Brief History of Europe/Print version

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A Brief History of Europe

A Brief History of Europe is a free content online book published on English Wikibooks.



Preface[edit | edit source]

Napoleon entering Berlin, 27th October 1806. The Brandenburg Gate is a symbol of Berlin, Germany, and to some extent Europe.

A Brief History of Europe covers European history from the fall of Rome to the present day. It also covers late antiquity, the rise of Islam, and the Middle East to some extent, as these are important to understanding European history. Some ancient history (6,000 BC–650 AD) is summarized.

This period of history can roughly be divided into the Middle Ages, and the modern period, and the contemporary period.

Author(s)[edit | edit source]

If you would like to contribute, feel free to add your name below:

Notes and comments[edit | edit source]

c. = circa or century.

Any comments? Please comment here.

See also and sources[edit | edit source]

Wikibooks[edit | edit source]

Wikipedia[edit | edit source]

Many articles on English Wikipedia are used as sources.


Chaper 1 Classical antiquity and the rise of Islam[edit | edit source]

Classical antiquity[edit | edit source]

Animated map of Rome
     Roman Republic     Roman Empire     Byzantine Empire (until 530)     Western Roman Empire
The Byzantine Empire through the centuries
Five Diadochi kingdoms, c. 301 BC after the Battle of Ipsus:      Kingdom of Ptolemy I Soter (Ptolemaic Kingdom)      Kingdom of Cassander (Macedonia)      Kingdom of Lysimachus (Thrace, Asia Minor)      Kingdom of Seleucus I Nicator (Seleucid Empire)      Epirus
At around 200 BC, Parthia (yellow), the Seleucid Empire (blue), and the Roman Republic (purple)

Classical antiquity (also the classical era, classical period or classical age) started in the 8th century BC, and is centered on the civilizations around the Mediterranean Sea, and especially focused on the Greco-Roman world of ancient Greece and ancient Rome.

It had a reemergence of written sources after the Late Bronze Age collapse (circa  1200 and 1150 BC), with cultural collapse which included Mycenaean Greece (which led to the Greek Dark Ages), the Kassites in Babylonia, the Hittite Empire in Anatolia and the Levant, and the New Kingdom of Egypt.

Archaic period[edit | edit source]

Archaic Greece (circa 8th to 5th centuries BC) was the first period of classical antiquity. Until the discovery of the Mycenaean Civilization, it was the first known period of Greek history. Coming out of the Greek Dark Ages, Greek city-states began to develop; these included Athens (Athína), Sparta (Spárti), Corinth (Kórinthos), Thebes (Thíva), Syracuse (Siracusa), Aegina (Égina), Rhodes (Ródos), Árgos, Erétria, and Elis. Archaic Greece ended with the second Persian invasion of Greece (480–479 BC).

Around the Mediterranean Sea, there were peoples such as Phoenicians, Carthaginians and Assyrians; Archaic Greece; and Etruscans and the Roman Kingdom in Italy. According to legend, Rome was founded on 21 April 753 BC by Romulus and Remus, twin descendants of the Trojan prince Aeneas; they were suckled by a she-wolf in infancy, and Remus was killed either by Romulus or by one of his supporters.

Classical Greece and Hellenistic period[edit | edit source]

Classical Greece was roughly during the 5th to 4th centuries BC. After the fall of the Athenian tyranny in 510 BC, Cleisthenes put Athens on a democratic footing in 508 BC.

The Greco-Persian Wars (499–449 BC) progressed to the first Persian invasion of Greece (492–490 BC), in which Persia conquered Macedon and Thrace, and established supremacy over the Aegean Sea. In the second Persian invasion of Greece (480–479 BC), the famous Battle of Thermopylae (480) took place, where King Leonidas and 300 Spartans fought to the death to guard a retreat. After Thermopylae, Xerxes of the Achaemenid Empire ordered the Destruction of Athens. Following Greek victory in the second invasion and Greco-Persian Wars, Macedon, Thrace and Ionia would gain independence from Persia.

After the Peloponnesian War (431–404 BC), Greece came under the hegemony of Sparta. Spartan hegemony ended with the Battle of Leuctra (371 BC), with the rise of Thebes and Athens. This was followed by a expansion of Macedonia under Philip II of Macedon (who reigned 359–336 BC). Classical Greece ended in 323 BC with the death of Alexander the Great, who had acquired a huge Macedonian empire which included much of Greece and the Middle East, including the Persian Achaemenid Empire.

Hellenistic period (323 BC onward) started with the death of Alexander the Great. The Diadochi (Greek "successors" of Alexander the Great) fought over and carved up Alexander's empire into several Hellenistic kingdoms after his death. It ended with the emergence of the Roman Empire, particularly signified by the Roman conquest of Greece in 146 BC, and the Roman conquest of Ptolemaic Egypt (and death of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony) in 30 BC, following the Battle of Actium in 31 BC.

Roman Republic and Empire[edit | edit source]

Roman Republic (traditionally dated 509 BC to 27 BC) began with the overthrow of the Roman Kingdom and Roman monarchy. During Roman Republic, Rome's control greatly expanded, from around the city to over most of the Mediterranean world.

Towards the end of the republic, great generals gained control, including Marius and Sulla. The First Triumvirate (60–53 BC) was an alliance of Julius Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus. Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon and precipitated Caesar's Civil War (49–45 BC), in which he defeated Pompey. After Caesar was assassinated (44 BC), Octavian (Caesar's adopted son and heir), Mark Antony (Caesar's lieutenant), and Lepidus, would form an alliance called the Second Triumvirate. Caesar's assassins Brutus and Cassius were defeated by Mark Antony and Octavian in the Liberators' civil war (43–42 BC). Octavian became the first emperor as Augustus (27 BC) ending the republic, after the Battle of Actium (31 BC) and his defeat of Mark Antony and Cleopatra.

Roman Empire (1st century BC to 5th century AD) was founded in 27 BC by Augustus (formerly Octavian). But Rome had acquired imperial character from the 130s BC with the acquisition of Cisalpine Gaul, Illyria, Greece and Hispania; and with the acquisition of Iudaea, Asia Minor and Gaul in the 1st century BC.

The first period of the Roman Empire was known as the Principate (27 BC–284 AD), characterized by the reign of a single emperor (princeps). The early period of the Principate was called the Pax Romana ("Roman Peace", 27 BC–180 AD), a time of relative stability, with the empire at its greatest extent in 117 AD. The Julio-Claudian dynasty (27 BC–68 AD) was followed by the Year of the 4 Emperors (68–69), the Flavian dynasty (69–96), the Nerva–Antonine dynasty (96–192), the Year of the 5 Emperors (192–193), the Severan dynasty (193–235), and the Crisis of the Third Century (235–284).

The Byzantine Empire (395–1453), or Eastern Roman Empire, survived the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476.

Iranian Plateau[edit | edit source]

Before the Sasanian Empire (224 to 651 AD), empires of the Iranian Plateau included:

  • Achaemenid Empire (550 BC–330 BC) was the first Persian Empire, established by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC with the conquest of the Median, Lydian and Babylonian empires. It fell to the Empire of Alexander the Great after the defeat of Darius III.
  • Seleucid Empire (312 BC–63 BC) was a Hellenistic period empire founded by Seleucus I Nicator following the division of the Empire of Alexander the Great. Mithridates I of Parthia conquered many of their lands. The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom (256 BC–125 BC) seceded from the Seleucid Empire.
  • Parthian Empire (247 BC–224 AD) was founded by Arsaces I of Parthia, who led the Parni tribe (an Iranian people) from the region of Parthia. It would expand over the territories of the Seleucid Empire. It was succeeded by the Sasanian Empire.

Late antiquity[edit | edit source]

Late antiquity followed the Crisis of the Third Century (235–284 AD), and ended with the early Muslim conquests (622–750 AD). It was the last period of classical antiquity, and overlaps with some of the Early Middle Ages.

Crisis of the Third Century, and Tetrarchy[edit | edit source]

The Roman Empire in 293 under the Tetrarchy
Invasions of the Roman Empire

The Crisis of the Third Century (235–284 AD) was a period of great political instability in the Roman Empire; over a 50-year period there were at least 26 claimants to the title of emperor, mostly from prominent generals. During this period, Aurelian (emperor 270–275) reunited the Roman Empire, by his reconquest of the Palmyrene Empire and the Gallic Empire; this earned him the title "Restorer of the World" before he was assassinated.

The crisis was ended with the ascension of the Roman Emperor Diocletian in 284 AD; this began the Dominate, the so-called "despotic" later phase of imperial government, following the earlier period known as the Principate (27 BC–284 AD). Diocletian attempted the Tetrarchy (293–313 AD), which divided the Roman Empire into east and west; two senior emperors (the augusti) ruled each division, along with two junior emperors and designated successors (the caesares).

The tetrarchic system broke down with the Civil wars of the Tetrarchy (306–324); Constantine the Great gained control of the entire empire, after defeating Maxentius (an usurper in Rome) at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge (312 AD), and Licinius (the augustus of the East) at the Battle of Chrysopolis (324 AD). Constantine is thought to be the first Christian Roman emperor, and was instrumental in the creation of the Nicene Creed. He expanded the empire, and founded Constantinople and the Constantinian dynasty.

Migration Period[edit | edit source]

Migration Period was a period of barbarian invasions of Europe. They can be seen as beginning with the invasion of Europe by the Huns in 375, and ending with the conquest of much of Italy by the Lombards by 568; but sometimes it is extended from circa 300 until circa 800.

There were invasions by the Huns, but also by Avars, Slavs and Bulgars. The Hunnic Empire (370s–469) included much of Eastern Europe and western Asia, and was unified under Attila. Huns may have been Turkic.

This contributed to movements in Germanic peoples, particularly Goths (including the Visigoths and the Ostrogoths), Vandals, Anglo-Saxons, and Franks. Other Germanic peoples affected included Lombards, Burgundians, Suebi, Frisii, and Alemanni.

Fall of the Western Roman Empire[edit | edit source]

Theodosius I (379–395) was the last emperor to rule the Roman Empires in both east and west, and after that the empire would permanently divide again into the Western Roman Empire and Eastern Roman Empire (or Byzantine Empire).

The fall of the Western Roman Empire was in 476, when non-Roman Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustulus and became King of Italy (476–493). Later on, Italy became part of the Ostrogothic Kingdom (493–553), before Italy fell to the Byzantine Empire.

The fall in 476 can in part be attributed to the migration during the Migration Period, especially Goths and other non-Roman people entering the empire after fleeing from Huns. Other factors included the weakening of the army and the economy; ineffective rule of the emperors and civil administration; and internal struggles for power.

Byzantine Empire[edit | edit source]

Justinian the Great
Byzantine (purple) and Sasanian (yellow) empires, and vassal states, in 600 AD

Byzantine Empire (395–1453), or Eastern Roman Empire, continued after the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Earlier in 324, Constantine the Great moved the seat of his empire from Nicomedia to Constantinople (formerly called Byzantium, later called Istanbul). Sometimes characterized as the "New Rome", Constantinople became the capital of the Byzantine Empire. The Byzantine Empire was oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, and characterized by Orthodox Christianity.

Under the Justinian Dynasty (518–602), the Byzantine Empire reached its greatest extent since the fall of the Western Roman Empire. The expansion resulted largely from the Wars of Justinian the Great (Justinian I), who ruled between 527–565, and expanded it over North Africa, southern Spain, and Italy (including Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica). It also included the Balkan peninsula, Anatolia, and the Holy Land. In this period, the Plague of Justinian (541–542 AD) had a profound effect on the population of the empire, with an estimated 25–50 million deaths.

Many territories were later lost to the Islamic Caliphates during the early Muslim conquests (622–750). The Byzantine Empire had been weakened by the ongoing Byzantine–Sasanian wars (285 to c. 628), against the Persian Sasanian Empire; this included the 626 siege of Constantinople. After the fall of Sasanians, at the first and second Arab sieges of Constantinople (674–678 and 717–718) the Umayyad Caliphate was defeated by the Byzantine Empire.

The Byzantine Empire would continue uninterrupted until the Sack of Constantinople (1204), when it was succeeded by the Empire of Nicaea (1204–1261). Constantinople was retaken in 1261, and the Byzantine Empire would then continue until the Fall of Constantinople, in 1453 to the Ottoman Empire.

Sasanian Empire[edit | edit source]

The second Persian Empire was the Sasanian Empire (224 to 651 AD), also called the Sassanid Empire or Neo-Persian Empire, and officially called the Empire of Iranians. It was founded by Ardashir I of the House of Sasan, and it succeeded the Parthian Empire. The Sasanian Empire was great rivals were the Greco-Romans, and fought many wars against them in the Byzantine–Sasanian wars (285 to c. 628).

The Sasanian Empire itself was toppled in 651 by the Rashidun Caliphate in the Muslim conquest of Persia.

Islam and the Islamic Golden Age[edit | edit source]

Early Muslim conquests (622–750):      Prophet Muhammad (622–632)      Rashidun Caliphate (632–661)      Umayyad Caliphate (661–750)
Al-Khwarizmi, the father of algebra
The human eye according to Ibn al-Haytham

Islam is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion: the central message is that there is only one God (called Allah), and that Muhammad is his prophet, whose scriptures called the Quran are the word of God; later teachings, called the sunnah, are composed of hadiths (sayings). Followers are usually called Muslims.

Early Muslim Conquests and caliphates[edit | edit source]

The Early Muslim Conquests (or Arab conquests) created unification of the Arabian Peninsula, and a century of large and rapid expansion into north Africa, Iberia, and the Middle East and beyond. It saw the collapse of the Sassanid Empire, and the Byzantine Empire lost many territories. It can be divided into:

  1. Conquests of Muhammad (622–632): including Islamic expansion in Arabia. Muhammad lived c. 570 to 632. Khalid ibn al-Walid (585–642) was Muhammad's great general.
  2. Rashidun Caliphate (632–661): including the conquests of the Levant, Egypt, and the neo-Persian Sasanian Empire.
  3. Umayyad Caliphate (661–750): including the conquest of Sindh, Maghreb, and Hispania and Septimania (al-Andalus).

A caliphate is a state under the leadership of a caliph, an Islamic steward who claims to be a successor to Muhammad. Islamic rulers also include sultans (who rule over sultanates), and emirs (who rule over emirates). After the Early Muslim Conquests, the two most significant caliphates were:

  1. Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258), and the Islamic Golden Age.
  2. Ottoman Caliphate (1517–1924), a later caliphate of the Ottoman Empire (1299–1922), an empire of the Late Middle Ages and modern period.

The Fatimid Caliphate (909–1171) was the only significant Shia (specifically Isma'ilism) caliphate, and had territories in northern Africa, Egypt, and the Middle East.

Shia–Sunni divide[edit | edit source]

Soon after the death of Muhammad, Muslims were divided into two major Islamic branches: Shia and Sunni Islam. Shias (also called Shi'ites) believed that the early caliphs should only have been members of Muhammad's family; so they only recognise the Shia imams as being legitimate.

The Battle of Karbala (680), where the supporters and relatives of Husayn ibn Ali (Muhammad's grandson and Shia imam), were defeated by a larger force of the caliph Yazid I (of the Sunni Umayyad caliphate), solidified the Shia-Sunni divide. The Shias were instrumental in the Abbasid Revolution (747–750), the overthrow of the Umayyads by the Abbasids, but the Abbasid Caliphate was Sunni.

From the eighth century, Arab and Iranian dynasties were both Sunni and Shia; Turkic dynasties were dominated by Sunni Islam. The Safavid conversion of Iran to Shia Islam, over the 16th through 18th centuries, turned Iran, which previously had a Sunni majority, into the spiritual bastion of Shia Islam. Today the majority of Muslims are Sunni, with Shia majorities only in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Lebanon, and Azerbaijan.

Islamic Golden Age[edit | edit source]

The Islamic Golden Age occurred during the time of the Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258), a Sunni caliphate that succeeded the Umayyad Caliphate. For many years the Abbasids ruled from the city of Baghdad, and it became a central hub for learning and culture.

During the Islamic Golden Age, science, economic development and cultural works flourished in the Middle East. The translation movement continued, which was the translation of texts into Arabic, especially from Persian and Greek. They learned how to make paper from the Chinese, and built many paper mills in Baghdad. This would lead to thirty-six libraries in Baghdad, including the House of Wisdom (the Grand Library of Baghdad).

Great scholars of the Islamic Golden Age include:

  • Al-Khwarizmi was a Persian scholar who made great advances in algebra, the Arabic being "al-jabr". He also developed and popularized Hindu–Arabic numerals.
  • Ibn al-Haytham was an Arab scholar described as the "father of modern optics"; he was the first to describe sight as light reflecting from an object and then entering the eyes.
  • Jabir ibn Hayyan was known as the "father of chemistry", making advances in alchemy, cosmology, numerology, astrology, medicine, magic, mysticism and philosophy.
  • Ibn al-Nafis was an Arab physician who first to described the pulmonary circulation of the blood.
  • Avicenna (Ibn Sina) was a Persian polymath who wrote the hugely influential The Canon of Medicine and The Book of Healing.
  • Al-Zahrawi was an Arab physician, surgeon and chemist, and is considered as the "father of surgery". He described over 200 surgical instruments, and used catgut for internal stitching.
  • Al-Razi was a Persian polymath and physician, and an early proponent of experimental medicine.
  • Omar Khayyam was a Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet, who devised a very accurate solar calendar.
  • Ismail al-Jazari was an Arab polymath who wrote The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices, describing many mechanical devices.
  • Nasir al-Din al-Tusi and Al-Battani greatly advanced trigonometry.

Early fragmentation of the Islamic world[edit | edit source]

Map of the fragmented Abbasid empire in 892, with areas under direct control (dark green), and areas under autonomous rulers (light green)
Fatimid Caliphate (909–1171) was a major Shia Caliphate that opposed the Sunni Abbasid caliphate
Saladin (of the Ayyubid dynasty) ended the Fatimid Caliphate, and captured Jerusalem from the crusaders in 1187
Middle East (c. 970) during the Shia Century, with the Buyids, Hamdanids, and Fatimids

The Abbasid Caliphate had succeeded the Umayyad Caliphate in 750, and would survive until 1258. But by about 892 and the death of Al-Mu'tamid, the Abbasid's direct rule was reduced mostly to Mesopotamia and western Arabia, with other autonomous rulers adhering to nominal Abbasid suzerainty, but with de facto independence. This created political fragmentation of the Islamic world, with much instability in dynasties and territories.

Later on Abbasid political power would further diminish, especially with the rise of the Iranian Buyids and Seljuk Turks. But the Abbasids would be recognized as caliphs by most dynasties that followed, and there were also later political revivals.

Middle East outside of Egypt[edit | edit source]

Other than the Abbasid Caliphate, there was many other Islamic dynasties in the Islamic world. Prominent Arab dynasties of the Middle East included:

  • Hamdanid dynasty (890–1004) was an Arab dynasty of Shia Islam in northern Mesopotamia and Syria.
    • It would fall to the Uqaylid dynasty (990–1096), a Shia Islam Arab dynasty.
  • Jarrahids (circa 970s to to early 12th century), an Islamic Arab dynasty, ruled Palestine, Transjordan and northern Arabia.
  • Mirdasid dynasty (1024–1080), an Arab Shia Islam dynasty, controlled the Emirate of Aleppo.

The Iranian Intermezzo was the rise of Iranian Muslim dynasties (mainly Persians and Kurds) in the Iranian plateau after domination by the Arabs. Iranian dynasties included:

  • Buyid dynasty (934–1062, also known as Buwaihids, Bowayhids, Buyahids, or Buyyids) was a Shia Iranian dynasty, which would rule lands in Mesopotamia and Persia during this time.
    • Kakuyids (1008–1141) were related to the Buyids.
  • Other Iranian dynasties tended to be more Sunni Islam, and included the Samanids (819–999), Tahirids (821–873), Saffarids (861–1003), Sajids (889–929), Ziyarids (930–1090), and Sallarids (942–979).

The Shia Century was the period of vitality by major Shia Islam dynasties starting in the tenth century, especially the Hamdanids, Fatimids (of Egypt and to the west), and Buyids. During this period, Shia polities controlled most of the Islamic world, including its core areas. The Abbasid Caliph, the supreme Sunni leader, and Baghdad came under the control of the Buyids; while the Sharif of Mecca was under the control of the Fatimids.

It ended with the Sunni Revival, a rival of Sunni political power. The Buyid control of Baghdad ended in 1055 with the Seljuk Turks. The rise of Turkic and mamluk dynasties of Sunni Islam also ended the Iranian Intermezzo. They included the Seljuk Turks (and Zengids), Ghaznavids, and Khwarazmians.

Egyptian dynasties[edit | edit source]

After the decline of Abbasid rule, Egypt had a succession of dynasties:

  • Tulunid dynasty (868–905) was a mamluk Sunni dynasty of Turkic origins. With the splintering of Abbasid rule they became the first independent dynasty to rule Egypt, as well as much of Syria, since the Ptolemaic dynasty.
    • Tulunid dynasty would fall to the Abbasid Caliphate.
  • Ikhshidid dynasty (935–969), a Turkic mamluk Sunni dynasty, followed the Abbasid rule in Egypt and the Levant.
  • Fatimid Caliphate (909–1171) was an Arab and Berber Caliphate of the Isma'ili-Shia. Starting in North Africa and Sicily, it spread to Egypt, the Holy Land, and western Arabia, but lost its territories to the west.

The Fatimid Caliphate Of Egypt would later be taken over by dynasties of Sunni Islam:

  • Ayyubid dynasty (1171–1260) ended Fatimid Egypt; it was founded by Saladin, who had risen to be vizier of Fatimid Egypt. The Ayyubids were eventually overthrown by the Mamluk Sultanate.
  • Mamluk Sultanate of Cairo (1261–1517), which lasted until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517.

Further west[edit | edit source]

Arab dynasties to the west included:

  • Córdoba (756–1031): the Sunni Umayyads held on to al-Andalus (Iberia) as the Emirate of Córdoba, which became the Caliphate of Córdoba in 939.
    • It then split into smaller states called taifas; al-Andalus was later ruled by the Almoravid dynasty and Almohad Caliphate. The Reconquista was the reconquest of Iberia by Christians.
  • Idrisid dynasty (788–974), a Shia Moroccan dynasty that gained Morocco.
  • Aghlabid dynasty (800–909), a Sunni Arab dynasty that gained Ifriqiya (north-central Africa).
  • Fatimid Caliphate (909–1171), see above for details.

In North Africa outside of Egypt, the Fatimid Caliphate was followed by the Berber Zirid dynasty (973–1148); this opened the way for other North African Berber dynasties, such as the Almoravid dynasty, Almohad Caliphate, Zayyanid dynasty, Marinid Sultanate, and Hafsid dynasty.

Mamluk dynasties[edit | edit source]

Mamluk (or mameluke, literally "possessed") commonly refers to slave soldiers of the Arabs. They included enslaved Turkic peoples, but also enslaved Egyptian Copts, Circassians, Abkhazians, and Georgians. With time they became a powerful military knightly class, and would found many Muslim dynasties

Dynasties founded by mamluks included the Tulunids (868–905), Ikhshidids (935–969), Ghaznavids (977–1186), Khwarazmian dynasty (1077–1231), Mamluk dynasty of Delhi (1206–1290), Mamluk Sultanate of Cairo (1250–1517), and Mamluk dynasty of Iraq (1704–1831).


Part 1 Middle Ages[edit | edit source]

Romanticized vision of chivalry in the Middle Ages (God Speed by Edmund Leighton, 1900)

The Middle Ages (or medieval period) lasted roughly from the 5th to the 15th century AD. It can be considered to start from the fall of Rome in 476 AD, or from the 500 AD. Its beginning overlaps with late antiquity (roughly 3rd to 7th centuries AD), the last period of classical antiquity. It ended with the modern period of history, which began in 1500, or with the fall of Constantinople in 1453.

Medium aevum (Latin for middle age) gave rise to the term "medieval".

It can be divided into:

  • Early Middle Ages, which was circa AD 500–1000, and sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, although this is controversial. It was a time of new empire building, most importantly Francia (the Frankish empire). The rise of Islam created a rivalry with the Byzantine Empire, and Iberia would soon be conquered by them.
  • High Middle Ages, which was circa AD 1000–1300, or 1000–1250. After the Norman conquest of England, the English Plantagenet dynasty would rival the French kings for France. The Holy Roman Empire would get established as a powerful Germanic empire. There was religious turmoil with the crusades, and with the Great Schism the Catholic and Orthodox churches would separate.
  • Late Middle Ages was circa AD 1300–1500 or 1250–1500. The Crisis of the Late Middle Ages was a series of famines, plagues, peasant revolts, and wars, that devastated European populations. It was also the period of the rise of the Ottoman Empire, who would overthrow the Byzantine Empire and come to dominate the Balkans.


Chapter 2 Early Middle Ages[edit | edit source]

The Early Middle Ages was Circa 500–1000 AD; it is sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, as there was a relative scarcity of literary and cultural output in Western Europe.

Peoples of the Early Middle Ages[edit | edit source]

Europe and the Near East at 476 AD
Europa in 526
Sack of Rome by Vandals (455)
Hagia Sophia, completed circa 537 by the Greco-Roman Justinian the Great in Constantinople

The peoples of the Early Middle Ages included Indo-European peoples, but also some peoples who were not Indo-European, such as Turkic and Uralic peoples. Indo-Europeans can be divided into Germanic peoples, and Indo-Europeans who were not Germanic such as Greco-Romans, Celts, and Slavs.

Germanic peoples[edit | edit source]

Germanic peoples can be divided into West, East and North:

West Germanic peoples included:

  • Anglo-Saxons, the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes; they inhabited Jutland and northern Europe, and founded Anglo-Saxon England (c. 500–1066).
  • Franks, that spread across Europe from the north, to form Francia/Carolingian Empire (from 481, divided in 843).
  • Lombards, who inhabited the Kingdom of the Lombards (568–774), which covered much of the Italian Peninsula.
  • Suebi, who inhabited the Iberian Kingdom of the Suebi (409–585).
  • Frisii, who inhabited the Frisian Kingdom (c. 600–734) near the North Sea.

Other West Germanic peoples included: Chatti/Hessians (who inhabited Hesse in Roman times); Alemanni (who inhabited Alamannia/Swabia); Bavarii (who inhabited Bavaria); and Thuringii (who inhabited Thuringia).

East Germanic peoples included, most importantly, Vandals, Goths, and Burgundians:

  • Vandals (an East Germanic people) spread across Western Europe, Iberia, Carthage, and across the Mediterranean Sea to Rome; the Vandal Kingdom (435–534) included North Africa and Carthage; Corsica; Sardinia; Sicily. Eventually fell to the Byzantines.
  • Goths (an East Germanic people) included Visigoths and Ostrogoths. Visigoths spread across the Balkan Peninsula, Italy, Rome, southern France; the Visigothic Kingdom (418–c. 720) included much of Iberia and southern France. Eventually fell to Islam, Asturias and Francia. Ostrogoths spread across Europe to Rome to form the Ostrogothic Kingdom (493–553), of Italy and the west Balkans, after the murder of Odoacer. Eventually fell to the Byzantines and the Avar Khaganate.
  • Burgundians (an East Germanic people) formed the Kingdom of the Burgundians/Burgundy (411–534), before falling to the Franks.

Other East Germanic peoples and territories included: Gepids (and the Kingdom of the Gepids); and Rugii (and Rugiland).

North Germanic peoples included: Danes, Swedes, Geats, Gutes and Norsemen.

  • Danes: inhabited the province of Scania, now in southern Sweden; they moved to the Jutland peninsula (modern-day Denmark), and would migrate from there as Vikings.
  • Geats (Götar) and Swedes (Svear) were from the north of Scania; Gutes (Gutar) inhabited the island of Gotland. They would gave rise to modern Swedes. The Geats may have given rise to the Goths, but this is uncertain.
  • Norsemen, or Norwegians, inhabited the petty kingdoms of Norway, and would migrate from there as Vikings.

Other Indo-European peoples[edit | edit source]

Indo-European speaking peoples, other than Germanic peoples, included:

  • Celts were widespread across Europe:
    • Celtic Britons inhabited England and Wales, and also Brittany.
    • Gaels (also know as Scoti) inhabited Ireland, and later Scotland.
    • Gauls, of Gaul (present-day France).
    • Celtiberians, of Iberia (present-day Spain and Portugal).
    • Galatians, of ancient Anatolia (present-day Turkey).
    • Picts, who may have been Celtic, inhabited Scotland.
  • Greco-Romans ruled the Byzantine Empire, and spoke Ancient Greek (a Hellenic language) and Latin (an Italic language).
  • Slavs: could be divided into North Slavs (which includes East and West Slavs); and South Slavs.
    • West Slavs would settle in Eastern Europe areas south of the Baltic Sea.
    • East Slavs would settle in areas that correspond to present-day Belarus, central and northern Ukraine, and parts of western Russia.
    • South Slavs would settle in the Balkans.
  • Balts, lived near the Baltic Sea, and are related to Slavs. Peoples included the Lithuanians, Latvians, and Old Prussians.
  • Iranians: included the Eastern Iranian Alans and Pashtuns (ethnic Afghans); in the Middle East there were the Western Iranian Persians and Kurds.

Celtic Britons in Britain were conquered by the Romans, but the Roman garrison was abandoned in 410 AD. This paved the way for Anglo-Saxon invasions from the east. Britons held out against Anglo-Saxons in Wales and Dumnonia (South West England). Britons had started to emigrate to Brittany towards the end of the 4th century. Related languages of the Britons are Welsh, Cumbric, Cornish, and Breton.

Early Slavic kingdoms included Samo's Empire (631–658) and Carantania (658–828).

Other peoples[edit | edit source]

Apart from the Indo-European speakers, Europe included:

  • Turkic peoples: early Turkic peoples included Khazars and Bulgars; they may have included Huns. Also see the section Turkic migration.
  • Uralic peoples included:
    • Magyars (of the Principality of Hungary).
    • Sami (of northern Scandinavia).
    • Finns (of Finland).
    • Related to the Finns were the Livonians (Latgalians) and Estonians.
  • Pannonian Avars (of uncertain affiliation) would form the Avar Khaganate in the 6th century, before falling to the Bulgars.
  • Afroasiatic peoples: Berbers (of North Africa) and Arabs (of Arabia) would latter press north into Iberia, and would be known as Moors.

Turkic migration and Viking Age[edit | edit source]

Migrations of other peoples continued after the Migration Period (c. 375 to 538 AD), which had seen movements particularly in Germanic peoples and Huns.

Turkic migration[edit | edit source]

Göktürk Khaganate (552–603) was the first Turkic empire

Turkic migration was between the between the 6th and 11th centuries. There was an expansion of Turkic tribes over Asia and Eastern Europe. The earlier Huns may have been Turkic.

The first Turkic empire was the Göktürk Khaganate (552–603); also called the First Turkic Khaganate, it stretched across Asia from from Manchuria to the Black Sea. Although short-lived, it was followed by a succession of Turkic khaganates and khanates in Asia and eastern Europe. Examples include the Second Turkic Khaganate, Uyghur Khaganate, Yenisei Kyrgyz Khaganate, Kara-Khanid Khanate, Khazar Khaganate, Türgesh Khaganatem, Kipchak Khanate, Cumania (or Cuman–Kipchak confederation), and Pecheneg Khanates.

Some early Turkic peoples spoke Oghur languages:

  • Bulgars, who founded Old Great Bulgaria (632–668), which gave rise to the First Bulgarian Empire (681–1018) and Volga Bulgaria (7th century–1240s).
  • Khazars, who founded the Khazar Khaganate (c. 650–969) north and east of the Black Sea.

Turks (from the Oghuz branch of languages) and Tatars (mainly from the Kipchak branch of languages) were also prominent. Starting in the late eleventh century, the Seljuk Turks from Central Asia migrated over large areas of Anatolia (present-day Turkey), eventually creating a Turkish majority there.

Today Turkic peoples are mainly represented by Turks, Azerbaijanis, and Turkmen (from the Oghuz branch); Uzbeks and Uyghurs (from the Karluk branch); and Kazakhs and Tatars (from the Kipchak branch).

