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Timelines of Ancient Europe => The Renaissance => Topic started by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 03:38:09 pm

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 03:38:09 pm

                                                 T H E   R E N A I S S A N C E

                                                     The Dawn of a New Age

About 1450, European scholars became more interested in studying the world around them.

Their art became more true to life. They began to explore new lands. The new age in Europe was eventually called “the Renaissance.” Renaissance is a French word that means “rebirth.”

Historians consider the Renaissance to be the beginning of modern history.

The Renaissance began in northern Italy and then spread through Europe.

Italian cities such as Naples, Genoa, and Venice became centers of trade between Europe and the Middle East.

Arab scholars preserved the writings of the ancient Greeks in their libraries. When the Italian cities traded with
the Arabs, ideas were exchanged along with goods. These ideas, preserved from the ancient past, served as the basis of the Renaissance. When the Byzantine empire fell to Muslim Turks in 1453, many Christian scholars left Greece for Italy.

The Renaissance was much more than simply studying the work of ancient scholars. It influenced painting, sculpture, and architecture. Paintings became more realistic and focused less often on religious topics.

Rich families became patrons and commissioned great art. Artists advanced the Renaissance style of showing
nature and depicting the feelings of people.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 03:51:13 pm

                                                RENAISSANCE OF THE 12TH CENTURY


New technological discoveries allowed the development of the gothic style.

The Renaissance of the 12th century was a period of many changes during the High Middle Ages.

It included social, political and economic transformations, and an intellectual revitalization of Europe with strong philosophical and scientific roots. These changes paved the way to later achievements
such as the literary and artistic movement of the Italian Renaissance in the 15th century and the scientific developments of the 17th century.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 03:57:18 pm


Charles H. Haskins, was the first historian to write extensively about a renaissance that ushered in
the High Middle Ages starting about 1070.

In 1927, he wrote that:

"[the 12th century in Europe] was in many respects an age of fresh and vigorous life.

The epoch of the Crusades, of the rise of towns, and of the earliest bureaucratic states of the
West, it saw the culmination of Romanesque art and the beginnings of Gothic; the emergence of
the vernacular literatures; the revival of the Latin classics and of Latin poetry and Roman law; the recovery of Greek science, with its Arabic additions, and of much of Greek philosophy; and the origin
of the first European universities.

The twelfth century left its signature on higher education, on the scholastic philosophy, on European systems of law, on architecture and sculpture, on the liturgical drama, on Latin and vernacular poetry..."

In Northern Europe, the Hanseatic League was founded in the 12th century, with the foundation of the city of Lübeck in 1158–1159. Many northern cities of the Holy Roman Empire became hanseatic cities, including Hamburg, Stettin, Bremen and Rostock. Hanseatic cities outside the Holy Roman Empire were, for instance, Bruges, London and the Polish city of Danzig (Gdańsk). In Bergen, Norway and Novgorod, Russia the league had factories and middlemen. In this period the Germans started colonising Eastern Europe beyond the Empire, into Prussia and Silesia.


In the late 13th century, a Venetian explorer named Marco Polo became one of the first Europeans to travel the Silk Road to China. Westerners became more aware of the Far East when Polo documented his travels in Il Milione. He was followed by numerous Christian missionnaries to the East, such as William of Rubruck, Giovanni da Pian del Carpini, Andrew of Longjumeau, Odoric of Pordenone, Giovanni de Marignolli, Giovanni di Monte Corvino, and other travellers such as Niccolò da Conti.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 03:59:54 pm

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 04:02:34 pm


              Averroes, founder of the Averroism school of philosophy,
              was influential in the rise of secular thought in Western Europe

Philosophical and scientific teaching of the Early Middle Ages was based upon few copies and commentaries of ancient Greek texts that remained in Western Europe after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Much of Europe had lost contact with the knowledge of the past. This scenario changed during the Renaissance of the 12th century. The increased contact with the Islamic world in Spain and Sicily, the Crusades, the Reconquista, as well as increased contact with Byzantium, allowed Europeans to seek and translate the works of Hellenic and Islamic philosophers and scientists, especially the works of Aristotle, Euclid, Ptolemy, Plotinus, Geber, al-Khwarizmi, Rhazes, Abulcasis, Alhacen, Avicenna, Avempace, and Averroes, among others. The development of medieval universities allowed them to aid materially in the translation and propagation of these texts and started a new infrastructure which was needed for scientific communities.

