1141 (The People's Chronology)
England's King Stephen is surprised and captured in February while laying siege to Lincoln Castle (see 1139). Scotland's David I has rallied to the support of his niece Matilda, and Geoffrey de Mandeville, 1st earl of Essex, deserts Stephen to join her, but although she reigns for 6 months as "Domina of the English" ("Domina Anglorum"), granting Geoffrey something akin to viceregal powers in Essex, Stephen's supporters secure his release in exchange for Matilda's half brother Robert, earl of Gloucester, illegitimate son of the late Henry I. Stephen's queen brings Essex back to the royalist side by granting him further concessions, Matilda's forces are routed at Winchester in September, Stephen regains his throne November 1, and he formally grants Essex wide powers in London, Middlesex, and Hertfordshire in December (see 1142).
The Irish king of Leinster Dermot Macmurrough (Diarmaid Macmurchada) establishes his authority over northern Leinster by having 17 rival chieftains killed or blinded. Now 32, Macmurrough inherited his title 15 years ago upon the death of his father, Enna (see 1153).
The margrave of Austria Leopold IV dies, and the German king Conrad III grants the margravate in fief to Leopold's brother (and his own half brother) Heinrich II Jasomirgott, 27.
Hungary's blind king Belá II dies after a 10-year reign in which he has taken terrible revenge on his opponents; he is succeeded by Géza II, who will reign until 1161.
The Japanese emperor Sutoku abdicates at age 22 after an 18-year reign and is succeeded by his younger brother, who will reign until his death in 1155 as the emperor Konoe.
China's patriotic general Yue Fei (Yüeh Fei) is put to death at age 38 (approximate), having been imprisoned for insisting on a continuation of the war against the Nüzhen (Juchen) on his northern frontier; the Southern Song (Sung) dynasty emperor Gaozong (Kao-tsung) has made war with the tribesmen who captured his brother Qinzong and their late father, Huizong, in 1127; Yue Fei has gone on the offensive and recovered some of the lands south of the Yangtze and Huai rivers, but his prime minister Qin Gui (Ch'in Kuei) has regarded the war as too costly and signs a peace treaty relinquishing the territory to the Nüzhen (but see 1162).
Poet-philosopher Judah (Yehuda ben Shemuel) ha-Levi dies in Egypt in July at age 66 (approximate), having failed to reach the Holy Land (see 1140). He leaves as his chief philosophical work the Book of Proof and Argument in Defense of the Despised Faith (Sefer ha-Kuzari), based on the conversion of the Turkic-speaking Khazars of Central Eurasia being converted to Judaism about 400 years ago and categorizes revealed religion as superior to philosophic and rational belief.