Viking Age[edit | edit source]

Viking (and Norman) settlement (and raiding) in Europe between the 8th and 11th centuries

Viking Age (793–1066): began with the raid on Lindisfarne (793). Vikings were migrating North Germanic peoples, which included Danes, Swedes, and Norsemen (Norwegians); although Vikings are sometimes called "Norseman", as the term "víkingr" was applied only to plunderers, rather than traders and settlers.

From their homelands in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, they settled in the British Isles and Ireland, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Greenland, Normandy, the Baltic coast, eastern Europe, and Vinland (probably Newfoundland). They founded the Kingdom of the Isles (Isle of Man, the Hebrides, and the islands of the Firth of Clyde), the Earldom of Orkney, Scandinavian York, Danelaw (now England to the east), the Kingdom of Dublin, and the Duchy of Normandy. The Varangians (also known as Rus') were Viking Swedes that traveled along the Volga and Dnieper rivers, and may have founded Kievan Rus', an early Russian federation, as the Rus' people.

Vikings would give rise to Normans, descendants of Vikings who settled in Normandy, and would conquer England and south Italy in the High Middle Ages. Their descendants would also give rise to Norse-Gaels, Faroese, and Icelanders.

Other peoples[edit | edit source]

Of the Germanic tribes, Franks would become the dominant Germanic tribe on mainland Europe by the end of the eighth century, outside of Scandinavia.

Other prominent migrations and expansions included:

  • Pannonian Avars would form the Avar Khaganate (567–after 822) in the Carpathian Basin.
    • Magyar tribes, also called the Hungarian clans, migrated west, and conquered the Carpathian Basin starting in the late ninth century to create the Principality of Hungary.
  • Arabs and Berbers would become prominent with Islamic expansion from the seventh century, and would be commonly referred to as Saracens and Moors.
  • Slavs, by the seventh century, would begin to create Slavic states, beginning with Samo's Empire (631–658).

During the High Middle Ages, the Mongols, would sweep across Asia, and influence the development of Russia and the Middle East.

Italian Peninsula in the Middle Ages[edit | edit source]

Ostrogoths, Vandals, Byzantines, and Lombards[edit | edit source]

Map of Italy in 751 divided between Lombards and the Byzantine Empire
Italy in 1000 AD
Crown of Aragon in 1443

With the fall of Rome, Odoacer's Kingdom Of Italy (476-493) was established, which included some surrounding territory. It was conquered by Theodoric the Great, who was:

  • King of the Ostrogoths (475–526).
  • King of Italy (493–526), with the Ostrogothic Kingdom including Italy and neighboring areas.
  • King of the Visigoths (511–526), with the Visigothic Kingdom including much of Iberia and what would become southern France.

Corsica, Sardinia, and Sicily became part of the Vandal Kingdom (435–534), along with some of North Africa and Carthage.

Both the Ostrogothic and Vandal kingdoms were conquered by the Byzantine Empire under Justinian I (527–565), after the Gothic War (535–554) and the Vandalic War (533–534); and Italy and surrounding islands became part of the Byzantine Empire under the Justinian dynasty (518–602).

Starting in the 6th century, much of Italy was eventually conquered by Lombards (a West Germanic people) from the Byzantine Empire. The Kingdom of the Lombards was at its greatest extent around 749–756, and could be divided into Langobardia Major and Langobardia Minor:

  • Langobardia Major, which was the northern Lombards, which included (i) Neustria (in the north-west, later called Lombardy); (ii) Austria (in the north-east, later called the March of Verona); and (iii) Tuscia (south of Neustria, later called Tuscany).
  • Langobardia Minor, which was the central and southern Lombards; this included the Duchy of Spoleto and the Duchy of Benevento.
  • The rest of Italy was Byzantine territories, and included some of central and southern Italy (including Rome), Sicily, and Sardinia.

Northern and central Italy[edit | edit source]

The Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne (of Francia) conquered the Lombard Kingdom by 774, which covered much of Italy; but the Principality of Benevento (a Lombard former duchy) maintained de facto independence for nearly 300 years, although it was divided after 849. Venice remained unconquered, the Papal States were under the rule of the pope, and the Byzantine Empire maintained territories in the south.

From the 9th century onward, northern and central Italy could be divided into the Kingdom of Italy, Papal States, and Republic of Venice:

  • Kingdom of Italy (of the Holy Roman Empire) in northern and central Italy. It was claimed by the Holy Roman Empire, but with time its power would wane. Italian city-states within it would start to assert de facto independence, or come under the influence of European dynasties; they would include Milan, Florence, Genoa, Pisa, Lucca, Cremona, Siena, Città di Castello, Perugia, and others; and see Venice below.
  • Papal States, which were provided with a legal basis with the Donation of Pepin in 756, which conferred upon the pope various territories. This was by Pepin the Short, the first Carolingian King of the Franks. Its status with the Kingdom of Italy is disputed.
  • Republic of Venice was officially recognized as Byzantine territory in 814, but would become a powerful and independent city-state and empire.

Southern Italy and Sicily[edit | edit source]

In the 9th century, Moors captured Sicily from the Byzantines, to form the Muslim Emirate of Sicily (831–1091).

Normans would conquer southern Italy and Sicily between 999 and 1139. Roger II of Sicily, who was King of Sicily (1130–1154) and King of Africa (1148–1154), consolidated the Norman kingdoms into one, which covered Sicily, southern Italy, and some north Africa.

The Norman Kingdom of Sicily fell in 1194 to Frederick II, Holy Roman Emperor and House of Hohenstaufen. Later on it would fall to the Capetian House of Anjou (1266); but in 1282, King Charles I of Sicily was forced to leave the island of Sicily by Peter III of Aragon. Charles, however, maintained his possessions in southern Italy.

The Kingdom of Sicily would officially split into two with the Treaty of Villeneuve (1372):

  • Kingdom of Naples, officially the Kingdom of Sicily, continued in southern Italy, under the House of Anjou. Its unofficial name was its capital city.
  • Kingdom of Sicily, officially the Kingdom of Trinacria (an ancient name for Sicily), continued on the island of Sicily under the Crown of Aragon and House of Barcelona.

Naples and Sicily would later become reunited under the Crown of Aragon in 1443; but they would remain separately administered, only combined as the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies in 1816. In 1469, King Ferdinand II of Aragon married Infanta Isabella of Castile (Queen of Castile and León in 1474); it was a dynastic union, and the dawn of the Kingdom of Spain.

Francia and the Carolingian Empire[edit | edit source]

Francia 481–870, from union to the Treaty of Meerssen (animated)
The coronation of Charlemagne by Pope Leo III

Francia, also called the Kingdom of the Franks and Frankish Empire, grew from 481 onward into a mighty empire, which was known from 800 as the Carolingian Empire. The Franks were united by Clovis I (who ruled c. 481–511). Clovis was a member of the Merovingian dynasty of Frankish kings, between 450 and 751.

The Battle of Tours (732) in Aquitaine, where the Franks defeated the Umayyad Caliphate, helped to establish Frankish dominance. Charles Martel commanded the Franks at Tours, and established the Carolingian dynasty of Frankish kings.

Charlemagne, Holy Roman Emperor[edit | edit source]

Charlemagne (Charles I, the Great) was King of Francia 768–814; King of the Lombards 774–814; and Holy Roman Emperor 800–814. Charlemagne expanded the kingdom into Bavaria/Carinthia, and Lombard, Saxon and Spanish March territories. Francia by 800 covered much of the former Western Roman Empire, with most of Western and Central Europe; but not including Iberia, Britain, Jutland, Brittany, southern Italy, Venice and the Papal States.

On Christmas Day in 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne as "Emperor of the Romans" in the Old St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. The office of Holy Roman Emperor, as it became known as, was a revival of the Roman Emperor in the west. Charlemagne's empire from 800 is sometimes called the Holy Roman Empire, but it is more often called the Carolingian Empire, named after the Carolingian dynasty. It was distinct from the later Holy Roman Empire of 962–1806, which was centered on East Francia.

Origins of France and the Holy Roman Empire[edit | edit source]

Charlemagne was succeeded as Holy Roman Emperor by his son Louis the Pious (813–840). On the death of Louis, civil war erupted (840–43), followed by the Treaty of Verdun; Francia was then divided among the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious:

  • West Francia, first ruled by Charles the Bald (who later became Holy Roman Emperor and King of Italy). West Francia is considered to be the Kingdom of France with the rule of the Capetian dynasty (987 onward).
  • East Francia, first ruled by Louis the German. East Francia would later form the nucleus of the Holy Roman Empire (962–1806) founded by Otto the Great.
  • Middle Francia, ruled by Lothair I (who was Holy Roman Emperor). It was a short lived state of territory between West and East Francia.

With the death of Lothair I and the Treaty of Prüm (855), the sons of Lothair I divided Middle Francia into: (i) Lotharingia, which would later became Lorraine and Upper Burgundy, ruled by Lothair II; (ii) Provence, also known as Lower Burgundy, ruled by Charles of Provence; (iii) Italy, the northern peninsula, ruled by Louis II of Italy.

By the time of the Treaty of Meerssen (870), Charles of Provence and Lothair II had both died, and Francia had become:

  • West Francia, which contained parts of Lotharingia, and some of Provence; ruled by Charles the Bald at that time.
  • East Francia, which contained most of Lotharingia; ruled by Louis the German at that time.
  • Italy, the northern peninsula, which had expanded to include most of Provence; ruled by Louis II of Italy at that time.

With the Treaty of Ribemont (880), some Lotharingia territory was returned to East Francia from West Francia. Francia was reunited briefly, between 884–887, under Charles III (the Fat), Emperor between 881–888; after that it then divided again. Charles was the last of the Carolingian dynasty of Holy Roman Emperors, with the exception of the disputed Holy Roman Emperor Arnulph (896–899).

Europe from 814[edit | edit source]

After the death of Charlemagne (814), Europe during the Early Middle Ages included the following states:

Peoples of Europe (750 AD)
European states in 814
Alfred the Great
British Isles
Alfred the Great, the Anglo-Saxon King of the West Saxons, defeated the Great Heathen Army of the Danish King Guthrum at the Battle of Edington (878) to become first unified King of the Anglo-Saxons. The House of Wessex, which included Alfred, would eventually conquer all of England from the Danes under Æthelstan (c. 927). But there were also Danish kings after this, including Cnut the Great, who reigned over England 1016–1035, as well as Denmark and Norway, as the North Sea Empire. Other tribes of the British Isles included the Welsh and West Welsh (who were Celtic Britons); the Picts; and the Celtic Gaels/Scoti.
Scandinavia and to the east
Scandinavia was inhabited by North Germanic peoples, with Danes (in Jutland and Scania), Swedes, Geats, and Gutes. In the Unification of Norway (860s–1020s), the Norwegian Norsemen unified from the petty kingdoms of Norway. Lands of Finns (a Uralic people) lay to the east.
Western and Central Europe
Was dominated by Francia (with West Germanic Franks), which remained undivided until 840. Brittany was inhabited by Celtic Britons.
Slavic states and Balts
Included Bohemia, with West-Slavic Bohemians, the ancestors of Czechs. Great Moravia (833–c. 907) was a short lived state of the West-Slavic Moravians. Kievan Rus' principalities (882–1240) would form from East Slavic peoples, Finns and Vikings. Serbia (with South-Slavic Serbs) existed as a state between 8th century up to 1371, and then fell to the Ottomans. The Kingdom of Croatia (925–1102) of South-Slavic Croats, developed from the earlier Duchy, and would enter personal union with Hungary in 1102. Carantania (658–828) was a South-Slavic state. The Bulgarian Empire was partly South Slavic. Balts lived near the Baltic Sea, and may have ruled the territory of the Aesti (Esthland or Estonia).
First Bulgarian Empire (681–1018)
The earlier Old Great Bulgaria (632–668) was established by Bulgars (a Turkic people); after defeating the Byzantines at the Battle of Ongal (680), the First Bulgarian Empire was established as a Bulgar-Slavic, and later Bulgarian, state. After defeating the Byzantines at the Battle of Achelous (917) it achieved hegemony over much of the Balkans, before falling to the Byzantine Empire. Much later on in the High Middle Ages, the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185–1396) was established after uprisings, which eventually fell to the Ottomans.
Carpathian Basin
In the Carpathian Basin (or Pannonian Basin), Pannonian Avars would form the Avar Khaganate (567–after 822). After being conquered by East Francia and the First Bulgarian Empire, the Magyars (a Uralic people) would establish the Principality of Hungary (895–1301), which later became a kingdom.
Iberian Peninsula
Included the Islamic Emirate of Córdoba in southern Iberia (which later became a caliphate). In the north was the Christian Kingdom of Asturias (718–924, named after the Celtic Astures), which would later transition to the Kingdom of León (910–1230). A few years later, the Christian Kingdom of Pamplona (later called the Kingdom of Navarre) would be founded; this is traditionally dated to 824.
Italian Peninsula
Francia dominated the northern peninsula, and had hegemony over the Papal States. The Republic of Venice (697–1797) was within the Byzantine sphere of influence. In southern Italy, Benevento (571–1077) was ruled by the Lombards, with the Byzantine Empire to the south of Benevento. Later on, the Moors would conquer Sicily from the Byzantines, and the Normans would then conquer Sicily and southern Italy.
Byzantine Empire and to the east
The Byzantine Empire ruled the southern Balkans and Anatolia. East of the Byzantines was ruled by the Abbasid Caliphate. Khazars (a Turkic people) and Magyars ruled Europe north of the Black Sea.

Reconquista, and unification of Spain[edit | edit source]

    Note: this section spans the entire Middle Ages.

Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours (732)
Caliphate of Córdoba in 1000
Iberia during the High Middle Ages, c. 1210
James I of Aragon, "the Conqueror", a giant model in Barcelona
Ferdinand III of Castile; Muhammad I of Granada kisses his hand after surrendering Jaén (1246)
Iberia during the Late Middle Ages, c. 1400
Deputation of Jews before Ferdinand and Isabella

The Umayyad conquest of Hispania (711–788) was the capture of Iberia by the Umayyad Caliphate from the Visigoths, who by 624 had gained control of all of Iberia. Hispania was the Roman name for Iberia, which is now Spain and Portugal. The Islamic dominions of Iberia were known as al-Andalus; they were ruled by Muslim Arabs and Berbers known as Moors. The Emirate of Córdoba (756–939) was a splinter state ruled by the Umayyads, after al-Andalus separated from the Abbasid Caliphate. Córdoba would later became a caliphate (939–1031), before splitting into many independent states, called taifas.

The Reconquista was the reconquest of Iberia by Christians, began after the Battle of Covadonga (either 718 or 722), where the Visigoth Pelagius of Asturias defeated the Moors, and the Christian Kingdom of Asturias was founded after it.

The Franks were successful in early battles against the Moors; at the Battle of Tours (732), also known as the Battle of Poitiers, the Frankish leader Charles Martel defeated the Umayyad Caliphate. The battle helped to establish the foundations of the Carolingian Empire, and Frankish domination of western Europe. Established by Charlemagne in 795, the Hispanic Marches was military buffer between the Frankish empire and al-Andalus.

Almanzor, the powerful chancellor of the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba between 978 and 1002, waged many campaigns against the northern Christian kingdoms.

Asturias, León, and Galicia[edit | edit source]

Alfonso III of Asturias (866–910) who ruled the Kingdom of Asturias, would consolidate power and have numerous victories over Islamic and Christian opponents. It is assumed that the old Asturian kingdom was divided between the three sons of Alfonso III of Asturias, into the kingdoms of León, Asturias and Galicia. The Kingdom of León was so named as the capital was shifted from the city of Oviedo to the city of León in 910.

The Kingdom of León would unite with the Kingdom of Asturias in 924, with Asturias becoming the Principality of Asturias. The Kingdom of León would at times be in personal union with the Kingdom of Galicia, eventually merging into the Crown of Castile (1230–1715).

Navarre/Pamplona, Castile, and Aragon[edit | edit source]

The Kingdom of Navarre (824–1841), earlier known as the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a northern Basque-based kingdom. Basques speak the Basque language, a language isolate which is closely related to the Aquitanian language spoken by Aquitani. They gained independence from the Emirate of Córdoba. Navarre was ruled by the House of Jiménez 905 to 1234, until acquired by the counts of Champagne in 1234.

Sancho III of Pamplona was King of Pamplona (or Navarre) 1004–1035. He ruled:

  • Kingdom of Pamplona, and County of Aragon, by inheritance; Aragon had earlier been under Frankish rule.
  • Counties of Castile, Álava, and Monzón by marriage (1011); Castile had earlier been part of the Kingdom of León.
  • Counties of Sobrarbe (1015), Ribagorza (1018) and Cea (1030).
  • Kingdom of León, by conquest, taking its eponymous capital city in 1034. Bermudo III of León took refuge in Galicia.

Sancho III was also suzerain of the French Duchy of Gascony, and the County of Barcelona. Ferdinand I of León (King of León 1037–1065) was the son of Sancho III, and the first king to be crowned Emperor of Spain (1056).

The upshot of Sancho III's conquests, and dominance of Christian Iberia, was the creation of two new kingdoms:

  • Kingdom of Aragon, created in 1035 from the county, for Ramiro I of Aragon, son of Sancho III.
  • Kingdom of Castile, created in 1065 from the county, for Sancho II of Castile and León, son of Ferdinand I of León.

The Kingdom of León (which included the Principality of Asturias) and the Kingdom of Galicia would continue, but would eventually unite with the Kingdom of Castile as the Crown of Castile (1230–1715). The Kingdom of Navarre would later be partially annexed by the Crown of Castile in 1512. The Kingdom of Aragon would become the Crown of Aragon in 1162, with the union of Catalonia.

Al-Andalus, and Portugal[edit | edit source]

During the High Middle Ages, al-Andalus (that is, Islamic Iberia) rulers would include the Almoravid dynasty (1040–1147), and Almohad Caliphate (1121–1269). At other times they would be divided into taifas, which were independent Islamic principalities ruled by emirs.

In 1128, with the Battle of São Mamede, the County of Portugal (1093–1139) achieved independence from the Kingdom of León, and then became the Kingdom of Portugal (1139–1910). Portugal would remain independent of Spain, except for the period of the Iberian Union (1580-1640).

Catalonia, and the Crown of Aragon[edit | edit source]

After Barcelona was conquered by the Moors, the city was retaken by Franks in 801, led by Louis the Pious. During the 10th century, the counts of Barcelona became progressively independent of the Franks, and acquired other Catalan counties. In 988 Borrell II, Count of Barcelona, refused to recognize the new dynasty of the Frankish king Hugh Capet; from that point on, the counts of Barcelona often referred to themselves as princeps (prince).

In 1150 Petronilla of Aragon married Raymond Berenguer IV of Barcelona. This would create the dynastic union of the Kingdom of Aragon and County of Barcelona, as the Crown of Aragon. The Crown of Aragon became a personal union with their son Alfonso II of Aragon, King of Aragon (1164–1196) and Count of Barcelona (1162–1196). The County of Barcelona (which included many Catalan counties) would then become known as the Principality of Catalonia, within the Crown of Aragon.

James I the Conqueror (King of Aragon 1213–1276) would expand the crown from Aragon and Catalonia:

  • Kingdom of Valencia. El Cid (Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar) had taken Valencia with a Christian and Moorish army, and become Prince of Valencia (1094–1099); it would be fought over by Muslims and Christians, before being conquered by Aragon in 1238.
  • Kingdom of Majorca, a realm of the Balearic Islands and on the east coast of Spain, was founded in 1231 after conquest from Moors, and united with the Crown of Aragon in 1258.

James I was also Lord of Montpellier; Montpellier would be sold to the French in 1344. The Crown of Aragon would later include Sardinia, Sicily, and Naples (southern Italy), and other European lands.

Crown of Castile, and Ferdinand III of Castile[edit | edit source]

The Crown of Castile (1230–1715) developed from the kingdoms of Castile and León; during the 11th and 12th centuries, they would be in personal union at times.

St. Ferdinand III of Castile was the son of Alfonso IX of León and Berenguela of Castile, and became king of Castile and Toledo (1217–1252), and king of León (including Asturias) and Galicia (1230–1252). Toledo had been earlier been Christianized with the capture of Toledo by Alfonso VI of León (1085).

In addition to Castile, Toledo, León (including Asturias), and Galicia, Ferdinand III would conquer Islamic territories which became Christian kingdoms:

  • Kingdom of Córdoba, with the Siege of Córdoba (1236).
  • Kingdom of Jaén, with the Siege of Jaén (1245–1246).
  • Kingdom of Seville, with the Siege of Seville (1247–1248).

In 1238 the Emirate of Granada became a tributary vassal to Castile. With the conquest of Murcia (1243), the Taifa of Murcia became a vassal of Castle. Later on the Crown of Castile would obtain:

  • Kingdom of Murcia, after the Mudéjar revolt (1264–1266), and reconquest by Castile (1265–1266).
  • Lordship of Biscay (1379).
  • Kingdom of Granada (1492).
  • Upper Navarre (1512).

Outside of Iberia, the crown would obtain a great overseas empire in the New World and other places. Córdoba, Jaén, Seville, and Granada would be known as the Four Kingdoms of Andalusia.

Ferdinand and Isabella, and the end of the Reconquista[edit | edit source]

By 1400 only the Emirate of Granada remained Islamic; Christian Iberia could be divided into:

  • Crown of Castile
  • Crown of Aragon
  • Kingdom of Portugal
  • Kingdom of Navarre

King Ferdinand II of Aragon and Queen Isabella I of Castile were later called the Catholic Monarchs; they were both from the House of Trastámara, and their marriage in 1469 and later ascensions to their thrones, marked the de facto unification of Spain (as Aragon and Castile). In 1478, Ferdinand and Isabella launched the Spanish Inquisition primarily to identify heretics, especially among the conversos, those who converted to Catholicism from Judaism. Tomás de Torquemada was the first Grand Inquisitor between 1483 and 1498.

Ferdinand and Isabella completed the Reconquista with a victorious war against the Emirate of Granada (1482–1492). After the Reconquista, the Alhambra Decree (1492) led to the expulsion of Jews from Spain, although Jews who converted to Christianity escaped expulsion. It was followed by forced conversions and expulsions of Muslims; even some moriscos (i.e. Muslims who had converted to Christianity) experienced expulsion between 1609 and 1614. In 1512 Upper Navarre (to the south) was annexed to the Crown of Castile; Lower Navarre (to the north) then entered personal union with France when Henry III of Navarre became Henry IV of France in 1589.

In 1519 the crowns of Aragon and Castile would enter personal union with Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor; from then onward they remained in personal union. During and after the War of the Spanish Succession, the Nueva Planta decrees (1707–1716) unified Aragon and Castile into the crown of Spain.


Chapter 3 High Middle Ages[edit | edit source]

The High Middle Ages was circa AD 1000–1300, or 1000–1250.

States and territories of the High Middle Ages[edit | edit source]

Europe in 1190

States and territories of the High Middle Ages included:

Northern Europe
Britain Isles included England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Nordic countries included Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, and lands of the Sami and Finns. Valdemar I of Denmark saw his country becoming a leading force in northern Europe.
Western and Central Europe
Consisted of the Kingdom of France and the Holy Roman Empire.
Eastern Europe
In the Kingdom of Poland (1025–1569), Casimir III of Poland doubled the size of kingdom by the end of his reign (1333–1370) and considerably strengthened the nation. Around the Baltic Sea there were Finnic Estonians and Livonians; and Baltic Tribes, composed of Balts, including Old Prussians, Lithuanians, and Latvians. Further east was Kievan Rus' (882–1240; founded by the Rus' people), and the Novgorod Republic (1136–1478). The Balkans were dominated by five states: Hungary (which gained hegemony over Croatia, Bosnia, Slavonia, Dalmatia and Transylvania); Grand Principality of Serbia (1091–1217, which expanded over what is today Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and southern Dalmatia); the Second Bulgarian Empire; and the Byzantine Empire (which included Greece and some of Anatolia); and the Cuman-Kipchak confederation (a Turkic state also known as Cumania, of the 10th century to 1241).
Iberian Peninsula
Included the Christian kingdoms of Castile, León, Navarre, Aragon, Portugal. The Muslim Caliphate of Córdoba was, after 1031, replaced by taifa (independent Muslim states). The Reconquista (722–1492) was the reconquest of Iberia by Christians.
Italian Peninsula
Included the Kingdom of Sicily, which was under Norman rule from 1091, which included southern Italy by 1130. The Republic of Venice, Papal States, and the Holy Roman Empire were in the north.

France and England[edit | edit source]

Territory of France from 985 to 1947
France in 1180, with the Angevin Empire empire in shades of red
Henry II and Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury
The coronation of Philippe II Auguste, in the presence of Henry II of England
Territorial conquests of Philip II of France, with the Angevin Empire in red, and the domaine royal in blue
Magna Carta of 1215, one of only four surviving exemplified (original) copies
Louis IX of France, "Saint Louis"

France[edit | edit source]

France developed from West Francia, also known as the Kingdom of the West Franks (843–987), a division of the Carolingian Empire created by the Treaty of Verdun (843). Until 987, West Francia was ruled by the Carolingian, Robertian, and Bosonid dynasties; from 987, the Capetian dynasty took control, beginning with Hugh Capet, King of the Franks (987–996), who was earlier a duke. West Francia began to be known as the Kingdom of France. The lands directly controlled and taxed by the French king were known as the domaine royal; these would grow as the French kings became more powerful as the Middle Ages progressed.

Many French nobles were active during the Crusades, where they were known as Franks. The Capetian dynasty would rule France; until the French Revolution they were the following:

  • House of Capet (987–1328): Hugh Capet, Robert II, Henry I, Philip I, Louis VI, Louis VII, Philip II, Louis VIII, Louis IX, Philip III, Philip IV, Louis X, John I, Philip V, Charles IV.
  • Valois kings of France (1328–1589): the houses of Valois, Valois-Orléans, and Valois-Angoulême: Philip VI, John II, Charles V, Charles VI, Charles VII, Louis XI, Charles VIII, Louis XII, Francis I, Henry II, Francis II, Charles IX, Henry III. Disputed with the House of Lancaster Henry VI of England (1422–1453).
  • House of Bourbon (1589–1792): Henry IV, Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XV, Louis XVI, Louis XVII (disputed).

Normans[edit | edit source]

Normans were descended from Vikings and indigenous Gallo-Romans and Franks. They gained gained political legitimacy in 911 when the Viking leader Rollo agreed to swear allegiance to King Charles III of West Francia, in exchange for ceding them lands, which became Normandy in northern France.

Culturally, they were known for their Norman architecture (also known as Romanesque architecture); they adopted a Gallo-Romance language called Norman French.

From the 11th century onward they also conquered:

  • Kingdom of England (see below).
  • Kingdom of Sicily (1130–1816): conquered from 999 onward, it was a Norman kingdom that would include Sicily, southern Italy, some of northern Africa, and Malta. Ruled by the House of Hauteville, they would lose control of Sicily in 1194.
  • Principality of Antioch, a crusader state first ruled by Bohemond I of Antioch, a Norman.

Norman England[edit | edit source]

After the Norman conquest of England, which began with the Battle of Hastings (1066), England was ruled by the House of Normandy; the reign of William the Conqueror (William I, 1066–1087), was followed by that of his sons William II (1087–1100) and Henry I (1100–1135). The Rebellion of 1088 was between two of William I's sons: William II and Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy.

But after the death of Henry I, a succession crisis between the Empress Matilda (Henry I's daughter), and Stephen of Blois (Henry I's nephew), brought about the Anarchy (1135–1153), a period of civil war between the claimants. The Anarchy was ended by the Treaty of Wallingford (1153), where Stephen kept the throne, but recognized Matilda's son Henry II as heir to the crown.

Henry II and the Angevin Empire[edit | edit source]

Henry II of England (who reigned 1154–1189) was the first of the Plantagenet dynasty of Anglo-French kings (1154–1485), named after his father Geoffrey Plantagenet, the Count of Anjou. Henry II would gain the following:

  • Duke of Normandy, and Count of Anjou, Touraine, and Maine: inherited from his father Geoffrey Plantagenet in 1150.
  • Duke of Aquitaine: from marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine, Duchess of Aquitaine, in 1152.
  • King of England (and large parts of Wales): inherited from Stephen in 1154, due to his mother's claim, the Empress Matilda.
  • Lord of Ireland: after the Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland (1169–1171) and creation of the Lordship of Ireland.
  • Fealty of Scotland, after he forced William the Lion to swear that Scotland would thereafter be subordinate with the Treaty of Falaise (1174).
  • Count of Nantes: by treaty in 1185, from which he partly gained control of the Duchy of Brittany.

Eleanor of Aquitaine, as the heir to a vast Duchy of Aquitaine, was one of the richest and most powerful women in Europe. Before marrying Henry II, she had been married to Louis VII of France, but this marriage was annulled after marital problems, Louis VII would remarry, and his subsequent son Philip II would take back many of the French lands from the Plantagenets.

Henry II's empire became known as the Angevin Empire (1154–1214), named after the county of Anjou where court was often held; although the use of the term "empire" is disputed. As well as the Angevin Empire, France consisted of the domaine royal (directly controlled and taxed by the king), and various other fiefs, as well as some ecclesiastical lordships. The Angevin kings of England were the first three Plantagenets:

  • Henry II of England (1154–1189)
  • Richard I of England "the Lionheart" (1189–1199), Henry's son
  • John of England (1199–1216), Henry's son

Henry II other legitimate sons were: William (who died in infancy); Henry the Young King (who became Junior king of England, 1170–1183); and Geoffrey II, Duke of Brittany. The assassination of Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was by Henry II's followers, and took place in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170. Henry II and Beckett had fallen out over the rights and privileges of the Church; "Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?" is a traditionally quoted utterance of Henry II before the assassination.

Henry II's sons rebelled against him three times:

  • Revolt of 1173–74 was an unsuccessful rebellion against Henry II by his wife Eleanor and his sons Young Henry, Richard, and Geoffrey.
  • In 1183, his sons Young Henry and Geoffrey revolted again, resulting in Young Henry's death.
  • In 1189, a rebellion by his son Richard, with Philip II of France, was finally successful, and the defeated and ill Henry II died at Chinon in Anjou.

Capetian–Plantagenet rivalry[edit | edit source]

Capetian–Plantagenet rivalry (1159–1259) was a series of conflicts and disputes between the House of Capet (which ruled France) and the House of Plantagenet (which ruled England), mainly over the control of lands in France; it is sometimes considered to be the "First Hundred Years War".

The reign of Richard I was followed by John. During John's reign the English lost most of their French possessions to Philip II of France (Philippe II Auguste, who reigned 1180–1223). Major conflicts included the French invasion of Normandy (1202–1204), and the Anglo-French War of 1213–1214.

By 1214 the Angevin Empire had ended, in that the only French land that remained under the House of Plantagenet were lands in Gascony in southern Aquitaine. Rivalry would also influence the First Barons' War (1215–1217). After defeating Henry III of England during the Saintonge War (1242–1243), Louis IX of France ceded lands north and east of Gascony to Henry III with the Treaty of Paris (1259), in exchange for homage liege to the French monarch, and the renouncement of claims to many territories that had been lost by King John.

With the Anglo-French War (1294–1303), Philip IV of France "confiscated" the lands in Gascony from Edward I of England in 1295. Edward sent three expeditionary forces to recover Gascony, which was eventually returned with the Treaty of Paris (1303). English defeat in the War of Saint-Sardos (1324) was a precursor to the Hundred Years' War.

Magna Carta and the Barons' Wars[edit | edit source]

In 1215, with the loss of most French possessions, the Magna Carta ("Great Charter") of 1215 was forced upon King John by the English barons; it guaranteed certain rights from the king, and was agreed at Runnymede, near Windsor, on 15 June 1215.

This was followed by the First Barons' War (1215–1217), after John reneged on the Great Charter, which he had annulled by Pope Innocent III. The future Louis VIII of France (the son of Philip II) backed the rebellious barons, and claimed the English throne between 1216 and 1217. John was succeeded by his son Henry III (who reigned 1216–1272); he reissued a modified charter, the Great Charter of 1216, to try to appease the barons. Louis was eventually defeated, as the barons defected to Henry III.