Medieval scholars sought to understand the geometric and harmonic principles by which God created the universe.  At the beginning of the 13th century there were reasonably accurate Latin translations
of the main works of almost all the intellectually crucial ancient authors, allowing a sound transfer of scientific ideas via both the universities and the monasteries. By then, the natural science contained
in these texts began to be extended by notable scholastics such as Robert Grosseteste, Roger Bacon, Albertus Magnus and Duns Scotus. Precursors of the modern scientific method can be seen already in Grosseteste's emphasis on mathematics as a way to understand nature, and in the empirical approach admired by Bacon, particularly in his Opus Majus.

The first half of the 14th century saw much important scientific work being done, largely within the framework of scholastic commentaries on Aristotle's scientific writings.  William of Ockham introduced the principle of parsimony: natural philosophers should not postulate unnecessary entities, so that motion is not a distinct thing but is only the moving object  and an intermediary "sensible species" is
not needed to transmit an image of an object to the eye.  Scholars such as Jean Buridan and Nicole Oresme started to reinterpret elements of Aristotle's mechanics. In particular, Buridan developed the theory that impetus was the cause of the motion of projectiles, which was a precursor of the modern concept of inertia.  Meanwhile, the Oxford Calculators began to mathematically analyze the kinematics of motion, conducting this analysis without considering the causes of motion.

Even though the devastation brought by the Black Death (mid 14th century) and other disasters sealed a sudden end to the previous period of massive philosophic and scientific development, two centuries later started the European Scientific Revolution, which may also be understood as a resumption of the process of scientific change halted during the crisis of the Late Middle Ages.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 04:05:12 pm


              A German manuscript page teaching use of arabic numerals
              (Talhoffer Thott, 1459).
              At this time, knowledge of the numerals was still widely seen
              as esoteric

During the 12th century in Europe, there was a radical change in the rate of new inventions and innovations
in the ways of managing traditional means of production and economic growth. In less than a century, there
were more inventions developed and applied usefully than in the previous thousand years of human history all
over the globe. The period saw major technological advances, including the adoption or invention of printing, gunpowder, spectacles, a better clock, the astrolabe, and greatly improved ships.

The latter two advances made possible the dawn of the Age of Exploration.

Alfred Crosby described some of this technological revolution in The Measure of Reality :
Quantification in Western Europe, 1250-1600 and other major historians of technology have also noted it.

The earliest written record of a windmill is from Yorkshire, England, dated 1185.

Paper manufacture began in Italy around 1270.

The spinning wheel was brought to Europe (probably from India) in the 13th century.

The magnetic compass aided navigation, first reaching Europe some time in the late 12th century.

Eyeglasses were invented in Italy in the late 1280s.

The astrolabe returned to Europe via Islamic Spain.

Leonardo of Pisa introduces Hindu-Arabic numerals to Europe with his book Liber Abaci in 1202.

The West's oldest known depiction of a stern-mounted rudder can be found on church carvings
dating to around 1180.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 04:08:07 pm


A new method of learning called scholasticism developed in the late 12th century from the rediscovery of the works of Aristotle; the works of medieval Jewish and Muslim philosophers influenced by him, notably Maimonides, Avicenna (see Avicennism) and Averroes (see Averroism); and the Christian philosophers influenced by them, most notably Albertus Magnus, Bonaventure and Abélard.

Those who practiced the scholastic method believed in empiricism and supporting Roman Catholic doctrines through secular study, reason, and logic.

They opposed Christian mysticism, and the Platonist-Augustinian beliefs in mind dualism and the view
of the world as inherently evil.

The most famous of the scholastic practitioners was Thomas Aquinas (later declared a "Doctor of the Church"), who led the move away from the Platonic and Augustinian and towards Aristotelianism. Using the scholastic method, Aquinas developed a philosophy of mind by writing that the mind was at birth a tabula rasa ("blank slate") that was given the ability to think and recognize forms or ideas through a divine spark.

Other notable scholastics included Roscelin, Peter Abelard, and Peter Lombard. One of the main questions during this time was the problem of the universals. Prominent non-scholastics of the time included Anselm of Canterbury, Peter Damian, Bernard of Clairvaux, and the Victorines.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 05:01:45 pm

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 05:06:15 pm

The Renaissance (from French Renaissance, meaning "rebirth"; Italian: Rinascimento, from re- "again" and nascere "be born") was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe.

The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historic era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not uniform, this is a very general use of the term.

As a cultural movement, it encompassed a revival of learning based on classical sources, the development of linear perspective in painting, and gradual but widespread educational reform.

Traditionally, this intellectual transformation has resulted in the Renaissance being viewed as a bridge between the Middle Ages and the Modern era. Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term "Renaissance men".

