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Western Europe Ccot

Essay by   •  May 19, 2011  •  Essay  •  498 Words (2 Pages)  •  3,796 Views

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From 600 to 1750 there were many different changes and continuities. A cultural change was the beginning of the Renaissance and a political change was the feudal system coming undone in the 17th century and being replaced by absolute monarchies. A continuity in Western Europe was trade.

The Renaissance began in Italy during the 14th and 15th centuries. This was a major cultural change in Western Europe. The Renaissance was an artistic movement that caused more people to focus on pieces of art than they did in earlier times. It also caused a decline in the importance of religion. Wealthy people were now focused on art and they often bought it because they had the money to afford it. The Renaissance also put more focus on humanism, and over time humanism became predominant over religion. As more time passed the Renaissance began to fade away in Italy so it moved northward. As it moved northward, many changes occurred because of it in France, Germany, England, and to a lesser extent Hungary and Poland. The Renaissance was so influential it even caused some political changes, such as providing another move toward greater state powers.

The feudal system had defined politics in Western Europe up until the 17th century. As religious wars began to cool down monarchs gained new power taking much away from the nobles. During the 17th century, kings began to steadily build up their power, in places such as France. French kings began to pass laws without the approval of parliament, they appointed a growing bureaucracy, they sent representatives to provinces, improved their armies, and even blew up the castles of nobles. The monarch's power was so great in France it became known as an absolute monarchy. Over time, the absolute monarchy in France began to spread to places such as Spain and central European states. Absolute monarchs wanted to expand their territory by using their military. King Louis XIV used his power to start a series of wars to gain land from the 1680s onward. The feudal monarchy which had a relatively fair balance of power between kings and nobles had been replaced by an absolute monarchy in which monarchs had complete control.

Trade did not undergo much change in Western Europe. Banking helped to facilitate long distance trading. Western Europe traded with many other parts of the world. The wealthy had a taste for Asian goods, therefore there was continuously trade with Asia. There was Mediterranean trade by Italian Merchants, where cloth and other goods were traded for the more polished goods of the East. Trade in Europe involved trading grain and timber for cloth and metal. There were also consistently the forming of commercial alliances, such as the Hanseatic League. Also, merchants were always involved in guilds.

From 600 to 1750 in Western Europe culture was changed by the Renaissance which caused a greater focus on art. Monarchs also gained more power over the nobles forming absolute monarchies.

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