Absolute Monarchs in Europe
1500-1800
By M.D. Bergquist
World History Instructor
Alexander High School
Europe Developed Into Absolute
Monarchies
• Feudalism had collapsed.
• National monarchies replaced.
• Intense competition for land and trade lead
to many wars.
• Religious differences sparked civil wars.
• Absolute monarchy emerged to protect the
nation and preserve order.
• “Gunpowder Revolution” began.
MAP: The Hapsburg ruler, Charles V, ruled his empire as a family estate,
rather than a united kingdom. Each part kept its own languages, customs, laws
and forms of government. Charles traveled round, holding court in different capitals.
Note how France is surrounded by the Hapsburg Empire.
www.theotherside.co.uk/tm-heritage/ background/flanders.htm
http://www.tudorhistory.org/people/charles5/charlesv.jpg
Philip II
King of Spain (1556-1598)
• Inherited Spain from
father.
• Sought to strengthen
power by war,
colonies, and the
Catholic Reformation.
• Weakened Spain by
incessant wars and
poor economic
choices.
www.tudorhistory.org/ people/
France was wracked by religious warfare until
Henry of Navarre agreed to be king
(1589-1610)
• First of Bourbon
dynasty
• Issued Edict of Nantes
which promised
religious toleration.
• Began to rebuild
French economy.
• Assassinated leaving
9-year old son to rule.
http://www.kfki.hu/~arthp/html/p/pourbus/frans_y/
Cardinal Richelieu created a
strong monarchy.
• Regent (1624-1642) for
Louis XIII (1610-1643)
• Richelieu broke the power
of nobles and Protestants
by destroying walled cities
and castles.
• Used the middle class for
government jobs.
• Challenged Hapsburg
power by intervening in
Thirty Years War.
.
http://home.nyu.edu/~rgr208/richelieu jpg
When Louis XIII died leaving his five year-old son as
king Cardinal Mazarin became regent (1643-1661).
• Continued Richelieu
policies.
• Generally disliked by the
French people because of
increased taxes and
continued consolidation of
royal power.
• Fronde Revolt by nobles
harshly suppressed.
http://www.ac-strasbourg.fr/pedago/lettres/Victor%20Hugo/Notes/Mazarin.htm
Louis XIV becomes the most
powerful king in Europe (1643-1715)
• When Mazarin died, Louis
assumed full control at age
23.
• Worked long hours to
strengthen France.
• Broke power of nobles
and Protestants.
• Restored economy via
mercantilism.
• Builder of the Palace of
Versailles.
http://www.royalty.nu/Europe/France/LouisXIV.html
•Louis XIV, The Sun King
•The best and worst example
Of absolute monarchy.
•“L’Etat c’est moi!”
• Crippled France by fighting
a series of losing wars and
revoking the Edict of Nantes
• On his deathbed he urged his
young grandson and heir
to avoid wars.
Ferdinand II
Holy Roman Emperor (1619-1637)
• Wanted greater control
of his Protestant
nobles.
• Touched off the Thirty
Years War, which
eventually involved
most of western
Europe.
• Took German States
100 years to rebuild.
http://www.kaisergruft.at/anhang/ezhferdi.htm
The arrival of King Gustavus
Adolfus’ Swedish forces.
Next slide:
Soldiers sack and loot a home.
The Hanging Tree
The Thirty Years War (1618-1648)
•Hapsburgs v. German Protestants
•Sweden v. Hapsburgs
•France v. Hapsburgs
•Peace of Westphalia, 1648 created modern Europe.
The Thirty Years War
Many cities were destroyed and an estimated 4 million
Germans died. This is the Sack of Magdeburg
Eastern Europe
• Slower to develop due to
the many ethnic minorities
and lack of
development—primarily
agricultural.
• Feudalism still strong.
• Hapsburg Family in
control.
• Maria Theresa, Queen of
Austria. (1740-1780)
http://www.batguano.com/VLBmcaroline.jpg
Frederick the Great (1740-1786) of Prussia was
determined to make Prussia the dominate power.
• Created a strong
aggressive military.
“ Most nations have an army,
Prussia is an army with a
nation”.
• Promoted religious
toleration and education at
home.
• Successfully made Prussia
dominate power by
defeating Austrians.
• ( Seven Years War)
www.ncl.ac.uk/~nhistory/ german.htm
Russia centralized
under the
leadership of the
tsars
Ivan III
The Great
Ivan IV
The Terrible
1462-1505
1533-1584
www.xenophongi.org/rushistory/ rusinwax/wax28s.jpg
www.ronaldbrucemeyer.com/ archive/peter.gif
Peter the Great
1672-1725
English monarchs attempted to establish
absolute system
• James I (1603-1625)
fought with Parliament
over his authority.
• Puritans wanted
Anglican Church to
reflect a Calvinist
view.
• James refused to
cooperate, except for a
new Bible translation.
www.bbc.co.uk/history
Charles loses his head in an
argument
• Charles I (1625-1649)
pursued an aggressive
foreign policy with Spain.
• Continually sought new
funds from Parliament,
members checked his
power by forcing him to
sign the Petition of Right,
1628.
• When Charles dissolved
Parliament and tried to
raise money, civil war
resulted.
: www.mdarchives.state.md.us/.../ 01glance/images/charles1.jpg
Oliver Cromwell defeats king’s
forces and became Lord Protector
• Charles executed for
treason.
• On paper, England
was a republic but in
practice a dictatorship.
• Cromwell suppressed
revolt in Ireland.
• Imposed Puritan ideals
on English.
http://www.graham.day.dsl.pipex.com/civilwar-cromwell.gif
Monarchy Restored
• When Cromwell died,
so did his government.
• English invited
Charles II (16601685) to restore
monarchy.
• Reign was a period of
calm marked by court
decadence.
Monarchy In Crisis
• On Charles’ death, brother
became king.
• James II (1685-1688) was
pro-Catholic, which
angered many.
• When his young wife
produced an heir,
Parliament feared a
renewed period of turmoil
and removed king from
power.
www.bbc.co.uk/.../monarchs_leaders/ images/james_2_full.jpg
The Glorious Revolution
William and Mary Restore English Monarchy
www.camelotintl.com/heritage/ rulers/images/willmary.gif
• Parliament invited Mary,
daughter of Charles I, and
a Protestant, to jointly rule
with her husband, William
of Orange. (1689-1702)
• Both agreed to follow
Parliamentary laws and
accepted English Bill of
Rights.
• England became the only
limited monarchy in
Europe. Parliament in
control.
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Absolute Monarchs in Europe 1500-1800