There is a general, but not unchallenged, consensus that the Renaissance began in Tuscany in the
14th century.  Various theories have been proposed to account for its origins and characteristics, focusing on a variety of factors including the social and civic peculiarities of Florence at the time;
its political structure; the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici; and the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Fall of Constantinople at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

The Renaissance has a long and complex historiography, and there has been much debate among historians as to the usefulness of Renaissance as a term and as a historical age.  Some have called
into question whether the Renaissance was a cultural "advance" from the Middle Ages, instead seeing
it as a period of pessimism and nostalgia for the classical age, while others have instead focused on
the continuity between the two eras.  Indeed, some have called for an end to the use of the term, which they see as a product of presentism – the use of history to validate and glorify modern ideals.
The word Renaissance has also been used to describe other historical and cultural movements, such
as the Carolingian Renaissance and the Renaissance of the 12th century.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 05:08:12 pm


                      Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man shows clearly the effect writers
                      of antiquity had on Renaissance thinkers.

                      Based on the specifications in Vitruvius's De architectura, da Vinci
                      tried to draw the perfectly proportioned man.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 05:12:56 pm

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life in the early modern period. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence affected literature, philosophy, art, politics, science, religion, and other aspects of intellectual enquiry. Renaissance scholars employed the humanist method in study, and searched for realism and human emotion in art.

Renaissance thinkers sought out learning from ancient texts, typically written in Latin or ancient Greek. Scholars scoured Europe's monastic libraries, searching for works of classical antiquity which had fallen into obscurity.

In such texts they found a desire to improve and perfect their worldly knowledge; an entirely different sentiment to the transcendental spirituality stressed by medieval Christianity. They did not reject Christianity; quite the contrary, many of the Renaissance's greatest works were devoted to it, and the Church patronized many works of Renaissance art. However, a subtle shift took place in the way that intellectuals approached religion that was reflected in many other areas of cultural life.

Artists such as Masaccio strove to portray the human form realistically, developing techniques to render perspective and light more naturally. Political philosophers, most famously Niccolò Machiavelli, sought to describe political life as it really was, and to improve government on the basis of reason. In addition to studying classical Latin and Greek, authors also began increasingly to use vernacular languages; combined with the invention of printing, this would allow many more people access to books, especially the Bible.

In all, the Renaissance could be viewed as an attempt by intellectuals to study and improve the secular and worldly, both through the revival of ideas from antiquity, and through novel approaches to thought.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 05:14:15 pm


Most historians agree that the ideas that characterized the Renaissance had their origin in late 13th century Florence, in particular with the writings of Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) and Francesco Petrarch (1304–1374), as well as the painting of Giotto di Bondone (1267–1337).  Yet it remains unsure why the Renaissance began in Italy, and why it began when it did. Accordingly, several theories have been put forward to explain its origins.
The Renaissance was so called because it was a "rebirth" of certain classical ideas that had long been lost to Western Europe. It has been argued that the fuel for this rebirth was the rediscovery of ancient texts that had been forgotten by Western civilization, but were preserved in the Byzantine Empire, the Islamic world, and some monastic libraries; and the translations of Greek and Arabic texts into Latin.

Renaissance scholars such as Niccolò de' Niccoli and Poggio Bracciolini scoured the libraries of Europe in search of works by such classical authors as Plato, Cicero, Pliny the Elder and Vitruvius.  Additionally, as the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from Islamic Moors progressed, numerous Greek and Arabic works were captured from educational institutions such as the library at Córdoba, which claimed to have 400,000 books.

The works of ancient Greek and Hellenistic writers (such as Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Ptolemy, and Plotinus) and Muslim scientists and philosophers (such as Geber, Abulcasis, Alhacen, Avicenna, Avempace, and Averroes), were reintroduced into the Western world, providing new intellectual material for European scholars. Particularly in the case of mathematical knowledge, most of the work of Muslim mathematicians assimilated into the world and can be attributed to many different fields. Indian mathmaticians had also had had an impact.

Greek and Arabic knowledge was not only assimilated from Spain, but also directly from the Greek and Arabic speaking world. The study of mathematics was flourishing in the Middle East, and mathematical knowledge was brought back by crusaders in the 13th century.  The decline of the Byzantine Empire after 1204 – and its eventual fall in 1453 accompanied by the closure of its universities by the Ottoman Turks – led to a sharp increase in the exodus of Greek scholars to Italy and beyond. These scholars brought with them texts and knowledge of the classical Greek civilization which had been lost for centuries in the West and they transmitted the art of exegesis.

