Submitted By lhyca
Origins of Modern Europe
During the 14th and 15th centuries, Europe experienced a period of heightened intellectual and artistic activity. This rebirth of classical learning is called the Renaissance. The 15th century marked the beginning of the age of exploration. Christopher Columbus and other European seamen opened the way for increased world trade and great colonial empires. The cities on or near the Atlantic replaced those of Italy as the commercial centers of Europe. Rich merchants began to rival the nobles in wealth and power. A growing abundance of money permitted kings to hire officials and soldiers, gradually removing the need for feudal relationships.
World known by Europeans in the 14th century This map shows how much of the world's lands and seas were known to Europeans by the A.D. 1300's. Areas that Europeans knew about included northern Africa, far northeastern North America, much of Asia, the Mediterranean Sea, and parts of the North Atlantic and Indian oceans.
The 16th century brought the Reformation, when many Christians rejected the authority of the pope and the Protestant movement was begun. The 17th and 18th centuries formed a period of savage wars by which the various European monarchs sought to increase their territories. England became a limited monarchy and aspirations for political freedom appeared in other parts of Europe.
Low Countries in the 16th century. The Low Countries, including most of present-day Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands, came under Spanish rule in the 1500's. The north won independence in 1648.
The Industrial Revolution, a term applied to the results of the factory system for producing goods with machinery, began in England in the 18th century. This economic change played a major role in shaping the development of modern Europe. It brought with it a new economic system—capitalism.
The Industrial Revolution…...