AP European History Notes

Chapter 15: The Age of European Expansion and Religious Wars

  1.  Discovery, Reconnaissance, and Expansion
    1. ​Introduction
      1. Period from 1450, to 1650 called “Age of Discovery, Reconnaissance, Expansion”
      2. Age of Discovery refers to the era’s phenomenal advances in geographical knowledge and technology (often trial and error)
      3. Age of Reconnaissance refers to the fact that much of the geographical information they had gathered was tentative and not fully understood
      4. Age of Expansion refers to the migration of Europeans to other parts of the world
    2. Overseas Exploration and Conquest
      1. Outward expansion of Europe began with Viking voyages across the Atlantic and under Eric the Red and Leif Erickson, the Vikings discovered Greenland and North America and had settlements in Iceland, Ireland, England, Normandy, and Sicily
      2. Crusades of seventh through thirteenth centuries also explored continent
      3. By 1450, a new threat appeared in the East—the Ottoman Turks
        1. Combining excellent military strategy with efficient administration of their conquered territories the Turks controlled most of Asia Minor
        2. The Muslim Ottoman Turks under Sultan Mohammed II captured Constantinople in 1453, and by the early sixteenth century controlled the eastern Mediterranean
      4. Political centralization in Spain, France, and England explained the expansion and with the more united Spain, the Spanish monarchy was in a position to support foreign ventures; it could bear the costs and dangers of exploration
      5. Portugal, on the southwestern edge of the continent, started European expansion
        1. The objectives of Portuguese policy included the historic Iberian crusade to Christianize Muslims and to find gold, an overseas route to the spice markets of India, and the mythical Christian ruler of Ethiopia, Prester John
        2. Prince Henry (“the Navigator” because of the annual expeditions he sent down the western coast of Africa) reached Guinea and established trading posts and forts reaching all the way to Timbuktu (gold used to come from West Africa)
        3. Portuguese pushed to sail around Africa and Vasco da Gama reached India in his 1497-1499 expedition and returned to Lisbon loaded with Indian wears
        4. King Manuel dispatched Pedro Alvares Cabral with Diaz claiming the coast of Brazil in South American in 1500 and then proceeded around the Cape of Good Hope and returned with six spice-laded vessels (entrance port of Asian Goods)
        5. Muslims had controlled the rich spice trade of the Indian Ocean, but Portuguese commercial activities were accompanied by the destruction or seizure of strategic Muslim coastal forts (Alfonso de Albuquerque governor of India)
      6. Christopher Columbus had secured Spanish support for an expedition to the East and landing in October 1492, he landed on an island he named “San Salvador”
    3. Technological Stimuli to Exploration
      1. The development of the large cannon made of iron and bronze and placing them on heavy hulling sailing vessels gave power to the European expansion
      2. Improved techniques of shipbuilding and instrumental development for exploration
        1. Galleys: narrow, open boats propelled largely by manpower
        2. Caravel: small, light, three-mast sailing ship (wind power for manpower)
        3. The magnetic compass enabled sailors to determine their direction/position at sea
        4. Astrolobe: instrument used to determine the altitude of the sun and other celestial bodies permitted mariners to plot their latitude and improved maps and sea charts
    4. The Explorer’s Motives
      1. The expansion of Europe was not motivated by overpopulation (Black Death)
      2. The desire to Christianize Muslims and pagans played a central role in expansion
      3. After the reconsquista, enterprising young men of the Spanish upper classes (nobles and merchants) found their economic and political opportunities severely limited
      4. Government sponsorship and encouragement of exploration accounted for voyages because mariners and explorers could not as private individuals afford the sum
        1. Strong financial support of Prince Henry the Navigator led to Portugal’s success
        2. The Dutch in the seventeenth century through such government-sponsored trading companies as the Dutch East India Company reaped enormous wealth
        3. Henry VII’s lack of interest in exploration delayed English expansion
      5. Renaissance curiosity about the physical universe, the desire to know more about the geography and people of the world
      6. The basic reason for European exploration and expansion was the quest for material profit and spices (nutmeg, mace, ginger, cinnamon, and pepper added flavor and variety) were another important incentive to voyages of discovery
    5. The Problem of Christopher Columbus
