European History before 1715:
Northwest Europe: 9th - 12th century AD
During the 9th and 10th century Scandinavia sends out the last huge marauding group of Europeans, the Vikings. However the similar period also sees the initial settled empires in the area.
During the 811 Denmark has an emperor powerful adequate to make a treaty along with the Franks and in the subsequent century a Danish king, Harald Bluetooth, turns into the first Scandinavian ruler to change to Christianity. He is baptized in regarding the 960. Some years later a Norwegian emperor, Olaf I, takes the similar step: in between the 995 and 999. Iceland turns into Christian in about 1000.
Norway and Denmark, associated in the 11th century in the kingdom of Canute, are through this time unshakably Christian kingdoms. Conversely, in the forests of Sweden the twin procedures: unification and the defeat of paganism; begin later and take longer.
The first emperor of some part of Sweden to be baptized is Olaf, emperor of Gotaland in the south, in regarding 1010. He and his successors struggle for further than a century against pagan rulers, whose most popular and jealously defended shrine is at Uppsala. Not till Uppsala is established like an archbishopric, in the 1164, can Sweden be securely categorized as Christian.
Feudal Europe: 10th - 15th century
Although feudalism develops as early as the 8th century, under the Carolingian dynasty, this does not prevail extensively in Europe till the 10th century; through which time nearly the whole continent is Christian.
For the subsequent 500 years, great accumulations of power and landed wealth pass among a few favored players like whether in a huge board game. The rules are complicated, and to an outside eye deeply mysterious. Conversely, specific actions and qualifications bring a distinct benefit.
The top players in feudal Europe appear from a minute group of people; an aristocracy, based upon skill in battle, along with a shared commitment to a form of Christianity at once power hungry and idealistic in that the pope in Rome has particular powers as God's representative on earth. Since a huge feudal lord along with moral pretensions, holding the ring among secular sovereigns, the pope can be seen like Europe's headmaster.
Bishops and abbots are part of the minute feudal aristocracy, for they are generally recruited from the noble families holding the huge fiefs. Definitely bishops can frequently be determined on the battlefield, fighting this out along with the best.
Since in any other context, the strongest argument in feudalism, transcending the facts of loyalty is naked force. In England, the Normans or in Sicily rule through right of conquest, and feudal disputes are frequently resolved in battle.
Conversely, feudalism also gives many varieties of justification for force. And the possession of an excellent justification is mostly as reassuring to a knight like an excellent suit of armor.
One good excuse for warfare is the agreement of the church. In the 1059 the pope almost commands the Normans to attack Sicily, through giving those feudal rights above territory not as still theirs. Likewise, Rome lets it be identified that the Holy See is on the side of William while he invades England in the 1066.
The other significant form of justification is a dynastic claim to a territory. Generations of marriages, with awareness arranged for material gain, outcome in an immensely complicated web of relations that reflected frequently in empires of very surprising shape on the map of Europe.
An easy illustration is the huge swathe of land ruled over in the 12th century through Henry II. Make bigger from Northumberland to the south of France, this has been brought together through a process of inheritance and dynastic marriage.
More complicated, but equally typical of Christian feudalism, is the case of Sicily. In the 11th century the Normans seize this through invitation of the pope. During the 12th century the island is linked to distant Germany because the German emperor marries a Sicilian princess. And during the 13th century this is joined along with France since the pope, intervening again is this time opposed to the Germans.
European prosperity: 12th - 14th century
The period is different profoundly from the earlier five centuries in that this is no longer the people of Europe who are on the shift. As the declining years of the Roman Kingdom, the Germanic tribes of the north have been jostling, for space. At this time they are settled. This is their leaders who are yet restless for power, glory and wealth; inside Europe but also to the east; here successive popes send them on crusades.
This modification brings two contrasting outcomes: a volatile scene of warfare and politics, with an underlying raise in stability.
The changing pattern of feudal alliances in medieval Europe is a procedure of adjustment of the surface. Corrections are made in long spasmodic conflicts, as the Hundred Years War. Occasional victories among minute numbers of heavily armed men redraw the map for following generations.
Meanwhile the people of Europe are busy along with matters of more basic significance - agriculture, trade, crafts and the development of commerce in towns of raising wealth. Beneath the savage glitter of feudal Europe lies the steady growth of a continent able one time again of mighty achievements; evident, for illustration, in the spectacular Christian architecture of the duration.