Great Charters were also issued in 1217, 1225, and 1297. The Second Barons' War (1264–1267) was an unsuccessful uprising against Henry III, and his son Prince Edward (who was later Edward I), by Simon de Montfort and other barons, after Henry III had constitutional reforms abolished with the help of a papal bull. Simon de Montfort became the de facto ruler of England, but was killed at the Battle of Evesham (1265).

England after the Barons' Wars[edit | edit source]

Henry III of England was succeeded by his son Edward I (who reigned 1272–1307); also called Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, he was one of Scotland's greatest adversaries, although Scottish independence from England was maintained.

Edward I was then succeeded by his son Edward II (who reigned 1307–1327), also called Edward of Carnarvon. The Despenser War (1321–1322) was an unsuccessful baronial revolt against Edward II by the Marcher Lords Roger Mortimer and Humphrey de Bohun; it was fueled by opposition to Edward's favorite Hugh Despenser the Younger. The Marcher Lords guarded the border, known as the Welsh Marches, between England and Wales.

Later on, power was wrestled from Edward II by his son Edward III (who reigned 1327–1377), backed by Edward III's mother Isabella of France, and Roger Mortimer; Edward II would die, and Hugh Despenser the Younger, and later on Roger Mortimer, were executed. During his reign, the loss of Gascony and Edward III's rival claim to the French crown, triggered the Hundred Years' War in 1337.

France after Philip II[edit | edit source]

After the reign of Philip II "Augustus" of France (1180–1223), and the short reign of Louis VIII (1223–1226), came the reign of Louis IX "the Saint" (1226–1270). Louis IX was one of the most notable European monarchs of the Middle Ages, with France reaching an economic and political peak during his reign. He had a reputation for fairness and moral integrity, went of the ill-fated Seventh Crusade and Eighth Crusade, and was canonized by the Catholic Church in 1297.

Philip III "the Bold" (who reigned 1270–1285) expanded French influence in Europe. The County of Toulouse, which was earlier independent, was returned to the domaine royal; and he expanded French influence into the Kingdom of Navarre. The reign of Philip IV "the Fair" (1285–1314) was remembered for his struggle with the Roman papacy, and his consolidation of royal power.

After a succession of short reigns between 1314 and 1328—Louis X, John I, Philip V, and Charles IV—the House of Capet would transition to the House of Valois, but this would contribute to the Hundred Years' War.

Holy Roman Empire[edit | edit source]

Holy Roman Empire in the 11th century
Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor

Holy Roman Empire (962–1806), of Emperor Otto I the Great, was a union of East Francia and Italy. Otto was a Saxon, and Duke of Saxony and King of East Francia from 936; King of Italy from 961; and Holy Roman Emperor between 962–973, after a large interregnum (gap) between 924–962 (38 years). The Nazis considered it to be the first German Reich (Deutsches Reich), where reich is roughly comparable to "realm". Before their coronation as emperors, or as heir-apparents, their rulers were designated as kings, most commonly as "King of the Romans".

By 947, the former Francia had divided into four kingdoms: West Francia; East Francia; Kingdom of Italy; Kingdom of Arles. East Francia and the Kingdom of Italy initially formed the Holy Roman Empire; later on Bohemia (which was never part of Francia) and the Kingdom of Arles joined. West Francia would go on to form the Kingdom of France.

1. East Francia by 962 had six stem duchies: (i) Franconia; (ii) Swabia (former Alamannia); (iii) Saxony; (iv) Bavaria; (v) Upper Lorraine (in south); (vi) Lower Lorraine (in north). It remained the centre of the Holy Roman Empire for its lifetime, and is sometimes considered as the Kingdom of Germany.
2. The Kingdom of Italy was roughly the Italian Republic north. At about 1000 it included Lombardy, the March of Verona and Aquileia, the March of Tuscany, and the Duchy of Spoleto; but excluded Venice and the Papal States. Holy Roman Emperors were also kings of Italy between 962–1493 and 1519–1556 (Charles V). After that Italy was nominally within the Holy Roman Empire until 1801, but power was lost.

Later territories gained by Holy Roman Empire (East Francia and Italy) were Bohemia and the Kingdom of Arles:

3. Duchy/Kingdom of Bohemia, a Holy Roman Empire state between 1002–1806. Now roughly the Czech Republic (with Moravia and Silesia). Raised to a kingdom between 1198–1918; sometimes the Emperor was also king.
4. Kingdom of Arles/Arelat of 933–1378; part of the Holy Roman Empire between 1032–1378. The Kingdom of Upper Burgundy established from 888, was composed of Transjurania and the County of Burgundy. The Kingdom of Lower Burgundy, which was composed of Cisjurania and Provence, joined in 933 to form Arles. Now partly Swiss, French and Italian. Distinct from the French Duchy of Burgundy, which was a separate territory.

Also, the Kingdom of Sicily (of southern Italy and Sicily) was in personal union with the Holy Roman Empire between 1194–1254.

The Holy Roman Empire achieved its greatest extent during the Hohenstaufen dynasty, of three emperors:

  • Frederick I Barbarossa (Emperor 1155–1190) held great power, despite defeats by the Lombard League.
  • Henry VI (Emperor 1191—1197) briefly succeeded him.
  • Otto IV (Emperor 1198–1215) was not Hohenstaufen but rather House of Welf.
  • Frederick II (Emperor 1220–1250): during his reign the rule of the emperor was weakened with the Confoederatio cum principibus ecclesiasticis ("Treaty with the princes of the church") of 1220, and the Statutum in favorem principum ("Statute in favour of the princes"), confirmed in 1232. Frederick II was also king of Sicily (1198–1250).

Later, large interregnums (gaps) of Emperors occurred between the years of 1250–1312 (62 years) and 1378–1433 (55 years). The Golden Bull of 1356 named seven Prince-electors who chose the Emperor: Archbishops of Mainz, Cologne and Trier; King of Bohemia; Count Palatine of the Rhine; Duke of Saxony-Wittenberg; Margrave of Brandenburg.

Christianity and the Great Schism[edit | edit source]

Christianity: is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ as described in the New Testament. Christians, the members of the faith, believe that Jesus is the Messiah as prophesied in the Old Testament; and, apart from Nontrinitarians, that God is a Holy Trinity of the Father, the Son of God (Jesus Christ), and the Holy Spirit.

Early Christianity was from its origins, circa 30–36, until 325. Saint Peter, also known as Simon Peter, was one of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus, and traditionally the first pope (Bishop of Rome); he was martyred in Rome under Nero, circa 64–68. Paul the Apostle (not one of the Twelve Apostles) spread the teachings of Jesus in the first-century world.

Constantine the Great (who reigned East 306–324, and East and West 324–337) was the first Christian Roman Emperor, and held the First Council of Nicaea in 325, the first ecumenical council; this created the Nicene Creed. St. Leo I the Great (440-461) and St. Gregory I the Great (590-604) were outstanding popes in the establishment of Christendom.

By the time of the 6th century, Christianity was dominate throughout Europe, but not including northern and eastern Europe, and Scandinavia. By the time of the 11th century, the majority of Europe was Christianised, with the exception of some Baltic states and eastern Scandinavia, and Islamic Iberia.

Great Schism[edit | edit source]

Great Schism, or East–West Schism, of 1054: the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches separated, after the mutual excommunication of the Michael I Cerularius (the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople) and Cardinal Humbert of Silva Candida, papal legate of Pope Leo IX. There were many reasons for the schism, including doctrinal, theological, linguistic, political, and geographical reasons. A particular issue was the question of the authority of Constantinople and Rome over the other three seats of the Pentarchy; that is, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria.

Since that time the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches have remained separate. The Roman Catholic Church consists of the western Latin Church, and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches. The Holy See is the jurisdiction of the pope, and includes the Diocese of Rome (as the Bishop of Rome), the worldwide Roman Catholic Church (as leader in full communion with), and the Vatican City state (as sovereign). During the Proto-Protestant Bohemian Reformation (after the Hussite Wars, 1419–1434) and the Protestant Reformation (1517 onwards), some churches in the west seceded from the Catholics.

The present-day Eastern Orthodox church, officially the Orthodox Catholic Church, is a communion that includes many Orthodox churches. The Greek Orthodox Church includes the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, and the Greek Orthodox Patriarchates of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem, and the Churches of Greece, Albania, Crete and Sinai. Other major Orthodox Churches include those of Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Serbia, and Bulgaria. The Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople has the status of primus inter pares (first among equals) among the other Eastern Orthodox prelates (bishops and patriarchs).

Oriental Orthodoxy has been separate to Eastern Orthodoxy since the Council of Chalcedon (451), and includes churches in Alexandria (the Coptic Orthodox Church), Antioch (Syriac Orthodox), Armenia (Apostolic), India (Malankara Orthodox Syrian), and the Orthodox Tewahedo Churches of Ethiopia and Eritrea.

Islam and the Crusades[edit | edit source]

Islam before the Mongol invasions[edit | edit source]

Seljuk Empire at its height in 1092
Eurasia c. 1200, on the eve of the Mongol invasions. Note the presence of: Seljuk Rum, Zengibs, Ghurids, Abbasids, Khwarazmians, Almohads, and Ayyubids

The Islamic Golden Age continued into the High Middle Ages. Although the influence of the Abbasid Caliphate (750–1258) would wane, they would continue to be recognized as caliphs by most Islamic dynasties, and would survive until the Mongol invasions. The Iranian Intermezzo ended with the rise of some Islamic dynasties in the Middle East of Turkic and mamluk origins. These included:

  • Ghaznavid dynasty (977–1186) was a Sunni Islam dynasty of Turkic mamluk origins. that gained territories, including from both the Iranian Samanids and Saffarids. At its greatest extent about 1030, it fell across modern-day Iran and Afghanistan, and all the way to the Indian subcontinent. It would fall mainly to the Seljuk Empire and the Ghurid dynasty.
  • Seljuk Empire (1037–1194) was a Turko-Persian Sunni Islam empire, founded by the Oghuz Turk warlord Seljuk Beig. They took lands from other dynasties, including from the Iranian Buyid dynasty and the Turkic Ghaznavid dynasty. With its greatest extent in about 1092, it covered a vast area, including Palestine, and much of Anatolia, the Levant, Persia and beyond. The Battle of Manzikert (1071) was decisive in their capture of much of Anatolia from the Byzantines. It would fall to Khwarezmia.
    • Seljuk Sultanate of Rum (1077–1308) was a Seljuk Turk splinter state in Anatolia. Surviving long after the Seljuk Empire, it declined after defeat by Mongols.
    • Zengid dynasty (1127–1250) was a Islamic dynasty of Oghuz Turkic origin. Originally a Seljuk Turk vassal, it continued for a while after the Seljuk Empire, before falling to the Mongols and Ayyubids.
  • Khwarazmian dynasty (1077–1231) was a Persianate Sunni Muslim dynasty of Turkic mamluk origin. They gained much of Persia and beyond, mainly from the Seljuks and Ghurid dynasty. It ended after the Mongol conquest of Khwarezmia (1219–1221), with a heavy toll on life.

At around 1200, when the Abbasid Caliphate, Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, Zengid dynasty, and Khwarazmian dynasty were still active, other prominent Islamic dynasties included:

  • Ghurid dynasty (before 879–1215) was an Iranian dynasty from the Ghor region of present-day central Afghanistan, gaining its greatest extent around 1200, including territories from the Ghaznavids and Seljuks. The dynasty converted to Sunni Islam from Buddhism. It fell across modern-day Iran and Afghanistan, and the northern Indian subcontinent all the way to Bengal. It would fall mainly to the Delhi Sultanate and Khwarazmian dynasty.
  • Ayyubid Sultanate (1171–1260). Ayyub's son Saladin was their first sultan (1174–1193), a Kurdish Sunni Muslim who overthrew the Fatimid Caliphate of Egypt, and switched allegiance to the Abbasid caliphs. It conquered Jerusalem from the crusaders (1187) and other lands in the Middle East. They eventually fell to the Mamluk Sultanate of Cairo.
  • Almohad Caliphate (1147–1269) was a Moroccan Berber Sunni caliphate. It ruled much of western north Africa and southern Iberia. It was overthrown by the Marinid dynasty.

Crusades to the Holy Land[edit | edit source]

Taking of Jerusalem by the Crusaders, 15th July 1099 by Émile Signol
Eastern Mediterranean in 1135
The Entry of the Crusaders into Constantinople (1204) by Eugène Delacroix
Latin Empire of Constantinople and vassals (in shades of yellow)

The crusades were a series of holy wars, predominantly Christians against Muslim-held territories. They began with the Crusades to the Holy Land (1095–1291); the immediate cause was the Byzantine–Seljuk wars (1048–1308), an ongoing conflict over Anatolia, and in 1095 the Byzantine Emperor Alexios I Komnenos requested military aid from Pope Urban II; Urban II responded by calling for war against the Seljuk Turks in the Holy Land.

The Seljuks held Jerusalem, from 1073–1098; before that it had been held by the Byzantines (to 638) and the Caliphates. After that, Jerusalem was held by the Fatimid Caliphate (1098–1099); Crusaders (1099–1187); the Ayyubid Sultanate (of Saladin), Christians and Khwarezmian Tatars (at various times between 1187 and 1260); the Mamluk Sultanate (1260–1517); the Ottoman Empire (1517–1917).

There were nine numbered Crusades to the Holy Land, but there were many additional ones to the Holy Land. Important Crusades to the Holy Land included:

  • First Crusade (1095–1099) resulted in the conquest of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. It was preceded by the People's Crusade (1096, a popular crusade), and followed by the Crusade of 1101 (Crusade of the Faint-Hearted), which were both Turkish victories.

Crusader states were then established, and included the Kingdom of Jerusalem, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli and the County of Edessa. Nicaea and much of western Anatolia was also restored to the Byzantine Empire.

  • Venetian Crusade (1122–24), in which the Republic of Venice succeeded in capturing Tyre.
  • Second Crusade (1147–1149) was a failed attempt to reclaim of Edessa after its fall in 1144.

In the first Fall of Jerusalem (1187), Jerusalem was retaken by Muslims led by Saladin of the Ayyubid Sultanate.

  • Third Crusade (1189–1192) included as crusaders Philip II of France, Richard I of England, and the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. It failed to retake Jerusalem, but a treaty provided that unarmed Christian pilgrims and traders could visit Jerusalem. Crusader territories were reclaimed, including the key towns of Acre and Jaffa; the crusader state of the Kingdom of Cyprus was established.
  • Crusade of 1197, of Henry VI, Holy Roman Emperor, resulted in the capture Beirut and Sidon from the Muslims in 1198.
  • Fourth Crusade (1202–1204) primarily resulted in the Sack of Constantinople (1204) by crusaders and the Republic of Venice. The Catholic city of Zara was also sacked by crusaders. The Latin Empire of Constantinople was then established as a crusader state.
  • Fifth Crusade (1217–1221) was an unsuccessful attempt to conquer the powerful Ayyubid state in Egypt, to later regain Jerusalem.
  • Sixth Crusade (1228–1229) resulted in a diplomatic crusader victory, who gained control of Jerusalem between 1229 and 1244.

Jerusalem reverted to Christian control in 1229.

  • Barons' Crusade (1239–1241) enlarged the territory controlled by the crusaders, and was in territorial terms the most successful crusade since the First.

In the second Fall of Jerusalem (1244), the Khwarazmians, whose empire had been destroyed by the Mongols, destroyed much of the city.

  • Seventh Crusade (1248–1254) aimed to reclaim the Holy Land by attacking Egypt; Louis IX of France was defeated in Egypt by an Ayyubid and Bahriyya Mamluk army.
  • Eighth Crusade (1270) was another crusade of Louis IX of France against the city of Tunis in Tunisia. Louis IX died, and the crusade was inconclusive.
  • Ninth Crusade (1271–1272), or Lord Edward's crusade, was a crusade of King Edward I of England to the Holy Land, then held mostly by the Mamluk Sultanate. It was partly successful, but failed to conquer Jerusalem.

The fall of Acre in 1291 ended the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem, and by 1302 a permanent crusader presence in the Holy Land had ended.

Latin Empire[edit | edit source]

After the Fourth Crusade and Sack of Constantinople (1204) the Byzantine Empire was partitioned:

  • Latin Empire of Constantinople was a crusader state, which had crusader vassal fiefs such as Thessalonica, Achaea, Athens, and the Archipelago.
  • Venice took control of some areas, such as Crete.
  • Greek successor states were established in Nicaea, Epirus, and Trebizond.

The Nicaean–Latin wars of Nicaea and the Latin Empire commenced, and as well as the Bulgarian–Latin wars.

Reconquest of Constantinople: Nicea was later able to recapture much of the Latin Empire and Epirus, including Constantinople in 1261, and the Byzantine Empire continued as a weakened Greek state. Later on a Byzantine civil war (1341–1347) further weakened the empire. Eventually Constantinople would fall to the Ottomans in 1453.

Other crusades and military orders[edit | edit source]

As well as the Crusades to the Holy Land, many other events occurred that were described as being crusades, in a broader definition of holy wars against Muslims, pagans, and Christian heretics and schismatics; sometimes Jews faced pogroms (persecutions). Some examples include:

  • Popular crusades (1096–1320) were minor crusades inspired by the Crusades to the Holy Land; unsanctioned by the Church, they achieved very little. They include the People's Crusade (1096), Children's Crusade (1212), Shepherds' Crusades (of 1251 and 1320), and Crusade of the Poor (1309).
  • Northern Crusades (1147–1410) were primarily against pagans, from the Baltic, Finnic and West Slavic peoples; Baltic states that resulted included the State of the Teutonic Order (Prussia) and Terra Mariana (of present day Estonia and Latvia).
  • Crusades against Christians heretics and schismatics included the Albigensian Crusade (1209–1229) against Cathars in southern France.
  • There was also some crusades during the Reconquista (718–1492).

The crusaders opened trade routes which enabled the merchant republics of Genoa and Venice to become major economic powers. The crusades led to the establishment of diverse religious military orders; important examples include:

  • Knights Templar (the Order of Solomon's Temple), who built a network of nearly 1,000 commanderies and fortifications across Europe and the Holy Land, before being disbanded by Philip IV of France and Pope Clement V
  • Knights Hospitaller (the Order of Saint John), who later became knights of Cyprus, Rhodes, and Malta, and are now the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
  • Teutonic Order (the German Order): formed to aid Christians on their pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and took part in the Prussian Crusade (a Northern Crusade), and merged with the Livonian Brothers of the Sword
  • Livonian Brothers of the Sword: they took part in the Livonian Crusade (a Northern Crusade), and later merged with the Teutonic Order as the Livonian Order.

Mongol invasions[edit | edit source]

Expansion of the Mongol Empire 1206–1294

In 1206 Genghis Khan (born as Temüjin) founded the Mongol Empire, after gaining control of the Khamag Mongol (1120s–1206), consisting of nomadic tribes centered in modern-day Mongolia. By 1294, and the death of Kublai Khan, the Mongol Empire covered much of Asia, although in a fractured state. It was ruled by the Khagans (or Great Khans) of the Mongol Empire, equivalent to an emperor, although as the empire fractured this became only nominal, with the Khagans becoming the Yuan emperors. Note that "khan" was originally a Central Asian title for a ruler.

The Mongol conquests resulted in widespread destruction, and is estimated to have killed between 37.75 and 60 million people. Mongols originated from Mongolia, and spoke the Mongolian language; they were a group of steppe nomads.

As the Mongol Empire expanded, it fractured into independent states:

  • Chagatai Khanate (1226–1705) in Central Asia, centered on present-day Kyrgyzstan. It would decline to other dynasties.
  • Golden Horde (1242–1502), a khanate in the north-west, north of the Ilkhanate and Chagatai Khanate. It disintegrated to many other khanates.
  • Ilkhanate (1256–1335) a khanate in the south-west, of Persia and surroundings. It would decline to multiple successor dynasties.
  • Yuan dynasty (1271–1368) in the east, including much of present-day China and Mongolia.

The Yuan dynasty's first emperor was Kublai Khan, who was already Khagan. Its capitals were Shangdu (Xanadu) and Khanbaliq (present-day Beijing). It succeeded the Song dynasty (960–1279), as well as the Liao, Jin, and Western Xia dynasties. After about a hundred years it was succeeded by the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), a Han dynasty established in Nanjing in 1368; after the Fall of Beijing (1644) the Ming dynasty would eventually be succeeded by the Qing dynasty (1636–1912), the Manchu-led last dynasty in the imperial history of China.

End of the Islamic Golden Age[edit | edit source]

Osman I, who founded the Ottoman Empire circa 1299

The Mongol Empire was in part succeeded by the Ilkhanate (1256–1335), the south-west sector of the Mongol Empire. The Siege of Baghdad (1258) was by the Ilkhanate Mongols under the command of Hulagu Khan. They subsequently sacked the city and destroyed the copious libraries, including the House of Wisdom; hundreds of thousands of people were killed in the region. This ended the Abbasid Caliphate and Islamic Golden Age, and the region was made part of the Mongol Empire.

In Egypt and the Middle East, the Sunni Muslim Mamluk Sultanate of Cairo (1261–1517), also known as the Realm of the Turks, overthrew the Ayyubids. It was an Arabic, Turkic and Circassian sultanate. With the fall of the Abbasids in 1258, the Mamluks attempted to re-establish a Sunni Abbasid Caliphate with the Caliphs of Cairo (1261–1517); they were largely ceremonial caliphs under the patronage of the sultans. In the Mongol invasions of the Levant (1260–1323), the Mamluk Sultanate defeated the lkhanate of the Mongol Empire. The Mamluk Sultanate survived until 1517, when it was conquered by the Ottoman Empire.

In the 1330s, outbreaks of the Black Death ravaged the Ilkhanate, causing it to disintegrate. The Timurid Empire (1370–1507) was a latter large Turco-Mongol empire of Sunni Islam; stretching across the Middle East and central Asia, it was seen as continuing the Mongol legacy. In part it was succeeded by Safavid Iran (1501–1736), an Iranian Shia Muslim dynasty.

Eventually the Ottoman Empire (c. 1299–1922) became the dominant dynasty in the Middle East. It was founded by Osman I of the House of Osman. Starting from a small Anatolian beylik (state), and with the decline of the Sultanate of Rum, they would go on to build a vast empire, including territories in Anatolia, eastern Europe, the Middle East, and northern Africa.

Kievan Rus' and the Golden Horde[edit | edit source]

The Golden Horde in 1313 under Öz Beg Khan, and its Rus' tributaries (orange circles)

Kievan Rus' (882–1240): was an early progenitor to Russia. A loose federation of East Slavic and Finnic peoples, it was founded by the Rus' people, who are thought to be Varangians (Vikings). It was composed of a number of principalities and other territories; the city of Kiev was the nucleus of the state, and it was ruled by the Grand Prince of Kiev. Note: Russian "princes" or "dukes" actually held the title knyaz (князь).

  • Vladimir the Great was a Prince of Novgorod who became Grand Prince of Kiev 980–1015; he consolidated the realm, and converted to Christianity in 988.
  • Roman the Great (Roman Mstislavich) was another Prince of Novgorod and Grand Prince of Kiev 1170–1205, and had victories against Cumania (also known as the Cuman-Kipchak Confederation), a large Turkic state of the Cumans and Kipchaks south-east of the Rus'.

Golden Horde (1242–1502), or Kipchak Khanate, was originally a Mongol, and later Turkicized, khanate founded by Batu Khan, a Mongol warlord who followed the Tengrism religion. It originated as the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire. It had a geographic area roughly comparable to the earlier Cumania (the Cuman-Kipchak confederation); and that of Volga Bulgaria, a historic Bulgar state. It was majorly divided into Blue Horde (Kok Horde) and White Horde (Ak Horde). Öz Beg Khan assumed the throne in 1313, and adopted Islam as the state religion.

Kievan Rus' began to disintegrate in the 11th century; it ended after falling to the Mongols circa 1240s, and its principalities became vassals to the Golden Horde by 1294. There was widespread destruction, and the only major cities to escape this were Novgorod and Pskov. Their rulers were Mongols, and later on Tatars, and the "Tatar Yoke" is a phrase often used to express their rule. Tatars was a general term used by Russians and other Europeans for Turkic peoples of the Golden Horde, but can be used more specifically for the speakers of the Tatar language. According to the Turco-Mongol tradition, they assimilated control of the Golden Horde, and took up the Kipchak language as a common tongue, which survives as the root of some Turkic languages such as Kazakh and Tatar.

The East Slavic peoples would evolve into Belarusians, Russians, Rusyns, and Ukrainians. Russia would develop from the rise of the Grand Duchy of Moscow, also called Muscovy; see the Rise of Muscovy. The Golden Horde would eventually lose control of the Rus' principalities, and then disintegrate into a number of Turkic-speaking khanates, but these would fall to Russian expansion.

Medieval renaissances and cultural changes[edit | edit source]

Saint Thomas Aquinas

Medieval renaissances can refer to various movements in the latter half of the Early Middle Ages, and during the High Middle Ages.

  • Carolingian renaissance, of the 8th and 9th centuries, was a period of renewed cultural and intellectual movements associated with the rise of the Carolingian Empire, and the Carolingian court.
  • Ottonian renaissance, of the 10th and 11th centuries, was a similar phenomenon associated with the Ottonian period of the Holy Roman Empire. Otto I, Otto II and Otto III ruled the culturally Germanic empire between 936–1002, and created a revival particularly in arts and architecture.
  • Renaissance of the 12th century: included social, political and economic transformations; intellectual revitalization (philosophical and scientific). It included Latin translations of Arabic sources.

In the thirteenth century, Thomas Aquinas developed scholasticism (early critical thought in a religious context) with his Summa Theologica; written between 1265 and 1274, it was a treatise on theology that drew from a wide range of philosophical sources. It attempted to reconcile the philosophy of Aristotle with the theology of Augustine of Hippo, using both reason and faith. In 1202, in his Book of Calculation, the Italian mathematician Fibonacci helped to populise Arabic numerals.

Romanesque architecture (also known as Norman architecture) dominated 11th and 12th centuries; earlier architecture was known as Pre-Romanesque. Later on Gothic architecture was used widely between the 12th and 16th centuries.

The High Middle Ages was accompanied by a rapid increase in population; this would grind to a halt in the 14th century, as Europe would enter a period of crisis.


Chapter 4 Late Middle Ages[edit | edit source]

The Late Middle Ages was circa AD 1300–1500 or 1250–1500.

States and territories of the Late Middle Ages[edit | edit source]

Europe in 1328
Asia in 1335

States and territories of the Late Middle Ages included:

Northern Europe
British Isles included England and Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. The Kalmar Union (1397–1523) was of the three kingdoms of Denmark, Sweden (then including most of Finland), and Norway. There were also lands of Lapps and Finns.
Western and Central Europe
France with Gascony (in southern Aquitaine); Gascony precipitated the Hundred Years' War when it was lost by the English. The Holy Roman Empire was east of France.
Eastern Europe
Included Poland (including Mazovia) and Lithuania; Galicia–Volhynia was later divided between Poland and Lithuania. The State of the Teutonic Order (Prussia) and Terra Mariana (of present-day Estonia and Latvia between 1207 and 1561) were Baltic crusader states. Further east: the Kievan Rus' principalities were vassals of the Golden Horde khanate; there was also the Novgorod Republic (1136–1478). Balkans states: included the Kingdom of Hungary, which included the Banate of Bosnia, Croatia, and Transylvania. The Danubian Principalities (Wallachia and Moldavia) were vassals of the Hungarians; after gaining independence they would become vassals of the Ottomans. Further south were the Byzantine Empire, the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185–1396), the Serbian Empire, crusader states (e.g. the Duchy of Athens), and possessions of Venice and Genoa. Louis I of Hungary was was King of Hungary and Croatia from 1342 and King of Poland from 1370; he had many military successes.
Iberian Peninsula
Was dominated by Castile, Portugal and Aragon. It also included Navarre, the Kingdom of Majorca (the Balearic Islands), and Islamic Granada. The fall of Granada in 1492 ended the Muslim rule in Iberia.
Italian Peninsula
In the north was the Holy Roman Empire; but Italian city-states, such as the Republics of Genoa and Pisa, were starting to assert de facto independence, as well as expanding their territories, including Genoese Corsica. There was also the Papal States and Venice, with Venice greatly expanding its territories along the coasts of the Mediterranean Sea. In the south was the Kingdom of Naples (1282–1816) and Kingdom of Sicily (1130–1816).

Crisis of the Late Middle Ages[edit | edit source]

Spread of the Black Death, 1346-1353
Peasants' Revolt: William Walworth killing Wat Tyler (1381), Richard II is shown twice

Around 1300, centuries of prosperity and growth in Europe came to a halt, and Europe entered a state of crisis. It resulted in a reduction of the population of Europe by about 50%; but this period was also the beginnings of the Italian Renaissance. Contributors included famines and plagues, revolts, and wars.

Famines and plagues include:

  • Great Famine of 1315–1317, mainly due to crop failures. It coincided with the end of the Medieval Warm Period, with some of the worst weather of the Middle Ages. Diseases affecting cattle and sheep also contributed. It ended the period of population growth that had started around 1050.
  • Black Death, an outbreak of the plague, peaking 1347 to 1351. It was the second plague pandemic recorded after the Plague of Justinian (542–546). With deaths between 75 and 200 million, it is estimated to have killed between 30% to 60% of Europe's population. Plague is caused by the bacterium Yersinia pestis, and most commonly it results in the bubonic plague with bubos. Bubos are swollen and painful lymph nodes in the area closest to where the bacteria entered the skin, typically from flea bites; they may turn black and necrotic, and burst, and systemic infection can lead to septicemia and pneumonia (septicaemic and pneumonic plagues).

Peasant revolts include:

  • Jacquerie (1358, France). It was during the Edwardian phase (1337–1360) of the Hundred Years' War, after the capture of the French king John II. A rise of taxes and breakdown of law and order caused a popular revolt, led by Jacque Bonhomme ("Jack Goodfellow", whose real name was Guillaume Cale). It was suppressed at the Battle of Mello, with severe reprisals enacted against the peasants.
  • Peasants' Revolt (England, 1381), Wat Tyler's Rebellion. It was largely a revolt over taxes during the Caroline phase (1369–1389) of the Hundred Years' War. The English King Richard II suppressed the revolt; after Richard met Wat Tyler at Smithfield he was killed by William Walworth, London's mayor.

Wars include (see sections beneath for details):

  • Hundred Years' War (1337 to 1453).
  • Wars of the Roses (1455–1487).
  • Mongol and Tatar raids against Kievan Rus' (1223–1480).
  • Wars from the Rise of the Ottomans (1299–1453).
  • Burgundian Wars (1474–1477) and War of the Burgundian Succession (1477–1482).

Other wars included the Polish–Teutonic Wars and Wars of Scottish Independence:

  • Polish–Teutonic Wars between the Kingdom of Poland and the State of the Teutonic Order. During the 14th, 15th, and early 16th centuries. After the Polish–Teutonic War (1519–1521) the State of the Teutonic Order was secularized as the Duchy of Prussia, and paid homage as a vassal to the Polish king; it entering personal union with Brandenburg in 1611.
  • First Wars of Scottish Independence (1296–1328) pitted the English, led by Edward I, Edward II, and Edward III, against the Scots. Sir William Wallace was an iconic figure for the Scots; he defeated the English at the Battle of Stirling Bridge (1297), but was defeated at the Battle of Falkirk (1298), and eventually captured and executed (1305). The English were defeated by Robert the Bruce at the decisive Battle of Bannockburn (1314) which created de facto independence; in the end the English were unsuccessful in their claims to Scotland, confirmed by the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton (1328) of Edward III and Robert the Bruce.
  • Second Wars of Scottish Independence (1332–1357). Edward Balliol, the son of a former Scottish king, was backed by Edward III of England; he demanded the return of his ancestral lands, and when these were not forthcoming he invaded Scotland and claimed the crown, despite the David II already holding the title. It was another Scottish victory; David II, who had been captured by the English in 1346, was released in 1357, and Edward Balliol surrendered his claim to the throne.