      1. Columbus enslaved and killed the Indians he encountered, he was an ineffective governor of Spain’s Caribbean colony, and he did not discover the continent
      2. The central feature of Christopher Columbus is that he was a deeply religious man and likely witnessed the Spanish reconquest of Granada (believed voyage was linked)
      3. Columbus was knowledgeable about the sea
        1. Columbus’s successful thirty-three-day voyage to the Caribbean
        2. Columbus aimed to find a direct sea route to Asia and India
        3. Described the Caribbean as a peaceful garden of Eden but returned in 1496, forcibly subjugated the island of Hispaniola, enslaving the Indians, and laid the basis for a system of land grants tied to the Indian’s labor service
  2. Later Explorers
    1. Introduction
      1. News of Columbus’s first voyage rapidly spread across Europe and his letter, titled Mundus Novus, was the first document to describe America as a separate continent
      2. The Caribbean islands—the West Indies—represented to missionaries as millions of Indian natives for conversion to Christianity (forced labor and diseases brought by Europeans killed off huge populations of native people)
      3. Search for precious metals determined the direction of Spanish exploration and expansion into South America
      4. Under Spanish ruler Charles V, Ferdinand Magellan sailed around the Cape Horn, entered the Pacific Ocean, and although he died, his crew eventually circumnavigated
      5. Hernando Cortez sailed to Mexico from Hispaniola conquering the Aztec Empire of Central Mexico by taking captive emperor Montezuma then founding Mexico city as the new capital (1522) and Francisco conquered Inca Empire of the Andes (1536)
      6. Between 1525 and 1575, wealth of Americas poured into Spanish port of Seville and the Portuguese capital Lisbon but Flemish city of Antwerp, controlled by the Spanish Habsburgs, served as commercial and financial capital of the entire European world
      7. The Dutch East India Company became the cornerstone of Dutch imperialism by expelling the Portuguese from the East Indian islands and had successfully intruded on the Spanish possessions in the Americas
      8. In 1497, John Cabot of England explored the northeast coast of Americas founding Newfoundland and in mid 1530s, Frenchman Jacques Cartier explored Saint Lawrence region of Canada
    2. The Economic Effects of Spain’s Discoveries in the New World
      1. The sixteenth century has often been called the “Golden Century” of Spain as influ-ence of Spain rested largely on the influx of precious metals from the New World
      2. Spain was experiencing a steady population increase creating a sharp rise in demand for foods/goods but economy could not meet the new demands and inflation occurred
      3. No direct correlation between silver imports and inflation rates but the government declared bankruptcy several times and by the 17th century the economy had failed
    3. Colonial Administration
      1. According to the Spanish theory of absolutism, the Crown was entitled to exercise full authority over all imperial lands and the Crown divided its New World territories into four viceroyalties (administrative divisions of New Spain, Peru, New Granada)
      2. Crown claimed the quinto, one-fifth of all precious metals mined in South America
      3. Portuguese governed their colony of Brazil in a similar manner (Local officials called corregidores held judicial and military powers)
  3. Politics, Religion, and War
    1. Introduction
      1. In 1559, France and Spain signed the Treaty of Cateau-Cambresis, which ended the Habsburg-Valois Wars and France had to acknowledge Spanish dominancy in Italy
      2. Before 1559, Spain and France had fought for control of Italy and after 1559, the two Catholic powers aimed their guns at Protestantism
      3. Warfare of the 16th and 17th centuries was different from earlier wars
        1. Armies were larger and more expensive (government reorganized administration)
        2. Use of gunpowder altered the nature of war (killing and wounding from a distance) and popular attitudes toward war (not an ennobling process)
      4. Late-sixteenth-century conflicts fundamentally tested the medieval ideal of a unified Christian society governed by one political ruler, the emperor, to whom all rules were theoretically subordinate, and one church, to which all people belonged
    2. The Origins of Difficulties in France (1515-1559)
      1. The population losses caused by the plague and the disorders accompanying the Hundred Years’ War created such a labor shortage that serfdom had disappeared
      2. Francis I and his son Henry II governed through small but effective councils
      3. In 1539, Francis issued an ordinance that placed the whole of France under the juris-diction of the royal courts and taille, a tax on land, provided strength to monarchy
