The Transformation of
Europe
1500-1800
1
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What is Europe?
“We know what it is until we stop to think about it.”
The greatest impression Europe made on me was
its figure: the Scandinavian dog up at the top,
the Italian boot at the bottom, the lunging
Iberian hammer. . .the ripped off islands away
in the West that looked as if they were
gradually being carried away to sea. Further
to the left there was just ocean; Europe is
obviously gazing outwards and bound for the
world!
2
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Sixteenth-century Europe
As the French leader De Gaulle once complained, “it
was almost impossible to govern a country that had
200 different kinds of cheese.”
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Europe, a “cramped little cluster of
nations.”
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1500
1600
1900
1000+ political units
500 political units
25 nations
Composite Civilization – no common culture,
even if a common religion
Mediterranean Sea functioned as a“wall,”
with little trade b/t Europe and other cultures.
4
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EUROPE IN 1500
“It’s relative weaknesses were more apparent than its
strengths.”
Western 1/5 of Eurasia, neither the oldest nor most impressive
civilization.
-soil not that fertile.
-population not that great (60-70 million)
-“awkward geopolitically”
-fragmented, no united Europe
-on the losing end of struggles with the Muslims
-most of its technology “borrowed” from Chinese and Muslim
states
-countries within Europe saw each other as rivals
-warfare “gunpowder” states – much violence, competition within
Europe
5
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Forces for Change in Europe
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Renaissance – Humanism (individualism) and
Secularization
Discovery of the Americas
Reformation and 200 years of church decline
Growth of national monarchies
Emergence of capitalism and an independent
merchant class
6
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EARLY MODERN EUROPE
1500-1800
Traditional
Modern
15TH
16TH
17TH
18TH
RENAISSANCE
PROTESTANT
REFORMATION
SCIENTIFIC
REVOLUTION
ENLIGHTENMENT
HUMANISM
SPLIT WITHIN THE
CHURCH
SCIENTIFIC METHOD“START FROM
SCRATCH”
“CLOCKWORK
UNIVERSE”
REASON
“CAPITALIST SPIRIT”
INTELLECTUAL
FREEDOM
SKEPTICISM
NATURAL LAWS
PROGRESS
OLD IMPERIALISM
“GOD, GOLD, GLORY”
SPAIN, PORTUGAL
SPAIN
NETHERLANDS
ENGLAND, FRANCE
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Why does Europe transform itself
between 1500-1800?

OPPORTUNITY (thanks to the Americas and spice
trade)

MEANS (merchant capitalist organizations freed from
government restraints, technology, military)

MOTIVATIONS (competition among the Europeans),
which they used, along with “God, Gold, and Glory,”
and IDEAS (Renaissance and Reformation) to
enhance their power
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The Renaissance

Renaissance = “rebirth”
Humanism, secularism

A 15th century cultural,
artistic, and philosophical
movement

Centered in powerful citystates of Northern Italy,
particularly Florence
Brunelleschi’s dome on the cathedral
of Florence
9
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Creation of Adam by Michelangelo
10
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Hands sketched by
Leonardo da Vinci
Mona Lisa by
Leonardo da Vinci
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The growth of universities

Europe’s first universities were
built in the 11th and 12th
centuries
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“Universities” were guilds of
scholars and students
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Latin was the language of
scholarship

1300 a dozen universities

1500 almost 100
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Explosion in printing and literacy

Introduction of moveable type
and printing press c. 1450

The Gutenberg Bible was the
first book in the West printed
with moveable type

By 1500 ten million printed
books were in circulation in
Europe
13
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The Gutenberg Press
and Bible
14
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Reconnaissance
European Voyages
OBJECTIVES: “God, Gold, Glory”?

To avoid travel over land
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To bypass the Middle East and
find easy passage to Asia

To enter directly lucrative trade
networks in the Indian Ocean

To convert people to Christianity
Pepper from the “Spice
Islands” was a highly desired
commodity in Europe
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[A] fourth [continent] of the world . . . has
been discovered by Amerigo Vespucci.
Because . . . Europe and Asia were named
after women, I can see no reason why
anyone would have good reason to object to
calling this fourth part Amerige, the land of
Amerigo, or America, after the man of great
ability who discovered it. Waldseemuller,
1507
"I Am America"
16
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European exploration, 1450–1600. Spanish and Portuguese explorers and traders had
established settlements in South America and the Caribbean by 1600, and commercial
depots on the coasts of Africa, India, the Pacific islands, China, and Japan—at a time when
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English, Dutch, andCopyright
French
of North
America
had
just begun.
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Luther’s Defining Moment
18
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The Protestant Reformation:
Significance?