Avignon Papacy and Western Schism[edit | edit source]

Western Schism support until 1409, with Rome (blue), Avignon (red), and variable (orange)

Avignon Papacy (1309–1376): was a period of during which the Popes resided in the Avignon, after manipulation by Philip IV of France. In all seven popes reigned during that period; they were all French, and heavily influenced by the French kings. During this period, the Antipope Nicholas V was crowned in Rome in 1328 at the behest of the Holy Roman Emperor Louis IV (Ludwig the Bavarian).

The Avignon Papacy would eventually lead to the Western Schism (1378–1417) within Roman Catholic Church. Two, even three, men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope, with loyalties divided between them; the non-Roman ones are considered as being antipopes (illegitimate popes). It happened after the death of Gregory XI in 1378, who had moved back to Rome in 1376. Difficulties with the newly elected Pope Urban VI in Rome resulted in the establishment of rival Antipope Clement VII in Avignon, who was succeeded by Antipope Benedict XIII in 1394. There were also rival antipopes in Pisa during the period 1409 to 1415, after the controversial Council of Pisa.

The Western Schism ended with the Council of Constance (1414–1418), held just north of Switzerland. Pope Gregory XII and the Pisa-based Antipope John XXIII stepped down in 1415; and in 1417 Pope Martin V was elected. Avignon-based Antipope Benedict XIII refused to step down and was excommunicated.

Hundred Years' War[edit | edit source]

Hundred Years' War, English territories in grey
Joan of Arc

Hundred Years' War (1337–1453): was a series of wars in France, primarily between the French and the English. It was triggered by a series of disagreements between the French monarch Philip VI "the Fortunate" (who reigned 1328–1350), and the English House of Plantagenet monarch Edward III (who reigned 1327–1377). This ended in Philip VI confiscating the Duchy of Aquitaine (then essentially corresponding to Gascony) from the Duke of Aquitaine Edward III. Philip VI was the first king of the House of Valois, and succeeded Charles IV "the Fair"; this created a rival claim to the French throne of Edward III through his mother Isabella, the sister of Charles IV. The war can be divided into three phases:

Edwardian War (1337–1360)[edit | edit source]

The English were led by Edward III and his son Edward the Black Prince. With the Battle of Sluys (1340), the English gained command of the seas. The English had a great victory at the Battle of Crécy (1346); and after the Siege of Calais (1346–1347) Calais was held by the English until 1558. The French King Philip VI was succeeded by his son John II (1350), who was captured by the English at the Battle of Poitiers (1356).

With the Treaty of Brétigny (1360), Edward III renounced the French crown, but became Lord of Aquitaine (1360–1362), with Aquitaine as an independent and much enlarged territory than before the war. Conflict was extended between the English and French in the War of the Breton Succession (1341–1365), the Castilian Civil War (1351–1369), and the War of the Two Peters (1356–1375).

Caroline War (1369–1389)[edit | edit source]

When the French King John II died in captivity in 1364, his son, Dauphin Charles, succeeded him as Charles V "the Wise"; he again claimed Aquitaine in 1369 from Edward the Black Prince, the son of Edward III and Prince of Aquitaine (1362–1372). The French had a capable general in Bertrand du Guesclin. The war was mostly characterized by a "Fabian strategy" by the French, avoiding open conflict and concentrating on skirmishes, although there was also a series of battles. At the naval Battle of La Rochelle (1372), the English lost much of their fleet to Castile (who were French allies).

Conflict between the English and French during this period also included Despenser's Crusade (1382–1383), a military expedition led Henry le Despenser (the Bishop of Norwich) to assist the city of Ghent against Louis II of Flanders and the French; and warfare during the 1383–1385 Portuguese interregnum crisis, with the English supporting Portugal and the French supporting Castile.

The French King Charles VI "the Beloved" (the son of Charles V) and the English King Richard II (the son of Edward the Black Prince) would agree the Truce of Leulinghem in 1389, with English-held lands in France much reduced.

Lancastrian War (1415–1453)[edit | edit source]

The English House of Lancaster King Henry V succeeded Henry IV in 1413, and reasserted the claim to the French throne of Edward III. Henry V would have a great victory against the French at the Battle of Agincourt (1415) in Northern France. After the Siege of Rouen (1418–1419), Henry V captured Rouen, the capital of Normandy. In 1420, Henry V and Charles VI signed the Treaty of Troyes, that Henry and his heirs would inherit both kingdoms, and that Henry would marry Catherine of Valois (daughter of Charles VI). Dauphin Charles (the son of Charles VI) was therefore disinherited. Under this treaty, Henry V also formed an alliance with the Burgundians under Philip the Good.

In 1422 Henry V of England and Charles VI of France both died, in August and October respectively. This created rival claimants to the French throne:

  • Henry VI, the nine-month-old son of Henry V and Catherine of Valois, who was crowned King of France in 1431.
  • Charles VII "the Victorious", the 19-year-old Dauphin of France (heir apparent) and son of Charles VI. Charles VII would eventually be victorious over Henry VI.

At the Siege of Orléans (1428–1429), which was besieged by the English, Joan of Arc rallied the French troops, and the siege was lifted nine day later (8 May 1429). Soon after a series of French victories, including the decisive Battle of Patay (18 June 1429), and the crowning of the Charles VII at Reims Cathedral (17 July 1429), further boosted the French. However Charles the Victorious and Joan of Arc were unsuccessful during the French assault on the English-held Paris (8 September 1429) during the Siege of Paris; and subsequently Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians (23 May 1430), and subsequently handed over to the English and executed by burning (30 May 1431).

The resolution of the Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War (1407–1435) gave Charles VII the support of the Burgundians. The French had a major victory at the Battle of Formigny (1450) in Normandy, and the remaining English strongholds in Normandy soon fell. The French victory at the Battle of Castillon (1453) in Gascony was the endpoint of the conflict. All English territories in France were lost by 1453, with the exception of the Pale of Calais.

Burgundian State[edit | edit source]

France in 1477, with the Burgundian State in orange

The Duke of Burgundy was a powerful figure who ruled the Burgundian State (1384–1482); they were of the House of Valois-Burgundy (1363–1482), the previous dynasty being the House of Burgundy (1032–1361). As well as the French Duchy of Burgundy, they gained control of the Free County of Burgundy, and the Burgundian Netherlands, as well as other lands. The Burgundian Netherlands roughly covered the present-day Low Countries (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg). The Valois dukes and duchesses of Burgundy were the following:

  • Philip the Bold (1363–1404). He was given the dukedom by his father John II of France. In 1384 he gained the counties of Artois, Burgundy, Flanders, Nevers, and Rethel, from the inheritance of his wife, Margaret III, Countess of Flanders.
  • John the Fearless (1404–1419). In an attempted power grab, John assassinated Louis I, Duke of Orléans, who was the brother of King Charles VI. This resulted in the Armagnac–Burgundian Civil War (1407–1435) between the Burgundians and the Armagnacs (who opposed the Burgundians, named after Bernard VII, Count of Armagnac). This would lead to John's assassination on the Bridge of Montereau; the future King Charles VII was implicated in his death, making the Burgundians enemies with the future king of France.
  • Philip the Good (1419–1467). During the Lancastrian War (1415–1453, a phase of the Hundred Years' War), he formed an alliance with the English between 1420 and 1435 with the Treaty of Troyes. Philip's troops captured Joan of Arc in 1430 and later sold her to the English. In 1435, Charles VII of France concluded the Treaty of Arras with Philip, ending the civil war and gaining the support of the Burgundians against the English. This helped France win the Hundred Years' War.
  • Charles the Bold (1467–1477). His death ended the Burgundian Wars (1474–1477), a conflict between the Duke of Burgundy and the Old Swiss Confederacy and its allies.
  • Mary of Burgundy (1477–1482). Mary had married the Maximilian I, the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor. The War of the Burgundian Succession (1477–1482) that followed was a war over the partition of the Burgundian lands between Louis XI of France and the House of Habsburg.

After the War of the Burgundian Succession and various treaties, territories including the Duchy of Burgundy would be lost to the French king. But the dukedom would continue with the Free County of Burgundy and the Burgundian Netherlands, passing to the Habsburgs and Habsburg Spain, with Philip the Handsome, who was also King Philip I of Castile.

Philip the Handsome was succeeded as duke by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, who was also King Charles I of Spain (Castile and Aragon). Charles V was succeeded by Philip II of Spain, Philip III of Spain, Philip IV of Spain, and Charles II of Spain, the last Habsburg ruler of Spain. After that the dukedom was claimed by the House of Bourbon, before returning to the House of Habsburg, and then to the House of Bourbon again.

War of the Roses[edit | edit source]

Henry VI of England, who was deposed by Edward IV

After the reign of English King Richard II (1377–1399), the Plantagenets would divide into two cadet branches; the House of Lancaster and the House of York. The House of Lancaster would rule first, with the reigns of Henry IV; and then his son Henry V; and then his son Henry VI. Henry VI's early reign was overseen by a Regency government (1422–1437). When Henry VI finally became ruler, his ineffective rule and mental instability contributed to the loss of the Hundred Years' War (1453); and in England, a collapse of law and order. Henry VI's wife Margaret of Anjou became the de facto ruler. Henry VI's cousin, Richard of York (the 3rd Duke of York), began to oppose him and his wife's clique.

Wars of the Roses (1455–1487): began when civil war broke out between supporters of the House of Lancaster and the House of York:

  • The House of Lancaster, symbolised by the Red Rose of Lancaster, supported the continuing reign of Henry VI.
  • The House of York, symbolised by the White Rose of York, supported Richard of York; and after Richard's death in 1460, his son Edward, who would later reign as Edward IV.

After a series of Yorkist victories, Edward IV became king between 1461 and 1470. But in 1469, the Earl of Warwick threw his support behind Henry VI; a series of battles ended with Edward IV fleeing to Flanders in 1470, and the restoration of Henry VI's reign. But at the Battle of Tewkesbury (1471), Henry VI's forces were again defeated by Edward IV, who then returned to London unopposed to resume his reign; with Henry VI, and his son Edward, Prince of Wales, dead.

Edward IV would reign for a further 12 years, before dying in 1483. He was succeeded by his 12-year-old son Edward V, who reigned for 78 days, but was never crowned. Edward V and his brother Richard were kept in the Tower of London, and they were later called the Princes in the Tower. Their fate is uncertain, but they were probably murdered by their uncle, who then reigned as Richard III (1483–1485). Richard III would later be defeated and killed at the Battle of Bosworth Field (1485), by Henry Tudor, who would reign as Henry VII (1485–1509). This ended the Plantagenet dynasty, and began the Tudor dynasty. Henry VII was distantly related to John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, through his mother; and he married Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Edward IV; his emblem, the Tudor rose, combined the red and white roses of Lancaster and York. The War of the Roses ended in 1487 with defeat of the Yorkist rebel John de la Pole, 1st Earl of Lincoln.

Holy Roman Empire and Hanseatic League[edit | edit source]

Extent of the Hanseatic League in 1400 (colored areas, and underlined towns and cities)

Rulers of states of the Holy Roman Empire around 1300 included the Houses of Wittelsbach, Luxembourg and Habsburg.

  • The House of Wittelsbach lands included Bavaria (including the Upper Palatinate), Palatinate, Hainaut, Seeland, Holland and Friesland.
  • The House of Luxembourg lands included Luxembourg, Bohemia (including Moravia and Silesia), Brabant and Brandenburg.
  • The House of Habsburg lands included Inner Austria (Duchy of Austria, Styria, Carinthia and Carniola), Tyrol and Further Austria (Sundgau and Breisgau).

Hanseatic League (from 1358) was a league of guilds and market towns of Germanic origins, mostly south of the North Sea and Baltic Sea. The Hansa were a trade league, who were also committed to the mutual defense of the members, forming a political-economic alliance. Note that "Hanseatic" is the adjective for the noun Hansa, but also the adjective for hanse (historical for a merchant guild).

They consisted of:

  • Hansa Proper: Hanseatic cities in territories divided into quarters. The quarters were the Wendish (Wendish and Pomeranian); Saxon (Saxon, Thuringian and Brandenburg); Baltic (Prussian, Livonian and Swedish); and Westphalian (Rhine-Westphalian and Netherlands, including Flanders).
  • Kontore: Hanseatic foreign commercial enclaves, forming the Kontor quarter. Kontore is plural of kontor, literally "branch office". Spread throughout Europe, they were not Hanseatic members, but closely related to Hansa.
  • Other ports with Hanseatic trading posts, and cities with a Hanseatic communities.

They would dominate trade in Northern Europe for the next three centuries, before gradually falling apart by the late 17th century. They were an early example of a trade bloc, and these would gradually become to dominate world trade; an example being the European Economic Community of the 20th century, that would become the present-day European Union.

Rise of Muscovy[edit | edit source]

Territorial development of Muscovy between 1390 and 1533

Grand Duchy of Moscow (1283–1547), also known as Muscovy, was a Rus' principality, whose capital was Moscow, and its peoples were termed muscovites. It was a successor state to earlier Rus' states:

  • Rostov principality: in the 10th century an eparchy (administrative district) was established in Rostov.
  • Principality of Rostov-Suzdal (1125–1157): its capital moved from Rostov to Suzdal in 1125.
  • Vladimir-Suzdal (1157–1331), or Grand Duchy of Vladimir; founded by Andrey Bogolyubsky, its capital was the city of Vladimir.

Muscovy's predecessors had been part of Kievan Rus' (882–1240), a loose federation of East Slavic and Finnic people. Kievan Rus' disintegrated during the 12th century, and the Rus' principalities then fell to Mongol invasions in the 1240s, and became vassals of the Golden Horde, a Mongol–Tatar khanate. See Kievan Rus' and the Golden Horde. Their rulers were Mongols, and later on Tatars, with Tatars being a term for the Turkic peoples of the Golden Horde.

Muscovy was the most powerful state to eventually arise after the destruction of Kievan Rus', and subjugation of the Rus' principalities. It began assert influence in the early 14th century, and became the main conduit of reunification and expansion. Its main rival for Rus' dominance was the Novgorod Republic, which prospered from trade in the Hanseatic League particularly in furs. Leading figures included:

  • Saint Dmitry Donskoy. He challenged Tatar authority in Russia, and had a great victory against the Tatars at the Battle of Kulikovo (1380) on the Don River. He is venerated as a Saint in the Orthodox Church.
  • Ivan the Great (Ivan III Vasilyevich), reigned 1462–1505. He tripled the territory, annexing the Novgorod Republic in 1478, and the Grand Duchy of Tver in 1485, the main rivals to Muscovy. He claimed the title Grand Prince of All Rus'. After marrying Sophia Palaiologina (1472), the niece of the last Byzantine emperor, he claimed Muscovy to be a successor state to the Roman Empire, or the "Third Rome" (the first and second being ancient Rome and Constantinople); and adopted the title of tsar.
With victory over the Golden Horde at the Great Stand on the Ugra River (1480), he cast off the "Tatar Yoke" and ended their status as a tributary vassal of the Golden Horde.

In 1547 it was followed by the Tsardom of Russia under Ivan the Terrible, and Russia would rise to dominate Eurasia with the Russian Empire.

Between the 13th and 18th centuries, there were numerous battles and skirmishes between the Mongol and Turks and European states, including the Rus' principalities. The Turkic Crimean Khanate, established in 1441, was one of the strongest powers in Eastern Europe until the 18th century. It was eventually conquered by the Russian Empire in 1783; this ended Turkic rule in Europe, except for the Ottoman Empire.

Rise of the Ottoman Empire[edit | edit source]

Anatolia citca 1300
Dominions of the Ottoman Empire (in green), and Turkey (in red)

Ottoman Empire (1299–1922) and Caliphate (1517–1924): was an empire ruled by Turkish Sunni sultans of the House of Osman; later on they became caliphs (that is, stewards seen as successors to Muhammad). The Ottoman Empire was founded by Osman I (who ruled circa 1299‒1323/4) as an Anatolian Beylik; his father Ertuğrul had ruled the town of Söğüt. The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking people of the Ottoman Empire. The Grand Vizier, the senior minister of the sultans, became powerful figures with time.

Rise of the Ottoman Empire (1299–1453): was the period from the establishment of the state to the Fall of Constantinople. In the early 14th century Anatolia the declining Seljuk Sultanate of Rum was mostly divided into independent Turkish principalities known as the Anatolian Beyliks. In addition there was also the Greek Byzantines and Empire of Trebizond, the Armenian Kingdom of Cilicia, and the Mongol Ilkhanate to the east. The early conquests included much of Anatolia and the Balkans, eventually gaining the vassal states of the Danubian Principalities (Wallachia and Moldavia). As well other Turks, they fought the Byzantines in the Byzantine–Ottoman wars (1265–1479), as well as Bulgarians, Serbians, Hungarians and Albanians in the Balkans.

Fall of the Byzantine Empire: the Byzantines had been severely weakened during the sacking of Constantinople (1204), the main feature of the Fourth Crusade (1202–1204). Constantinople was finally captured by the Ottoman Turks in 1453 led by Mehmed II the Conqueror, and the Byzantine Empire was soon annexed to the Ottoman Empire. Mehmed expanded the Ottoman Empire particularly over Anatolia and the Balkans. Constantinople began to be known as Istanbul.

A period of growth followed the rise of the Ottoman Empire. It can be divided into the:

  • Classical Age (1453–1566)
  • Era of Transformation (1566–1703)

At its height In 1683, the Ottoman Empire and its vassals stretched over the Balkans and Anatolia, Levant, western Arabia, Egypt and northern Africa. This was followed by:

  • Old Regime (1703–1789)
  • Decline & Modernization (1789–1908)
  • Dissolution (1908–1922)


Part 2 Modern period[edit | edit source]

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1490

The modern period was after the Middle Ages, circa 1500. Can also be seen as starting at the Fall of Constantinople (1453), or the discovery of the New World (1492). Can be divided into:

  • Early modern period was circa 1500–1750 AD; it can also be seen as starting at 1453 or 1492 (see above); and ending at the French Revolution (1789), or at 1800. The early modern period was characterized by the ascendancy of Russia, which curtailed the expansion of Sweden after the Great Northern War. Within and outside of the Holy Roman Empire, Brandenburg (which would become Prussia) and Austria (ruled by the House of Habsburg) would dominate geopolitics. The House of Habsburg would have important wars against the Ottoman Empire, and the French in Italy; they would also gain the Spanish crowns. In France, the House of Bourbon would ascend to the throne, and later on would gain the Spanish crowns from the Habsburgs. With the Reformation, Protestants would break with the Catholic Church, leading to the European wars of religion. It was also the Age of Discovery, and vast colonial empires ruled by European countries would result. Philosophy, the arts, science and technology would greatly develop during this period, especially with The Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment.
  • Late modern period was circa 1750–1945, or 1800–1945. It was characterised with three periods of intense conflict, surrounded by periods of relative peace: the French Revolutionary Wars and Napoleonic Wars (1792–1815); World War I (1914–1918); and World War II (1939–1945). The Age of Revolution would see many revolutionary movements, and was especially notable for the American Revolution and the French Revolution. It was also a time of European unification, with the formation of the German Empire, and the Risorgimento (Italian unification). Imperialism continued, especially with Scramble for Africa; but the Ottoman Empire would decline during this period, and with the Spanish American wars of independence and other decolonisation, most empires would eventually be lost. The Industrial Revolutions resulted in huge increases in mechanisation and industry.
  • Contemporary period was from circa 1945 (post World War II) to the present time. It was characterised by the Cold War, in which much of the World would be divided in two groups, largely divided by communist and capitalist ideologies; a flurry of proxy wars occurred between the two dominant superpowers, the USA and the Soviet Union. With the fall of communism, this stalemate would mostly be ended, and the risk of full-blown nuclear conflict largely averted. Decolonisation gained traction during this period, with most territories of colonial empires made independent by 1975. With the European Economic Community and European Union, Europe would enter an era of free trade and movements of many Europeans, with some degree of political union. Huge technological developments occurred, particularly in computing and communications.


Chapter 5 Early modern period part 1[edit | edit source]

The early modern period was circa 1500–1750 AD, or ending at the French Revolution (1789), or at 1800. This first chapter on the early modern period covers the rise of European dynasties and powers, including the House of Habsburg and Austria and Spain, the Dutch Golden Age, Brandenburg-Prussia and the House of Hohenzollern, the House of Bourbon in France and Spain, and the rise of Russia under the Rurik dynasty and House of Romanov.

States and territories of the early modern period[edit | edit source]

Europe in 1700
Territory of Russia in 1500 (dark green), 1600 (intermediate green), and 1700 (light green)

States and territories of the early modern period included:

Northern Europe
The Kingdom of England (which included Wales from 1284) would later become the Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1800) by including the Kingdom of Scotland; the Kingdom of Ireland (1542–1801) was a client state of the British. The end of the Kalmar Union (1397–1523) led to two states: Denmark–Norway (1523–1533 & 1537–1814); and the Swedish Empire (1611–1721), which included Finland.
Western and Central Europe
Included France; and the Holy Roman Empire, with lands of Brandenburg-Prussia and the lands of the Austrian Monarchy. The Habsburg Netherlands (1482–1794) would become the Seventeen Provinces (1549–1581), covering the Low Countries. The Seventeen Provinces gave rise to the Dutch Republic, an independent state from 1581–1795; and the Southern Netherlands (until 1794). The Old Swiss Confederacy (c. 1300 – 1798) gained de facto independence from the Holy Roman Empire after the Swabian War (1499), where it fought against them and the Swabian League; it formally gained independence after the Thirty Years' War (1648).
Eastern Europe
The Grand Duchy of Lithuania created a bi-confederation with the Kingdom of Poland to create the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795). The Terra Mariana (of present day Estonia and Latvia between 1207–1561) collapsed into separate states. The Duchy of Prussia (1525–1701) was a Protestant secularization of the earlier Teutonic State. The Balkans were dominated by the Ottoman Empire, with vassals such as Wallachia and Moldavia; there were also the Habsburg lands of the Hungarian crown, Venetian possessions and the Prince-Bishopric of Montenegro (1516–1852). Further east was the Tsardom of Russia/Russian Empire (1547–1721 & 1721–1917).
Iberian Penisinula
The Spanish Empire included present day Spain (Castile and Aragon); but extended over Europe, including much of Italy and the Habsburg Netherlands. Possessions in Italy and the Netherlands were lost during the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). It would also include Portugal during the Iberian Union (1580-1640).
Italian Peninsula
Included the Papal States and Venice. Other northern Italian states were nominally within the Holy Roman Empire, but many Italian city-states had de facto independence: important ones (in the 16th century) included Genoa, Florence, and Savoy; the Duchy of Milan became part of the Spanish Empire, as well as the southern states of Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia. Lesser northern Italian states at that time included Siena, Modena, Ferrara, Lucca, Montferrat, Saluzzo, Asti, and Mantua.

Rise of Austria and Brandenburg-Prussia[edit | edit source]

     Brandenburg-Prussia (1618)      Holy Roman Empire (1618)      Connected to the Holy Roman Empire (1618)      Outside the Holy Roman Empire (1618)

Imperial Circles[edit | edit source]

In 1500 and 1512, the core of the Holy Roman Empire was divided into Imperial Circles. These included Bavarian, Franconian, Upper and Lower Saxon, Swabian, Upper Rhenish, Lower Rhenish–Westphalian, Austrian, Burgundian, and Electoral Rhenish Circles. Territories within the Imperial Circles are sometimes considered to make up the Kingdom of Germany. Outside of the Imperial Circles were the lands of the Bohemian Crown (included Silesia), the Old Swiss Confederacy (1291–1798), as well as the Italian territories.

Imperial Circles consisted of Imperial Estates, ruled by Imperial Princes. The Imperial Diet, the highest representative assembly, consisted of three colleges: an Electoral College of seven Prince-electors, who elected the emperor; a college of Imperial Princes; and a college of Free and Imperial Cities. Charles V was the last Holy Roman Emperor to be crowned by a pope, Pope Clement VII in 1530.

Decline of the Holy Roman Empire[edit | edit source]

Since the 13th century the Holy Roman Emperor had began to lose power and territory. Gradually, the Holy Roman Emperor's power became largely nominal, with real power going to the rulers of the highly autonomous Imperial Estates; they held "immediacy", meaning that they were answerable only to the emperor. Two major power-bases within the Holy Roman Empire grew in influence:

  • Austria (as a Duchy or Archduchy, 1156–1918): which would provide the basis of the Austrian Monarchy, which would later become the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary. After 1440, the Austrian monarch usually held the office of Holy Roman Emperor.
  • Brandenburg (as a Margraviate or Province, 1157–1945): which would provide the basis for Brandenburg-Prussia and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia would de facto lead the North German Confederation of 1867, which gained a new constitution as the German Empire in 1871, under the permanent presidency of Prussia.

Both Austria and Brandenburg would gain territories both inside and outside of the Holy Roman Empire. The rest of the Holy Roman Empire power-base was split between miscellaneous states: larger ones in the early modern period included Bavaria (north was formerly Franconia), Saxony, Hanover, and Lorraine. Furthermore, territories outside the Imperial Circles were asserting de facto independence; these included the Old Swiss Confederacy (1291–1798), and some Italian territories; the lands of the Bohemian Crown were controlled by the Habsburgs.

During the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648), religious divisions in Holy Roman Empire would further weaken it as a unified entity. The Habsburg Austrian Monarchy, which dominated the office of Holy Roman Emperor, would lose territories, although there would be territorial gains for Brandenburg-Prussia. Austria would fight against Prussia in the Silesian wars (1740–1763), and Silesia was a theater in the Seven Years' War (1756–1763). Voltaire quipped “... the Holy Roman Empire was in no way holy, nor Roman, nor an empire”, and the empire had become greatly fragmented between the semi-autonomous states by the late nineteenth century. The German mediatisation (1802–1814) reduced the number of German states from almost 300 to just 39.

The Holy Roman Empire would eventually be dissolved after the Austrian defeat by France under Napoleon in the War of the Third Coalition (1803–1806); and Prussia would be defeated by Napoleon in the War of the Fourth Coalition (1806–1807).

Houses of Habsburg and Habsburg-Lorraine[edit | edit source]

Habsburg Castle, now in Habsburg, Switzerland
Lands of the Austrian Monarchy in 1789

The House of Habsburg (or House of Austria) was one of the most important dynastic royal houses in the history of Europe. Named after Habsburg Castle (in present-day Switzerland), they were powerful monarchs of many dominions across Europe during the Middle Ages and modern period. It was succeeded by the House of Habsburg-Lorraine (a branch of the House of Lorraine) with the extinction of the male line but the continuation of the female line.

The key monarchies for the Houses of Habsburg and Habsburg-Lorraine were the following:

  • Monarchs of Austria between 1282 and 1918, as dukes, archdukes or emperors, or female equivalents. The Austrian branch gained many dominions both inside and outside of the Holy Roman Empire.
  • Monarchs of Spain (Castile and Aragon) between 1516 and 1700. The Spanish branch was mostly separate from the Austrian branch, and would have a significant presence in the New World, the Netherlands (then covering the Low Countries), and Italy and its surrounding islands.
  • Holy Roman Emperors for most of the period 1440 to 1806. It was an elective monarchy, and usually held by the Austrian monarch.

Austrian Monarchy[edit | edit source]

Austrian Monarchy, or Habsburg Monarchy (1282–1804), is an unofficial umbrella term for lands held in personal union with the monarchs of Austria, before it became the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary. The Austrian monarchs were of the House of Hapsburg, and the House of Habsburg-Lorraine after 1765.

The Austrian Monarchy would include within the Holy Roman Empire:

  • Hereditary Lands, which included the Archduchy of Austria (1453–1806), Inner Austria, County of Tyrol, Further Austria, and Salzburg (only after 1805).
  • Lands of the Bohemian Crown (1526–1918), which early on included Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, and Lusatia.

Outside of the Holy Roman Empire:

  • Lands of the Hungarian Crown (1527–1918): Hungary, Croatia, Slavonia (after 1699), and the Principality of Transylvania (after 1711), as well as some military frontiers. N.B. that Croatia today is Croatia proper, Slavonia, Istria and Dalmatia.
  • Spanish Netherlands, Naples, Milan and Sardinia, after the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714). Sardinia was lost in 1718, and Naples was lost in 1720. Sicily were conquered by the Spanish army during the War of the Polish Succession in 1734. Milan was lost to the French in 1796.
  • Galicia (Austrian Poland) and New Galicia, after the Partitions of Poland (1772–1795).
  • Duchy of Bukovina (from 1774) and Kingdom of Dalmatia (1797–1805, 1814–1918).
  • Some temporary 18th century occupations, including: the Banat of Temeswar, Oltenia, the Duchy of Parma, Venetia, and some Serbian occupations.

After 1804 it would be known as the Austrian Empire (as the Archduke of Austria also became Emperor of Austria), and would gain and lose further territories. From 1867 to 1918 it was known as Austria-Hungary, after the Austro-Hungarian Compromise of 1867.

Holy Roman Emperors during the modern period[edit | edit source]

Francis II, the last Holy Roman Emperor, but the first Emperor of Austria (as Francis I)

The House of Habsburg were Holy Roman Emperors between 1440 and 1740, beginning with Frederick III, the Peaceful. During this period the Holy Roman Emperor was also the Archduke of Austria, although Charles V was only archduke for two years. This ended in 1740 after the reign of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI. The next two Holy Roman Emperors were:

  • Charles VII (Holy Roman Emperor 1742–1745) was also Elector of Bavaria, and House of Wittelsbach, and the first non-Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor for three centuries.
  • Francis I (Holy Roman Emperor 1745–1765). Francis I was of the House of Lorraine and Archduke of Austria. He was married to the Holy Roman Empress Maria Theresa (1745–1765); she was also Archduchess of Austria, and as the daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI she was House of Habsburg.

The uncertainty over the Austrian succession through the female-lineage of Maria Theresa led to the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748). The last three Holy Roman Emperors were House of Habsburg-Lorraine and archdukes of Austria:

  • Joseph II (Holy Roman Emperor 1765–1790) was the son of Francis I, and the brother of Marie Antoinette (who would marry the King of France Louis XVI). He was a leading proponent of enlightened absolutism, and a supporter of the arts, such as the composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri.
  • Leopold II (Holy Roman Emperor 1790–1792) briefly succeeded his brother Joseph II.
  • Francis II (Holy Roman Emperor 1792–1806) was the son of Leopold II, and the last Holy Roman Emperor. He proclaimed himself the first Emperor of Austria as Francis I in 1804, and later archdukes of Austria would also be emperors of Austria. He dissolved the Holy Roman Empire after the Austrian defeat by Napoleon at the Battle of Austerlitz, but continued as Emperor of Austria until 1835. He was made the first president of the German Confederation in 1815.

After the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the House of Habsburg-Lorraine, as both emperors and archdukes of Austria, would rule the Austrian Empire and Austria-Hungary. This ended in 1918 when Austria-Hungary declared itself to be the Republic of German-Austria, which became the First Austrian Republic in 1919, a much reduced state in terms of territory.

Ottoman–Habsburg wars and Suleiman the Magnificent[edit | edit source]

Suleiman the Magnificent
Suleiman the Magnificent gained territories from the Safavid Empire (1501–1736)

Ottoman–Habsburg wars (1526–1791) began with the Ottoman victory at the Battle of Mohács (1526); Suleiman the Magnificent, Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, defeated Louis II of Hungary, King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia, who died soon after. This ended the Ottoman–Hungarian wars, and would eventually result in the partition of Hungary between:

  • Royal Hungary (1526–1867), the Kingdom of Hungary of the Habsburg Monarchy, first ruled by Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor.
  • Eastern Hungarian Kingdom (1526–1551 and 1556–1570), which would become the semi-independent Principality of Transylvania (1570–1711). It was first ruled by John Zápolya, who contested Ferdinand I for the Christian rule of Hungary.
  • Ottoman Hungary (1541–1699), of the Ottoman Empire, after the seizure of Buda by the Ottomans in 1541.

It also marked the beginnings of the Ottoman–Habsburg wars, a 250-year struggle between the Habsburgs and the Ottoman Empire for European territories. It also marked the end of Hungary as an independent territory until the 20th century.