      4. The Habsburg-Valois Wars, waged through the first half of the sixteenth century, were financed by Francis I selling public offices (tax exempt class called the “nobility of the robe” -- beyond jurisdiction of crown)
      5. Francis I worked out a treaty with the papacy called the Concordat of Bologna in which Francis gained the power to appoint bishops and abbots in France giving the monarchy money in return, Francis agreed to recognize the supremacy of the papacy over a universal council -- main reason why France did not later become Protestant
      6. Calvinism spread across France even under government bans and massive burnings
    3. Religious Riots and Civil War in France (1559-1589)
      1. French monarchs were unstable under the sons of Henry II and almost half of the French nobility became Calvinist (demonstrating independence from central power)
      2. Among the upper classes the Catholic-Calvinist conflict, the main struggle was for power but among the lower classes, the issue was more about religion
      3. On August 24, 1572, which would later become known as Saint Bartholomew’s Day, Catholics slaughtered thousands of Huguenots, French Calvinists
      4. The Saint Bartholomew’s Day massacre launched the War of the Three Henrys, a civil conflict between Catholic Henry of Guise (wanted “Holy League,” destroy Calvinism, and replacement of Henry III), King Henry III, and the Protestant Henry of Navarre, a politique who became Henry IV
        1. Politiques: small group of Catholic moderates who believed that only the restoration of strong monarchy could reverse the trend toward collapse
        2. Henry IV issued the Edict of Nantes, protecting the Huguenots
    4. The Netherlands Under Charles V
      1. The Netherlands—pivot around which European money, diplomacy and war revolved
      2. Emperor Charles V had inherited the seventeen provinces that compose present-day Belgium and Holland and was a center of commerce (Antwerp—greatest $ market)
      3. As in the Low Countries, corruption in the Roman church and the critical spirit of the Renaissance provoked pressure for reform
      4. In 1556, Charles V abdicated, dividing his territories between his brother, Ferdinand, who received Austria and the Holy Roman Empire, and his son Philip (Spain, Low Countries, Milan, kingdom of Sicily, and the Spanish possessions in the Americas)
    5. The Revolt of the Netherlands (1566-1587)
      1. By 1560s, Calvinism spread and appealed to the middle classes because of its intellectual seriousness, moral gravity, and emphasis on any form of labor well done
      2. Calvinism took deep root among the merchants and financiers in the northern provinces and working-class people also converted partly to please their employers
      3. In 1559, Philip II appointed his half-sister Margaret as regent of the Netherlands who introduced the Inquisition to combat Calvinism and raised taxes
      4. In August 1566, Calvinists rampaged through the Low Countries aimed attacks at religious images and destroyed churches as well as burning irreplaceable libraries
      5. Philip II sent twenty thousand Spanish troops under the duke of Alva, opened his own tribunal (“Council of Blood”), Alva resolved the financial crisis by levying a 10 % sales tax on every transaction, and civil war raged between 1568 and 1578
      6. In 1576, the seventeen provinces united under the leadership of Prince William of Orange (“the Silent”) and in 1578 Philip II sent his nephew Alexander Farnese
      7. The ten southern provinces the Spanish were able to control became Belgium and the seven northern provinces, led by Holland, formed the Union of Utrecht and in 1581, declared their independence from Spain (United Provinces of the Netherlands)
      8. Spain repeatedly invaded the United Provinces who repeatedly asked the Protestant queen of England, Elizabeth, for assistance and three developments forced her hand
        1. Wars in the Low Countries badly hurt the English economy (English wool)
        2. The murder of William the silent in July 1584 eliminated a great Protestant leader but the chief military check on the Farnese advance
        3. Collapse of Antwerp appeared to signal a Catholic sweep through the Netherlands
    6. Philip II and the Spanish Armada
      1. Philip II considered himself the international defender of Catholicism and the heir to the medieval imperial power and hoping to keep England with the Catholic church when his wife, Mary Tudor, died, Philip asked Elizabeth to marry him but she refused
      2. Pope Sixtus V promised to pay Philip one million gold ducats the moment Spanish troops landed in England and Philip moved to attack England
      3. On May 9, 1588, la felicissima armada “the most fortunate fleet,” sailed from the Lisbon harbor with 130 vessels carrying over thirty thousand men and were met by an English fleet of about 150 ships in the Channel