Intruders from the east: 13th - 14th century AD
The Russian steppes have long been vulnerable to invading groups of nomads, as the Kipchak Turks. However from the 13th century Europe suffers much more violent incursions from the east.
During the long run the most successful intruders will be the Ottoman Turks, who first shift into Europe by Gallipoli in the1354. Conversely, a previous and more devastating destruction comes in the earlier century along with the arrival of the Mongols. They enter Russia in the 1236. They sack Moscow in the 1238 and Kiev in the 1240. During the year 1241 they move south and west.
Individual army from the Mongol horde advances in Poland in the 1241. They defeat a joint force of Polish and German knights at Legnica in the April. In the similar month the other Mongol army wins a crushing victory above the Hungarians at Mohi. The tribesmen expend that summer upon the plains of Hungary, grasslands the same to their own steppes. Eastern Europe is not well equipped to dislodge these fierce nomads. Conversely, a faraway event resolves the matter.
News comes in the December that the grand khan, Ogedai, has died in Karakorum. The leader of the horde, Batu, and the other Mongol nobles should attend the quriltai that will elect his successor. Batu removes from Hungary, returning the horde to its grasslands near the Volga.
Ups and downs in the economy: 12th - 14th century AD
During Europe the period from about the 1150 to the 1300 sees a steady rising in prosperity, related along with a rise in population. There are some causes. More land is brought into cultivation; a method in which the Cistercians play a significant part. Rich monasteries, controlled through powerful abbots, become an important feature of feudal Europe.
In tandem with the enhancement in rural wealth is the progress of cities successful on trade, in luxury goods and also staple products as like wool.
Prominent in between the trading centers of the 13th century are the coastal Italian cities, that merchants ply the Mediterranean; Venice is mainly prosperous after the chances presented through the fourth crusade. In a same manner the cities of the Netherlands are well placed to profit from commerce among their three larger neighbors: German, France and the England states. As well as the Hanseatic towns handle the trade from the Baltic.
Together along with this raise in trade goes the development of banking. Christian families, mostly in the towns of northern Italy, start to amass fortunes through offering the financial services that have previously been the preserve of the Jews.
During the 14th century this economic prosperity falters. Land goes out of farming, the volume of trade drops. There are different possible causes. There is an unusual run of disastrously bad harvests in some areas in the early part of the century. And social structures are painfully changing, like the old feudal system of obligations crumbles.
At last straw is the Black Death that not only murders a third of Europe's population in the 1348 to 1349; this also ushers in an era while plague is a recurrent hazard. The 14th century is not the fine in which to live. However in the 15th century: the time of the Renaissance in Europe and also the age of exploration: economic conditions enhance again.
The economic troubles in the 14th century are shown an image in disorder and unrest during much of Europe. It is true both at a grassroots level, in an order of peasants' revolts, and in between great institutions of state. The papacy is not settled, in exile in Avignon. England and France are engaged in the futile rivalry of the War of Hundred Years. The condottieri wreak havoc in Italy.
Bohemia is an exception, entertainment a duration of stability under Charles IV. Conversely, the most important political development, from the later portion of the 14th century, is the accumulation of territory in the hands of Burgundy’s dukes.
The duchy of Burgundy: AD 1369-1491
Because the creation of Francia Media, Burgundy has been a significant realm at the heart of Western Europe: sometimes inside the German kingdom, sometimes related to the French empire, sometimes split among the two.
From the late 10th century the western portion of Burgundy, lying to the west part of the Saone river, is held like a dukedom through a junior line of the French royal relatives: first the Capetians and after that, from the 1363, the Valois.
Burgundy's rise to the status of a main European power starts in the 1369 while the first Valois duke of Burgundy, Philip, marries Margaret, heiress to the county of Flanders.
The couple arrived in their Flemish inheritance in the 1384. They and their descendants steadily raise their territories, aiming mainly to bridge the gap between Netherlands and the Burgundy along with acquisitions as Luxembourg in the 1443.
During the 1470 their great grandson Charles the Bold rules a huge territory stretching by Burgundy and Franche Comte in the south by Alsace up to Friesland in the extreme north and after that down the Atlantic coast as long as Calais.
In name Charles rules merely a duchy. Actually he has a kingdom. However he has no son. The heir to these huge possessions is a daughter, Mary. Since Europe's greatest marital prize she reduces to a family, the Habsburgs, whose specialization is beneficial marriage? The Habsburgs bring dignity quite than territory. The head of their home, Frederick III, is the Holy Roman empires.