The majority of the works of Greek Classical literature and Roman Law that survive to this day did so through Byzantium.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 05:19:56 pm


The unique political structures of late Middle Ages Italy have led some to theorize that its unusual social climate allowed the emergence of a rare cultural efflorescence. Italy did not exist as a political entity in the early modern period. Instead, it was divided into smaller city states and territories: the kingdom of Naples controlled the south, the Republic of Florence and the Papal States the center, the Genoese and the Milanese the north and west, and the Venetians the east. Fifteenth-century Italy was one of the most urbanised areas in Europe.Many of its cities stood among the ruins of ancient Roman buildings; it seems likely that the classical nature of the Renaissance was linked to its origin in the Roman Empire's heartlands.

Italy at this time was notable for its merchant Republics, including the Republic of Florence and the Republic of Venice. Although in practice these were oligarchical, and bore little resemblance to a modern democracy, the relative political freedom they afforded was conducive to academic and artistic advancement.

Likewise, the position of Italian cities such as Venice as great trading centres made them intellectual crossroads. Merchants brought with them ideas from far corners of the globe, particularly the Levant. Venice was Europe's gateway to trade with the East, and a producer of fine glass, while Florence was a capital of silk and jewelry. The wealth such business brought to Italy meant that large public and private artistic projects could be commissioned and individuals had more leisure time for study.

One theory that has been advanced is that the devastation caused by the Black Death in Florence (and elsewhere in Europe) resulted in a shift in the world view of people in 14th-century Italy. Italy was particularly badly hit by the plague, and it has been speculated that the familiarity with death that this brought thinkers to dwell more on their lives on Earth, rather than on spirituality and the afterlife.  It has also been argued that the Black Death prompted a new wave of piety, manifested in the sponsorship of religious works of art.  However, this does not fully explain why the Renaissance occurred specifically in Italy in the 14th century. The Black Death was a pandemic that affected all of Europe in the ways described, not only Italy. The Renaissance's emergence in Italy was most likely the result of the complex interaction of the above factors

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 05:31:00 pm



It has long been a matter of debate why the Renaissance began in Florence, and not elsewhere in Italy.

Scholars have noted several features unique to Florentine cultural life which may have caused such a cultural movement. Many have emphasized the role played by the Medici family in patronizing and stimulating the arts. Lorenzo de' Medici devoted huge sums to commissioning works from Florence's leading artists, including Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, and Michelangelo Buonarroti.

The Renaissance was certainly already underway before Lorenzo came to power; indeed, before the Medici family itself achieved hegemony in Florentine society. Some historians have postulated that Florence was the birthplace of the Renaissance as a result of luck, i.e. because "Great Men" were born there by chance.

Da Vinci, Botticelli and Michelangelo were all born in Tuscany. Arguing that such chance seems improbable, other historians have contended that these "Great Men" were only able to rise to prominence because of the prevailing cultural conditions at the time.

Humanism was not a philosophy per se, but rather a method of learning.

In contrast to the medieval scholastic mode, which focused on resolving contradictions between authors, humanists would study ancient texts in the original, and appraise them through a combination of reasoning and empirical evidence. Humanist education was based on the study of poetry, grammar, ethics and rhetoric. Above all, humanists asserted "the genius of man ... the unique and extraordinary ability of the human mind."

Humanist scholars shaped the intellectual landscape throughout the early modern period.

Political philosophers such as Niccolò Machiavelli and Thomas More revived the ideas of Greek and Roman thinkers, and applied them in critiques of contemporary government.

Theologians, notably Erasmus and Martin Luther, challenged the Aristotelian status quo, introducing radical new ideas of justification and faith

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 05:36:39 pm


One of the distinguishing features of Renaissance art was its development of highly realistic linear perspective. Giotto di Bondone (1267–1337) is credited with first treating a painting as a window into space, but it was not until the writings of architects Filippo Brunelleschi (1377–1446) and Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472) that perspective was formalized as an artistic technique.  The development of perspective was part of a wider trend towards realism in the arts.  To that end, painters also developed other techniques, studying light, shadow, and, famously in the case of Leonardo da Vinci, human anatomy. Underlying these changes in artistic method was a renewed desire to depict the beauty of nature, and to unravel the axioms of aesthetics, with the works of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael representing artistic pinnacles that were to be much imitated by other artists.  Other notable artists include Sandro Botticelli, working for the Medici in Florence, Donatello another Florentine and Titian in Venice, among others.

Concurrently, in the Netherlands, a particularly vibrant artistic culture developed, the work of Hugo van der Goes and Jan van Eyck having particular influence on the development of painting in Italy, both technically with the introduction of oil paint and canvas, and stylistically in terms of naturalism in representation. (for more, see Renaissance in the Netherlands). Later, the work of Pieter Brueghel the Elder would inspire artists to depict themes of everyday life.

