Getting started (From the Middle Ages to the early Modern Period (The term…
From the Middle Ages to the early Modern Period
is used to describe innovative or novel concepts, a period of changes with respect to the previous era. However at the end of the Middle Ages there was also some continuity with the medieval period.
Continuity: feudal economics an society
The structure of society was the same as the structure during the Middle Ages. Social groups were divided based on privileges:
The three states:
had a spiritual function in society. They continued to enjoy privileges, tithe payments and having their own justice system. The high clergy could also be feudal lords.
The third state:
Most members of this state were peasants. they did not have their own justice system, judged by their lords or by the king. The taxes they paid sustained the privileged states.
did not work, could only be judged by the king or by other noblemen, only paid taxes to the monarch if they agreed to do so in the courts. The most important noblemen had feudal states where they charged the people taxes and administrate justice to.
Collective privileges: cities
enjoyed the greatest collective privileges exercised through the
and similar to the privileges of a lord, such as charging taxes, having monopolies or administering justice.
Continuity: kings and kingdoms
Power was fragmented and was often the subject of disputes between monarchs, led to social and political instability: armed conflicts violence, revolts... The disputes also led to the appearance of institutions such as the courts and parliaments of the states of the realm.
Changes: key characteristics of a new era
Although there was a lot of continuation from the Middle ages, the Early Modern Period was a time of great change in Europe.
A period of religious intolerance: Jews and Muslims were persecuted and new Christian sets of beliefs appeared
Wealthy middle class became more important. Europe also recovered from the population crisis of the 14th century.
New artistic styles appeared, such as Renaissance art, as well as new cultural movements, including Humanism, on the Italian Peninsula, the invention of the movable-type printing press and Europeans also discovered and explore continents.
Although courts and parliaments did not disappear, monarchies gained a lot of power.
Craftwork and trade experienced a period of important growth, crop and livestock were the main economic activities. It also resulted in the need to obtain precious metals with which to complete trade transactions.
Factors leading to geographical discoveries
One of the most significant historical events of the 15th and 16th centuries was the discovery of territories previously unknown to Europeans through maritime exploration.
Political and religious factors:
Significant rivalry between Islamic and Christians states was particularly relevant in the Iberian kingdoms.
Associated with the Renaissance and the desire to learn and explore
Population grew and there was a higher demand for precious metals and products.
Scientific and technical factors:
Scientific and technological advances in navigation, many geographers believed that the world was round.
Gold and silver were needed to make coins, Europe was highly dependent on spices and silk. The traditional trade route was blocked so alternative routes had to be found.