecca.
The Yowa era, marked by famine, ends in Japan.
Battle of Palnadu: The Kalachuri civil war ends in victory for the Palanati Kalachuris of India, and their leader, Nalagama Raju.
Genghis Khan is captured and carried in a cage to a rival's camp.
EuropeCanute VI is crowned king of Denmark.
Serbia allies itself with Hungary to gain independence.
The first Sejm, or Polish Parliament, convenes at Łęczyca.
The Jews are expelled from Paris by Philip II of France.
Massacre of the Latins in Constantinople.
Béla III of Hungary sacks the city of Belgrade.
While trying to enter by surprise in the harbor of Ceuta to sink Muslim ships, the Portuguese admiral D. Fuas Roupinho is spotted and killed.
Foiled Sicilian attempt to dislodge Moorish fleet from Majorca.
ReligionThe Maronites reestablish their affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church.
June 25 – The Peace of Constance is signed between Frederick Barbarossa and the Lombard League.
Three-year-old Emperor Go-Toba ascends to the throne of Japan after the forced abdication of his brother Emperor Antoku during the Genpei War.
August 14 – Taira no Munemori and the Taira clan take the young Emperor Antoku and the three sacred treasures and flee to western Japan to escape pursuit by the Minamoto clan (traditional Japanese date: Twenty-fifth Day of the Seventh Month of the Second Year of Juei).
William of Tyre is excommunicated by the newly appointed Heraclius of Jerusalem, firmly ending their struggle for power.
Andronicus I Comnenus becomes Byzantine Emperor.
Joseph of Exeter writes the first account of a sport resembling cricket.
The Siege of Kerak is waged between the Ayyubids and the Crusaders, in which regent Guy of Lusignan refuses to fight.
Saladin conquers Syria and becomes sultan.
AfricaYaqub al-Mansur becomes the third Almohad Caliph.
The warlord Ali b. Ghaniya and his brother Yahya seize by surprise the Almohad-dominated cities of Constantine, Béjaïa and Algiers. While they are away from their base in Mallorca, one of their brothers, Muhammad, takes control of the island and calls in the Almohads whom intend to capture Mallorca for themselves. The Banu Ghaniya reenforcement arrives just in time from Africa to defeat the Almohads and reassert their domination of the island.
AsiaFebruary 19 – Second Battle of Uji: Minamoto no Yoshinaka is defeated by his cousins, Yoshitsune and Yoritomo, for the control of Japan.
EuropeJune 15 – Battle of Fimreite: King Sverre of Norway defeats and kills his rival, Magnus Erlingsson, to take the throne.
The Almohads reconquer the Alentejo (except Évora) and besiege Lisbon on land and blockade the port with their navy. A Portuguese soldier manages to swim to the largest ship of the fleet and to sink it. This ship was so tall, it would have allowed the Muslims to easily reach the walls of the city. The next day, the Almohads have to retreat, taking with them a number of civilian captives. The Almohad army continues its campaign by the siege of Santarém, where the caliph, Abu Yaqub Yusuf is killed.
The city of Abbeville receives its commercial charter.
Archbishop Absalon of Lund wins a naval victory over Bogislav, duke of Pomerania.
The streets of Paris in France are paved by order of Philip Augustus.
A great fire at Glastonbury Abbey destroys several buildings.
In England, first royal ordinance demanding that the knights Templar and Hospitaller assist in the collection of taxes.
ReligionThe Papal bull Ad Abolendam is issued against several European heretical groups: the Cathars, the Waldensians, the Patarines and the Humiliati. It is created after a landmark meeting in Verona between the Holy Roman Empire under Frederick Barbarossa and the Catholic Church under Pope Lucius III.
AfricaThe Almohads reconquer Béjaïa and Algiers that had been taken by the Banu Ghaniya, descendants of the Almoravids.
AsiaApril 25 – Genpei War: The naval Battle of Dan-no-ura leads to a Minamoto victory in Japan, and the death of Emperor Antoku.
Mohammad of Ghur takes Punjab and Lahore, overthrowing the Ghaznavids.
The Heian period ends and the Kamakura period begins in Japan.
=British isles=Henry II of England knights his heir John of England and sends him to Ireland to enforce English control. According to Gerald of Wales, the only witness to chronicle the expedition, it is a disaster in which money is wasted on alcohol and the Irish chieftains are scorned into uniting against a common enemy. By the end of the year, John has returned to England in defeat. Nonetheless, Henry gets him named King of Ireland by Pope Urban III and procures a golden crown with peacock feathers.
Templars settle in London and begin building the New Temple Church.
=Eastern Europe=August 15 – The cave city of Vardzia is consecrated by Queen Tamar of Georgia.
August 24 – the Byzantine city of Thessalonica is sacked by the Norman Sicilian troops.
September 11/12 – Isaac II Angelos leads a revolt in the Byzantine Empire which deposes Andronikos I Komnenos and ends the Komnenos dynasty.
November 7 – Byzantine general Alexios Branas decisively defeats the Normans at the Battle of Demetritzes, ending the Norman invasion of the Byzantine Empire.