Suleiman the Magnificent was the Ottoman Sultan 1520 to 1566. He conquered the Christian strongholds of Belgrade (1521) and Rhodes (1522); but after the Battle of Mohács, he was curtailed by the Austrians at the unsuccessful Siege of Vienna of 1529. He finally captured and occupied Buda (the Hungarian capital) following a siege in 1541. He also fought with the French against the Habsburgs in the Italian Wars. With the successful Ottoman–Safavid War (1532–1555) he gained territories from the Iranian Safavid dynasty; he also expanded the North African territories. His reign ended the Classical Age of the Ottoman Empire (1453–1566), characterized by a large expansion of territories.

Great Turkish War (1683–1699): was a campaign in the Ottoman–Habsburg wars that followed a period of peace after the Long Turkish War (1593–1606). At the Battle of Vienna (1683), the Ottomans were defeated after a two month siege of the city. John III Sobieski, the King of the Poland, helped the Austrians in the battle, along with a Holy Roman Empire army; the Winged Hussars, an elite Polish cavalry, delivered a final deadly blow. The Holy League of 1684–1699 that formed afterwards consisted of the Austrian Monarchy, Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Venetian Republic, and Tsardom of Russia.

The Treaty of Karlowitz (1699) ended the Great Turkish War, and followed Ottoman defeat at the second Battle of Mohács (1687) and Battle of Zenta (1697). It confirmed the then-current territories of each power, with much of Hungary, Croatia and Slavonia held by the Austrian Habsburgs. Transylvania was nominally independent but controlled by Austria, before the Principality of Transylvania (1711–1867) became a realm of the Hungarian Crown.

The Great Turkish War was followed by the Austro-Turkish War (1716–1718), Russo-Turkish War (1735–1739), and Austro-Turkish War (1788–91). The Ottoman–Habsburg wars ended Ottomans expansion into Europe.

Habsburg Spain[edit | edit source]

Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor
Habsburg dominions in 1700, including Habsburg Spain (red) and the Austrian Monarchy (yellow)
Crown of Castile possessions in the 17th century

Habsburg Spain (1516–1700) began with Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (1519–1556). He was also King of Spain (1516–1556), as Charles I of Spain (or Carlos I). Spain was technically Castile and Aragon, but included many colonial regions:

  • Crown of Castile included most of Iberia, and would eventually encompass a huge colonial empire, including territories in the Americas, Canary Islands, and Philippines.
  • Crown of Aragon included Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia, and Majorca. Further afield it included Naples, Sicily, and Sardinia; Milan was recaptured by Charles V, and this was recognized by the French in 1559.

Charles V inherited the Spanish House of Trastámara bloodline through his mother Joanna of Castile. Joanna and Charles were the first co-monarchs of both Castile and Aragon, although Joanna remained imprisoned after being pronounced insane. Joanna had married Charles's father Philip I of Castile, who was (by right of his wife) King of Castile for a short time before he died. But Charles's rule succeeded that of his mother's parents, Queen Isabella I of Castile and King Ferdinand II of Aragon, who had brought about the dynastic union of Castile and Aragon. Ferdinand II ruled Aragon as king, and Castile as regent after the death of Isabella.

Charles V's other titles included:

  • Archduke of Austria, but only between 1519 and 1521. Charles V was heir to Austria through his father's father Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor; but after two years this passed to his brother Ferdinand I.
  • Duke of Burgundy (1506–1555), and therefore Lord of the Netherlands. Burgundy included what would become the Seventeen Provinces, roughly covering the present-day Low Countries (Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg); and the Free County of Burgundy (also known as Franche-Comté). He was Duke of Burgundy through his father Philip I of Castile, who had inherited his dukedom from his mother Mary of Burgundy.
  • By being Holy Roman Emperor he also had the titles King of Germany, and King of Italy (the last Holy Roman Emperor to claim the title).

Charles V was involved in three major conflicts: the Italian Wars (with France), the Ottoman–Habsburg wars, and the Protestant Reformation (which he opposed). He also quelled some rebellions. Charles V brought about the divergence of two ruling branches of the Habsburgs:

  • The junior branch of the Austrian Monarchy, with Charles being succeeded by his brother Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I (1556–1564), who was also Archduke of Austria after 1521, and king of Bohemia, Hungary and Croatia.
  • The senior branch of Habsburg Spain (1516–1700), with Charles being succeeded by his son Philip II of Spain.

Philip II of Spain was King of Spain (1556–98). Key points about his reign include:

  • Philip II presided over the start of the Spanish Golden Age (1556–1659), a period of flourishing in arts and literature in Spain.
  • Philip II's empire included territories appointed to the Council of Castile, Council of Aragon, Council of Portugal (after the Iberian Union), Council of Italy, Council of the Indies, and Council of Flanders.
  • Italian possessions included the Italian states of Naples, Sicily, Milan and Sardinia; Philip II also had hegemony over all of Italy, with only Savoy and Venice having true independence.
  • As Duke of Burgundy, Philip II ruled the Spanish Netherlands and other Burgundian lands; the Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) would result in the independence of the Dutch Republic.
  • Philip II financed the Holy League, who would have a great naval victory against the Ottomans at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571.
  • Philip II was King of England and Ireland (1554 to 1558) during his marriage to the Catholic Queen Mary; this ended with her death and the ascension of the Protestant Queen Elizabeth I.
  • Philip II sent the Spanish Armada to invade the Protestant England of Elizabeth I in 1588, which ended in failure.
  • Philip II became King Philip I of Portugal (1581–1598) with the Iberian Union (1580-1640) which united Portugal and Spain. This lasted until the Portuguese Restoration War (1640–1668).
  • Several state bankruptcies occurred during Philip II's reign.

Philip II was succeeded by the his son Philip III of Spain (who reigned 1598–1621), who was also called Philip the Pious; he also ruled Portugal and other lands, and brought Spain into the Thirty Years' War (1618–1648). Philip III's son Philip IV of Spain (who reigned 1621–1665) succeeded him; he continued the Thirty Years' War, and lost Portugal in 1640.

Philip IV was succeeded by his son Charles II of Spain (who reigned 1665–1700), the last Habsburg ruler of ; also called "The Bewitched", he suffered from physical disabilities, and his childless death and subsequent territorial disagreements brought about the War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) and the end of Habsburg Spain.

Italian Wars[edit | edit source]

Italian Wars (also called the Habsburg–Valois Wars, 1494–1559): were principally the Habsburgs against the French Valois kings for Italian possessions, principally the Duchy of Milan and the Kingdom of Naples. It stemmed from the claim to the Kingdom of Naples of Charles VIII of France, with the death of Ferdinand I of Naples.

The leaders for the Habsburgs were the Holy Roman Emperors Maximilian, Charles V and Ferdinand I; and King Philip II of Spain; their supporters included Henry VIII of England and Mary I of England. The French Valois kings opposing them were Charles VIII, Louis XII, Francis I, and Henry II; their supporters included Suleiman the Magnificent. Various Italian states supported the factions. The wars began with Charles VIII's Italian War (1494–1498), Louis XII's Italian War (1499–1504), the War of the League of Cambrai (1508–1516), the War of Urbino (1517), and the Four Years' War (1521–1526). During the War of the League of Cognac (1526–1530), the Sack of Rome (1527) was by mutinous troops of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor. It was followed the Italian War of 1536–1538, the Italian War of 1542–1546, and the Last Italian War (1551–1559).

The Italian Wars were largely unsuccessful for the French. The Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis (1559) ended the Italian Wars, and was between France, Spain, England, and the Holy Roman Empire. In the treaty the French recognized Philip II as heir to Milan, Naples, Sicily and Sardinia, among other agreements.

Dutch Golden Age[edit | edit source]

Map of the Seventeen Provinces, the red line showing the division of the Dutch Republic and Southern Netherlands
Map of all of the places that were at any point ruled by the Dutch.      Territories administered by, or originating from, the Dutch East India Company      Territories administered by, or originating from, the Dutch West India Company Tiny orange squares: indicate smaller trading posts, the so-called handelsposten.

Dutch Republic and Southern Netherlands[edit | edit source]

Habsburg Spain ruled the Seventeen Provinces, which roughly covered the present-day Low Countries (the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg). This was because Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, who had inherited the Spanish crown, had also also inherited the Habsburg Netherlands. After the Pragmatic Sanction of 1549 the Habsburg Netherlands were organized into one indivisible territory called the Seventeen Provinces.

With the Eighty Years' War, the Dutch War of Independence (1568–1648), the Dutch Republic, of roughly the present-day Netherlands, seceded from the Spanish. Religion was a major factor, as the Dutch Republic was mainly Protestant, and Habsburg Spain was Catholic. The Twelve Years' Truce (1609–1621) was a truce for twelve years between the Dutch Republic and Spain. However, Dutch involvement in the Thirty Years' War (1618—1648), in support of the Protestants, began in 1619. The Eighty Years' War ended with the Peace of Münster in 1648; it was a part of the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years' War.

After the loss of the Dutch Republic, the Southern Netherlands, of roughly modern day Belgium and Luxembourg, remained under Spanish rule. The larger part of the Southern Netherlands became the Austrian Netherlands (1714–1794) under the Treaty of Rastatt between France and Austria, ending the War of the Spanish Succession; Naples, Milan and Sardinia were also ceded to Austria, and Sicily was ceded to Savoy. In 1794 the armies of the French Revolution annexed the Austrian Netherlands.

Dutch Republic and Dutch Golden Age[edit | edit source]

The Dutch Republic was officially called the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. The republic was a confederation of seven provinces: Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, Overijssel, Friesland, and Groningen; an eighth province, Drenthe, didn't have representation in the States General (the Dutch legislature).

The Dutch Golden Age was roughly from 1588, with the Dutch Republic becoming a confederacy; to 1672, the Rampjaar or "Disaster Year". It was a time of Dutch preeminence in trade, science, arts, and the military; it has been termed the "Dutch Miracle". The Dutch Empire flourished, with overseas territories and trading posts administered by Dutch chartered companies, and was helped by a monopoly on trade with Japan. Colonies included the Dutch Cape Colony and Dutch East Indies (Dutch East India Company) and colonies on the east coast of the Americas (Dutch West India Company).

Science and the arts flourished during the golden age, with painters such as Rembrandt and Vermeer, and scientists such as Christiaan Huygens and Antonie van Leeuwenhoek.

Within the Dutch Republic there was a constant power struggle between:

  • Orangists, who supported the stadtholders (from stadhouder, literally “city holder”), which became semi-hereditary national leaders of the Dutch Republic, from the House of Orange-Nassau (usually Holland, Zeeland, Utrecht, Guelders, and Overijssel) and House of Nassau (usually Friesland and Groningen).
  • Republicans, who supported the States General (the Dutch legislature), and hoped for a government closer to republican ideals.

Colonial wars, Rampjaar, and Batavian Revolution[edit | edit source]

From 1652, rivalry with Great Britain and France intensified over colonial interests; the First Anglo-Dutch War (1652–1654) was followed by the Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665–1667). The Franco-Dutch War (1672–1678) and the Third Anglo-Dutch War (1672–1674) brought about the Rampjaar ("Disaster Year") of 1672, when France, supported by Münster and Cologne, invaded and nearly overrun the Dutch Republic. The Dutch Republic republic survived, with the Treaties of Nijmegen (1678–1679) establishing peace between France and the Dutch Republic.

The Dutch Republic lost a number of its colonies to the British Empire, including the conquest of the Mughal Bengal, by the East India Company, after the Battle of Plassey (1757). After the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1780–1784), the Batavian Revolution (1795) replaced the Dutch Republic with the Batavian Republic/Commonwealth (1795–1801–1806), ending the stadtholders in favor of the Republicans. But this became a client state of the French Empire of Napoleon. The Kingdom of Holland (1806–1810) replaced the Batavian Commonwealth, and was a puppet kingdom of Napoleon's third brother, Louis Bonaparte; this was followed by French occupation.

It would re-emerge as United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1839) and then as the Kingdom of the Netherlands (to the present day). The Dutch East Indies and Dutch Guiana survived as Dutch colonies until after World War II.

Rise of Brandenburg-Prussia[edit | edit source]

House of Hohenzollern[edit | edit source]

Hohenzollern Castle

The House of Hohenzollern was a German dynasty from Hechingen in Swabia, who took their name from Hohenzollern Castle in the Swabian Alps. Most importantly, the Brandenburg-Prussian branch would rule Brandenburg-Prussia, the Kingdom of Prussia, and the German Empire

The first branch was the Swabian branch who ruled Zollern, a county in the Holy Roman Empire which from 1218 was called Hohenzollern, and whose capital became Hechingen. At first they ruled as Counts of Zollern (1061–1204) and Hohenzollern (1204–1575). They would then rule Hohenzollern-Haigerloch, Hohenzollern-Hechingen, and Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen during the period of 1576 to 1849. After 1849 to the present day they continued as Heads of the Princely House of Hohenzollern.

Other than the Swabian branch, other ruling branches were:

  • Brandenburg-Prussian branch, which included the Electors and Margraves of Brandenburg, 1415 to 1806. They also included the rulers of Prussia (1525–1918), and the German Emperors (1871–1918): these were the Dukes of Prussia (1525–1701), the Kings in Prussia (1701–1772), and the Kings of Prussia (1772–1918). They also included Margraves of Brandenburg-Küstrin, and Brandenburg-Schwedt.
  • Franconian branch, which included some Burgraves of Nuremberg; Margraves of Brandenburg-Kulmbach, Brandenburg-Ansbach, and Brandenburg-Bayreuth; and Dukes of Jägerndorf.
  • Kings of the Romanians (1866–1947), of the Kingdom of Romania (1881–1947).

Brandenburg-Prussia and Frederick the Great[edit | edit source]

Frederick the Great

Brandenburg-Prussia (1618–1701): was formed from territories that initially included, within the Holy Roman Empire, the Margraviate of Brandenburg, the Duchy of Cleves, and the counties of Ravensberg and Ravenstein. Outside of the Holy Roman Empire it initially included the Duchy of Prussia. It would later considerably expand its territories, both inside and outside the Holy Roman Empire. Prussia had developed from the State of the Teutonic Order, a state founded after the Teutonic Knights had conquered the lands of the Old Prussians (who were pagan Balts), after the Prussian Crusade of 1217–1274 (one of the Northern Crusades). It then became the Duchy of Prussia (1525–1701), a protestant state; it then entered personal union with Brandenburg in 1618, when John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg, became Duke of Prussia.

Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918) succeeded Brandenburg-Prussia, and was established after Frederick III, Elector of Brandenburg, crowned himself "King in Prussia" as Frederick I on 18 January 1701. Early kings would be styled as "King in Prussia" rather than "King of Prussia"; this continued until 1772. It would gain much territory both inside and outside of the Holy Roman Empire and successors. It would eventually form the nucleus of the German Empire (1871–1918).

Frederick the Great (or Frederick II or "The Old Fritz") ruled the Kingdom of Prussia 1740–1786; he was the first Elector of Brandenburg to claim to be "King of Prussia" in 1772, rather than "King in Prussia". He had many military successes, particularly in the Silesian Wars (of 1740–1763) where he gained Silesia (a Bohemian territory) from the Austrian Monarchy. He also acquired Polish territories during its partition. Apart from his military successes, he was seen as a leading monarch of the Enlightenment.

Frederick fought in three Silesian wars against Austria. In a demonstration of Austria–Prussia rivalry, Prussia sought to increase its territory at the expense of Austria.

  • The First Silesian War (1740–1742) and the Second Silesian War (1744–1745) were theaters of the War of the Austrian Succession (1740–1748), in which Prussia fought against Austria and its allies. This led to the annexation of Silesia from the Habsburgs.
  • The Third Silesian War (1756–1763) was a theater of the Seven Years' War (1756–1763), where Prussia was part of the Great Britain coalition, and was opposed by Saxony (who he occupied), and Austria, France, Russia and Sweden. The Prussians maintained all their territories, and it was considered as the "Miracle of the House of Brandenburg".

The victory of Prussia damaged the prestige of the House of Habsburg. Later on, victory for Prussia in the Austro-Prussian War (1866) would ensure that Prussia became the nucleus of the German Empire (1871–1918), with Austria-Hungary sidelined in the rule of Germany.

House of Bourbon and France[edit | edit source]

Louis XIV

The House of Bourbon was a branch of the Capetian dynasty; it succeeded the House of Capet (987–1328) and Valois kings (1328–1589) as French monarchs. Branches would also become Spanish monarchs (see below), and Grand Dukes of Luxembourg (1964–present), as well as holding many other titles.

Henry IV, the Great (1589–1610) was the first Bourbon monarch, who ascended during the turmoil surrounding the French Wars of Religion. He was succeeded by Louis XIII, Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI. Louis XVI was deposed in 1792 by the Great French Revolution (1789–1799). The Bourbons were later restored 1815–1830, with Louis XVIII and Charles X; and Louis-Philippe I (of the House of Orléans cadet branch) ruled 1830–1848. Cardinal Richelieu, King Louis XIII's chief minister between 1624–1642, helped transform France into a modern state.

Louis XIV (the Great or the Sun King) ruled France between 1643–1715. An absolute monarch, he greatly expanded the Palace of Versailles, and revoked the Edict of Nantes (leading to persecution of Protestants). Louis fought the Habsburgs and Dutch in the Franco-Dutch War (1672–1678), which resulted in some territorial gains for France. Louis also fought the Grand Alliance (of the Habsburgs, English and Dutch) in the Nine Years' War (1688–97), which resulted in some territorial changes. He also fought in the War of the Spanish Succession (see below).

Second Hundred Years' War: the French had a great rivalry with the British during this period, mirroring that of the Habsburgs. As well as the Nine Years' War and War of the Spanish Succession, they also fought the British in the War of the Austrian Succession (1742–1748), Father Le Loutre's War (1749–1755), 2nd Carnatic War (1749–1754), Seven Years' War (1756–1763) and Anglo-French War (1778–1783). These wars, along with later wars after the fall of the Bourbons, the French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802) and Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815), are sometimes considered to be the Second Hundred Years' War. With the Diplomatic Revolution of 1756, Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette married, and Austria went from an ally of Britain to an ally of France, while Prussia became an ally of Britain.

Bourbon Spain[edit | edit source]

Philip V of Spain

Bourbon Spain: from 1700, members of the House of Bourbon dynasty ruled Spain, beginning with Philip of Anjou, who would rule as Philip V of Spain; the Spanish Empire included territories in the New World and Europe. The Bourbons would be Spanish monarchs for much of its subsequent history, continuing to the present-day.

War of the Spanish Succession (1701–1714) had France (under Louis XIV) and their allies fighting the Grand Alliance, which included Austria, England and the Dutch Republic. The war was precipitated by the Habsburg ruler Carlos II of Spain (or Charles II) dying childless, and naming his successor as Philip of Anjou (later Philip V), the Bourbon grandson of Louis XIV and Carlos's half-sister Maria Theresa of Spain. The caused consternation for the Habsburgs, and the risk of a France–Spain superstate if both monarchies fell to a single ruler; therefore the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI claimed the throne. The Battle of Blenheim (1704) was a notable victory for the Grand Alliance. The war confirmed the Bourbon rule of Spain over the previous Habsburg monarchs; but Philip V had to renounce his place in the French succession; he also lost the Spanish Netherlands, Naples, Milan and Sardinia to Austria, and Sicily to Savoy.

The Spanish Bourbons were allies with the French Bourbons for some of their wars against the British: the War of the Spanish Succession, the War of the Austrian Succession, the Seven Years' War, and the Anglo-French War. But during the War of the Quadruple Alliance (1718-1720) France fought against Spain (and Great Britain, the Holy Roman Empire, and the Dutch Republic).

Rise of Russia[edit | edit source]

Russian Tsardom and Empire[edit | edit source]

Ivan the Terrible
Peter the Great
Catherine the Great, with Peter III of Russia

Tsardom of Russia (1547–1721) became a new name for Muscovy, also known as the Grand Duchy of Moscow. Ivan the Terrible (Ivan IV Vasilyevich) the grandson of Ivan III, was declared "Tsar of All Rus'" (1547–1584), after ruling as Grand Prince of Moscow (1533–1547). Ivan the Terrible conquered the Khanate of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Sibirean khanates. Later on, the rest of Siberia would fall to the Russians, and by the mid-17th century Russia had expanded to the Pacific Ocean.

The Rurik dynasty were rulers of Kievan Rus' (after 882), as well as the successor principalities of Galicia-Volhynia (after 1199), Chernigov, Vladimir-Suzdal, and the Grand Duchy of Moscow; they also ruled the Tsardom of Russia. The Time of Troubles was between the death of Feodor I in 1598 and the accession of Michael I in 1613; during this time the Russian famine of 1601–1603 devastated Russia. Vasili IV was tsar between 1606 and 1610, but this was disputed, and there was numerous other usurpers and imposters. After the Time of Troubles, the House of Romanov ruled Russia, beginning with Michael I, and ending with Nicholas II, the last tsar of Russia who was deposed in 1917. By the 18th century, many Cossacks (an East-Slavic people) had been transformed into a special military estate of Russia.

Russian Empire (1721–1917): was declared by Peter the Great (Peter I), who reigned 1682–1725; as well as being emperor he retained the title of tsar. Peter the Great moved the capital to St. Petersburg in 1712, which remained there until 1917; he also won the Great Northern War in 1721. The Empress Catherine the Great (Catherine II), who reigned 1762–1796, presided over a golden age, with rapid expansion of the empire, and the Russian Enlightenment with advancement particularly in the arts. Alexander Suvorov was an outstanding general for the Russians, particularly during the Russo-Turkish Wars during the late 18th century; the Russo-Turkish Wars continued from the 16th to 20th centuries.

The Russian Empire continued until the 20th century, until the Russian monarchy was deposed, and the empire was succeeded by the Russian Republic (1917). It then became the Russian SFSR (Soviet Federative Socialist Republic) (1917–1991), which became a part of the Soviet Union or USSR (1922–1991).

Swedish Empire[edit | edit source]

Swedish Empire (1611–1721) was a great power in Europe and a rival to Russia in Eastern Europe. The Swedish Empire was founded by Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden (or Gustav II Adolf, who reigned 1611–1632); he led Sweden to military supremacy during the Thirty Years' War, including great victories such as the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631), before dying at the Battle of Lützen (1632). Gaining territories after the Thirty Years' War, they would be a military might during the Northern Wars, before losing the Great Northern War.

Following the Great Northern War, Sweden would decline; eastern Sweden would be lost to Russia in 1809, which became the highly autonomous Grand Principality of Finland. During the Napoleonic Wars, Sweden allied itself with France; and after the Battle of Leipzig (1813), and a military campaign, the Swedish King Charles XIII managed to force Denmark–Norway, an ally of France, to cede Norway, in exchange for northern German provinces; Sweden–Norway lasted from 1814 to 1905. The 1814 campaign was the last time Sweden was at war.

Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth[edit | edit source]

The Kingdom of Poland created a bi-confederation with the Grand Duchy of Lithuania to create the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth (1569–1795). During this period the King of Poland would also be the Grand Duke of Lithuania, although this personal union had existed since 1386. The "Golden Liberty" meant that the king was elected, and that the nobles held considerable power. The Poles were mostly West-Slavic, and the Lithuanians were mostly Balts.

During the Polish–Muscovite War (1605–1618), the Poles occupied Moscow between 1610 and 1612. During the Swedish-Russian Deluge (1648–1667), approximately one third of its population was lost, as well as its status as a great power, due to invasions by Sweden and Russia. The Polish King John III Sobieski allied with Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I; in 1683, at the Battle of Vienna, they defeated the Ottomans Empire, marking a turning point in the Ottoman–Habsburg Wars and Polish–Ottoman Wars.

After the Great Northern War, the Commonwealth would further decline. The War of the Polish Succession (1733–1735) turned into a conflict between the Bourbons (of France and Spain) and Habsburgs (of Austria). Poland–Lithuania became a protectorate of the Russian Empire in 1768. The Partitions of Poland (1772–1795) was the partition of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth between Russia, Prussia, and the Austrian Monarchy; it was instigated by Catherine the Great of Russia, Frederick the Great of Prussia, and Joseph II, Holy Roman Emperor. Poland would cease to be, until resurrected by Napoleon as the Duchy of Warsaw in 1807; after a tumultuous history it finally became the present-day Third Polish Republic, established 1989–1991. Lithuania would not become finally independent of Russia until 1990.

Northern Wars[edit | edit source]

Swedish Empire at its greatest extent (1658)
Poland–Lithuania in 1655, occupied by Sweden (light blue) and Russia (light green)

Between the late sixteenth and early eighteenth centuries, a series of wars would be fought for supremacy in north-eastern Europe. The main adversaries were Sweden and Russia; the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Denmark–Norway also fought in the wars, as well as other states, in particular Prussia.

The Northern Wars began with began with the Russo-Swedish War of 1554–1557, in which the status quo was preserved. But after Russian defeat in the Livonian War (1558–1583), Terra Mariana (also called Old Livonia) was divided between the victors: Sweden, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Denmark–Norway. Not involving Russia, with the Northern Seven Years' War (1562–1570), Sweden clashed with the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Denmark–Norway, without territorial changes.

During the Second Northern War (1655–1660), Sweden and its allies fought against many opponents; these included the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, Russia (Muscovy), Brandenburg-Prussia (at times an ally), the Austrian Monarchy, and Denmark–Norway. Major aspects included:

  • Swedish Deluge (1655–1660) was the partial occupation of Poland–Lithuania by Sweden. The Russo-Polish War of 1654–1667 (also called the Thirteen Years' War or Russian Deluge) also resulted in partial occupation. Both caused widespread destruction and looting, and a huge loss of life in Poland–Lithuania; it ended with significant Russian territorial gains.
  • Russo-Swedish War (1656–1658); Russia and Sweden clashed without territorial changes.
  • Dano-Swedish Wars of 1657–1658 (with Swedish victory); and 1658–1660 (with Denmark–Norway victory).

Sweden mostly gained territories as a result of this war. Note that the "First Northern War" can refer to a number of conflicts, including the Second Northern War. Later on, the Scanian War (1674–1679), also called Swedish-Brandenburgian War; it ended with Sweden losing some Pomeranian areas to Brandenburg-Prussia.

The Great Northern War (1700–1721) had a Russian coalition fighting against a Swedish coalition, for supremacy in Northern Europe. It began when Russia, Denmark–Norway, Saxony, and the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth sensed an opportunity and declared war on the Sweden, then ruled by the young Charles XII. The Caroleans (the soldiers of the Swedish kings Charles XI and Charles XII) had some great victories against Russia and other countries during this period, in many cases defeating far larger armies. But eventually there was victory by the Russian coalition; Russia, Prussia, Denmark-Norway, and other states would gain territories.

After the Northern Wars, Sweden, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Denmark–Norway would decline. But Russia and Prussia would continue to rise to become major powers in European affairs.


Chapter 6 Early modern period part 2[edit | edit source]

The early modern period was circa 1500–1750 AD, or ending at the French Revolution (1789), or at 1800. This second chapter on the early modern period discusses the Age of Discovery and colonial empires, Reformation and religious turmoil (including the Thirty Years' War), religious tensions in England and Scotland, and aspects of modernity.

Age of Discovery and colonial empires[edit | edit source]

Spanish Empire
Rise and fall of colonial empires (animated)
Triangular trade of slaves and goods across the Atlantic Ocean

Age of Discovery was from circa 1400 to 1800. Lands include the Americas (the New World); southern Africa; Congo River; West Indies; India; Maluku Islands (Spice Islands); Australasia; New Zealand; Antarctica; and Hawaii. Largely coincided with the Age of Sail (1571–1862).

Spanish and Portuguese empires[edit | edit source]

Spanish Empire (1492–1975) began when Christopher Columbus landed in the New World in 1492. This was followed by La Conquista, the Spanish colonization of the Americas by the conquistadores. Cortes conquered the Aztecs after the Spanish–Aztec War (1519–21). In 1532 Pizarro conquered the Inca empire in Peru. The Maya and many other peoples were also conquered. Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer that organised the Spanish expedition that achieved the first global circumnavigation, 1519–1522, which was completed after his death by Juan Sebastián Elcano.

The Spanish Empire would be mostly divided into viceroyalties:

  • Viceroyalty of the Indies (1492–1526)
  • Viceroyalty of New Spain (1535–1821)
  • Viceroyalty of Peru (1542–1824)
  • Viceroyalty of New Granada (1717–1819)
  • Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata (1776–1814)

The Viceroyalty of New Spain would include the Spanish East Indies (the Philippine Islands, the Mariana Islands, the Caroline Islands, parts of Taiwan, and parts of the Moluccas), and the Spanish West Indies (Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Trinidad, and the Bay Islands). It also included a substantial portion of mainland Americas, including Spanish Louisiana.

The Portuguese Empire began in 1415. The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama, during his voyage to India (1497–1499), performed the first navigation around South Africa, to connect the Atlantic and the Indian oceans. This would contribute to Portuguese dominance in trade routes around Africa, particularly in the spice trade for around a century.

The Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) split the world between regions of Spanish and Portuguese influence, but this was ignored by other nations. This resulted in the Spanish being particularly active in Americas, while Portuguese influence in the Americas was limited to Brazil. The Portuguese established a large number of trading posts around the coasts of India, the East Indies, Africa and Arabia.

During the Iberian Union (1580-1640) the empires of Portugal and Spain were combined. With the Dutch–Portuguese War (1601–1663), Dutch attempts to secure Brazil and Angola from Portugal failed; the Dutch were the victors in the Cape of Good Hope and the East Indies, capturing Malacca, Ceylon, the Malabar Coast, and the Moluccas from the Portuguese, but not Macau.

Other empires[edit | edit source]

Major European colonial empires that followed the Spanish and Portuguese included:

  • English Empire, from 1583, which in 1707 became British.
  • French Empire, 1534–1980.
  • Dutch Empire, from 1581.

Other European colonial empires included the Danish overseas colonies and Swedish overseas colonies, and Russia greatly expanded in the early modern period. Non-European empires included the Great Qing Empire of China (1636–1912); the Ashanti Empire (1701–1896, a West African state of the Ashanti); and the Sikh Empire (1799–1846) and Maratha Empire (1674–1818) in India; and the Turkish Ottoman Empire around the Mediterranean and Black Sea. The Omani Empire (1696–1856) was a maritime empire in the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean.

Dutch colonies were split between the Dutch East India Company (particularly in the East Indies and South Africa) and Dutch West India Company (mainly on the east coast of the Americas). The Dutch discovered Australia in 1606, and New Zealand in 1642; both of these would later colonised by the British. Anglo-Dutch Wars: were a series of four wars fought in the 17th and 18th centuries; largely a result of English and Dutch rivalry, mainly over trade and overseas colonies; most battles were fought at sea.

In North America, the British, French and Spanish dominated. South and Central America was mainly Spanish, with the Portuguese in Brazil. The Danish empire (1536–1953) included Norway, Iceland and Greenland. The Swedish empire (1638–1663 and 1784–1878) mainly consisted of Finland and the Baltic states.

In the late modern period (19th and early 20th centuries), Italy, Germany, Belgium, Japan and the USA established empires. The British Empire rapidly expanded in this period, and eventually included India, Australia and much of Africa. France colonized much of North Africa, and French Indochina (today Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia).

Slavery and piracy[edit | edit source]

Atlantic slave trade was a major source of wealth to Europe and its colonies; beginning with the Portuguese in 1526, it reached a zenith between 1780 and 1800.

In many cases it was a triangular trade; manufactured goods from Europe would be exchanged on the western coats of Africa for slaves; these slaves would be exported to North and South America, and the West Indies; and raw goods would be exported back to Europe. By volume, the empires trading slaves were the Portuguese, British, French, Spanish, and Dutch Empires. It is estimated that over 12 million Africans were shipped across the Atlantic, until it started being outlawed, firstly by Denmark in 1803, and then Britain in 1807. In 1888 Brazil became the last Western country to abolish slavery.