      4. English fleet was composed of smaller, faster, more maneuverable ships, many which had greater firing power, storms and squalls, spoiled food and rank water, and inadequate Spanish ammunition, the English fleet defeated this “Spanish Armada” thus preventing Philip from forcing England back into the Catholic Church
    7. The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648)
      1. The Augsburg settlement, in recognizing the independent power of the German princes, further undermined any authority of the central government
        1. Lutherans, in violation of the Peace of Augsburg, were steadily acquiring German bishoprics and because the Augsburg settlement had only pertained to Lutheranism and Catholicism, Calvinists ignored it and converted several princes
        2. Lutheran princes formed the Protestant Union (1608) and the Catholics formed the Catholic League (1609) (each alliance determined to stop spread of the other)
      2. Ferdinand I had inherited the imperial title and the Habsburg lands in central Europe, including Austria and his Catholic cousin, Ferdinand of Styria secured election as king of Bohemia, a title that gave him jurisdiction over states such as Bohemia
        1. When Ferdinand proceeded to close some Protestant churches, the heavily Protestant Estates of Bohemia protested
        2. On May 23, 1618, Protestants hurled two of Ferdinand’s officials from a castle window in Prague, falling 70 feet, but surviving (Catholics claimed that angels had caught them) and called the “Defenestration of Prague”, this event marked the beginning of the Thirty Year’s War (1618-1648)
      3. Historians traditionally divide the war into four phases --
        1. The first, or Bohemian phase was characterized by civil war in Bohemia between the Catholic League, led by Ferdinand, and the Protestant Union, headed by Prince Frederick of the Palatinate (held power until 1529 when defeated at Battle of the White Mountains by Ferdinand, who had become Holy Roman emperor)
        2. The second, or Danish, phase called so because of the participation of King Christian IV of Denmark, the ineffective leader of the Protestant cause and the Catholic imperial army led by Albert of Wallenstein gained many victories
        3. The Jesuits persuaded the emperor to issue the Edict of Restitution, whereby all Catholic land lost to Protestantism since 1552 were to be allowed to be restored and only Catholics and Lutherans (not Calvinists) were allowed to practice
        4. The third, or Swedish, phase of the war began with the arrival in Germany of the Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus intervening to support the Protestants and victories ended Habsburg ambition of uniting all the German states
        5. The death of Adolphus and defeat of the Swedes at the Battle of Nordlingen in 1634 prompted the French to enter the war on the side of the Protestants bringing about the French, or international, phase of the Thirty Years’ War
      4. Finally in October 1648, peace was achieved and treaties signed called the “Peace of Westphalia” making a turning point in European political, religious and social history
        1. Treaties recognized the sovereign, independent authority of the German princes with complete power and the Holy Roman Empire as a real state was destroyed
        2. The independence of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, France gained on eastern frontiers, denied the Pope the right to intervene in German religious affairs, and divided up Germany among Lutheran, Catholic and Calvinist princes
    8. Germany After the Thirty Years’ War
      1. The Thirty Years’ War was a disaster for the German economy and society, probably the most destructive event in German history before the twentieth century
      2. Population losses due to military actions, disease, and leaving of refugees
      3. Economy suffered and agricultural areas suffered catastrophically
  4. Changing Attitudes
    1. Introduction
      1. The clash of traditional religious and geographical beliefs with the new knowledge provided by explorers bred confusion, uncertainty, and insecurity
      2. The exploration of new continents reflected deep curiosity and broad intelligence, yet Europeans believed in witches and burned thousands at the stake
    2. The Status of Women
      1. Manuals on marriage described as the husband was obliged to provide for the material welfare of his wife and children and to rule firmly but justly.  A wife was to be a household manager, mature, and faithful spouse; rejected the double standard on adultery, believed marriage should be based on respect and trust -- rejected arranged
      2. Catholics viewed marriage as a sacramental union which could not be dissolved and protestants held that women and men were spiritually equal and marriage -- contract
      3. Protestant and Catholic governments licensed house of prostitution (for single men)