Peter and John Asen lead a revolt of the Vlachs and Bulgars against the Byzantine Empire, eventually establishing the Second Bulgarian Empire.
Igor Svyatoslavich's failed campaign against the Cumans, later immortalized in The Tale of Igor's Campaign
AstronomyMay 1 – Solar eclipse of 1 May 1185, visible across Central America, Northern and Eastern Europe and Kazakhstan.
MarketsFirst evidence that the king of England is using the safes of the New Temple in London under the guard of the Knights Templar to store part of his treasure.
ReligionNovember 25 – Pope Urban III succeeds Pope Lucius III as the 172nd pope.
January 27 – Constance of Sicily marries Henry (the future Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor).
John the Chanter becomes Bishop of Exeter.
The Byzantine Empire recognizes the independence of Bulgaria and Serbia.
Joscius becomes Archbishop of Tyre.
Jayavarman VII, the king of Cambodia, founds the temple of Ta Prohm.
After the death of the child-king Baldwin V, his mother succeeds him as Sibylla of Jerusalem and appoints her disfavoured husband Guy de Lusignan king consort. This comes as a shock to Jerusalem's court, who had earlier forced the possible future Queen into promising that should she become so, she would not appoint him the title.
AmericaThe Toltecs are deposed at Chichen Itza.
AfricaThe Almohad caliph, Yaqub al-Mansur, reconquers the city of Gabes Ifriqiya from the Almoravid pretender, Ali b. Ghaniya.
AsiaMay 1 – Battle of Cresson: Saladin defeats the crusaders.
July 4 – Battle of Hattin: Saladin defeats Guy of Lusignan, King of Jerusalem.
September 20–October 2 – Siege of Jerusalem: Saladin captures Jerusalem.
King Jayavarman VII of Ankor Vat defeats the Cham conquerors.
Ghorin Muhammed conquers Punjab.
EuropeOctober 29 – Pope Gregory VIII issues the bull Audita tremendi, proposing the Third Crusade.
Alexius Branas attempts to seize Constantinople in defiance of his master Isaac II Angelus.
Pillage of Sigtuna. Estonians, Curonians and/or Karelians raid Sigtuna town in Sweden and kill the archbishop Johannes.
Knut Eriksson builds a castle in the island of Stockholm in Sweden.
Genoa takes Bonifacio (in Corsica) from Pisa.
Glanvill, an official of King Henry II, describes how villeins can be free (approximate date).
Florence takes control of the neighboring city of Empoli.
MarketsTo finance the siege of Zara, the Doge of Venice grants the benefits of the revenue from the salt tax to a consortium of creditors. Pledging the income from the Salt Office becomes a staple of the city's finance.
ReligionOctober 21 – Pope Gregory VIII succeeds Pope Urban III as the 173rd pope.
The Cathedral of St. Jacob is consecrated in Szczecin, Pomerania.
Saladin unsuccessfully besieges the Hospitaller fortress of Krak des Chevaliers in modern Syria.
Newgate Prison is built in London.
Richard Lionheart allies with Philip II of France against his father, Henry II of England.
Giraldus Cambrensis and Baldwin of Exeter travel through Wales attempting to recruit men for the Third Crusade.
The "Saladin tithe" is levied in England.
Alfonso IX of León becomes king of Leon.
Queen Tamar of Georgia marries David Soslan.
The legendary Cutting of the elm occurs at Gisors in Normandy.
Alfonso IX of León convened at the Basilica of San Isidoro the Cortes of León with representatives of the nobility, clergy and towns. These Cortes are considered as the first parliament in Europe.
AsiaFebruary 18 – Emperor Xiaozong abdicates to Emperor Guangzong.
The beginning of the siege of Acre.
The Crusader castles of Montreal and Kerak are captured by Saladin.
EuropeJanuary 21 – Philip II of France and Henry II of England begin to assemble troops to wage the Third Crusade.
July 27 – Friedrich Barbarossa arrives at Niš, the capital of Serbian King Stefan Nemanja, during the Third Crusade.
August 29 – Ban Kulin writes The Charter of Kulin, which becomes a symbolic "birth certificate" of Bosnian language and statehood.
Henry II of England ends a war against Philip II of France & Richard I of England by agreeing to their terms: he pays Philip 20,000 marks and recognizes Richard as the heir to the English throne. Henry is brokenhearted to find that his second heir, John, had also allied against him in the war. He dies within a few months.
September 3 – Richard the Lionheart is crowned as King of England. He immediately begins selling castles, lordships, privileges, and towns to fund his long-anticipated crusade against Saladin.
The town of Dundalk in the Ireland gains its charter.
Sancho I of Portugal conquers Silves and Alvor with the help of the troops of the Third Crusade.
Henry Fitz Ailwyn is Elected Mayor of the City Of London (Inside of London, England).
Sicilian nobles elect bastard Tancred, Count of Lecce their new king instead of the designated heiress Princess Constance and her husband Prince Henry of Holy Roman Empire to avoid German rule.
1185 – Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (leprosy)