Borobudur, or Barabudur (a Mahayana Buddhist temple in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia, as well as the world's largest Buddhist temple, and also one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world) is built (approximate date).
Battle of Talas: First recorded encounter (and the last) between Arab and Chinese forces. The rulers of Tashkent and Ferghana are both nominal vassals of the Tang Dynasty; the Chinese have intervened on behalf of Ferghana in a conflict between the two; the Abbasid Caliphate, competing with the Chinese for control of Central Asia, has become involved. Arab forces from Samarkand have marched to challenge a Chinese army (30,000 men) under Gao Xianzhi. Gao has had a series of military victories in the region, but his Turkish contingent, Karluk mercenaries, defects. Out of 10,000 Tang troops, only 2,000 manage to return from the Talas River to China. The Arabs triumph, and they will remain the dominant force in Transoxiana for the next 150 years.
Muslim introduction of papermaking: The first paper mill in the Islamic world begins production at Samarkand. Captured craftsmen, taken at the Battle of Talas River, have by some accounts revealed the technique of papermaking (although paper may have arrived from China much earlier via the Silk Road). Arab scholars will use paper to produce translations of Ancient Greek and Roman writings.
Like the storm of 721, the storm of this year at the southern Chinese seaport of Yangzhou reportedly destroys over 1,000 ships engaged in canal and river traffic (approximate date).
First Muslim assault on Sardinia under Abd al-Rahman ibn Habib al-Fihri, perhaps the beginning of the occupation of the island by the Muslim Arabs that lasts until 1005. He also attempts to invade Sicily, but finds the defenses too strong.
Jianzhen, Chinese Buddhist monk, arrives in Nara, where he is welcomed by former emperor Shōmu and empress Kōmyō. During his visit Jianzhen introduces sugar to the Japanese court, using it to mask the flavors of foul-tasting herbal tea.
A Tang census shows that 75% of the Chinese live north of the Chang Jiang (Yangtze) River. The capital of Chang'an has a population of 2 million and more than 25 other cities have well over 500,000 citizens (approximate date).
Battle of Marcellae: Constantine V sends a Byzantine expeditionary force (500 ships and 6,000 cavalry) to Thrace, and defeats the Bulgars around the Danube Delta and near the fortress city of Markeli (modern Bulgaria). Kormisosh is forced to accept a peace treaty, and confirms the existing frontier. Due to the constant political crisis, the Bulgarian Empire is on the verge of destruction. Kormisosh is deposed during a palace coup and succeeded by Vinekh, a member of the Vokil clan.
Ibn al-Muqaffa', Muslim writer and thinker, is tortured at Basra (modern Iraq), on orders from Caliph al-Mansur. His limbs are severed and he is thrown, still alive, into a burning oven (approximate date).
Battle of Yongqiu: A Tang garrison (2,000 men), under Zhang Xun, successfully defend their fortress against the rebel army at Yongqiu. Zang achieves a victory after a 4-month siege, and prevents the rebels from capturing the fertile Tang territory south of the Huai River.
February 5 – An Lushan declares himself emperor at Luoyang, establishing a new empire, called the Great Yan. He pushes on towards the primary Tang capital at Chang'an (now Xi'an). An decides to seize southern China, to cut off loyalist reinforcements. Meanwhile, numerous soldiers join the rebellion.
May – Emperor Xuan Zong hires 4,000 Muslim mercenaries to help defend Chang'an against the rebels. Loyalist forces take defensible positions in the mountain passes, but chancellor Yang Guozhong gives orders for them to leave their posts. An Lushan crushes the Tang troops, leaving the capital wide open.
July 15 – Xuan Zong is ordered by his Imperial Guards to execute Yang Guozhong, by forcing him to commit suicide or face a mutiny. He permits his consort Yang Guifei to be strangled by his chief eunuch. An Lushan also has other members of the emperor's family killed.
August 12 – Xuan Zong abdicates the throne after a 44-year reign. He is succeeded by his son Su Zong, as emperor of the Tang Dynasty. He hires 22,000 Muslim mercenaries to reinforce his decimated army at Lingzhou.
Battle of Suiyang: A Tang garrison (7,000 men) under Zhang Xun defend their fortress against the rebel army at Suiyang. Zhang makes multiple attempts to get food from nearby fortresses, but this is refused. After a desperate 10-month siege, Suiyang is overrun by rebel forces who take the city. Because of famine an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 citizens are cannibalized, only 400 people are left.
June – Abbasid Arabs and Uyghur Turks arrive simultaneously at the Tang capital of Chang'an, in order to offer tribute to the imperial court. The Arabs and Turks bicker and fight over diplomatic prominence at the gate, to present tribute before the other. A settlement is reached when both are allowed to enter at the same time, but through different gates to the palace.
An Lushan Rebellion: Tang forces under Guo Ziyi lay siege to the city of Yanjing (Northern China) as they increase their efforts to end the rebellion. The fighting creates such a shortage of food within its walls that rats sell at enormous prices.