Europe 1648 CE

Developments such as the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the expansion of trade and colonization throughout the world, have transformed Europe.

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What is happening in Europe in 1648CE

The past two centuries have seen the Ottoman empire conquer much of central Europe Europe. At the same time, however, explorers have opened up South and North America. to European colonization, and Africa and Asia to European trade.

Renaissance, Reformation and Counter Reformation

Meanwhile the Renaissance spread around Europe, helped by a revolutionary technological development, printing.

Printing also helped to spread the great religious movements known as the Reformation and Counter-Reformation around Europe. These have convulsed the continent by dividing the Christian church into two bitterly-opposed camps, Protestantism and Roman Catholicism: Scandinavia, the Low Countries and Britain are Protestant, while Spain and Portugal, Italy and central Europe have remained Catholic. Germany and (to a lesser extent) France are split between the two.

A series of fierce wars of religion have raged between these Protestant and Catholic nations, culminating in the terrible Thirty Years War (1618-1648).

Partly as a reaction to the religious conflicts. a new intellectual movement is now discernible in Europe, This is the Enlightenment, which emphasises rationality as the basis for the pursuit of truth rather then beliefs received from religious institutions or royal governments.

With its emphasis on observation, evidence and experimentation, the Enlightenment will help to give rise to modern science (some historians regard this Scientific Revolution as its own distinctive movement rather than an aspect of the Enlightenment).

Political, economic and scientific developments

Paralleling the Renaissance and Reformation has been the rise of powerful, centralized nation-states in Europe. Despite the upheavals, the period has also seen astonishing economic progress. For example, in Holland, England, France and other countries, joint-stock companies have been formed. These enable European merchants to establish thriving trading connections around the world, as well as helping found European settlements in North Americas.

These developments are laying the foundations for European global pre-eminence in the centuries to come.

Next map, Europe 1789

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Early Modern Europe

The Russian Empire

The Ottoman Empire

European colonization and empire

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Early Modern Europe 1450 to 1750

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