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|Ab urbe condita||2034|
|Balinese saka calendar||1202–1203|
|English Regnal year||9 Edw. 1 – 10 Edw. 1|
|Chinese calendar||庚辰年 (Metal Dragon)|
3977 or 3917
— to —
辛巳年 (Metal Snake)
3978 or 3918
|- Vikram Samvat||1337–1338|
|- Shaka Samvat||1202–1203|
|- Kali Yuga||4381–4382|
|Japanese calendar||Kōan 4|
|Minguo calendar||631 before ROC|
|Thai solar calendar||1823–1824|
1407 or 1026 or 254
— to —
1408 or 1027 or 255
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to 1281.|
- August 15 – Battle of Kōan (Hakata Bay): The second Mongol invasion of Japan is foiled, as a large typhoon – famously called a kamikaze, or divine wind – destroys much of the combined Chinese and Korean fleet and forces, numbering over 140,000 men and 4,000 ships.
- Kublai Khan orders the burning of sacred Taoist texts, resulting in the reduction in number of volumes of the Daozang (Taoist Canon) from 4,565 to 1,120.
- The Mon Kingdom of Hariphunchai falls as its capital Lamphun (in modern-day Thailand) is captured by King Mangrai's Lannathai Kingdom.
- October 29 – Second Battle of Homs: Mamluk sultan Qalawun defeats an invasion of Syria, by Mongol Ilkhan Abaqa Khan.
- Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire, becomes bey of the Söğüt tribe in central Anatolia; in 1299 he will declare independence from the Seljuk Turks, marking the birth of the Ottoman Empire.
- An offensive by the Byzantine Empire significantly reduces the size of the Kingdom of Albania, as it recaptures land seized from the Despotate of Epirus by Charles I of Sicily 10 years earlier.
- New Pope Martin IV excommunicates Michael VIII Palaiologos, who has newly re-established the Byzantine Empire in Constantinople, and authorizes Charles I of Anjou to make a Crusade against him, but this will be suspended the following year by the outbreak of the War of the Sicilian Vespers.
- July – Niccolò Bonsignori heads a hundred of Ghibelline exiles, in a failed attempt to topple the Sienese government.
- Guy of Dampierre, count of Flanders, licenses the first Lombard merchants to open a changing business in his realm.
- December 25 – Alice de Lacy, 4th Countess of Lincoln (d. 1348)
- Castruccio Castracani, duke of Lucca (d. 1328)
- Yuri III Danilovich, Grand Prince of Russia (d. 1325)
- Agnes of Austria, queen consort of Hungary (d. 1364)
- Henry, 3rd Earl of Lancaster (d. 1345)
- Hamdallah Mustawfi, Ilkhanid Iranian historian (d. 1349)
- Rudolf I of Bohemia (d. 1307)
- Sancia of Majorca, queen consort and regent of Naples (approximate date) (d. 1345)
- February 16 – Gertrude of Hohenberg, queen consort of Germany (b. c.1225)
- September 10 – John II, Margrave of Brandenburg-Stendal (b. 1237)
- October 8 – Princess Constance of Greater Poland (b. c.1245)
- December 24 – Henry V, Count of Luxembourg (b. 1216)
- date unknown – Ertuğrul, Turkish father of Osman I (b. 1198)
- Munro, John H. (2003). "The Medieval Origins of the Financial Revolution". The International History Review. 15 (3): 506–562.