Martin Luther (1483-1546) attacks Roman
Catholic church practices, 1517
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Indulgences: preferential pardons for charitable
donors
Writes Ninety-Five Theses, rapidly reproduced
with new printing technology
Excommunicated by Pope Leo X in 1521
1520s-1530s dissent spread throughout
Germany and Switzerland
19
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The Demand for Reform:
Question Authority
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Luther’s expanded critique
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Closure of monasteries
Translations of Bible into vernacular languages
End of priestly authority, especially the Pope
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German princes interested
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Return to biblical text for authority
Opportunities for assertion of local control
Support for reform spreads throughout
Germany
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Other Changes:
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The Consolidation of Sovereign States
Absolutism – divine rights theory of kings
 Louis XIV “L’etat c’est moi!”
Constitutional States
 England: constitutional monarchy
 “The Glorious Revolution”
 Netherlands: republic
Population Increases and Urbanization
21
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Louis XIV
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Europe after the Peace of Westphalia,
1648.
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Population Growth in Europe
180
160
140
120
100
Millions
80
60
40
20
0
1500
1700
1800
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Urbanization
500000
450000
400000
350000
300000
Madrid
Paris
London
250000
200000
150000
100000
50000
0
1550
1600
1650
25
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Reform outside Germany
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Switzerland, Low Countries follow Germany
England: King Henry VIII (r. 1509-1547) has
conflict with Pope over requested divorce
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England forms its own church by 1560
France: John Calvin (1509-1564) codifies
Protestant teachings while in exile in Geneva
Scotland, Netherlands, Hungary also experience
reform movements
26
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The Catholic Reformation

Roman Catholic church reacts
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Refining doctrine, missionary activities to Protestants,
attempt to renew spiritual activity
Council of Trent (1545-1563) periodic meetings
to discuss reform
Society of Jesus (Jesuits) founded by St. Ignatius
Loyola (1491-1556)
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Rigorous religious and secular education
Effective missionaries
27
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Witch Hunts
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Most prominent in regions of tension between
Catholics and Protestants
Late 15th century development in belief in Devil
and human assistants
16th-17th centuries approximately 110,000 people
put on trial, some 60,000 put to death
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Vast majority females, usually single, widowed
Held accountable for crop failures, miscarriages, etc.
New England: 234 witches tried, 36 hung
28
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Religious Wars
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Protestants and Roman Catholics fight in France
(1562-1598)
1588 Philip II of Spain attacks England to force
return to Catholicism
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English destroy Spanish ships by sending flaming
unmanned ships into the fleet
Netherlands rebel against Spain, gain
independence by 1610
29
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The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1645)
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Holy Roman emperor attempts to force
Bohemians to return to Roman Catholic
Church
All of Europe becomes involved in conflict
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Principal battleground: Germany
Political, economic issues involved
Approximately one-third of German
population destroyed
30
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The New Monarchs
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Italy well-developed as economic power through
trade, manufacturing, finance
Yet England, France, and Spain surge ahead in
16th century, innovative new tax revenues
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England: Henry VIII
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Fines and fees for royal services; confiscated monastic
holdings
France: Louis XI, Francis I

New taxes on sales, salt trade
31
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Constitutional States
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England and Netherlands develop institutions of popular
representation
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England: constitutional monarchy
Netherlands: republic
English Civil War, 1642-1649
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Begins with opposition to royal taxes
Religious elements: Anglican church favors complex ritual,
complex church hierarchy, opposed by Calvinist Puritans
King Charles I and parliamentary armies clash
King loses, is beheaded in 1649
32
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The Glorious Revolution (1688-1689)
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Puritans take over, becomes a dictatorship
Monarchy restored in 1660, fighting resumes
Resolution with bloodless coup called Glorious
Revolution
King James II deposed, daughter Mary and
husband William of Orange take throne

Shared governance between crown and parliament
33
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The Dutch Republic
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King Philip II of Spain attempts to suppress
Calvinists in Netherlands, 1566
Large-scale rebellion follows, by 1581
Netherlands declares independence
Based on a representative parliamentary system
34
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Absolute Monarchies
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Theory of Divine Right of Kings
French absolutism designed by Cardinal Richelieu
(under King Louis XIII, 1624-1642)
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Destroyed castles of nobles, crushed aristocratic
conspiracies
Built bureaucracy to bolster royal power base
Ruthlessly attacked Calvinists
35
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Louis XIV (The “Sun King,” 1643-1715)
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L’état, c’est moi: “The State – that’s me.”
Magnificent palace at Versailles, 1670s, becomes
his court
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Largest building in Europe
1,400 fountains
25,000 fully grown trees transplanted
Power centered in court, important nobles
pressured to maintain presence
36
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37
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“Enlightened Despots”
38
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Absolutism in Russia: The Romanov
Dynasty (1613-1917)
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Peter I (“the Great,” r. 1682-1725)
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Worked to modernize Russia on western European model
Developed modern Russian army, reformed Russian government
bureaucracy, demanded changes in fashion: beards forbidden
Built new capital at St. Petersburg
Catherine II (“the Great”, r. 1762-1796)

Huge military expansion
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
Partitions of Poland, 1772-1797
Social reforms at first, but end with Pugachev peasant rebellion
(1773-1774)
39
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The Transformation of Europe 1500-1800