      4. Single women worked in many occupations and professions (worked with husband)
      5. Protestants believed celibacy h ad no scriptural basis and favored suppression of women’s religious houses and encouraged ex-nuns to marry
    3. The Great European Witch-Hunt
      1. Witches were thought to be individuals who could mysteriously injure other people or animals (old women who made travels on broomsticks to sabbats or assemblies)
      2. Since the pacts with the devil meant the renunciation of God, witchcraft was considered heresy and persecution reached its peak in the late 16th and 17th centuries in where tens of thousands of witches were executed
      3. Explanations for witch-hunts include explained random misfortunes, people believed that witches worshipped the devil, persecuting the nonconformists through charges of witchcraft, view on women by religion
      4. Broad spread of women hatred stemmed from belief that women were susceptible to the Devil’s evil, and the belief that women were sexually unquenchable
    4. European Slavery and the Origins of American Racism
      1. The bubonic plague, famines, and other epidemics created a sever shortage of agricultural and domestic workers throughout Europe, encouraging Italian merchants to buy slaves from the West (early slaves were all white)
      2. In 1453, the Ottoman capture of Constantinople halted the flow of white slaves from the Black Sea region
      3. History of slavery tied up with history of the demand for sugar with Portuguese voyages to West Africa and the occupation of the Canary and Madeira islands
      4. European expansion across the Atlantic led to the economic exploitation of the Americas and unaccustomed to any form of forced labor, the Indians died
      5. The Spaniards brought in enslaved Africans to work on the sugar crops and which began the African slave trade in 1518
      6. Settles’ beliefs and attitudes toward blacks derived from two basic sources: Christian theological speculation (primarily), and medieval Arab views of the peoples of Africa
  5. Literature and Art
    1. The Essay: Michel de Montaigne
      1. Skepticism is a school of thought founded on doubt that total certainty or definitive knowledge is ever attainable
      2. A humanist, he believed that the object of life was to “know thyself,” for self-knowledge teaches men and women how to live in accordance with nature and God
      3. Montaigne developed a new literary genre, the essay to express his thoughts and ideas
      4. As a skeptic, he rejected the notion that nay single human being knew the absolute truth and rejected the notion that one culture was better than any other culture
    2. Elizabethan and Jacobean Literature
      1. The terms Elizabethan and Jacobean are used to designate the English music, poetry, prose, and drama of this period (named after rulers Elizabeth I and James I, son of Mary, Queen of Scots (Elizabeth's cousin))
      2. The dramas of William Shakespeare and the stately prose of the Authorized, or King James, Bible marked the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods as golden age
        1. Shakespeare’s plays included Julius Caesar, Pericles, and Antony and Cleopatra dealing with classical subjects and figures
        2. The nine history plays, including Richard II, Richard III, and Henry IV
        3. Tragedies including Hamlet (individuality and moral problems with revenge), Othello (flaw in character), and Macbeth (exorbitant ambition) exploring an enormous range of human problems are open to variety of interpretations
    3. Baroque Art and Music
      1. The term baroque (may have come from Portuguese for “odd-shaped, imperfect pearl”) was commonly used by late-eighteenth-century art critics as an expression of scorn for what they considered an overblown, unbalanced style
      2. In addition to this underlying religious emotionalism, the baroque drew its sense of drama, motion, and ceaseless striving from the Catholic Reformation
      3. The baroque style spread partly because its tension and bombast spoke to an agitated age, which was experiencing great violence and controversy in politics and religion
      4. Peter Paul Rubens, the most outstanding and representative of baroque painters, developed his own rich, sensuous, colorful style, which was characterized by animated figures, melodramatic contracts, and monumental size
      5. In music, the baroque style reached its culmination with Johann Sebastian Bach, one of the greatest composers the Western world has ever produced (organ music combined the baroque spirit of invention, tension, and emotion in striving)

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Aboukhadijeh, Feross. "Chapter 15: The Age of European Expansion and Religious Wars" StudyNotes.org. Study Notes, LLC., 29 Dec. 2013. Web. 02 Mar. 2024. <https://www.apstudynotes.org/european-history/outlines/chapter-15-the-age-of-european-expansion/>.