From the year 1473 secret negotiations are undertaken among the Holy Roman ruler and Charles the Bold. The proposed bargain is: Frederick III will increase Burgundy from the status of a duchy to that of an empire, in return for which Mary who was the daughter of Charles will marry Frederick's son Maximilian.
When Charles dies in battle in the January 1477, neither plan has arrived to fruition. However, it suits Burgundy to settle this imperial alliance like security against its neighbor, France. The marriage plans are quick through. Maximilian weds Mary by proxy in the March and in person in the August.
The French emperor, Louis XI, makes strenuous try to recover the part of the Burgundian inheritance that has been most closely related to the French crown; the duchy of Burgundy to the west of Saone river. He too covets the Franche-Comte to the east of the river, historically related to the German kingdom, however, recently French.
The betrothal of his son to a Habsburg princess promises to protect both such territories for Louis. However in the 1491 a dissimilar marriage is arranged for his son; bringing the other prize, that of Britanny. The consequence is that only the duchy of Burgundy is joined with France, leaving the whole thing east of the Saone to the Habsburgs.
Western Europe: early 16th century AD
The Habsburg marriages of Maximilian in the year 1477 and of his son Philip I in the year 1496 have the ultimate effect of bringing Burgundy, Spain and Austria under a single ruler - the Holy Roman ruler, Charles V.
Geographically it is a mainly unwieldy inheritance, reminiscent of the patchwork quilt of territories owing allegiance to feudal monarchs as like Henry II. Conversely, Charles to several extents rationalizes his huge estate in the year 1522. He offers control of Austria and the other German speaking Habsburg territories to Ferdinand I who was his brother.
It still leaves Charles along with an awkward clutch of territories in Western Europe. He rules Burgundy, Spain and much of Italy, comprising the north. His possessions flank the empire of France on almost each of its land boundaries; a circumstance unwelcome to Francis I, the emperor of France. The struggle between Francis and Charles, or the houses of Habsburg and Valois is a recurrent theme of the first half of the 16th century.
Along with the raising trend towards strong nations, ruled through absolute monarchs, this Habsburg-Valois rivalry develops into enduring conflicts between France and Spain and subsequently France and Austria till the popular Diplomatic Revolution of the year 1756.
The third nation of Western Europe, England, has also a strong emperor in the early 16th century; however he is as still a minor player in this league. Henry VIII might be a helpful ally for Francis or Charles against another as the Field of Cloth of Gold suggests however on his own he is not a equivalent for either.
All three empires: France, Spain and England; also compete in the other context, across the Atlantic. This modern dimension moves Europe's centre of gravity to the west throughout the 16th century. Consequently, this brings rising power and wealth to England and to her closest neighbors, the Dutch, via a blend of overseas trade, the planting of colonies and usual pugnacity at sea.
Eastern Europe: early 16th century AD
Two events on the eastern excessive of Europe, throughout the second half of the 15th century, put the pattern for the future. The fall of Constantinople in the year 1453, bringing to a finish the Byzantine kingdom, completes the Turkish supremacy of the Balkans. Henceforth there is a hostile boundary among Muslim and Christian territory in the southeast Europe, often adjusted through warfare: with the Hungarians in the front line for Christianity.
For the moment a huge new power is rising in northeast Europe that will substitute to several extents at least in its own self image the lost Byzantine Kingdom.
From the reign of Ivan the Terrible, starting in the year 1462, Moscow rises as the powerful centre of a growing Russia. This is the most powerful kingdom practicing Orthodox Christianity. Russia starts to present herself as the new Christian kingdom, ruled through a tsar: the third Rome.
By the year 1500 the power blocs are in place around Europe that will dominate the continent throughout the subsequent three centuries: the Russian kingdom, the Turkish or Ottoman kingdom, the Habsburg kingdom, and the empires of France and England.
Reformation: 16th - 17th century AD
In the early 16th century, the conflicts of Europe (i.e. Spain and France in west, Christians and Muslims in the east) are further complex by a most violent dispute in the Christian community itself.
The spark of Reformation, hit by Luther in the year 1517, blazes for a century and a half across the total of Western Europe. From martyrdom of Protestants in one position and Catholics in the other, through sudden massacres as on St Bartholomew's Day in France, to prolonged warfare (the 30-Years' War), the prevailing mood of the continent becomes one of the religious frenzy and intolerance, frequently usefully place to the service of politics. Not until the late 17th century does national interest transcend religious fervor.
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