- Song dynasty loses power over Northern China
- First, Second, and Third Crusades of western European kingdoms against Islam
- Pope Adrian IV granted overlordship of Ireland to Henry II of England.
- Suger rebuilds the abbey church at St Denis north of Paris, seen as first Gothic building
- Portugal declares independence from the kingdom of León and Castille in 1139 (traditionally said to have been recognised by Leon and Castille in 1143).
- Nalanda, the great Indian Buddhist educational centre, was destroyed.
- Peter Abelard, one of the first scholastic philosophers
- Bernard of Clairvaux, French abbot influential in church politics
- Saladin, ruler of Egypt and Syria who resisted the Crusaders
- Hugh of St. Victor, French scholar
- Richard of St. Victor, theologian
- Alfonso I Henriques, first King of Portugal
- Maimonides, leading Jewish philosopher