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Ohio 7th Grade World History/Gutenberg and the Printing Press

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Recreation of a Gutenberg printing press.

Johannes Geasfleisch zur Lam zum Gutenberg was born sometime in 1400, and he was the youngest child in his family. His father was an upper class clothe merchant. His mother was his father’s second wife and the daughter of a shopkeeper. Growing up Gutenberg like to learn about mechanics. Before he made the moveable printing press, he was a gold merchant, and build machines.

The printing press began in 1444, but was not finished until 1452. Then people did not hear about it until three years later, when Gutenberg published the bible in Latin in 1456, the first printed book. Eventually it became increasingly popular and it was in high demand. Gutenberg then began printing bibles in other languages, so people could learn to read. This led to the advancement of reading. Johannes Gutenberg was very important to the Renaissance and Literature. Gutenberg was a German who developed the printing press using movable type. Instead of Monks having to write out every word in every book, the printing press could create whole pages at once! Since more books could be made, there was spread of ideas. This spread of ideas increased the concept of learning, and lessened the power of the Catholic Church.

Before the Renaissance and Reformation the only literature that people had was the Bible. The “re-birth” caused Protestants and humanists to create pieces of writing stating their ideas. Literature was affected by Johannes Gutenberg inventing the printing press. It enabled people to create multiple copies of writings in different languages. The humanists and Protestants were able to spread their ideas all over the world. One of these humanists was William Shakespeare, known as the greatest English writer today.