In architecture, Filippo Brunelleschi was foremost in studying the remains of ancient Classical buildings, and with rediscovered knowledge from the 1st-century writer Vitruvius and the flourishing discipline of mathematics, formulated the Renaissance style which emulated and improved on classical forms. Brunelleschi's major feat of engineering was the building of the dome of Florence Cathedral.  The first building to demonstrate this is claimed to be the church of St. Andrew built by Alberti in Mantua. The outstanding architectural work of the High Renaissance was the rebuilding of St. Peter's Basilica, combining the skills of Bramante, Michelangelo, Raphael, Sangallo and Maderno.

The Roman orders types of columns are used: Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite. These can either be structural, supporting an arcade or architrave, or purely decorative, set against a wall in the form of pilasters. During the Renaissance, architects aimed to use columns, pilasters, and entablatures as an integrated system. One of the first buildings to use pilasters as an integrated system was in the Old Sacristy (1421–1440) by Filippo Brunelleschi.

Arches, semi-circular or (in the Mannerist style) segmental, are often used in arcades, supported on piers or columns with capitals. There may be a section of entablature between the capital and the springing of the arch. Alberti was one of the first to use the arch on a monumental. Renaissance vaults do not have ribs. They are semi-circular or segmental and on a square plan, unlike the Gothic vault which is frequently rectangular.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 05:45:57 pm


                                   GALILEO GALILEI

The upheavals occurring in the arts and humanities were mirrored by a dynamic period of change in the sciences. Some have seen this flurry of activity as a "scientific revolution," heralding the beginning of the modern age.  Others have seen it merely as an acceleration of a continuous process stretching from the ancient world to the present day.  Regardless, there is general agreement that the Renaissance saw significant changes in the way the universe was viewed and the methods with which philosophers sought to explain natural phenomena.

Science and art were very much intermingled in the early Renaissance, with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci making observational drawings of anatomy and nature. Yet the most significant development of the era was not a specific discovery, but rather a process for discovery, the scientific method.  This revolutionary new way of learning about the world focused on empirical evidence, the importance of mathematics, and discarding the Aristotelian "final cause" in favor of a mechanical philosophy. Early and influential proponents of these ideas included Copernicus and Galileo.

The new scientific method led to great contributions in the fields of astronomy, physics, biology, and anatomy. With the publication of Vesalius's De humani corporis fabrica, a new confidence was placed in the role of dissection, observation, and a mechanistic view of anatomy

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 05:52:22 pm



It should be emphasized that the new ideals of humanism, although more secular in some aspects, developed against an unquestioned Christian backdrop, especially in the Northern Renaissance. Indeed, much (if not most) of the new art was commissioned by or in dedication to the Church.

However, the Renaissance had a profound effect on contemporary theology, particularly in the way people perceived the relationship between man and God.  Many of the period's foremost theologians were followers of the humanist method, including Erasmus, Zwingli, Thomas More, Martin Luther, and John Calvin.

The Renaissance began in times of religious turmoil. The late Middle Ages saw a period of political intrigue surrounding the Papacy, culminating in the Western Schism, in which three men simultaneously claimed to be true Bishop of Rome.

While the schism was resolved by the Council of Constance (1414), the 15th century saw a resulting reform movement know as Conciliarism, which sought to limit the pope's power. Although the papacy eventually emerged supreme in ecclesiastical matters by the Fifth Council of the Lateran (1511), it was dogged by continued accusations of corruption, most famously in the person of Pope Alexander VI, who was accused variously of simony, nepotism and fathering four illegitimate children whilst Pope, whom he married off to gain more power.

Churchmen such as Erasmus and Luther proposed reform to the Church, often based on humanist textual criticism of the New Testament. Indeed, it was Luther who in October 1517 published the 95 Theses, challenging papal authority and criticizing its perceived corruption, particularly with regard to its sale of indulgences.

The 95 Theses led to the Reformation, a break with the Roman Catholic Church that previously claimed hegemony in Western Europe. Humanism and the Renaissance therefore played a direct role in sparking the Reformation, as well as in many other contemporaneous religious debates and conflicts.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 06:03:16 pm


By the 15th century, writers, artists and architects in Italy were well aware of the transformations that were taking place and were using phrases like modi antichi (in the antique manner) or alle romana et alla antica
(in the manner of the Romans and the ancients) to describe their work.