Golden Age of Piracy: spans the 1650s to the late 1720s. Main seas of piracy were the Caribbean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Red Sea. It includes colorful pirates of the Caribbean such as Henry Morgan, William 'Captain' Kidd, 'Calico' Jack Rackham, Bartholomew Roberts and Blackbeard (Edward Teach).

Reformation and religious turmoil[edit | edit source]

Protestant Reformation at its peak (1545-1620)
Martin Luther

Proto-Protestantism and earlier movements[edit | edit source]

The Roman Catholic religion has been challenged throughout its history. For example, in the High Middle Ages the Cathars of southern France had broken with Catholic doctrine; this led to the Albigensian Crusade (1209–1229) and genocide of the Cathars.

Proto-Protestantism were movements that challenged Catholicism, and influenced the Protestant Reformation; these included:

A Christian movement of the pre-Protestant Bohemian Reformation. They followed Jan Hus, who was burnt at the stake in 1415. The Hussite Wars (1419–1434), resulted in victory for the Moderate Hussites, but defeat for the Radical Hussites; the Hussite religion was thus established in Bohemia for two centuries. After the Bohemian Revolt (1618–1620), the first phase of the Thirty Years' War, they were suppressed.
Founded in the 1170s by Peter Waldo, they would come to influence Anabaptism in particular.
Founded by John Wycliffe, a 14th century English theologian, they played a part in the English Reformation.

Protestant Reformation[edit | edit source]

The Protestant Reformation was the establishment of Protestantism in a 16th-century western Europe, whose religion was dominated by the Roman Catholic Church.

The Protestant Reformation began in 1517, at Wittenberg, Saxony, when Martin Luther sent his Ninety-Five Theses to the Archbishop of Mainz; these protested against the sale of plenary (meaning unqualified) indulgences, which were sold by the clergy, and thought to remit the soul from punishment by God. Following the Diet of Worms of 1521 (an assembly of the Holy Roman Empire in the Imperial Free City of Worms), Luther was excommunication by Pope Leo X, and condemned as an outlaw by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

Early Protestant movements included:

Was based on the teachings of Martin Luther; Lutheran churches became dominant especially in the north of Germany and in the Scandinavian countries.
Calvinism, or the Reformed tradition
Was based on teachings which included those of Huldrych Zwingli and John Calvin. Calvinism spread to the Dutch Republic, Scotland (Presbyterians), and southern France (Huguenots), and to a lesser extent Germany, Hungary, and England (Puritans).
Was created by Henry VIII, and became the dominant religion of England as the Church of England; it incorporated aspects from the Reformed and Lutheran churches. The Anglican Communion would spread to become the third largest Christian communion (after Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy).
Was an early offshoot of Protestantism, and Anabaptist churches would include the Amish, Hutterites, and Mennonites fellowships.
Is an nontrinitarian theological movement, and Unitarian churches began in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Transylvania.

The Peace of Augsburg (1555) of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, and the Schmalkaldic League (of Lutheran princes within the Holy Roman Empire) allowed rulers within the Holy Roman Empire to choose either Lutheranism or Roman Catholicism as the official confession. Calvinism was not allowed in the Holy Roman Empire until the Peace of Westphalia (1648).

Counter-Reformation[edit | edit source]

Council of Trent

Counter-Reformation: was a period of Catholic resurgence in response to the Reformation. It began with the 25 sessions of the Council of Trent (1545–1563), which led to reform of Church doctrines and teachings; the next ecumenical council was the First Vatican Council (1869).

There was also the formation of seminaries for the training of priests; the Jesuits, a new religious order, began missionary work, as well as the Augustinians, Franciscans, and Dominicans.

The Inquisition. which had started in 12th-century France, was used to enforce the Counter-Reformation and suppress heresy; it included the Spanish Inquisition, the Roman Inquisition, and the Portuguese Inquisition.

European wars of religion[edit | edit source]

European wars of religion of the 16th, 17th and early 18th centuries, were largely a result of the religious differences stemming from reform. They included the Thirty Years' War (see below),

The French Wars of Religion (1562–1598) were especially notable, with Roman Catholics against the Huguenots (French Protestants) following the death of Henry II of France; three millions deaths can be attributed to them. The Bartholomew's Day massacre (1572) was the massacre of between 30,000 and 100,000 Huguenots across France. Henry IV, a former Huguenot, issued the Edict of Nantes (1598) assuring conditional religious freedom. Later on, Huguenot rebellions (1621–1629) erupted after intolerance by Louis XIII. Louis XIV's Edict of Fontainebleau (1685) revoked the Edict of Nantes, and resulted in further persecution.

Other major European wars of religion include:

  • War of the Three Kingdoms (1639–1651) of England, Scotland, and Ireland;
  • Eighty Years' War (1568–1648) resulting in independence of the Dutch Republic from Spain;
  • German Peasants' War (1524–1525) of the Holy Roman Empire.

There was also a rise in witch trials between 1580 and 1630; over 50,000 people, mostly women, lost their lives, and religious tensions may have been a factor.

Thirty Years' War[edit | edit source]

Thirty Years' War
Ferdinand II, Holy Roman Emperor
1618 Defenestration of Prague
Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden at the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631)

The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) was an especially devastating European war of religion. It was fought roughly between two factions (although some allegiances would change during it). These included:

  • The Catholic Habsburg states and allies, which included the Habsburg Austrian Monarchy and Habsburg Spain, and the Catholic League (mainly southern states of the Holy Roman Empire). The Holy Roman Emperors Ferdinand II and Ferdinand III, who reigned 1619–1637 and 1637–1657, spearheaded the Catholics; the Count of Tilly, and Albrecht von Wallenstein, were successful generals for the Catholic forces.
  • The anti-Habsburg states were mainly Protestant, with the notable exception of Catholic France. It also included the Scandinavian states of Denmark–Norway and Sweden; the Dutch Republic; and England and Scotland. It included some Holy Roman Empire states (like Bohemia, Electoral Palatinate, Saxony, and Brandenburg-Prussia), although some would join the fight against France. France was ruled by Louis XIII (1610–1643) and Louis XIV (1643–1715), and Cardinal Richelieu was First Minister of State (1624–1642).

There were many aspects to the war, but important ones include:

Bohemian Revolt (1618–1620)
A revolt of the mainly Hussite population of Bohemia (see Proto-Protestant movements above) against the Catholic rule of the Habsburg Holy Roman Emperor Ferdnand II, who became King of Bohemia (1617–1619 and 1620 –1637). The 1618 Defenestration of Prague was when two Catholic nobleman and their secretary, who represented Ferdinand II, were thrown out of a window of Prague Castle by protesting Hussites; all three survived the fall. It ended in success for Ferdinand II, with the decisive Battle of White Mountain (1620), and many Bohemian nobles were executed.
Palatinate campaign (1620–1623)
Frederick V of the Palatinate was a Calvinist, and had attempted to usurp Ferdinand II's rule of Bohemia, temporarily becoming King of Bohemia (1619–1620). An Austrian and Spanish Habsburg army invaded Electoral Palatinate to oust Frederick V; the conquest was successful, but the campaign widened the conflict.
Danish involvement (1625–1629)
Christian IV of Denmark, King of Denmark–Norway, was a Lutheran, and invaded the Holy Roman Empire to support the Protestants; but he was soon forced to retreat. With the Treaty of Lübeck (1929), Denmark–Norway participation ended, and their nation would then decline.
Swedish involvement (1630–1648)
Protestant Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden invaded the Holy Roman Empire with considerable success, with battles such as the Battle of Breitenfeld (1631). During this time, the Sack of Magdeburg (1631) was the destruction of the Protestant city of Magdeburg by Catholic forces. Adolphus was killed at the Battle of Lützen (1632), and succeeded by Christina, Queen of Sweden. After a crushing defeat at the Battle of Nördlingen (1634), Swedish military involvement ended for two years.
French involvement (1635–1648)
Bourbon France, whose allies included Sweden and the Dutch Republic, fought against Habsburg Spain, allied with Habsburg Austria and the Holy Roman Empire; this began the Franco-Spanish War (1635–1659), and was despite the Bourbons and Habsburgs being Catholic. The Peace of Prague (1635) more or less ended Holy Roman Empire civil war aspects. The French had a great general in the Viscount of Turenne. It included the Battle of Rocroi (1643), a decisive French victory over the Spanish. There were important Swedish victories against the Holy Roman Empire at the Battle of Wittstock (1636) and Battle of Jankau (1645).

Other aspects of the Thirty Years' War, and parallel conflicts, included:

  • Involvement of Calvinist Transylvania (under Gabriel Bethlen), supported by the Ottomans, from 1619.
  • From 1619 the Dutch Republic became involved, despite the Twelve Years' Truce (1609–1621) between the Dutch Republic and Spain.
  • Protestant Huguenot rebellions in France, sporadically between 1621 and 1629, which were unsuccessful.
  • The Peasants' War in Upper Austria (1626), the unsuccessful attempt to free Upper Austria from Bavarian rule.
  • The War of the Mantuan Succession in northern Italy (1628–1631), a success for the French against the Habsburgs.
  • From 1940, the Reapers' War (or Catalan Revolt), and Portuguese Restoration War (see below).

Peace of Westphalia (1648) ended the Thirty Years' War. There were agreements between the Holy Roman Empire and France and Sweden, and between the Dutch and Spanish. But the Franco-Spanish War continued (see below).

  • There were a roughly eight million fatalities, including soldiers (700,000–1,800,000, mostly from disease) and civilians (3,500,000–6,500,000, mostly from disease and starvation). There was widespread famine and devastation of the Holy Roman Empire as a result of the war.
  • The war weakened the Holy Roman Emperor and the Habsburgs, with power returned to the Imperial Estates.
  • There was formal independence for the Dutch Republic with the end of the Eighty Years' War (the Dutch War of Independence, 1568–1648); and also for Switzerland.
  • Territorial changes included gains by France, Sweden, and Brandenburg-Prussia.
  • Princes within the Holy Roman Empire could determine their state's religion from Catholicism and Lutheranism, and now Calvinism was also acceptable.

Franco-Spanish War and Portuguese Restoration War[edit | edit source]

After 1648, the Franco-Spanish War (1635–1659) continued in Italy, the Low Countries, and Catalonia; the Portuguese Restoration War (1640–1668) in Portugal and Spain also continued. The Anglo-Spanish War (1654–1660) was related to the Franco-Spanish War.

  • The Reapers' War (1640–1659), or the Catalan Revolt, was a part of the Franco-Spanish War (1635–1659). It included the French occupation of Roussillon in the Eastern Pyrenees (1642). The Franco-Spanish War concluded with the Treaty of the Pyrenees (1659), and the Spanish ceded Northern Catalonia and other border territories to France; France also gained French Flanders.
  • The Portuguese Restoration War (1640–1668) resulted in the breaking up of the Iberian Union of Spain and Portugal, with England and France helping Portugal defeat Spain. With the Treaty of Lisbon (1668), Spain lost Portugal.

Conflict between France and Habsburg Spain would continue with later wars, the War of Devolution (1667–68), the Franco-Dutch War (1672–1678), the War of the Reunions (1683–1684), and the Nine Years' War (1688–1697).

Religious tensions in England and Scotland[edit | edit source]

Henry VIII of England (Hans Holbein the Younger)
Spanish Armarda (1588)
Charles I in Three Positions by Anthony van Dyck
"Bonnie Prince Charlie" during the Jacobite rising of 1745

Henry VIII of England (who reigned 1509–1547) was the second Tudor king after his father Henry VII. He oversaw the English Reformation, with the establishment of the Anglican faith and Church of England, and the Dissolution of the Monasteries. He also began the Tudor conquest of Ireland (1529–1603), which expanded English rule to all of Ireland; he also oversaw the legal union of England and Wales. Henry VIII was succeeded by three of his children:

  • Edward VI (who reigned 1547–1553), a Protestant Tudor king like his father; he died at the age of 15.
  • Mary I (who reigned 1553–1558), a Catholic Tudor queen. She was married to Philip II of Spain, and she attempted to reverse the English Reformation. Her persecution of Protestants gave her the nickname Bloody Mary.
  • Elizabeth I (who reigned 1558–1603), a Protestant and the last Tudor monarch. Her reign included the defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588), an attempted invasion by Philip II of Spain, who was a staunch Catholic. Unmarried, she was succeeded by James I of England.

The Scottish Reformation resulted in the establishment of Church of Scotland (or the Kirk), which is Presbyterian and predominantly Calvinist; John Knox was one of the leaders. The Catholic rule of Mary, Queen of Scots was followed by her son James VI of Scotland (1567–1625), a Protestant Stuart.

James VI of Scotland would become James I of England (1603–1625), the first Stuart monarch of England, and subsequent monarchs would rule Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland. He survived an early attempted assassination by Catholics with the Gunpowder Plot (1605). James I was succeeded by his son Charles I.

Wars of the Three Kingdoms, Commonwealth, and Restoration[edit | edit source]

Charles I (who reigned 1625–1649) was a Protestant Stuart king. But he married a Catholic and had Catholic sympathies, which caused Parliamentary concerns, as did his outspoken belief in the "Divine Right of Kings". The Eleven Years' Tyranny (1629–1640) was when Charles I ruled under the Royal Prerogative, without recourse to Parliament. Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England of Roman Catholic practices, and the Eleven Years' Tyranny was a peak time for them leaving for New England.

Charles I's reign resulted in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms (1639–1651), and his execution in 1649. The "Three Kingdoms" were England (and Wales), Ireland, and Scotland, and the wars were partly religious in origin; they included the English Civil Wars (1642–1651). Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") would defeat the Royalists ("Cavaliers"). Thomas Fairfax was the Parliamentary commander-in-chief, replacing the Earl of Essex Robert Devereux; he led Parliament to many victories, including the crucial Battle of Naseby (1645), but he would be politically out-maneuvered by his subordinate Oliver Cromwell.

England then entered the Commonwealth of England (1649–1660), with Oliver Cromwell becoming Lord Protector (1653–1658). During the Commonwealth, Scotland lost some of its independence, which was reversed during the Restoration in Scotland (1660). Cromwell was a Puritan, and Puritans became especially significant during the Protectorate (1653–1659, the period with a Lord Protector). The ineffectual rule of Richard Cromwell, Oliver's son and Lord Protector (1658–1659), would eventually lead to the downfall of the Commonwealth.

The Restoration was the return of the monarchy, with Charles II (who reigned 1660–1685), a Protestant Stuart king with Catholic sympathies, and the son of Charles I. Anti-Catholic hysteria resulted in the Popish Plot (1678–81), an invented Catholic conspiracy to dethrone Charles II, perpetrated by Titus Oates; nine Jesuits were executed and twelve died in prison, and other Catholic religious orders were repressed. Charles dissolved the Parliament in 1681, ruling as a absolute monarch until his death. Having only had illegitimate children, Charles II was succeeded by his brother James II of England.

Glorious Revolution, and the last Stuarts[edit | edit source]

James II of England (VII of Scotland), who reigned 1685–1688, was the Stuart brother of Charles II. His reign ended with the Glorious Revolution (1688), his ousting by Parliament and the army of William of Orange, mainly over his Catholic religion.

After the Glorious Revolution, all further monarchs were Protestant. James II was succeeded by his Stuart daughters:

  • Mary II (who reigned 1689–1694), who had married to William of Orange (who reigned 1689–1702), who was William III of England and II of Scotland, and Stadtholder of the Dutch Republic.
  • Anne of Great Britain (who reigned 1702–1714) was the last Stuart monarch. During her reign the Acts of Union (1707) united the government of Scotland with England (and Wales), as the Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1801); the Parliament of England became the Parliament of Great Britain; in 1801 it became the Parliament of the United Kingdom.

The Stuart dynasty (monarchs of Great Britain and Ireland 1603–1649 and 1660–1714) was succeeded by:

  • House of Hanover (1714–1901), which included the Georgian (1714–1830 or 1837) and Victorian (1837–1901) eras.
  • House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (1901–1917), which was renamed the House of Windsor (1917–present day).

Williamite War and Jacobite risings[edit | edit source]

During the Williamite War in Ireland (1689–1691), which took place in Ireland, James II was defeated by William of Orange. James left Ireland after a reverse at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

The Jacobite risings were failed Catholic uprisings that sought to instate James II and his descendants; they are named after Jacobus, which is Latin for James. Since 1603 Scotland had shared the same monarch as England (and Wales and Ireland). They took place mainly in Scotland, with the backing of Catholic Scottish Highlander clansmen.

The most important risings were:

  • Jacobite rising of 1689 (first rising) was a failed attempt to reinstate James II. It was followed by the Massacre of Glencoe (1692), the massacre of about 30 unarmed members of Clan MacDonald of Glencoe, allegedly for failing to pledge allegiance to William III and Mary II.
  • Jacobite rising of 1715 (the '15) was a failed attempt to instate James Edward Stuart ("the Old Pretender"), the son of James II. England was then ruled by the Hanoverian King George I.
  • Jacobite Rising of 1719 (the '19) was a smaller uprising of James Edward Stuart with the support of Spain.
  • Jacobite rising of 1745 (the '45) was a failed attempt to instate Charles Edward Stuart ("the Young Pretender" or "Bonnie Prince Charlie"), the son of James Edward Stuart. The Battle of Culloden (1746) ended the rising with a decisive government victory, whose army was commanded by the Duke of Cumberland; the English king at the time was the Hanoverian George II.

Rise of philosophy, the arts, science and trade[edit | edit source]

Leonardo da Vinci
Sir Isaac Newton

The Renaissance[edit | edit source]

The Renaissance (circa 1300 to circa 1600) began with the Italian Renaissance. Borrowed from French word "renaissance", it literally meant "rebirth", as it was seen as a rebirth of Classical learning and culture. There were developments in philosophy (particularly humanism), science, technology, and warfare. There were also artistic developments, including architecture, dance, fine arts, literature and music. There was renewed interest in Classical Roman and Greek texts, but also translations of Arabic texts. The invention of the printing press, which was greatly improved by the German Johannes Gutenberg circa 1439, helped in the dissemination of learning.

Proto-Renaissance in Italy (circa 1280-1400) writers included Dante Alighieri, who wrote the Divine Comedy (c. 1308 to 1320). Petrarch (1304–1374) was an early proponent of humanism. Giotto was an early artist. Early Renaissance in Italy (circa 1400-1495) artists included the sculptor Donatello; and the painters Masaccio, Sandro Botticelli, Giovanni Bellini, Filippo Lippi, and Paolo Uccello. Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the foremost architects and engineers.

The High Renaissance in Italy (circa 1495–1520) included Leonardo da Vinci, early Michelangelo, Raphael, and the architect Bramante, It also included Antonio da Correggio. It ended with the death of Raphael. Later painters included Titian, Tintoretto, and Paolo Veronese.

The House of Medici ruled Florence (as the Republic then Duchy of Florence, and as the Grand Duchy of Tuscany), for most of the period from 1434 to the early 18th century. They patronized many intellectuals associated with the Renaissance; these included Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Niccolò Machiavelli, Galileo Galilei and Sandro Botticelli. Lorenzo de’ Medici is particularly associated with this patronage.

The Roman Inquisition began in 1542, and suppressed some aspects of the Renaissance. It made some books forbidden, such as On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Sphere by Polish scientist Nicolaus Copernicus; first printed in 1543, it promoted the heliocentric theory of the Solar System. It also held trials against intellectuals; Galileo Galilei, who supported the work of Copernicus in his Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems (1632), was put on trial.

Outside of Italy, Renaissance ideas soon spread across Europe to countries such as England, France, Germany, Hungary, the Low Countries, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Croatia, and Scotland. In the English Renaissance, the works of William Shakespeare (1564–1616) are often regarded as the greatest in English literature. Other notable artists included: the German artists Hans Holbein the Younger, Hans Holbein the Elder, and Albrecht Dürer; the Dutch artists Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Brueghel the Elder, Pieter Brueghel the Younger, and Jan van Eyck; and the Greek artist El Greco.

Baroque Period and Age of Enlightenment[edit | edit source]

Baroque Period (17th and 18th centuries) was characterised by highly ornate styles in architecture, music, painting, and sculpture. Artists included Velázquez, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin, and Vermeer. Baroque composers included Johann Sebastian Bach, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, Claudio Monteverdi, and Henry Purcell. It was followed by the Classical period of music; roughly between 1730 and 1820, it included Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Schubert. Rococo, or "Late Baroque", spread across Europe in the mid-18th century.

Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason, was during the 17th and 18th centuries. Ideas that were developed were characterised by being secular, pluralistic, rule-of-law-based, with an emphasis on individual rights and freedoms. There was also an emphasis on science. Prominent scientists included Isaac Newton (1642–1727) and Gottfried Leibniz (1646–1716), who built on the earlier work of Francis Bacon (1561–1626), the father of empiricism. Prominent philosophers included:

  • French philosophers René Descartes (who contributed to rationalism), Voltaire (a particular advocate of freedom of speech and religion), Denis Diderot (and his Encyclopédie), and Montesquieu (and his theory of separation of powers).
  • English philosophers John Locke and Thomas Hobbes, who both contributed to empiricism and social contract theory.
  • Prussian-German philosopher Immanuel Kant, and the doctrine of transcendental idealism.
  • Dutch-Portuguese philosopher Baruch Spinoza, a rationalist.

Voltaire and Benjamin Franklin greatly influenced the French Revolution and the American Revolution. The encyclopedia Encyclopédie (1751–72), edited by Denis Diderot, was a great success of the period.

Enlightened absolutism, the use of the Enlightenment to espouse absolute monarchy, was a curious side effect; much later it was followed by the concept of the benevolent dictatorship. Joseph II, the Holy Roman Emperor 1765–1790, was a prominent monarch of the Enlightenment and enlightened absolutism, along with Catherine the Great of Russia, and Frederick the Great of Prussia.

Capitalism and mercantilism[edit | edit source]

Rise of capitalism: capitalism became a dominant force in the sixteenth century, with the abolition of feudalism. It took its name from capital, defined by Adam Smith as "that part of man's stock which he expects to afford him revenue". The investment of capital became the primary factor in the accumulation of wealth.

Mercantilism, the exporting goods from countries, also rose in importance, particularly as a result of colonialism, with the trade of slaves and goods across the Atlantic Ocean being particularly important.


Chapter 7 Late modern period until 1914[edit | edit source]

This covers the late modern period until 1914. The late modern period started circa 1750 or 1800, and ended circa 1945 or at the present day. The "long nineteenth century" was 1789–1914.

States and territories of the late modern period[edit | edit source]

Europe in 1815

In 1815 states included:

Northern Europe
Included Sweden–Norway (1814–1905) and Denmark. The Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1801) (of England, Wales and Scotland) would merge with the Kingdom of Ireland (1542–1801) to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (1801–1922); this later became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Western and Central Europe
Included France and Switzerland. The German Confederation included some of the Kingdom of Prussia and the Austrian Empire. The United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1839) roughly covered the present-day Netherlands and Belgium; Luxembourg was part of the German Confederation, but was in personal union with the Netherlands.
Eastern Europe
Included the Russian Empire and Congress Poland; Congress Poland became a puppet state of Russia, although the Polish Free City of Cracow (1815–1846) was autonomous until annexed by the Austrians. The Prince-Bishopric of Montenegro (1516–1852) would later became the Principality of Montenegro. The Ottoman Empire included the semi-autonomous Principality of Serbia (1815–1882). The Danubian Principalities (Moldavia and Wallachia) were Ottoman vassals which would later become the United Principalities (1859–1881), later renamed to Romania; they eventually, with Transylvania, formed the basis for the Kingdom of Romania (1881–1947). With the Greek War of Independence (1821–1832), Greece would obtain independence from the Ottomans as the Kingdom of Greece (1832–1924).
Iberian Peninsula
Included Spain and Portugal.
Italian Peninsula
Included the kingdoms of Sicily and Naples. Northern Italy included the Kingdom of Sardinia (with Piedmont, Nice, Savoy, Genoa), the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, the Kingdom of Lombardy–Venetia (Austrian), the Papal States, and the duchies of Lucca, Massa and Carrara, Modena and Reggio, and Parma; and San Marino.

Late eighteenth century[edit | edit source]

Age of Revolution[edit | edit source]

Age of Revolution, from the late 18th to the mid-19th centuries, saw a rise of revolutionary activities, especially away from absolute monarchy and towards constitutional republics.

The Atlantic Revolutions was a revolutionary wave within the Atlantic World. Prominent examples included:

  • American Revolution (1765–1783)
  • French Revolution (1789–1799)
  • Haitian Revolution (1791–1804), a large slave rebellion followed by a massacre of the French (1804)
  • Irish Rebellion of 1798, which would contribute to the formation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
  • Spanish American wars of independence (1808–1833)

Other revolutionary waves included the Revolutions of 1820 and the Revolutions of 1830. The Ottoman Empire would also experience unrest in this period, with the Serbian Revolution (1804–1835) and the Greek War of Independence (1821–1832). The Revolutions of 1848, with widespread revolt across Europe, contributed to the French Revolution of 1848, and the First Italian War of Independence (1848–1849).

Seven Years' War, and French and Indian War[edit | edit source]

North America in 1750
Mount Rushmore with sculptures of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln (left to right)

Seven Years' War (1756–1763) was a global conflict, and can be seen as a world war. It was principally a struggle for primacy between Great Britain and France, with two coalitions:

  • Kingdom of Great Britain coalition: including the German states of Prussia and Hanover, and Portugal
  • Kingdom of France coalition: including the Habsburg/Austrian Monarchy, Russian Empire, Bourbon Spain, and Sweden.

Major European theaters included: Silesia, Pomeranian War (Sweden and Prussia), and the Spanish invasion of Portugal (1762). Other European theaters included: Bohemia and Moravia; Westphalia, Hesse, and Lower Saxony; Upper Saxony; Brandenburg; and East Prussia. The Seven Years' War also had theaters in North America, West Indies, West Africa, India, and Uruguay and Rio Grande do Sul.

It resulted in a Anglo-Prussian coalition victory; although there was little change in European territories, transfers of colonial possessions occurred, including in North America and India (the Northern Circars ceded to Great Britain).

French and Indian War (1754–1763) was a North American theater of the Seven Years' War, although warfare was extended during the period 1688 and 1763. Principally it was British America against New France and its Indian allies. It ended with Louis XV ceding the remains of New France (a North American territory roughly west of the Thirteen Colonies) to Spain and Great Britain after France's defeat, with the Treaty of Paris (1763):

  • Canada (of New France) and the remaining Acadian territories were ceded to Britain.
  • Louisiana (of New France) was divided along the Mississippi River: the east was ceded to Britain, and the west was ceded to Spain.

Hudson's Bay, some Acadian territories, and the island of Newfoundland had already been ceded to Britain by the French. French possessions in North America were thus reduced to the islands of Saint Pierre and Miquelon, although they maintained islands in the Caribbean. After the American Revolutionary War in 1783, Britain lost its mainland territories outside of Canada. In 1800 Spain returned its portion of Louisiana to France; but Napoleon Bonaparte in turn sold it to the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

After the Anglo–Spanish War (1762–1763), Spain ceded Florida to Britain in exchange for the return of Manila (in the Philippines) and Havana (in Cuba). Britain returned Florida back to Spain after the American Revolutionary War in 1783. After the Transcontinental Treaty of 1819, the Spain ceded Florida to the United States.

American Revolution[edit | edit source]

American Revolution (1765–1783): resulted in the Kingdom of Great Britain losing possession of the United States of America (USA), called the Thirteen Colonies until the Declaration of Independence of the Second Continental Congress on July 4, 1776. It included the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783). In 1765 the First Congress of the American Colonies met in response to taxation introduced by the Stamp Act. The Boston Tea Party (1773) was an act of symbolic defiance against the tax on tea. In 1774, the First Continental Congress attempted to create at a separatist government. War erupted in 1775, with the Patriots (and later their French, Spanish, and Dutch allies) against the British and Loyalists (also known as Tories).

In 1783 the British capitulated to the Americans, and signed the Treaty of Paris. George Washington was the first President of the United States (1789–1797), and the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. George Washington is one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, along with Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison.

Partitions of Poland[edit | edit source]

Partitions of Poland (1772–1795): in a series of partitions, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth was partitioned to the Habsburg/Austrian Monarchy, Kingdom of Prussia, and Russian Empire. Three partitions took place in 1772, 1793, and 1795. In 1807, Napoleon resurrected Poland when he set up the Duchy of Warsaw.

French Revolution[edit | edit source]

Storming of the Bastille (1789)
Execution of Louis XVI, 21 January 1793
Jean-Paul Marat in the La Mort de Marat (Jacques-Louis David)
Thermidorian Reaction: Saint-Just and Robespierre at the Hôtel de Ville of Paris on the night of 27–28 July 1794 (9–10 Thermidor Year II).

The French Revolution (1789–1799) was a period of French history that resulted in the abolition of the Ancien Régime (the Old Rule of the monarchy and nobles), the establishment of a republic based on secular democracy and liberalism, and the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte. Louis XVI and his wife Marie Marie Antoinette would both be executed with the guillotine.

It began with the formation of the Third Estate of the Estates-General (May 1789), an assembly representing commoners, as opposed to clergy (the First Estate) and nobility (the Second Estate); it was then renamed the National Assembly (17 June 1789).

National Constituent Assembly and Legislative Assembly[edit | edit source]

National Constituent Assembly (July 1789 to September 1791) followed the National Assembly on 9 July, after its members had taken the Tennis Court Oath (20 June 1789). Events included:

  • The Storming of the Bastille (a state prison), a mainly symbolic gesture, commenced on 14th July 1789, and is now commemorated on Bastille Day.
  • The abolition of feudalism (August 1789), and later the privileges of the nobility (June 1790).
  • The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (in part drafted by the Marquis de Lafayette) was adopted in August 1789, and was later followed by the Declaration of the Rights of Woman (September 1791).
  • The Women's March on Versailles (October 1789) compelled the Louis XVI and most of the Assembly to return with them to Paris; Louis took up residence in the Tuileries Palace in Paris.
  • Jacobin Club, a nationwide republican movement, was re-founded in Paris in November 1789.

The Jacobin Club would greatly influence three main bodies of revolutionaries of whom many were members: the more radical Montagnards, the more moderate Girondins, and the uncommitted Maraisards. The sans-culottes (lower-class radicals) were closely aligned, and involved in the September Massacres, a series of killings of prisoners in Paris (September 1792).

  • The Civil Constitution of the Clergy (July 1790) caused the immediate subordination of the French clergy to the French government. Many anti-clerical laws would later be passed.
  • The Flight to Varennes (June 1791) of Louis XVI, and his subsequent capture, damaged his prestige.
  • The Champ de Mars massacre (July 1791) took place after it was announced that Louis XVI would retain his throne.

Legislative Assembly (October 1791 to September 1792) replaced the National Constituent Assembly as legislative body, with government on the basis of a constitutional monarchy, a position favored by moderates such as the Count of Mirabeau.

  • The Paris Commune, who ruled Paris and became dominated by Jacobins, in 1792, and would became insurrectionary that summer; it lost much power in 1794 and was replaced in 1795 by the French Directory.

National Convention and French First Republic[edit | edit source]

National Convention (1792–1795) replaced the National Legislative Assembly on 20 September; it was dominated by Jacobins. This took place after the Insurrection of 10 August 1792, the storming of the Tuileries Palace, the residence of Louis XVI.

The French First Republic (1792–1804) was declared on 22 September 1792 by the National Convention. This ended the reign of Louis XVI; he was then executed in January 1793, followed by his wife Marie Antoinette nine months later.

The Committee of Public Safety (1793–1795) was first chaired by the Montagnard Georges Danton, who was later executed with Camille Desmoulins in April 1794. It held de facto executive from April 1793, and organized the Reign of Terror (1793–1794), with resulted in over 40,000 executions, particularly from the Law of Suspects (September 1793).

Some moderate Girondins were purged from the National Convention after the Insurrection of 31 May to 2 June 1793. In July 1793 Jean-Paul Marat, a Girondin opponent, was assassinated by Charlotte Corday, a Girondin sympathizer. In October 1793 many prominent Girondins were then executed, including Jacques Pierre Brissot.

