Ap world History

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The Age of European Expansion and Religious Wars

AP World History


Discovery, Reconnaissance and Expansion:

·        Discovery referring to the phenomenal advancement in geographical understanding and discovery. Geographical knowledge had come very slow in the era after the fall of Rome.

·        Reconnaissance referring to the gradual process of developing an understanding of the geographical areas they had claimed during this time period.

·        Expansion referring to the migration of the Europeans to these new lands in the wake of the intellectual boom of the Renaissance.


Overseas exploration and Conquest:

·        The Vikings, who through geographical limitations and societal limitations were unable to hold on the lands, first initiated expansion on behalf of European groups. Their imprint was felt long term in North America, namely Greenland.

·        The Crusades were another European experience into the realms of geography. They gradually began to grow weary of the Islamic threats in the region, namely the Ottoman Turks who were conquering much territory east of the Bosporus.

·        Why the outward push? Political centralization in the dominant countries of Europe; France, Spain and England. Quest for Christian conversion. Quest for gold, spice and commerce.

·        The Portuguese had gotten the ball rolling with their conquest of Indian and Muslim trade routes. The key entry point into the Spice trade. The Muslims were not going to give up the spice trade in the Indian Ocean easily. The Portuguese were going to have to destroy it to have the Muslims give it up. Accordingly the Portuguese blasted their way into the great port cities of the Indian subcontinent and Indian Ocean in order to control that trade. This move in essence brought about the concept of imperialism.

·        Spanish imperialism and expedition were not too far behind as a young Genoese mariner name Christopher Columbus had finally secured royal support (although not as strong as you have heard) to make a journey to India. He will actually land in the Bahamas however, in October of 1492.


Technological Stimuli to Exploration:

·        Changes in technology made European expeditions possible. Expeditions on this scale required tremendous technology.

·        Cannon-ability to fire upon stone and ships from sea. See Constantinople-1435.

·        Caravel-a small light, three masted sailing ship, faster more maneuverable than the old galley ships.

·        Triangular sale-more speed.

·        Magnetic compass

·        Geographical techniques.


Explorer’s motives:

·        Crusading fever-conversion of savages, Muslims and Pagans.

·        Social mobility: limited social options see post reconquista Spain.

·        Government motivation: sailing was a state sponsored activity to net wealth.

·        Renaissance age curiosity about the universe.

·        Spices

·        Gold


The Problems of Christopher Columbus:

·        Our image of Columbus perhaps a bit exaggerated and or tarnished. Quote on 520

·        Criticisms:

·        Enslavement of Native populace

·        Murder of Native populace

·        Unknowingly distributing foreign diseases upon Native populace

·        He didn’t realize what he had found!

·        Originator of European exploitation of indigenous groups worldwide

·        Columbus actually was in a tough economic arrangement with the Crown in Spain and his situation required him to yield X _ amount of wealth, wealth he didn’t find in spices or gold so he had to find other means, enslavement, etc...


The Conquest of Aztec Mexico and Inca Peru:

·        Rapid ascension of Spain had some factors indigenous to Aztec demise. The powerful Aztecs had been destroyed in 2 short years by the Spanish, due in large part to Spanish treachery and advanced technology but inherent problems in the Aztec situation.

·        The Aztecs knew they were coming but were burdened by their own religious controversies over the “new arrivals”. Some thought that it was a god bringing a foretold disaster.

·        In addition, internal revolts plagued the provinces and were crushed relentlessly by the Aztecs making rule by their own persons not much more attractive than Spanish rule. The Spanish with their small numbers did however possess tremendous technological advantages such as firearms, cannons and crossbows.

·        The Aztec perspective of war was also one that did not represent it well to fighting Europeans. The Europeans were willing to divide and conquer and fight a more “vague” style of war. A stark contrast to the ritualistic style employed by the Aztecs.

·        The gold harvest achieved by the Spaniards in their Aztec conquest was a marvel.

·        The Inca: ruled by a despotic (yet benevolent) king known as Inca. He was considered a god who could do no wrong. The Inca had been remarkably peaceful and prosperous. So how did 175 men with 1 ineffective cannon conquer this land?

·        Lack of knowledge: knew nothing about the fate that awaited them. When they did learn of the arrival they had little respect for the Spanish forces and their weaponry. They didn’t believe they intended trouble and their seafaring ways meant them no harm. Like the Aztec the arrival took religious significance to the Inca.