The term 'La Rinascita' first appeared, however, in its broad sense in Giorgio Vasari's 'Vite de' più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori Italiani' (The Lives of the Artists, 1550, revised 1568). Vasari divides the age into three phases:

the first phase contains Cimabue, Giotto, and Arnolfo di Cambio;

the second phase contains Masaccio, Brunelleschi, and Donatello;

the third centers on Leonardo da Vinci and culminates with Michelangelo.

It was not just the growing awareness of classical antiquity that drove this development, according
to Vasari, but also the growing desire to study and imitate nature.

In the 15th century the Renaissance spread with great speed from its birthplace in Florence, first to
the rest of Italy, and soon to the rest of Europe.

The invention of the printing press allowed the rapid transmission of these new ideas. As it spread, its ideas diversified and changed, being adapted to local culture.

In the 20th century, scholars began to break the Renaissance into regional and national movements, including:

The Italian Renaissance

The English Renaissance

The German Renaissance

The Northern Renaissance

The French Renaissance

The Renaissance in the Netherlands

The Polish Renaissance

The Spanish Renaissance

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 06:08:13 pm


                CHARLES VIII OF FRANCE

The Renaissance as it occurred in Northern Europe has been termed the "Northern Renaissance".

It arrived first in France, imported by King Charles VIII after his invasion of Italy. Another factor that promoted the spread of secularism was the Church's inability to offer assistance against the Black Death. Francis I imported Italian art and artists, including Leonardo Da Vinci, and built ornate palaces
at great expense. Writers such as François Rabelais, Pierre de Ronsard, Joachim du Bellay and Michel
de Montaigne, painters such as Jean Clouet and musicians such as Jean Mouton also borrowed from
the spirit of the Italian Renaissance.

In the second half of the 15th century, Italians brought the new style to Poland and Hungary. After
the marriage in 1476 of Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, to Beatrix of Naples, Buda became the one of the most important artistic centres of the Renaissance north of the Alps.  The most important humanists living in Matthias' court were Antonio Bonfini and Janus Pannonius.  In 1526 the Ottoman conquest of Hungary put an abrupt end to the short-lived Hungarian Renaissance.

An early Italian humanist who came to Poland in the mid-15th century was Filip Callimachus. Many Italian artists came to Poland with Bona Sforza of Milano, when she married King Zygmunt I of Poland
in 1518.  This was supported by temporarily strengthened monarchies in both areas, as well as by
newly-established universities.

The spirit of the age spread from France to the Low Countries and Germany, and finally by the late
16th century to England, Scandinavia, and remaining parts of Central Europe. In these areas humanism became closely linked to the turmoil of the Protestant Reformation, and the art and writing of the German Renaissance frequently reflected this dispute.

In England, the Elizabethan era marked the beginning of the English Renaissance with the work of writers William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, John Milton, and Edmund Spenser, as well as great artists, architects (such as Inigo Jones), and composers such as Thomas Tallis, John Taverner, and William Byrd.

The Renaissance arrived in the Iberian peninsula through the Mediterranean possessions of the Aragonese Crown and the city of Valencia. Early Iberian Renaissance writers include Ausiàs March, Joanot Martorell, Fernando de Rojas, Juan del Encina, Garcilaso de la Vega, Gil Vicente and Bernardim Ribeiro. The late Renaissance in Spain saw writers such as Miguel de Cervantes, Lope de Vega, Luis de Góngora and Tirso de Molina, artists such as El Greco and composers such as Tomás Luis de Victoria.
In Portugal writers such as Sá de Miranda and Luís de Camões and artists such as Nuno Gonçalves appeared.

While Renaissance ideas were moving north from Italy, there was a simultaneous southward spread
of innovation, particularly in music.  The music of the 15th century Burgundian School defined the beginning of the Renaissance in that art and the polyphony of the Netherlanders, as it moved with the musicians themselves into Italy, formed the core of what was the first true international style in music since the standardization of Gregorian Chant in the 9th century.  The culmination of the Netherlandish school was in the music of the Italian composer, Palestrina. At the end of the 16th century Italy again became a center of musical innovation, with the development of the polychoral style of the Venetian School, which spread northward into Germany around 1600.

The paintings of the Italian Renaissance differed from those of the Northern Renaissance. Italian Renaissance artists were among the first to paint secular scenes, breaking away from the purely religious art of medieval painters. At first, Northern Renaissance artists remained focused on religious subjects, such as the contemporary religious upheaval portrayed by Albrecht Dürer. Later on, the works of Pieter Bruegel influenced artists to paint scenes of daily life rather than religious or classical themes. It was also during the northern Renaissance that Flemish brothers Hubert and Jan van Eyck perfected the oil painting technique, which enabled artists to produce strong colors on a hard surface that could survive for centuries.

