Early modern period
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
"The early modern period is characterized by the rise to importance of science, the shrinkage of relative distances through improvements in transportation and communications and increasingly rapid technological progress, secularized civic politics and the early authoritarian nation states.
Further, capitalist economies and institutions began their rise and development, beginning in northern Italian republics such as Genoa, and the oligarchy in Venice. The early modern period also saw the rise and beginning of the dominance of the economic theory of mercantilism.
The early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages of the post-classical era. Although the chronological limits of this period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late post-classical or Middle Ages (c. 1400–1500) through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions (c. 1800). It is variously demarcated by historians as beginning with the Ottoman conquest of Constantinople in 1453, the Renaissance period in Europe and Timurid Central Asia, the Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent, the end of the Crusades, the Age of Discovery (especially the voyages of Christopher Columbus beginning in 1492 but also Vasco da Gama's discovery of the sea route to India in 1498), and ending around the French Revolution in 1789, or Napoleon's rise to power.
Historians in recent decades have argued that from a worldwide standpoint, the most important feature of the early modern period was its spreading globalizing character. New economies and institutions emerged, becoming more sophisticated and globally articulated over the course of the period. This process began in the medieval North Italian city-states, particularly Genoa, Venice, and Milan in the west, and in India's Bengal in the east. The early modern period also included the rise of the dominance of the economic theory of mercantilism.
In the Americas, pre-Columbian peoples had built a large and varied civilization, including the Aztec Empire, the Inca civilization, the Maya civilization and its cities, and the Muisca. The European colonization of the Americas began during the early modern period, as did the establishment of European trading hubs in Asia and Africa, which contributed to the spread of Christianity around the world. The rise of sustained contacts between previously isolated parts of the globe, in particular the Columbian Exchange that linked the Old World and the New World, greatly altered the human environment. Notably, the Atlantic slave trade and colonization of Native Americans began during this period. The Ottoman Empire conquered Southeastern Europe, and parts of the West Asia and North Africa. Russia reached the Pacific coast in 1647 and consolidated its control over the Russian Far East in the 19th century. The Great Divergence took place as Western Europe greatly surpassed China in technology and per capita wealth.
In the Islamic world, after the fall of the Timurid Renaissance, powers such as the Ottoman, Suri, Safavid, and Mughal empires grew in strength (three of which are known as gunpowder empires for the military technology that enabled them). Particularly in the Indian subcontinent, Mughal architecture, culture, and art reached their zenith, while the empire itself is believed to have had the world's largest economy, bigger than the entirety of Western Europe and worth 25% of global GDP, signalling the period of proto-industrialization.
Early modern trends in various regions of the world represented a shift away from medieval modes of organization, politically and economically. Feudalism declined in Europe, and Christians and Christendom saw the end of the Crusades and of religious unity under the Roman Catholic Church. The old order was destabilized by the Protestant Reformation, which caused a backlash that expanded the Inquisition and sparked the disastrous European Wars of Religion, which included the especially bloody Thirty Years' War and ended with the establishment of the modern international system in the Peace of Westphalia. Along with the European colonization of the Americas, this period also contained the Commercial Revolution and the Golden Age of Piracy.
Other notable trends of the early modern period include the development of experimental science, increasingly rapid technological progress, secularized civic politics, accelerated travel due to improvements in mapping and ship design, and the emergence of nation states. Historians typically date the end of the early modern period when the French Revolution of the 1790s began the "late modern" period.
The modern era includes the early period, called the early modern period, which lasted from c. 1500 to around c. 1800 (most often 1815). Particular facets of early modernity include:
- The rise of the Ottoman Empire
- The Reformation and Counter-Reformation
- The Sengoku period
- The Spanish Reconquista
- The Age of Discovery
- The spread of Islam in Indonesia
- The Columbian exchange and European colonization of the Americas
- The Atlantic slave trade
- The rise of mercantilism and capitalism
- The Golden Age of Piracy
Important events in the early modern period include:
- The spread of the printing press (c. 1460)
- The Thirty Years' War (1618–1648) and the Peace of Westphalia (1648) in Europe
- The English Civil War (1642–1651), the Glorious Revolution (1688–1689), and the union of Great Britain (1707)
- The Seven Years' War (1756–1763) in Europe and North America
- Development of the Watt steam engine (1763–1775)
- The American War of Independence from the British Empire (1775–1783)
- The French Revolution (1789–1799) and the Napoleonic Wars in Europe (1803–1815)
- The Congress of Vienna at the end of the Napoleonic Wars
- Latin American wars of independence (Template:Circa)
Modern Age characteristics
The concept of the modern world as distinct from an ancient or medieval world rests on a sense that the modern world is not just another era in history, but rather the result of a new type of change. This is usually conceived of as progress driven by deliberate human efforts to better their situation.
Advances in all areas of human activity—politics, industry, society, economics, commerce, transport, communication, mechanization, automation, science, medicine, technology, and culture—appear to have transformed an Old World into the Modern or New World. In each case, the identification of the old Revolutionary change can be used to demarcate the old and old-fashioned from the modern.
Portions of the Modern world altered its relationship with the Biblical and Quranic value systems, revalued the monarchical government system, and abolished the feudal economic system, with new democratic and liberal ideas in the areas of politics, science, psychology, sociology, and economics.
This combination of epoch events totally changed thinking and thought in the early modern period, and so their dates serve as well as any to separate the old from the new modes.
As an Age of Revolutions dawned, beginning with those revolts in America and France, political changes were then pushed forward in other countries partly as a result of upheavals of the Napoleonic Wars and their impact on thought and thinking, from concepts from nationalism to organizing armies.
The early period ended in a time of political and economic change as a result of mechanization in society, the American Revolution, the first French Revolution; other factors included the redrawing of the map of Europe by the Final Act of the Congress of Vienna and the peace established by Second Treaty of Paris which ended the Napoleonic Wars.
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