·        Their trend of post-mortem possession made land shortages a reality for them. The only way for the new “Inca” to acquire land was for him to engage in warfare with others. The matters drew worse for the new “Inca” as his brother attempted to claim the kingdom and set off a period of 5 years of civil strife.

·        The new Inca became the brother “Atahualpa” who did not advocate the claiming of land from the deceased. He had hoped to capture the Spanish and execute the small force. Pizarro had other ideas, those ideas were to capture the head Inca and watch the rest fall. He was right, the loss of Atahualpa and the sound of cannon fire terrified and disunified the Indians.


The South American Holocaust:

·        After the conquest of Indian empires some 200,000 Spaniards immigrated to the New World. People of all walks of life emigrated here with very different purposes. What emerged was a system of elitism and subjugation that involved slavery. The crown granted the conquering groups land grants along with the right to employ groups of Indians as laborers, the result: slavery.

·        Unaccustomed to the conditions facing them, the natives died at alarming rates. Dangerous conditions, new diseases contributed o the deaths. In certain places population was cut by ½ over a 50-year span!

·        Their lifestyle shift to one of large-scale population from there isolated past made them very susceptible to diseases. The psychological effect could have played a role as the Natives went from an autonomous people to one subjugated with their freedom robbed.

·        This tremendous loss of life led to a staggering deficit in the able bodied workforce of the region.

·        The Crown held full authority and expressed power in the Indian Federalist tradition of Viceroy’s. The Viceroy had military and administrative tasks but answered to the crown. Portugal embraced a similar system.


The Economic Effect of Spain’s Discoveries:

o       Spanish Catholicism, Spanish Gold and the Reconquista made Spain the leading power in 16th century Europe.

o                                                                                                       Economics; huge quantities of gold came pouring out of mines in the New World. Transporting this gold converted the Spanish Navy into a military power. The Spanish economy was suffering however as regular people had been largely excluded from the commercial boom that was the gold boom. Farmers and businessman of Jewish and Islamic faith had been expelled, leaving the economy without a portion of its leaders. The population was growing rapidly. The cost of manufacturing and inflation made Spanish goods the outcastes of the economic world, thus their economic explosion was only skin deep.

·  Portugal achieved similar dominance with their naval prowess and dominance of the new world. Portugal became the dominant commercial enterprise in the world due to the marine prowess, expressed in the sugar and slave trade of Brazil. The Spanish on the other hand lacked the versatility of the Portuguese ventures; Spain was limited to gold and the extraction of materials from their land…not commercial endeavors. Portugal with their oriental contacts was able to promote trade on a larger scale, offering the spices and silk that Spain could only dream of. The Dutch who followed the Portuguese example of commercialism during the time period focusing their efforts on the Indonesian region continued this trend.


The Chinese and Japanese Discovery of the West:

·        The desire to Christianize the world was a key component in the West’s desire to open up the West, but the lucrative silk and spice trade were the key motivations in their relationship. Matteo Ricci the Jesuit Italian was the first to attempt this christianization. Ricci realized that in order to reach the Chinese you had to do so by appealing to their sense of learning as well as appeal to the material needs of the emperor.

·        The Chinese however, did not embrace the brilliance of Western science as the Jesuits hoped with their extravagant displays in Beijing. Due to the dismay of the Jesuits, and other missionaries the Chinese while flattered by the display of interest had no interest in a full conversion to Christianity. The commitment and doctrines were not consistent with Chinese culture. The reverence to ancestors was not something the Chinese were unwilling to abandon and the Christians were unwilling to give in to worshipping.

·        The blending of the two societies led to a rebirth of math and science, a blending of eastern/western traditions particularly economic.

·        The Japanese situation rivaled the Chinese, the Portuguese zealously attempted to revert the 16th century Japanese to Christianity. The Japanese were much more distrustful of the Japanese than the Chinese had been of the Jesuits. The Portuguese will actually be expelled with the exception of one small island with 1 shipment per year. This created a very negative perception of the West by the Japanese that would linger.


Politics, Religion, and War:

·        Hapsburg-Valois War, a key event in which Spain defeated the French to gain control over the Papal States and interests in Italy. War after this key event had begun to change, wars were costlier, fought with larger armies, more effective armies, gunpowder and advanced technology was also factors. After the treaty of Cateau-Cambresis ended the Hapsburg-Valois wars it ended a period of dynastic wars and initiated an age of wars based on politics and religion.