Thermidorian Reaction and French Directory[edit | edit source]

The Thermidorian Reaction ended the Reign of Terror; Montagnard committee member Maximilien Robespierre, Louis Antoine de Saint-Just, and twenty of their allies were executed by the Thermidorians on 28 July 1794. It was followed by the First White Terror (1794–1795) against people identified as being associated with the Reign of Terror, particularly those of the Jacobin Club which was suppressed and disbanded.

French Directory (1795–1799) in November 1795 became the new five-member executive elected by the legislature (the Council of Five Hundred and Council of Ancients), after 13 Vendémiaire (an October 1795 battle between revolutionary troops and royalist forces in Paris). The Committee of Public Safety and National Convention were abolished.

There was a number of coups during the French Directory: the Conspiracy of the Equals (May 1796, a failed royalist coup), the Coup of 18 Fructidor (September 1797, against the royalists), and the Coup of 30 Prairial VII (June 1799, with Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès gaining control). The Coup of 18 Brumaire (9 November 1799) ended the French Directory and the French Revolution era; the French Consulate and Napoleonic Era began the next day.

French Revolutionary Wars[edit | edit source]

French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802): were wars of French Republic against Great Britain, Austria and others, sparked by the overthrow of Louis XVI. They included two wars, well as numerous other conflicts:

  • War of the First Coalition (1792–1797): with French annexation of the Austrian Netherlands, the Left Bank of the Rhine and other smaller territories. Northern Italy and other territories were turned into several French sister republics.
  • War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802): the previous annexations by France were confirmed. France was led by Paul Barras (until 1799) and Napoleon Bonaparte (from 1799).

The French Revolutionary Army was greatly strengthened by Lazare Carnot. The Levée en masse introduced mass national conscription (August 1793). Napoleon was the most successful general for France, and conquered much of Italy (campaigns of 1796 and 1797), and made the Austrians sue for peace; he also led the French campaign in Egypt and Syria (1798–1801). The French Revolutionary Wars temporarily ended with the Treaty of Amiens 1802, but would flare up in 1803 with the Napoleonic Wars.

Napoleonic Era[edit | edit source]

Napoleon Bonaparte
Europe in 1812, before the French invasion of Russia
1st Duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesley)

Napoleonic Era (1799–1815) was the era when France was led by Napoléon Bonaparte, as First Consul (1799–1804) and then Emperor (1804–1814, 1815).

The French Consulate (1799–1804) began with Napoleon Bonaparte seizing control on 10 November 1799 and becoming First Consul. The Provisional Second and Third Consuls Emmanuel Joseph Sieyès and Roger Ducos were soon replaced by J.J. Cambacérès and Charles-François Lebrun. The three parliamentary assemblies were the Conseil d'État, Tribunat, and Corps législatif; the Sénat conservateur directly advised the First Consul.

It was followed by the First French Empire (1804–1814, 1815), when Napoléon was crowned Emperor of the French, replacing the Consulate. He had previously gained Life Consulship (May 1802). In 1812, France was enlarged with territories such as the Low Countries and parts of Italy; and had client states such as the Confederation of the Rhine, Switzerland, the Kingdom of Italy, the Kingdom of Naples, the Duchy of Warsaw, and Spain; and had allies such as Austria and Prussia.

Napoleonic Wars[edit | edit source]

The Napoleonic Wars (1803–1815) were a series of conflicts between Napoleon's France its allies and client-states, against the Coalition Forces of the Napoleonic Wars (the third through to the seventh). They began with the United Kingdom declaring war on France in May 1803. Co-belligerents with the UK included Holy Roman Empire (pre-1806), Austria (from 1804), Prussia, and Russia, among others; the French were allied with their client states. The wars were a continuation of the French Revolutionary Wars (1792–1802), with the War of the Second Coalition (1798–1802) being part of the French Revolutionary Wars and the Napoleonic Era.

Major battles and aspects of the Napoleonic Wars included the following:

  • War of the Third Coalition (1803–1806). The Franco-Spanish navy was defeated by the British Navy (commanded by Horatio Nelson) at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), off Cape Trafalgar, Spain; this prevented a French invasion of England. But the French were victorious over the Russian-Austrian army at the Battle of Austerlitz (1805) in Austrian Moravia. The Confederation of the Rhine was created, and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire followed (1806).
  • War of the Fourth Coalition (1806–1807). The French victory over Prussia and Saxony at the Battle of Jena–Auerstedt (1806) in Germany, ended with the Fall of Berlin (1806). The Continental System, established after the Berlin Decree (1806), was a large-scale embargo against British trade. The Russians were defeated at the Battle of Friedland (1807) in Prussia. After the Treaties of Tilsit (1807) with Prussia and Russia, Napoleon created the French sister republics of the Kingdom of Westphalia, the Duchy of Warsaw and the Free City of Danzig.
  • French Invasion of Portugal (1807) was after Portugal openly refused to join the Continental System. Subsequently, the Spanish Bourbons were overthrown (1808) with the occupation of both Spain and Portugal. The Peninsular War (1808–1814) eventually resulted in the expulsion of the French from Portugal and then Spain. The Battle of Vitoria (1813) in Spain was a decisive victory for the British, who were led by the Duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesley).
  • War of the Fifth Coalition (1809), with a French victory over the Austrians at the Battle of Wagram (1809) in Austria. The French imposed harsh terms on the Austrians.
  • French invasion of Russia (1812), and the resulting catastrophe for the French; the French Grande Armée of circa 685,000 troops had losses of circa 500,000; the Russians lost a similar amount. It included the major but indecisive Battle of Borodino (1812) in Russia.
  • War of the Sixth Coalition (1812–1814), with French defeat by coalition forces at the Battle of Leipzig (1813) in Saxony; but the French had success in the Six Days' Campaign (1814) in northeastern France. The Battle of Paris (1814) ended the war in favor of the coalition.
  • Hostilities temporarily ended with Provisional Government of 1814, and then the first Bourbon Restoration (1814–1815) of the Kingdom of France under Louis XVIII. Napoleon was forced to abdicate, and was temporarily exiled to the island of Elba (1814–1815).
  • The Hundred Days, or War of the Seventh Coalition (1815), was the from 20 March 1815 (the French Government of the Hundred Days after Napoleon's return from Elba), to 8 July 1815 (the second Bourbon Restoration), a period of 111 days. Napoleon's was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo (1815) in present day Belgium; this was by an Anglo-allied army (commanded by the Duke of Wellington), and a Prussian army (commanded by Field Marshal Blücher). The French had previously beaten the Prussians at the Battle of Ligny two days earlier.

The French Provisional Government of 1815 was followed by the second Bourbon Restoration (1815–1830), the restoration of the Kingdom of France at first under Louis XVIII. Napoleon was permanently exiled to St. Helena, where he died in 1821. The Bourbons were overthrown in 1830, but the French monarchy survived until the French Second Republic (1848–1852).

Other wars of the Napoleonic Era included the following (some of which may be also included in the Napoleonic Wars): Anglo-Spanish War (1796–1808); English Wars (of the UK and Sweden against Denmark-Norway, 1801–1814); Russo-Persian War (1804–13); Franco-Swedish War (1805–1810 which included the Finnish War of 1808–1809); Russo-Turkish War (1806–1812); Anglo-Turkish War (1807–1809); Anglo-Russian War (1807–1812); Anglo-Swedish War (1810–1812); War of 1812 (between the United States and the United Kingdom, 1812–1815); Swedish-Norwegian War (1814). The Latin American wars of independence, the wars for independence of countries in Latin America mainly from the Spanish, were greatly influenced by the Napoleonic Wars.

Post-Napoleonic Europe[edit | edit source]

Congress of Vienna
Queen Victoria in 1882

Congress of Vienna was completed with the Final Act in 1815. The were many territorial changes, but major ones included:

  • Russia obtained most of the Duchy of Warsaw, and kept Finland which they had annexed from Sweden in 1809, and which they held until 1917.
  • Prussia gained Swedish Pomerania, and parts of Saxony, the Duchy of Warsaw, Danzig, and the Rhineland/Westphalia.
  • Austrian Empire gains included Lombardy–Venetia (1815–1866), and they regained Tyrol and Salzburg.
  • Congress Poland (1815−1867) was created, which later became part of Russian Empire 1867 to 1915.
  • United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1839) was created, which is now the Low Countries.
  • Sweden kept Norway, which they had obtained from Denmark.
  • There were various colonial changes and restorations, such as Britain with Cape Colony, Tobago, Ceylon, and various other colonies.
  • German Confederation (1815–1866) was created; for Italian changes see the Risorgimento.

Concert of Europe (1815): also known as the Congress System or the Vienna System, it was a system of dispute resolution founded by the Quadruple Alliance (Austria, Prussia, Russia, and the UK) that defeated Napoleon. The Quadruple Alliance, minus the UK, also formed the Holy Alliance that same year. The principles were that no important change take place without the consent of these Great Powers, and that a the balance of power be maintained.

Pax Britannica (1815–1914) was a period of relative peace between the five great powers of the period: the Austrian Empire, France, Prussia, Russia, and the United Kingdom. Other powers had lessened influence, such as Spain, Portugal, and Sweden. The United Kingdom in particular had a position of hegemony (that is, leadership and dominance) through its British Empire and Royal Navy. The Royal Navy had surpassed the Dutch Navy and the French Navy to "rule the waves". Slavery was abolished within the British Empire in 1833 under William IV. Queen Victoria, who reigned 1837–1901, ruled over the Victorian era of the United Kingdom, characterized by great national confidence in empire and industry.

France after 1814[edit | edit source]

Liberty Leading the People (Eugène Delacroix) commemorated the July Revolution (1830); Marianne (Liberty) is a symbol of France and French liberty

France 1814–1848[edit | edit source]

During most of this period France was a monarchy.

  • Bourbon Restoration (1814–1815): with the reign of Louis XVIII, preceded by a Provisional Government.
  • First French Empire restored, and the French Government of the Hundred Days (1815). After Napoleon's successful return from Elba, until Napoleon abdicated in favor of his son Napoleon II.
  • Bourbon Restoration (1815–1830): with the reigns of Louis XVIII (1815–1824) and Charles X (1824–1830), preceded by a Provisional Government.
  • July Monarchy: after the July Revolution (1830) resulted in the reign of the Orléans King Louis Philippe I (1830–1848). During this period, the June Rebellion (1832) was an unsuccessful Paris uprising immortalised in Les Misérables.

France after 1848[edit | edit source]

After the French Revolution of 1848 (the February Revolution), France was mostly republican; the main exceptions being the Second French Empire, and occupation during World War II.

  • French Second Republic (1848–1852): preceded by Provisional Government, and with President Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte (the nephew of Napoleon) ruling after the presidential election of 1848.
  • Second French Empire (1852–1870): after the French coup d'état of 1851, with Charles-Louis Napoléon Bonaparte ruling as Emperor Napoleon III.
  • French Third Republic (1870–1940): after the collapse of the regime of Napoleon III, during defeat in the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871). The Paris Commune (1871) was bloodily suppressed. The first government was the Government of National Defense.
  • In 1940, during World War II, mainland France separated into: (i) zone libre ("free zone") administered by Vichy France, although the zone sud ("south zone") was later occupied by Italy; (ii) zone occupée/nord ("occupied/north zone") occupied by Germany, with the zone interdite/réservée ("forbidden/reserved zone") reserved for coastal military and German settlement. Alsace-Lorraine was secretly annexed by Germany, and some border areas were annexed by Italy. France's colonies came under occupation by Germany, Italy, Japan, and Thailand. Free France was a government-in-exile led by Charles de Gaulle.
  • Provisional Government of the French Republic (1944–1946), after the liberation of continental France.
  • French Fourth Republic (1946–1958), a post-World War II republic.
  • French Fifth Republic (1958 to the present day) was established after the Algerian crisis of 1958.

Revolutions of 1848[edit | edit source]

Revolutions of 1848: across much of Europe (1848–1849), with numerous revolutions and periods of unrest. In France it contributed to the formation of the French Second Republic (1848–1851). In Hungary, the Hungarian Revolution of 1848 would eventually give rise to the Austro-Hungarian Compromise (1867), which gave birth to Austria-Hungary. In Italy, temporary independence in Sicily was created, followed soon after by the First Italian War of Independence (1848–1849). In the Danish Duchy of Schleswig, unrest contributed to the First Schleswig War (1848–1852) against the Germans, which ended with a Danish victory; but in the Second Schleswig War (1864), Schleswig-Holstein would be lost to the Germans.

There were numerous other events; 1848 was also the year of the publication of The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

Spain during the nineteenth century[edit | edit source]

The Third of May 1808; French reprisals following the Dos de Mayo Uprising (1808) in Madrid following occupation (by Francisco Goya)

Bourbon monarchs ruled the Kingdom of Spain between 1700 and 1808, interrupted by Joseph Bonaparte of the House of Bonaparte (1808–1813), who was installed by Napoleon during the Peninsular War. After Spanish victory in the Peninsular War the Bourbons were restored (1813–1868) with Ferdinand VII (who reigned in 1808 and 1813–1833); during this period the Spanish colonies in the New World were lost, except for Cuba and Puerto Rico.

Carlism was an attempt to promote a rival branch of the House of Bourbon to the Spanish monarchy; it stemmed from Infante Carlos, Count of Molina, who claimed the monarchy after the death of his brother Ferdinand VII in 1833, over Ferdinand's daughter Isabella II. This led to the Carlist Wars for the monarchy, which were unsuccessful. But Carlism would continue as right-wing political movement, and Carlists were instrumental for the Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939). Carlist claimants to the Spanish monarchy continue to the present-day.

Isabella II was later deposed in the Spanish Glorious Revolution (1868). The Glorious Revolution was followed by the Sexenio Democrático (six democratic years): Provisional Government (1868–1871), King Amadeo I of the House of Savoy (1871–1873), and the First Spanish Republic (1873–1874). The Bourbons were then restored again during the period known as the Restoration (1874–1931), with the reign of Alfonso XII.

Crimean War[edit | edit source]

Crimean War (1853–1856): the Russian Empire lost to an alliance of the Ottoman Empire, France, Britain and Sardinia. Russia was expanding into the Danubian Principalities, then vassals of the Ottoman Empire. Also involved the rights of Christians (Roman Catholic and the Eastern Orthodox) at Holy Land sites, then under the Ottoman Empire. Fighting took part on the Crimean peninsula and around the Black Sea.

Risorgimento[edit | edit source]

Risorgimento (Italian unification) animated map

The Risorgimento, or Italian unification, occurred between 1815 and 1871. After the Congress of Vienna (1815), there were many changes in the Italian makeup:

  • Kingdom of Sardinia was restored to include Sardinia, Piedmont, Genoa, Nice, and Savoy. Its capital was Turin. It was a Savoyard state, a term used for all of the states ruled by the counts and dukes of Savoy until the Risorgimento. The Savoyard state was founded by Humbert I, Count of Savoy, who died in the 11th century.
  • Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was created from Sicily and Naples (southern Italy); it was restored to the Bourbon King Ferdinand I of the Two Sicilies.
  • Lombardy-Venetia (Lombardy and Venice) was gained by the Austrian Empire.
  • Italy also consisted of the Papal States, and some central states: the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (Toscana); the duchies of Parma, Modena (and Reggio), Massa and Carrara, and Lucca; and the Republic of San Marino.

Key events included:

  • Massa and Carrara would be annexed by Modena (1829); and Lucca would be annexed by Tuscany and Modena (1847).
  • Revolutions of 1848 created insurrection across Italy; the Sicilian revolution of 1848 created independence in Sicily for 16 months.
  • First Italian War of Independence (1848–1849): resulted in a victory of Austria over Sardinia, without territorial changes.
  • Second Italian War of Independence (1859): Sardinia then annexed the majority of Lombardy from Austria.
  • United Provinces of Central Italy (1859) was created by Sardinia from Tuscany, Parma, and Modena, and the Papal Legations (Romagna).
  • Central Italy was united with Sardinia in 1860, but Savoy and Nice were annexed by the French that year.
  • Most of the Two Sicilies, and much of the Papal States, were annexed by Sardinia in 1860.
  • Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946) was proclaimed in 1861 under King Victor Emmanuel II, who had been King of Sardinia and Duke of Savoy.
  • Third Italian War of Independence (1866): Italy annexed Venetia (Venice) from Austria.
  • Remaining Papal States were annexed by Italy in 1870; in 1929 Vatican City was established with the Lateran Treaty.
  • Italian capital city was moved to Rome in 1871; earlier it had been Turin (1861–1865) and Florence (1865–1871).

Only San Marino was to remain independent, although Vatican City achieved independence in 1929. Giuseppe Garibaldi was a popular statesman and the greatest military leader during unification, his actions included leading the Expedition of the Thousand (1860–1861) to conquer the Two Sicilies.

German Empire[edit | edit source]

The proclamation of the German Empire in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles, 18 January 1871. Wilhelm I stands centrally on the left, and Otto von Bismarck appears in white.
Austria-Hungary, with Cisleithania (1–15), Hungary (16), Croatia-Slavonia (17), and Bosnia and Herzegovina (18)

The Holy Roman Empire was dissolved to form the Napoleon's Confederation of the Rhine (1806–1813). It was eventually replaced by the German Confederation (1815–1866), with 39 states created from the previous 300 states of the Holy Roman Empire. The German Confederation contained (in part) two major states: the Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918) and the Austrian Empire (1804–1867).

After Austrian defeat in the Austro-Prussian War (1866), the North German Confederation (1867–1871) of mainly Protestant northern German states was formed; this excluded the Austrian Empire and the mainly Catholic southern German states. With the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), which included the Siege of Paris (1870–71), France was defeated by Prussia, and Alsace-Lorraine was annexed by the Germans. In January 1871 the German Empire was declared, which now included the southern states of Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden, and Hesse. The new Constitution of the German Empire was then adopted, with Germany under the permanent presidency of Prussia.

The German Empire (Deutsches Kaiserreich) (1871–1918) was a federal semi-constitutional monarchy; the German Emperor (Deutscher Kaiser) was the King of Prussia; they were Wilhelm I (1871–1888), Friedrich III (1888), and Wilhelm II (1888–1918). The empire was composed of four kingdoms: Prussia (Preußen), Bavaria (Bayern), Saxony (Sachsen), and Württemberg. It also included many other territories; larger ones included Baden, Hesse, Oldenburg, Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Alsace-Lorraine. The first chancellor was Otto von Bismarck (1873–1890), who had been Minister President of Prussia from 1862; nicknamed the "Iron Chancellor", he is regarded as an outstanding statesman and architect of the German Empire.

After defeat in World War I, the German Empire became a much reduced state called the Weimar Republic (1918–1933); this became Nazi Germany (1933–1945), the "3rd Reich" in Nazi terminology; they considered the 1st as being the Holy Roman Empire, and the 2nd as being the German Empire. After World War II, Germany would be divided into West Germany (the Federal Republic of Germany) and East Germany (the German Democratic Republic), until German reunification in 1990.

Austria-Hungary[edit | edit source]

Austria-Hungary (1867–1918): was created after the Austrian Empire had left the German Confederation, and the Austro-Hungarian Compromise (1867). Austria-Hungary was a constitutional union between the Austria, Hungary, and Croatia-Slavonia; the Habsburg Austrian Emperor was the monarch.

  • Hungary and Croatia-Slavonia, termed the Lands of the Crown of Saint Stephen or Transleithania, were administered by the Hungarian government; Hungary included Transylvania, and the Voivodeship of Serbia and Temes Banat.
  • Cisleithania, the other Austro-Hungarian lands, were administered by the Austrians. Included Bohemia, Bukovina, Carinthia, Carniola, Dalmatia, Galicia, Küstenland, Lower Austria, Moravia, Salzburg, Silesia, Styria, Tyrol, Upper Austria, and Vorarlberg.

Following the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878), Bosnia and Herzegovina nominally remained under sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire, but was de facto ceded to Austria-Hungary. The Bosnian Crisis of 1908–1909 was created by the formal annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina by Austria-Hungary.

After defeat in World War I, Austria-Hungary was broken up, and separated into Austria and Hungary; and Austria-Hungarian lands were ceded to Czechoslovakia, Romania, Yugoslavia, Poland, Italy, and Liechtenstein. Before World War II, the Anschluss was the annexation of Austria into Nazi Germany in 1938. After World War II, Austria was again separated from the German states (West Germany and East Germany).

Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg[edit | edit source]

The United Kingdom of the Netherlands (1815–1839) included most of the present-day Netherlands and Belgium; Luxembourg was not technically part of it, but in personal union (that is, sharing a monarch). It was based on lands that had been occupied by the French: the Dutch Republic (1588–1795); and the Southern Netherlands, which had been earlier been controlled by Spain (1556–1714), and then Austria (1714–1794). Today the Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of mainland Netherlands (informally called "Holland") and the Dutch Caribbean, having lost Belgium. The House of Orange-Nassau has remained the royal house of the Netherlands.

With the Belgian Revolution (1830–1831), Belgium separated from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, mainly on the grounds of religion: Belgium was mainly Catholic and the Netherlands was mainly Protestant. The Ten Days' Campaign (1831) was an attempt by the Dutch to reunite the Netherlands with Belgium. The Treaty of London (1839) guaranteed the independence and neutrality of Belgium; when the German Empire invaded Belgium in 1914 the Germans described the treaty as a mere "scrap of paper", but the British declared war. The Kingdom of Belgium has been a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy since the installation of Leopold I (House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) as king on 21 July 1831, now celebrated as Belgium's National Day.

Luxembourg (officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg) was in personal union with the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, but was part of the German Confederation. Luxembourg also received independence in 1839, but was reduced to the area were they spoke a German dialect called Luxembourgish, and remained in personal union with the Netherlands. The Luxembourg Crisis (1867) was a diplomatic crisis between the French Empire and Prussia, after King William III of the Netherlands accepted the French government's acquisition of Luxembourg, and the Prussian Prime Minister, Otto von Bismarck, objected. The Treaty of London (1867) peacefully reaffirmed the neutrality of Luxembourg. Luxembourg remained in personal union with the Netherlands until 1890.

The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg were occupied by Germany during World War II, but only Belgium and Luxembourg were occupied during World War I. The Dutch East Indies and Dutch Guiana survived as Dutch colonies until after World War II. Similarily, the Belgian Congo (1908–60) survived as a Belgian colonies until after World War II.

New Imperialism[edit | edit source]

Imperialism in 1914
Mainland expansion of the United States
Scramble for Africa
Colonial Africa in 1913
Atrocities in the Congo Free State
All territories that were part of the British Empire

New Imperialism is a term for the imperialism that followed the first wave of European colonization (1402 to 1815). From 1800 onward most of the colonies in the Americas would be lost, with the United States already independent; the largest remaining European colony in the Americas would be Canada, which gradually gained independence.

At around 1800, European power was comparatively weak outside of Europe and the Americas; the larger empires there included the Russian Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, Qajar Iran, the Chinese Qing dynasty, and the Indian Maratha Empire. But by 1914 European colonization outside of the Americas had greatly increased.

Colonialism in the Americas[edit | edit source]

Most New World possessions of Spain were lost during the Spanish American wars of independence (1808–1833), partly a result of the Napoleonic Wars. Simón Bolívar led the secession of Venezuela, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Panama from Spain. The Viceroyalty of New Spain mainland became the Mexican Empire after the Mexican War of Independence (1810–1821). Additionally, Portugal lost Brazil after the War of Independence of Brazil (1822–1825).

After these wars, most mainland European colonies in the Americas were lost. South American colonies that continued included French Guiana, Suriname (then Dutch), and Guyana (then British). British Honduras (now Belize) continued in Central America.

West Indies colonies were slower to gain independence or would remain dependent. The British West Indies included large territories such as Jamaica and the Bahamas. The Danish West Indies consisted of the present-day United States Virgin Islands. The Netherlands Antilles (Dutch West Indies) consisted of islands in the Lesser Antilles. With the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804), Haiti achieved independence from the French West Indies. The Spanish West Indies in 1815 consisted of Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Santo Domingo (now the Dominican Republic).

The Northern American mainland now consist of the United States (independent of the British since 1783), Mexico (independent of the Spanish since 1821), and Canada (with independence from the British culminating in the Canada Act of 1982).

United States expansion and history[edit | edit source]

Manifest destiny was the 19th century imperialist cultural belief that the United States of America was destined to expand across North America. United States expansion and colonialism included:

  • Louisiana Purchase (1803): France sold French Louisiana to the United States.
  • Adams–Onís Treaty (1819): Florida ceded by Spain.
  • Commonwealth of Liberia (1821–1847): a private African colony of the American Colonization Society, now the Republic of Liberia.
  • Texas annexation (1845): annexation of the Republic of Texas, which had gained independence from Mexico with the Texas Revolution (1835–1836).
  • Oregon Treaty (1846), and Treaty of 1818: Oregon Country divided between the United States (Oregon Territory) and Great Britain (British Columbia).
  • Mexican–American War (1846–1848) and the Gadsden Purchase (1854): resulted in a major cession of Mexican territories.
  • Alaska Purchase (1867): from Russia, with Alaska becoming a state.
  • Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom (1893) and Newlands Resolution (1898): Hawaii was annexed, and became a state.

Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine Islands were annexed by the United States after the Spanish–American War (1898). The Philippine Revolution (1898) ended Spanish colonization, but colonization by the United States was confirmed by their victory in the Philippine–American War (1899–1902); colonial rule lasted until 1946. Cuba became a US-backed Republic in 1902. Fulgencio Batista was ousted in 1959, and an independent Cuba came under the communist rule of Fidel Castro.

The American Civil War (1861–1865) was a civil war in the United States; with a Union victory, it maintained its territorial integrity with the dissolution of the Confederate States of America; slavery was abolished, and it was the beginning of the Reconstruction era.

The Banana Wars (1898–1934) were United States military interventions largely to protect commercial interests, including in Cuba, Panama, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. The subsequent Good Neighbor policy had the main principle of non-intervention in Latin America, but was overshadowed by Cold War interventions such as the the unsuccessful CIA-backed Bay of Pigs Invasion of Cuba in 1961.

Scramble for Africa[edit | edit source]

Scramble for Africa was the rapid colonization of Africa beginning in the late nineteenth century. The British, French, Portuguese and Spanish colonized Africa; new empires mostly centered on Africa included the Italian (1869–1960), German (1884–1918), and Belgian (1885–1962) colonial empires.

In 1870, only 10 percent of Africa was formally under European control. Between 1881 and 1914 the majority of Africa was colonized, with only with only Ethiopia (Abyssinia) and Liberia remaining independent in 1914. The Berlin Conference of 1884–85 to some extent formalized the Scramble for Africa. In 1936 Ethiopia fell to the Italians, and only Liberia remained independent.

Gradually, decolonization resulted in the loss of these African colonies by 1975, accelerated by the devastation of the world wars.

Britain's imperial century[edit | edit source]

Britain's imperial century (1815–1914) was a time of unprecedented expansion of the British Empire; it reached a territorial peak in 1921. The East India Company was a British charted company founded in 1600; it seized British possessions on the Indian subcontinent, South East Asia, and Hong Kong. The rivalry between Britain and Russia in Afghanistan and surroundings during this period became known as the Great Game (1830–1895).

The British Empire included:

  • British Raj (1858–1947), now India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Myanmar (Burma).
  • Asian and Oceanic possessions to the east: British Malaya and British Borneo (now Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore); Hong Kong; British New Guinea (now Papua New Guinea); the Indian Ocean islands of Mauritius, Seychelles, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka); and some islands in the Pacific Ocean.
  • British African colonies included: Egypt, Sudan, Somaliland, South Africa, South-West Africa (now Namibia), Basutoland (now Lesotho), Swaziland, Bechuanaland (now Botswana), Northern and Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe and Zambia), British East Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania/Tanganyika, Zanzibar), Gambia, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, British Togoland (now part of Ghana), Cameroons (now parts of Cameroon and Nigeria), Gold Coast (now Ghana), Nyasaland (now Malawi).
  • The British expanded Canada, and had other American, Caribbean, and Atlantic colonies. They expanded Australia and New Zealand. They had protectorates in southern and eastern Arabia and Kuwait. They had possessions in Europe.

Other European colonialism[edit | edit source]

Other than the British, European colonialism included:

  • The Dutch controlled the Dutch East Indies (1816–1949), which followed on from the possessions of the defunct Dutch East India Company; the territories would form the basis for present-day Indonesia. The Dutch also controlled Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles.
  • French colonialism in Africa would become extensive, with French North Africa, French West Africa, French Equatorial Africa, and French East Africa (including Madagascar). Outside of Africa, French colonies included French Indochina (now Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam), French Polynesia, French Guiana, and the French West Indies.
  • German colonial empire was the third-largest colonial empire by 1914, after the British and French; African possessions included German Kamerun, German South West Africa, German East Africa, and German Togoland. Outside of Africa, it also included German New Guinea and German Samoa.
  • Belgian colonization included that of Leopold II of Belgium, who was founder and sole owner of the Congo Free State (1885–1908), which became infamous for atrocities and lack of judicial interference, which created international outrage. It was succeeded by the Belgian Congo (1908–1960), and the Belgians also controlled Rwanda and Burundi.
  • Italian colonization included in the Balkans, Italian East Africa, Italian Libya, and territories in the Western Mediterranean and Far East. It gained momentum with the rise of Benito Mussolini in 1922, who conquered Albania, Ethiopia, British Somaliland, parts of south-eastern France, western Egypt, and most of Greece; by 1947 it had lost them all, but Italian Somaliland would then become its protectorate.
  • Portuguese colonies in Africa included Angola, Mozambique, Guinea, Cape Verde, and São Tomé and Príncipe. Portugal also controlled Macau, Goa, Daman and Diu, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Portuguese Timor (now East Timor). To this day they control the Azores, Madeira, and Savage Islands.
  • Spanish colonies in Africa included Northern Spanish Morocco, Spanish West Africa, and Spanish Guinea. After the Dominican Restoration War (1863–1865), Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) restored independence. After the Spanish–American War (1898), Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippine Islands would be lost by Spain.

Japan and China[edit | edit source]

The Empire of Japan (1868–1947) would gain prominence in world affairs after the Meiji Restoration in 1868. Japan built an extensive empire from 1894. It included Taiwan (1895–1945), Korea (1910–1945), Manchuria (as Manchukuo, 1932–1945), and parts of northern China. Japan fought and defeated Russia during the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905), with Russia losing territories and local influence.

The century of humiliation (1839–1949) was a period of intervention and imperialism by Western powers and Japan in China, with China under the Qing dynasty (1636–1912) and Republic of China (1912–1949). It included defeat in the Opium Wars (1839–1842 and 1856–1860), defeat in the Sino-French War (1884–1885), the First and Second Sino-Japanese War (1894–1895 and 1937–1945), Japanese invasion of Manchuria (1931-1932), and many other aspects.

Industrialization and cultural changes[edit | edit source]

The First Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries, particularly in Europe and the USA. Around 1750, developments included the mechanisation of the textiles, developments of iron-making, the introduction of canals, the development of steam power and railways, and the development of all metal machine tools. Luddites protested against the use of machinery, and committed acts of sabotage.

The Second Industrial Revolution was the rapid industrialization between late 19th century and early 20th century. It included the Machine Age, circa 1880–1945. As industrial work forces grew in Western Europe, socialism and trade union activity developed. The last vestiges of serfdom were abolished in Russia in 1861 by Alexander II.

Other important historical periods included:

  • Victorian era and the Edwardian periods (1837–1901–1910) in the UK, with British Empire building and industry at its peak.
  • Gilded Age (1870–1900) of the United States, was a period of rapid growth in industry.
  • Meiji era (1868–1912) was the rule of Emperor Meiji in Japan, and a period of Japanese industrialization in which it emerged as a great power.
  • Long Depression was between 1873–1879 by some metrics.
  • Great Depression (1929–1939), which came after the Roaring Twenties.

