Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Early modern Europe
The early modern period is a term used by historians to refer to the period in Western Europe and its first colonies, between the Middle Ages and modern society. The latter is assumed to be characterized by the importance of science, technological progress, secular civic politics and capitalist economics, all monitored by the nation state. As such it represents the diminution and/or abolition of Christian theocracy, feudalism and serfdom.
The first documented European voyage to the Americas, by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and Vasco da Gama's voyage to India (1498) were especially significant in this process and set off the Age of Discovery. As were books of political and social philosophy such as Machiavelli's The Prince (1513) and Thomas More's Utopia (1515). The period saw the rise of all of the key characteristics of capitalist economies, beginning in northern Italian republics such as Genoa. It also saw the rise and dominance of the economic theory of mercantilism.
Therefore the term "early modern" usually applies to the period from the late 15th to the early 18th Century during which these developments were at a formative stage. Common start dates include 1453, the fall of Constantinople, and 1500. The end date is often placed at 1716, the end of the War of the Spanish Succession, 1750, or to 1789 the outbreak of the French Revolution, or even to 1800. There is no agreement and the early modern period can be said to start and stop in different parts of Europe at different times.
The expression "early modern" is often, and incorrectly, used as a substitute for the term Renaissance. Renaissance is properly used in relation to a diverse series of cultural developments; which occurred over several hundred years in many different parts of Europe.
Artistically the early modern is not a common designation as the Renaissance is clearly distinct from what came later. Only in the study of literature is the early modern period a standard period. Music is generally divided between Renaissance, Baroque. Similarly philosophy is divided between Renaissance philosophy and the Enlightenment. In other fields there is far more continuity through the period such as warfare and science .
See also periodization.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details