·  The printing press made propaganda a viable instrument of public opinion.

·  The homogeneity of one nations faith was very important to the society. People wanted everyone to be Christian, catholic, Calvinist, protestant, etc…and if you weren’t they would convert you.

·  France: (1515-1559)

·        The post 100 years war development continued, due to labor shortages, serfdom literally abolished. Feudalism was dead. Urbanization, trade, and commerce all picked up dramatically. The power of the landed nobility at a minimum.

·        Councilar government reigned over absolutism.

·  Attempted through aggressive taxation to mimic the arts and culture of the Italian renaissance. Their attempts were genuine, but outside their means.

·        This renaissance mimicry was expensive, but so were the Hapsburg-Valois wars, which again far exceeded what Francis I and Henry II could spend. To pay for this Francis began selling public office…corruption? A tax-exempt upper class created (remember this for the French Revolution).

·  The Concordat of Bologna established a papal monarchy, establishing Catholicism as the state religion.

·        This led to numerous conflicts between the Catholic population and the Huguenot population of Protestant Calvinists. This was exacerbated by the fact that the Huguenots lived predominantly in the major cities.


Religious Riots and Civil War in France:

·                    Between 1559 and 1589 France was torn about by civil unrest over religion. Weak monarchy and strong nobility only made the tension worse. Massive conversions to Calvinism made the Huguenots a highly populated minority. The tensions became political as the Catholics aligned themselves politically with the monarchy and the Calvinists (Huguenots) were anti-monarchal. This made them a dissident group in the eyes of the crown. The violence took two forms, upper class it was political, and among the lower class it was religious. Both clergy incited riots and violence amongst the other groups. The events came to a head when the Catholics attacked the Calvinists on St. Bartholomew’s Day in 1572. The religious festival was marred by attacks the night before and during the day after. It became so violent that during the next several months 12,000 Huguenots died!

·        This massacre led to the war of three henrys a civil conflict among factions led by the protestant Henry of Navarre. The Guise family wanted to destroy Calvinism but replace Henry III with a member of their family.

·        Order was saved by a group of moderate Catholics known as “Politiques” who believed that no religious creed was with this level o disorder.

·        Henry IV will succeed Henry III and pass the edict of Nantes, which granted religious toleration to all of France.


The Revolt of the Netherlands and the Spanish Armada:

·        Illustrated the importance of the Netherlands in the role of political, religious and economic reform of Europe.

·        Evolved around the central issue of Dutch independence from the rule of Spain. These provinces had been inherited by Charles V (Belgium and Netherlands), they were quite well off and economically stable. The atmosphere was vibrant and cosmopolitan. The region was highly autonomous as a result of its economic independence and diverse population. Only Charles V as the supreme head of state and taxes unified these states. They had a taste and desire for freedom. Protestant ideas circulated freely and gained strength. Charles was from the region and as a result they identified with him. When he abdicated and his brother Ferdinand’s son (Phillip II) ruled from Spain the region desired independence.

·        The Calvinists posed the most serious threat to the Catholic Spaniards. As in France they displayed a propensity for violent activities. They began destroying religious structures in the lowlands, such as Notre Dame in Antwerp. Phillip dispatched the Duke of Alva to quell the madness; violence and civil war broke out.

·        The provinces united under Prince William the Silent and were besieged one by one by German mercenaries (Hessians) hired by the Spanish. The Spanish got as far as Antwerp diving the provinces religiously with Belgium (South) remaining Catholic and under Hapsburg control with the North being Protestant forming the Union of Utrecht and declared their independence from Spain. Map 537.

·        Phillip did not accept the partition and refused to give in. Conflicts raged until the 1580’s. The Protestant North (U.U) asked the Queen of England (Elizabeth) for assistance. She was reluctant, but agreed for fear of a possible invasion of England. 1. England need of their woolen markets 2. Murder of William the Silent 3. Possible sweep of Catholicism through Europe.

·        Elizabeth started the war by murdering her cousin the conniving Catholic Mary causing further revolt amongst the two and inciting the Pope. The Pope offered 1 million ducat to Phillip should he land in England to avenge the death of Mary.

·        Phillip took to the sea with the hope of uniting with their Generals on the ground. The fleet known as the Armada set sail from Lisbon to England. England used much smaller (see PowerPoint for images) vessels to out maneuver the larger more powerful Spanish ships. Violent storms in the North sea aided their cause. The war would rage for years with the Spanish improving their ships and technology. The defeat of the Armada undoubtedly saved Europe from Hapsburg domination, with Spain at its center.