A distinctive feature of the Northern Renaissance was its use of the vernacular in place of Latin or Greek, which allowed greater freedom of expression. The spread of the technology of the printing press, also invented in the North, gave a major boost to the Renaissance, first in Northern Europe and then elsewhere.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 06:11:08 pm


              GIORGIO VASARI

The term was first used retrospectively by the Italian artist and critic Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) in his book 'The Lives of the Artists' (published 1550). In the book Vasari was attempting to define what he described as a break with the barbarities of gothic art: the arts had fallen into decay with the collapse of the Roman Empire and only the Tuscan artists, beginning with Cimabue (1240–1301) and Giotto (1267–1337) began to reverse this decline in the arts. According to Vasari, antique art was central to the rebirth of Italian art.

However, it was not until the nineteenth century that the French word Renaissance achieved popularity in describing the cultural movement that began in the late-13th century. The Renaissance was first defined by French historian Jules Michelet (1798–1874), in his 1855 work, Histoire de France. For Michelet, the Renaissance was more a development in science than in art and culture. He asserted that it spanned the period from Columbus to Copernicus to Galileo; that is, from the end of the 15th century to the middle of the seventeenth century.   Moreover, Michelet distinguished between what he called, "the bizarre and monstrous" quality of the Middle Ages and the democratic values that he, as a vocal Republican, chose to see in its character.  A French nationalist, Michelet also sought to claim the Renaissance as a French movement.

The Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt (1818–1897) in his Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien, by contrast, defined the Renaissance as the period between Giotto and Michelangelo in Italy, that is, the 14th to mid-16th centuries. He saw in the Renaissance the emergence of the modern spirit of individuality, which had been stifled in the Middle Ages.  His book was widely read and was influential in the development of the modern interpretation of the Italian Renaissance.  However, Buckhardt has been accused of setting forth a linear Whiggish view of history in seeing the Renaissance as the origin of the modern world.

More recently, historians have been much less keen to define the Renaissance as a historical age, or even a coherent cultural movement. As Randolph Starn has put it,

Rather than a period with definitive beginnings and endings and consistent content in between, the Renaissance can be (and occasionally has been) seen as a movement of practices and ideas to which specific groups and identifiable persons variously responded in different times and places. It would be in this sense a network of diverse, sometimes converging, sometimes conflicting cultures, not a single, time-bound culture.

—Randolph Starn

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 06:14:38 pm


               Jacob Burckhardt - Historian

Much of the debate around the Renaissance has centered around whether the Renaissance truly
was an "improvement" on the culture of the Middle Ages. Both Michelet and Burckhardt were keen
to describe the progress made in the Renaissance towards the "modern age".

Burckhardt likened the change to a veil being removed from man's eyes, allowing him to see clearly.

"In the Middle Ages both sides of human consciousness – that which was turned within as that which

was turned without – lay dreaming or half awake beneath a common veil. The veil was woven of faith,

illusion, and childish prepossession, through which the world and history were seen clad in strange hues."

—Jacob Burckhardt, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy

On the other hand, many historians now point out that most of the negative social factors popularly associated with the "medieval" period – poverty, warfare, religious and political persecution, for example – seem to have worsened in this era which saw the rise of Machiavelli, the Wars of Religion, the corrupt Borgia Popes, and the intensified witch-hunts of the 16th century. Many people who lived during the Renaissance did not view it as the "golden age" imagined by certain 19th-century authors, but were concerned by these social maladies.

Significantly, though, the artists, writers, and patrons involved in the cultural movements in question believed they were living in a new era that was a clean break from the Middle Ages.[40] Some Marxist historians prefer to describe the Renaissance in material terms, holding the view that the changes in art, literature, and philosophy were part of a general economic trend away from feudalism towards capitalism, resulting in a bourgeois class with leisure time to devote to the arts.

Johan Huizinga (1872–1945) acknowledged the existence of the Renaissance but questioned whether it was a positive change. In his book The Waning of the Middle Ages, he argued that the Renaissance was a period of decline from the High Middle Ages, destroying much that was important.

The Latin language, for instance, had evolved greatly from the classical period and was still a living language used in the church and elsewhere. The Renaissance obsession with classical purity halted its further evolution and saw Latin revert to its classical form. Robert S. Lopez has contended that it was a period of deep economic recession.  Meanwhile George Sarton and Lynn Thorndike have both argued that scientific progress was perhaps less original than has traditionally been supposed.