Arts of the late modern period[edit | edit source]

Classical music composers montage. First row: Antonio Vivaldi, Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Händel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven. Second row: Gioachino Rossini, Felix Mendelssohn, Frédéric Chopin, Richard Wagner, Giuseppe Verdi. Third row: Johann Strauss II, Johannes Brahms, Georges Bizet, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Antonín Dvořák. Fourth row: Edvard Grieg, Edward Elgar, Sergei Rachmaninoff, George Gershwin, Aram Khachaturian

European arts can be divided into many Western art movements and periods. For music these include:

  • Early Music (circa 500–1600)
  • Baroque era (c. 1600–1750)
  • Galant music era (c. 1720s–1770s)
  • Classical era (c. 1730–1820)
  • Romantic era (c. 1780–1910)
  • Modernist era (c. 1890–1950)
  • Postmodern era or Contemporary period (c. 1930 to the present-day)

Common practice period (circa 1600 to 1910) was the musical era of the tonal system. The Classical period of music was named after the 18th century rise in classicism (drawing inspiration from classical antiquity). The term "classical music" can be applied to all Western art music.

Visual arts and architecture movements and periods, from circa 1750 onward, included:

  • Rococo, or Late Baroque, emerged circa the 1730s to the 1760s, as highly ornate styles in architecture and arts.
  • Neoclassicism, began circa 1760 in opposition to the Rococo style, and continues to the present day. As a form of classicism, it draws inspiration from classical antiquity. Neoclassicism in music was a twentieth-century trend.
  • Romanticism in art and music was circa 1780 to 1910, and was in part a reaction to modernity. The Pre-Raphaelitess were influenced by romanticism.
  • Realism, as an art movement, emerged in the 1840s, and nouveau réalisme (new realism) developed in the 1960s.
  • Impressionism in art and music, emerged early 1860s. It was followed by Post-Impressionism, and Neo-Impressionism and Pointillism.
  • Modernism was circa 1860s to the 1970s. Late modernism was after World War II, and it was followed by postmodern art.
  • Arts and Crafts movement was between circa 1880 and 1920, and stood for traditional craftsmanship. It is related to Art Nouveau.
  • Expressionism in art and music, is a modernist movement from the early 20th century onward. It is related to abstract expressionism, and it was followed by neo-expressionism.
  • Art Deco emerged in the 1910s as a popular modern art movement, particularly with architecture and design.
  • Dada started circa 1915, and rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society; it was followed by Neo-Dada.
  • Surrealism started in 1917, and applied aspects of dreams and reality.
  • Avant-garde ("advance guard") is cutting-edge experimental art, and was the term was particularly applied to 20th-century music and theater.
  • Pop art, from the 1950s onward, was so named as it glorified and expanded upon popular culture.
  • Conceptual art emerged late 20th century; new concepts and ideas take precedence over traditional craftsmanship.
  • Contemporary art is a period of art post-World War II to the present day.

There were many other movements. Other 20th century movements include: Fauvism (circa 1900 to 1935), Cubism (circa 1907 to 1914), Futurism (circa 1909 to 1920s), Constructivism (1913 onward), Suprematism (1913 onward), Bauhaus (circa 1919 to 1933), Constructivism (1920s), The International Typographic Style (1945 onward), Op Art (1950s to 1960s), Arte Povera (1960s), Land art (1960s onward), Minimalism (1960s to 1970s), Installation art (1970s onward), and Memphis design aesthetic (1980s).


Chapter 8 Europe since 1914[edit | edit source]

European alliances in 1914

Europe since 1914 includes the end of the late modern period, and the contemporary period, which was from circa 1945 (post World War II) to the present time.

World War I[edit | edit source]

Assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
Leaders of the Central Powers (left to right): Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany; Kaiser and King Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary; Sultan Mehmed V of the Ottoman Empire; Tsar Ferdinand I of Bulgaria
Big Four: Vittorio Orlando (Italy), David Lloyd George (Britain), Georges Clemenceau (France), Woodrow Wilson (USA) (left to right)

Prelude to World War I[edit | edit source]

The war had roots in the tensions between France and Germany, exacerbated by the Franco-Prussian War (1870–1871), and the French defeat and loss of Alsace-Lorraine to the Prussians. The Dual Alliance (1879) and Triple Alliance (1882) created an alliance between Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy that excluded France. Partly in response, and after the failure of the German–Austrian–Russian League of the Three Emperors (1873–1880) and the secret German–Russian Reinsurance Treaty (1887–1890), the French–Russian Franco-Russian Alliance was created with agreements between 1891 and 1894.

The Anglo-German naval arms race (1898–1912) worsened British and German relations. The Entente Cordiale (1904) between the British and French improved their relations, and marked the end of almost a thousand years of intermittent conflict between them. The First and Second Moroccan Crises (1905–1906, 1911) worsened German relations with both France and the Britain. The Anglo-Russian Convention (1907) led to the creation of the Triple Entente (1907), an alliance between Britain, France and Russia.

The Bosnian crisis (1908–1909), when Austria-Hungary announced the formal annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Ottomans, worsened Austria-Hungarian relations with Italy, Serbia, and Russia. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was on Sunday, 28 June 1914; the Austrian heir was assassinated by Gavrilo Princip, a Bosnian Serb nationalist. Franz Ferdinand was visiting Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bosnia and Herzegovina was a mixture of South-Slavic peoples: Bosniaks, Bosnian Serbs, and Bosnian Croats. Many Bosnian Serbs and other Bosnians opposed the Austrian annexation; Serbia was sympathetic to them, and the Black Hand, a secret military society formed by officers in the Army of the Kingdom of Serbia, had helped the assassins.

World War I summary[edit | edit source]

World War I (the Great War, 1914–1918) had the Allied Powers defeating the Central Powers. The Allied Powers included the Triple Entente of France, the British Empire, and Russia (to 1917), but also include Japan (from August 1914), Italy (from April 1915), the USA (from April 1917), and other allies and co-belligerents. The Central Powers would eventually include Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria, and other co-belligerents and client states; it evolved from the earlier Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy (but Italy never fought for the Central Powers).

Key aspects include:

  • In the July Crisis, after a series of diplomatic maneuvers, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on 28 July, who they blamed for the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Serbia was a Russian ally, so Russian mobilization had already commenced.
  • Events of August 1914: Germany declared war on Russia, and then France and Belgium; they would invade France through Belgium according to the Schlieffen Plan. Britain then declared war against Germany for violating Belgian neutrality, and sent the British Expeditionary Force to France. Austria-Hungary declared war against Russia, and Britain and France declared war against Austria-Hungary.
  • German advances in France came to a halt after the First Battle of the Marne (September 1914) with over a half a million casualties; afterwards the Western Front was little changed until 1917.
  • In November 1914, the Ottoman Empire entered the war in support of the Central Powers, and opened fronts in the Caucasus, Mesopotamia and the Sinai Peninsula. The Middle Eastern theater included the Gallipoli campaign (1915), which resulted in over half a million casualties.
  • The Balkans Campaign (1914–1918) extended the war to the Balkans, with Bulgaria joined the Central Powers in 1915 and the Greece joining the Allies in 1917.
  • On the Eastern Front, the Austro-Hungarian offensive at the Battle of Galicia (1914) resulted in over half a million casualties; the German Gorlice-Tarnów Offensive (1915) resulted in as many as half a million casualties; the Russian Brusilov Offensive (1916) resulted in over a million casualties.
  • On the Western Front, the Battle of Verdun (1916), the longest offensive of the War, resulted in over a half a million casulaties; the First Battle of the Somme (1916) resulted in over a million casualties; the Third Battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) (1917) resulted in over half a million casualties.
  • In 1917, the Central Powers achieved victory on the Eastern Front, with Russian capitulation. Other Allied defeats included Serbia (1915) and Romania (1917).
  • The USA joined the Allied Powers in 1917, after German U-boats sank seven US merchant ships, and the Zimmermann Telegram suggesting that Germany was inciting a Mexican-American war.
  • On the Western Front in 1918, the German Spring Offensive resulted in one and a half million casualties; and the Allied Powers' Hundred Days Offensive resulted in over two million casualties.
  • The Central Powers, of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria, all capitulated to the Allied Powers in 1918. Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated and Germany signed an armistice on 11 November 1918.

World War I was largely based on the attrition due to casualties of troops, rather than decisive territorial gains. As a result of the World War I, the Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman, and Russian Empires ceased to exist. An estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilians died as a direct result of the war. The 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

Eastern Question[edit | edit source]

Ottoman Empire in 1912, after the loss of Libya
Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey

The Ottoman Empire, then described as the "sick man of Europe", was in decline in the 19th and early 20th centuries. What would happen to the failing empire would be called the Eastern Question.

It led to a number of newly independent or autonomous Balkan countries by 1908. These included Greece in 1829, and the Cretan State of 1898–1908; Romania, Serbia, Montenegro, and the autonomy of Bulgaria after the Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878. Further afield, the Ottoman Empire had lost a number of territories by 1908: France had occupied Algeria and Tunisia; Great Britain had occupied Egypt and Cyprus, and gained the Aden Protectorate (1872–1963) in the Yemen.

Dissolution of the Ottoman Empire[edit | edit source]

In July 1908, the Young Turk Revolution created multi-party democracy; the Bosnian crisis (1908–1909) occurred after Austria-Hungary announced the formal annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina from the Ottomans. After Italian victory in the Italo-Turkish War (1911–1912), Italian Libya was occupied by Italy. The Balkan Wars (1912–1913) resulted in the defeat of the Ottoman Empire by the Balkan League of Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro; they conquered Ottoman-held Macedonia, Albania (which gained independence), and most of Thrace, but then fell out over the division of the spoils.

During World War I, genocide in Anatolia became prevalent; 1.5 million Armenians were killed in the Armenian Genocide (1914–1923), and there was also genocide of Greek and Assyrian minorities.

In 1916, Hussein bin Ali, the Sharif of Mecca, led the Great Arab Revolt, a pan-Arab revolt against the Ottoman Empire to create a united Arab state. There was fighting in Hejaz, Transjordan, and Syria. Although Arab efforts to achieve unified independence failed, Allied victory in World War I assured the end of the Ottoman Empire. With the end of Ottoman suzerainty in Arabia, Hussein bin Ali became King of the Kingdom of Hejaz (1916–1925). The Saudi conquest of Hejaz (1924–25) was a major step in the unification of Saudi Arabia, along with defeat of the Rashidi Emirate (1836–1921). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the third Saudi state ruled by the House of Saud, and was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud; it dominates the Arabian peninsula.

Partition of the Ottoman Empire, after World War I outside of the Arabian peninsula, was largely under the terms of the British/French Sykes-Picot Agreement, which planned for a geographical divider called the Sykes-Picot line, with French influence to the north and British influence to the south. To the north, French had the Mandate for Syria and the Lebanon (1923−1946). To the south, British mandates included: Mandatory Palestine (1920–1948, today Israel and the State of Palestine), and Mandatory Iraq (1921–1932); the Emirate of Transjordan (1921–1946, today Jordan) was a British protectorate. Slowly, these states would became independent from the French and British.

Turkish War of Independence[edit | edit source]

The Turkish War of Independence (1919–1922) was a war for a Turkish state covering Anatolia and Eastern Thrace; the Turks defeated Greece, the United Kingdom, France, and Armenia. The Ottoman Sultanate was then abolished (1922), and the Republic of Turkey declared (1923).

The Turks were led by Mustafa Kemal Pasha, who became known as Atatürk. Atatürk had come to prominence during the Ottoman Turkish victory at the Battle of Gallipoli (1915) during World War I; and as the leading figure of the Turkish National Movement he won the Turkish War of Independence. Atatürk became the first President of Turkey, with Turkey guided by Atatürk's Reforms and Kemalism.

Interwar period[edit | edit source]

Post World War I Europe in 1923

The interwar period was from 1918 post-World War I, until 1939 and World War II.

The Roaring Twenties, a period of economic prosperity, would end with the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and followed by the Great Depression during the 1930s.

Territorial changes[edit | edit source]

With the Treaty of Versailles, negotiated at the Paris Peace Conference (1919–1920), the Big Four imposed their terms on Germany; they were represented by David Lloyd George (for Britain), Georges Clemenceau (for France), Woodrow Wilson (for the USA), and Vittorio Orlando (for Italy).

Covenant of the League of Nations was a charter for the League of Nations, negotiated at the Paris Peace Conference. The League of Nations was founded in 1920 to maintain world peace, and dissolved in 1946, replaced by the United Nations.

Consequences of the Treaty of Versailles included:

  • Germany would lose European territories to France (Alsace-Lorraine), Belgium, Denmark, Czechoslovakia, Poland (the Polish corridor), the Free City of Danzig, Lithuania (the Memel Territory), and under League of Nations protection (Territory of the Saar Basin).
  • Germany's overseas empire was dismantled.
  • Germany was disarmed, with restrictions imposed on their military; the Rhineland was demilitarized.
  • Germany was forced to make reparation payments, and admit "war guilt".

Austria-Hungary was dismantled largely under the terms of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye and Treaty of Trianon, prepared at the Paris Peace Conference.

Territorial changes that involved former Austria-Hungary territories included:

  • Austria and Hungary were founded as reduced states with the end of Austria-Hungary.
  • Czechoslovakia was created from former lands of Austria-Hungary, including Bohemia and Moravia.
  • Poland was reborn as the Second Polish Republic (1918–1939; the first republic being the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth). The borders of the state were finalized in 1922 after the Polish–Ukrainian War, Greater Poland uprising, Polish–Czechoslovak War, Polish–Lithuanian War, and Polish–Soviet War; It included former parts of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Russian Empire.
  • Yugoslavia was created as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes; it included Serbia, Montenegro, and some former lands of Austria-Hungary. Josip Broz, also known as Tito, would later become the Yugoslav leader.
  • Romania would expand; it gained the duchies of Bukovina, Transylvania and two-thirds of the Banat from the former Austria-Hungary; Bessarabia (roughly the present-day Republic of Moldova) would be annexed by Romania from Russia.
  • Italy would gain some former Austro-Hungarian lands.
  • Principality of Liechtenstein, which had formerly looked to Vienna for protection, formed a customs and defense union with Switzerland, and adopted the Swiss currency instead of the Austrian.

Other post-war European territorial changes included:

  • Finland achieve independence from Russia.
  • The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia achieved independence from Russia.
  • Bulgaria ceded territories to Greece, the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes (later Yugoslavia), and Romania.
  • Following the Irish War of Independence (1919–1921), the Irish Free State (1922–1937), of southern Ireland, achieved independence with the Anglo-Irish Treaty of December 1921 as a Dominion of the British Commonwealth of Nations. The earlier Easter Rising (1916) had been unsuccessful. The Irish Civil War (1922–1923) followed the Anglo-Irish Treaty. It is now the Republic of Ireland (1937–present day).
  • Republic of Turkey founded in 1923 after the Turkish War of Independence, and the end of the Ottoman Empire.

Spanish Civil War[edit | edit source]

Francisco Franco

Following the First Spanish Republic (1873–1874), a coup d'état by Martínez Campos restored the Bourbons to the Spanish crown, beginning the period known as the Restoration (1874–1931). The reign of Alfonso XII (1874–1885) was followed by Alfonso XIII (1886–1931). After the fall of Alfonso XIII, in part due to economic chaos caused by the Wall Street Crash (1929), the Second Spanish Republic (1931–1939) was established.

The Spanish Civil War (1936–1939) began when General Franco was proclaimed Head of State, after the Spanish coup of July 1936. It was a war of two factions:

  • Republicans, loyal to the left-leaning Second Spanish Republic, was an alliance with communist and syndicalist anarchists. They received support from the Soviet Union and Mexico. The International Brigades, of foreign nationals, mainly fought for the Republicans.
  • Nationalists, loyal to General Francisco Franco, was an alliance of Falangists (with fascist leanings), monarchists, conservatives and traditionalists. They received support from Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

The war was characterized by many atrocities on both sides, and created hundreds of thousands of refugees, who fled mainly to camps in southern France; total deaths have been estimated at 500,000. After winning the Spanish Civil War in 1939, Franco would remain dictator of Francoist Spain (1936–1975), officially known as the Spanish State (Spanish: Estado Español), until his death in 1975.

In 1947, Spain was declared a kingdom, but without a monarch; not until 1969 did Franco establish Juan Carlos of Bourbon as the heir to the monarchy. After Franco's death, democracy was slowly established under a constitutional monarchy with a Bourbon monarch; this continues to this day. Juan Carlos I (who reigned 1975–2014) was succeeded by Felipe VI (2014 to present).

Russian revolutions and Soviet Union[edit | edit source]

Lenin and Stalin in Gorki in 1922

Russian revolutions: the first successful revolution was the February Revolution (March 1917), and the Russian Provisional Government, a coalition of various revolutionary factions, came to power. With the October Revolution (November 1917), the Bolsheviks, a communist faction led by Vladimir Lenin, took over, and established the Russian SFSR (Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic). The Russian SFSR left World War I with the armistice of December 1917, and the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk (March 1918).

Russian Civil War (1917–1922): was a civil war in which the Red Army of the Bolsheviks defeated the anti-communist White Army; there were between 7 and 12 million deaths during the Russian Civil War (including civilians). In July 1918, the former Russian Emperor Nicholas II, and his wife Alexandra and their five children, were executed. The Russian famine of 1921–1922 killed an estimated 5 million people.

The Second Polish Republic was declared in 1918; after the Polish–Soviet War (1919–1921), Ukraine and Belarus were partitioned between Poland and the Soviet Union. There were successful wars of independence in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, and Finland declared independence.

Subsequently the Soviet Union or USSR (1922–1991) was established as a union of socialist states formerly in the Russian Empire; the Soviet Union was dominated by the Russian SFSR. Decossackization was a policy of elimination against the Cossacks who had formed the effective core of the anti-Bolshevik White Army.

After the death of Vladimir Lenin in 1924, he was replaced by a "troika" ('a set of three') consisting of Grigory Zinoviev, Lev Kamenev, and Joseph Stalin. Joseph Stalin, who had been General Secretary since 1922, gradually became an absolute ruler; working with Nikolai Bukharin, he had his great rival Leon Trotsky, along with Zinoviev and Kamenev, ousted from the party in 1927; in 1929 Trotsky was exiled, and then murdered in 1940.

The Soviet famine of 1932–33 may have killed as many as eight million, and was related to the forced collectivization of agriculture as a part of the Soviet first five-year plan; it included the Holodomor, widely seen as genocide against the Ukrainians, as well as alleged genocide against the Kazakhs. Stalin's Great Purge (1936–38) was a campaign of political repression that killed hundreds of thousands; it included the executions after show trials of Zinoviev, Kamenev, and Bukharin.

World War II[edit | edit source]

Pacific imperial powers in 1939
Europe under Nazi domination 1941-1942
Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler in 1940, leaders of fascist Italy and Germany
Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin at the Yalta conference (1945)

Background to World War II[edit | edit source]

Benito Mussolini became Prime Minister of Italy in 1922. In 1933 Adolf Hitler became Chancellor (and later Führer) of Nazi Germany, and Germany withdrew from the League of Nations. Ethiopia was invaded by Italy in 1935. Italy and Germany created the Rome-Berlin Axis in 1936, which was later widened to Japan. In 1938 Germany annexed Austria; Czechoslovakia was then annexed by Germany, Hungary and Poland. In March 1939 the UK and France promised to defend the independence of Poland. In August 1939, the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact between the Soviet Union and Germany planned for mutual non-aggression, and the division of Europe into spheres of influence.

World War II summary[edit | edit source]

World War II (1939–1945): was a world war in which the Allies would eventually defeat the Axis powers.

The Allies of World War II would eventually include the Big Four of the USA, UK (United Kingdom), Soviet Union, and China; and also governments-in-exile of occupied countries and other combatant states. It started as France, Poland and the United Kingdom, and their dependent states. They were joined by independent Dominions of the British Commonwealth: Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. Netherlands, Belgium, Greece, and Yugoslavia joined the Allies, but would quickly fall to the Axis powers, as did France, and Poland (with German–Soviet partitioning).

The Axis powers included the Tripartite Pact (September 1940) powers of Germany, Japan and Italy (until 1943); the pact later included Hungary (1940), Romania (1940), Bulgaria (1941), Slovakia (1940, a German client state), and the State of Croatia (an Italo-German client state of 1941 covering much of Yugoslavia). There were other co-belligerents, such as Finland (Soviet–Finnish Continuation War), Iraq (Anglo-Iraqi War), Thailand, and the Soviet Union (until their invasion).

Key aspects include (this list is very limited):

  • Preceded by and included the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937–1945), after Japan invaded China, who already occupied Manchuria after the Japanese invasion of Manchuria (1931–1932), with resulting Soviet–Japanese border conflicts (1932 to 1939).
  • In September 1939 the UK and France declared war on Germany after the Invasion of Poland, which included Germany and the Soviet Union. This commenced the European theatre of conflict. Under the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, Eastern Europe was occupied by Germany and the Soviet Union. Poland was partitioned, and the Baltic states (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) were occupied and annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940.
  • Phoney War (September 1939 to May 1940) was a period of limited engagement, although the Soviets attacked Finland in the Winter War (November 1939 to March 1940), and there was the German invasion of Denmark and Norway (April 1940).
  • The Western Front commenced with the Battle of France (May 1940); within six weeks Germany had conquered France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Germany avoided the stronger Maginot Line fortifications by invading through the Ardennes forest. Erich von Manstein formulated the plan for the battle. This ended land operations on the Western Front until D-Day. Germany divided France into German-occupied northern France and a German-friendly Vichy France to the south. The UK evacuated their forces with the Dunkirk evacuation.
  • The Mediterranean and Middle East theatre opened in June 1940, beginning with the Battle of the Mediterranean, and later extending to the Middle East, North Africa, and West Africa. Erwin Rommel commanded the Germans in the North African campaign.
  • Conflict in the South-East Asian theater began when Japan invaded French Indochina in September 1940, who they occupied. It later included British Burma, Ceylon, Malaya and Singapore; and in Thailand. There was also warfare in the Indian Ocean, as well as the Philippines, Dutch East Indies, New Guinea, and Borneo (see the Pacific War).
  • By early June 1941, only the UK actively opposed Germany in Europe; the Soviet Union and Germany were still at peace, and controlled much of Europe. The Battle of the Atlantic (1939–1945) had weakened the UK due to a blockade of supplies by German U-boats. During July–October 1940, the Battle of Britain was the successful defense of the UK from the German air force.
  • On the 22nd June 1941, Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union, commenced the German-Soviet War at the Eastern Front; German-occupied Europe reached a territorial peak 1941–1942. On the Eastern Front, Georgy Zhukov was responsible for some of the Russian Red Army's most decisive victories.
  • In 1941 the USA joined the war after the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan on December 7. This commenced the Pacific War; theaters can be divided into North; Central (including Pearl Harbor and the Battle of Midway); South (including the Solomon Islands and the Battle of Guadalcanal); and South West (including the Philippines, Dutch East Indies, New Guinea, and Borneo). Warfare continued in the South-East Asian theater and China.
  • During 1942, key Axis defeats included the Battle of Midway (in the Pacific), the Second Battle of El Alamein (in North Africa), and Stalingrad (in the Soviet Union, ending in 1943). The Italian Campaign, commencing July 1943, resulted in the collapse of Fascist Italy (1943) and the Allied occupation of all of Italy by 1945. In December 1943 Dwight D. Eisenhower was made Supreme Allied Commander in Europe. On 6 June 1944, D-Day commenced the Allied invasion of northern Europe, the second stage of conflict on the Western Front.
  • V-E Day (Victory in Europe Day) declared on May 8, 1945, after the defeat and occupation of Germany by the Allies. The atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki contributed to the surrender of Japan on September 2, 1945 (V-J Day).

Conferences and aftermath[edit | edit source]

There were a number of conferences during and after World War II, which involved members of the Big Three (USA, UK and Russia). Conferences included:

  • Casablanca Conference (January 1943): included Franklin D. Roosevelt (USA President), Winston Churchill (UK Prime Minister), and Charles de Gaulle and Henri Giraud (for Free France).
  • Cairo Conference (November 1943): included Roosevelt, Churchill, and Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek (of the Republic of China). It ended with the Cairo Declaration for post-war Asia.
  • Tehran Conference (November and December 1943), the first meeting of the Big Three: with Roosevelt, Churchill, and Joseph Stalin for Russia. It planned for the continuing European war, and a date for D-Day.
  • Fourth Moscow Conference (October 1944): included Churchill and Stalin and some ministers, with planning for post-war spheres of influence in Eastern Europe.
  • Yalta Conference (February 1945), a pre-V-E Day conference between the Big Three (Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin). It planned for the defeat of Germany, and post-war arrangements.
  • Potsdam Conference (July to August 1945), a pre-V-J Day conference between the Big Three: Stalin, Harry S. Truman (USA President), and Churchill and Clement Attlee (UK Prime Ministers). It created the Potsdam Declaration on the surrender of Japan, and a policy for Germany.

Aftermath of World War II: there were between 50 to 85 million fatalities, mostly civilians in the Soviet Union and China. The war marked the advent of air supremacy and nuclear warfare. The Holocaust, a genocide perpetrated by the Germans during the war, resulted in 17 million deaths, including 6 million Jews. Strategic bombing, the bombing of non-military targets, was a result of the blurring between civilian and military contributions to the war effort, and total war meant that entire populations were dedicated to the war effort. The end of the war marked the beginnings of the Cold War.

Cold War[edit | edit source]

Cold War Europe
Mikhail Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan (signing the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty at the White House in 1987)
Germans stand on top of the Berlin Wall shortly before it was demolished; behind is the Brandenburg Gate

The Cold War (1945–1991) was a period of simmering tension between the USA with its allies (the Western Bloc), and the Soviet Union and its satellite states (the Eastern Bloc), after World War II. There were sporadic wars in various theaters which did not directly involve the major powers, but instead were wars by proxy. Eventually it would end with the Revolutions of 1989, and the collapse of the Soviet Union (1991).

Two major military treaties divided the Cold War factions:

  • The Western Bloc countries; many of these formed NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) in 1949. Twelve countries were part of the founding of NATO: the European countries of Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom; and the North American countries of the United States, and Canada. It would later expand to other European countries.
  • The Eastern Bloc countries, which were described as being "behind the Iron Curtain". They signed the Warsaw Pact in 1955, a treaty establishing the mutual defense organization known as the Warsaw Treaty Organization (WTO) of communist countries; these included the Soviet Union, Poland, East Germany, Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary; but Albania withdrew in 1960. Yugoslavia was a communist state that remained non-aligned.

Notable events during this period included:

  • United Nations: founded in 1945 it replaced the ineffective League of Nations.
  • Truman Doctrine (1947): the US doctrine aimed at "containing" Soviet expansion.
  • Marshall Plan (1948): economic aid was offered to European nations that worked out a program for rehabilitation.
  • Czechoslovak Communists seized control of the country in 1948.
  • USA, UK and France merged their German zones in 1947 and 1948, which became West Germany in 1949, as opposed to East Germany.
  • Berlin Blockade (1948–1949): the Soviet Union blocked the Western Allies' access to Berlin, resulting in the Berlin airlift to supply Berlin
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization founded in April 1949.
  • People's Republic of China established in 1949 by Mao Zedong, and the Republic of China under Chiang Kai-shek retreated to Taiwan.
  • Korean War (1950–1953), a war between North Korea (with the support of China and the Soviet Union), and South Korea (with the support of the United Nations).
  • Cuban Revolution (1953–1959): Fidel Castro's forces defeated the military dictatorship of Cuban President Fulgencio Batista.
  • Warsaw Pact (Warsaw Treaty Organization) founded in May 1955.
  • Vietnam War (1955–1975): or Second Indochina War, took place after the First Indochina War (1946–1954), a war of independence from the French. It was principally a conflict between the communist North Vietnam and its allies, and the anti-communist South Vietnam and its allies.
  • Hungarian Revolution of 1956, which was crushed by a Soviet invasion.
  • Suez crisis (1956), after Egypt attempts to nationalize the Suez Canal.
  • Berlin Wall construction began in 1961, separating West Berlin (a political enclave surrounded by East Germany) from East Berlin.
  • Cuban Missile Crisis (1962): after the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961, Cuba requested nuclear missiles to deter a future invasion, causing a showdown with the USA.
  • Prague Spring (1968), a period of political liberalization and mass protest in Czechoslovakia, resulting in Warsaw Pact occupation.
  • Soviet-Afghan War (1979–1989): resulted in a strong denunciation of the Soviet Union by the West.
  • Strategic Defense Initiative (1983): dubbed "Star Wars", it was a proposed missile defense system of the United States from ballistic strategic nuclear weapons.

Fall of communism[edit | edit source]

Mikhail Gorbachev came to power in 1985, and brought policies of glasnost (openness) and perestroika (restructuring). Following the 1989 revolutions, dissolution of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact was in 1991. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 came German reunification in 1990.

15 states were formed from the former USSR: in Europe they consisted of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova; and the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. Other states were states in the Caucasus (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia), and Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.

Yugoslav Wars[edit | edit source]

Six socialist republics of Yugoslavia, and the two autonomous provinces in Serbia
Religion in the Balkans

Yugoslav Wars (1991–2001) were civil wars that resulted in the partitioning of the six constituent republics of Yugoslavia; plus the self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo in 2008. The countries are:

  • Serbia. According to Serbia, it includes the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija, and the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina.
  • Montenegro.
  • Croatia.
  • Slovenia.
  • North Macedonia, also called the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina.
  • Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008; this is currently recognized by about 100 UN states but not Serbia.

Wars included:

  • Croatian War of Independence (1991–1995): there was a long war in Croatia between the ethnic Croats and Serbs.
  • Bosnian War (1992–1995): the peoples of Bosnia and Herzegovina include ethnic Bosniaks, Croats, and Serbs, and saw much conflict.
  • Kosovo War (1998–1999): in the Kosovo region of Serbia, there was fighting between the Serbs and the ethnic Albanian majority.

Other wars included the Ten-Day War (1991) in Slovenia; Insurgency in the Preševo Valley (1999–2001) in southern Serbia; and Insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia (2001).

Much of the conflict was a result of the religious differences between the mix of ethnicities that inhabit the former Yugoslav countries:

  • Slovenians and Croats: are South-Western Slavic and mainly Catholic Christian, and make up much of Slovenia and Croatia.
  • Bosniaks: are South-Western Slavic and mainly Sunni Muslim; they make up about half of the population of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which also has many Serbs and Croats.
  • Serbs and Montenegrins: are South-Western Slavic and mainly Orthodox Christian, and make up much of Serbia and Montenegro.
  • Macedonians: are South-Eastern Slavic and mainly Orthodox Christian, and make up much of North Macedonia.
  • Albanians: are non-Slavic and mainly Sunni Muslim. They make up much of Albania (not a Yugoslav country), but there is a sizeable Albanian diaspora especially in Kosovo, a disputed region of the former Socialist Republic of Serbia.

Serbs, Croats, Bosniaks, Montenegrins, and Slovenians speak Serbian, Croatian, Bosnian, Montenegrin, and Slovene; they are a closely related group of South-Slavic languages called South-Western Slavic (formerly "Serbo-Croato-Slovenian"). Macedonians speak Macedonian, which is a South-Eastern Slavic language like Bulgarian. Albanians speak Albanian, which is a non-Slavic language.

Other aspects of the contemporary period[edit | edit source]

Decolonisation gained traction, with European colonial empires in Africa and Asia gone by 1975. In 1947, the British Empire had begun a process of voluntarily dismantling with the granting of independence to India and Pakistan.

Spain: democracy was restored in Spain in 1975, with a constitutional monarchy.

EEC and EU: Treaty of Rome (1957) founds the European Economic Community. The European Union formed in 1993 with the Maastricht Treaty. The Euro adopted as a currency in 2002. Enlargement of the EU in 2004: Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Accession of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007

The 2014 Ukrainian revolution had armed conflict in the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, after attempts to cede to the Russian Federation. A referendum held in Crimea led to its annexation to the Russian Federation as the Republic of Crimea, which is largely unrecognized.

Technology and industry: Western countries began de-industrialisation; globalization led to the emergence of new industrial centres, including Japan, Taiwan, China. The rise of science, technology, and computers led to the Information Age (1971–) and the widespread use of the Internet, creating profound changes. The Space Age was established in 1957.

The arts: popular music became prominent in the 20th Century. Postmodernism (c. 1930–) was an arts movement that developed in the mid- to late 20th century; the avant-garde (from the French for "advance guard") was seen as the cutting edge of experimentation.