The Thirty Years War: (1618-1648)

·        In response to the frail peace established by the peace of Augsburg. The factionist condition of Germany had minimized central control in the region; the principalities were fragmented and allowed for no freedom of religion. The religious climate in Europe was about to erupt.

·        Lutherans formed the Protestant Union in 1608 and the Catholics responded with the Catholic League of 1609. The two were now in armed camps.

·        Dynastic issues relating to the Hapsburgs were also at stake. Violence erupted first in Bohemia, in this free region the king-closed Protestant churches…the response the hurling of two ministers out the window of a castle! Thus begins the thirty years war.

·        War occurred in four phases.

o       Bohemia: 1618-1625: civil war in Bohemia over religious liberty and independence from the Hapsburgs. Protestants defeated in Bohemia at Battle of White Mountain.

o       Danish: 1625-1629: Danish lead by the ineffective King Christian IV the ineffective! More catholic victories, 1629 the peak of Hapsburg power. Saw all catholic properties lost since 1552 restored (edict of restitution). Minor sects abolished. Balance of power shifting.

o       Swedish: 1630-1635: Gustavus Adolphus the Swedish king intervened on behalf of the Protestants to save the Protestants. Gustavus won brilliant military victories solidifying the Protestant come back. He was mortally wounded at Lutzen. The entrance of the Swedes into the conflict saved the protestants and Germans in Europe. The effort suffered after the death of Gustavus Adolphus, however this will inspire the catholic French to join on the side of the Protestants and oppose the Hapsburgs.

o       French Phase: 1635-1648: the French Phase saw the initiation of the French into the cause. Their support will break the stalemate on behalf of the Protestants and in October of 1648 the Peace of Westphalia was signed bringing about peace to the region.

o       Impacts of Westphalia:

o       Reorganized Germany, recognized German principalities.

o       Holy Roman Empire destroyed

o       United Provinces of the Netherlands acknowledged.

o       Emergence of French Power.

o       Limit to the power of the Hapsburgs.

o       Calvinism a legally permissible creed.

o       Disaster for European economics

o       Death of unspeakable proportions 1/3 –2/5 of effected areas.

o       Rise in value of labor due to loss of life.


Changing Attitudes:

·        Status of Women: expected to be mature, good household manager, subservient and faithful. Husbands owed fidelity and protection. Had meager advancements in their role in the workplace. Both parties could own property and divorce. Prostitution common for both sexes. Protestant nuns encouraged marrying.

·        The Great Witch hunt: religious nerves had been exposed and one extension of this was the Witch Hunt of the 16th century, an event that saw thousands executed for their heresy (or what they thought was heresy). Belief in witches was not new, but the religious confusion and tension was. Imagination ran wild as people of all types were thought to have made covenants with the Devil. (Stats 543)

·        Un diagnosable diseases, sexuality, psychosis, were amongst the causes of witchcraft.

·        Slavery and Racism: Slavery was common in Europe during the Renaissance and remained so during the era following. The need for importation of Slaves became even more common as expansion and religious wars rolled on. The need for labor became widespread. As this exploitation continued social attitudes emerged as the labor pool shrunk. Elitist attitudes grew as the terms Beastly were associated with these persons. These attitudes will take generations to overturn.


Literature and Art:

·        Foundation of skepticism, cautious and critical. Michel de Montaigne, critical essayist. Questioned the situations in Frnace.

·        Shakespeare: most brilliant of the world’s playwrights, highly prolific, tales endure to modern times. Dealt with issues of the day and the classics of the Greco Roman tradition. Wrote comedies, tragedies, and humanistic plays.

·        King James version of the bible. English vernacular version of the scriptures.

·        Baroque art: Baroque Art emerged in Europe around 1600, as an reaction against the intricate and formulaic Mannerist style which dominated the Late Renaissance. Baroque Art is less complex, more realistic and more emotionally affecting than Mannerism.

This movement was encouraged by the Catholic Church, the most important patron of the arts at that time, as a return to tradition and spirituality.

One of the great periods of art history, Baroque Art was developed by Caravaggio, Annibale Carracci, and Gianlorenzo Bernini, among others. This was also the age of Rubens, Rembrandt, Velázquez, and Vermeer.

In the 18th century, Baroque Art was replaced by the more elegant and elaborate Rococo style.

·        Check some of it out!



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