Historians have begun to consider the word Renaissance to be unnecessarily loaded, implying an unambiguously positive rebirth from the supposedly more primitive "Dark Ages" (Middle Ages). Many historians now prefer to use the term "Early Modern" for this period, a more neutral designation that highlights the period as a transitional one between the Middle Ages and the modern era.

Post by: Bianca on October 12, 2008, 06:19:36 pm


                                                     THE ITALIAN RENAISSANCE:

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 01:22:07 pm

                                       T H E   N O R T H E R N   R E N A I S S A N C E

From Wikipedia,
the free encyclopedia

The Northern Renaissance is the term used to describe the Renaissance in northern Europe, or more broadly in Europe outside Italy. Before 1450 Italian Renaissance humanism had little influence outside Italy. From the late 15th century the ideas spread around Europe. The resulting German Renaissance, French Renaissance, English Renaissance, Renaissance in the Netherlands, Polish Renaissance and other national and localized movements had different characteristics and strengths, however.

In France, King Francis I imported Italian art, commissioned Italian artists (including Leonardo da Vinci), and built grand palaces at great expense, beginning the French Renaissance. Trade and commerce in cities like Bruges in the 15th century and Antwerp in the 16th increased cultural exchange between Italy and the Low Countries, however in art, and especially architecture, late Gothic influences remained present until the arrival of Baroque even as painters increasingly drew on Italian models.

Universities and the printed book helped spread the spirit of the age spread through France, the Low Countries and the Holy Roman Empire, and then to Scandinavia and finally Britain by the late 16th century. Writers and humanists such as Rabelais, Pierre de Ronsard and Desiderius Erasmus were greatly influenced by the Italian Renaissance model and were part of the same intellectual movement. During the English Renaissance (which overlapped with the Elizabethan era) writers such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe composed works of lasting influence. The Renaissance was brought to Poland directly from Italy by artists from Florence and the Low Countries, starting the Polish Renaissance.

In some areas the Northern Renaissance was distinct from the Italian Renaissance in its centralization
of political power. While Italy and Germany were dominated by independent city-states, parts of central and western Europe began emerging as nation-states. The Northern Renaissance was also closely linked to the Protestant Reformation and the long series of internal and external conflicts between various Protestant groups and the Roman Catholic Church had lasting effects, such as the division of the Netherlands.

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 01:24:42 pm


Reproduction of Johann Gutenberg-era Press on display at the
Printing History Museum in Lyon, France.

The development of printing press had great impact on
North European Renaissance

Western Europe was more uniformly under the embrace of feudalism than Northern Italy.

This economic system had dominated western Europe for a thousand years, but was on the decline at the beginning of the Renaissance. The reasons for this decline include the post-plague environment,
the increasing use of money rather than land as a medium of exchange, the growing number of serfs
living as freedmen, the formation of nation-states with monarchies interested in reducing the power of feudal lords, the increasing uselessness of feudal armies in the face of new military technology (such as gunpowder), and a general increase in agricultural productivity due to improving farming technology and methods.

As in Italy, the decline of feudalism opened the way for the cultural, social, and economic changes associated with the Renaissance in western Europe.

Finally, the Renaissance in western Europe would also be kindled by a weakening of the Roman Catholic Church. The seeming inability of the church to help with the devastating Black Plague and the Western Schism tore Europe apart.

The slow demise of feudalism also weakened a long-established policy in which church officials helped keep the population of the manor under control in return for tribute. Consequently, the early 15th century saw the rise of many secular institutions and beliefs.

Among the most significant of these, humanism, would lay the philosophical grounds for much of Renaissance art, music, and science. Desiderius Erasmus, for example, was important in spreading humanist ideas in the north, and was a central figure at the intersection of classical humanism and mounting religious questions. Forms of artistic expression which a century ago would have been banned by the church were now tolerated or even encouraged in certain circles.

The velocity of transmission of the Renaissance throughout Europe can also be ascribed to the invention of the printing press. Its power to disseminate knowledge enhanced scientific research, spread political ideas and generally impacted the course of the Renaissance in northern Europe. As in Italy, the printing press increased the availability of books written in both vernacular languages and the publication of new and ancient classical texts in Greek and Latin.

Furthermore, the Bible became widely available in translation, a factor often attributed to the spread of the Protestant Reformation.

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 01:27:35 pm

The Ghent Altarpiece (interior view) by Hubert van Eyck, painted 1432.
Cathedral of Saint Bavo, Ghent, Belgium.

Early Netherlandish painting often included complicated iconography, and art historians have debated the "hidden symbolism" of works by artists like Hubert and Jan van Eyck.

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 01:46:07 pm

                                                            A R T

The detailed realism of Early Netherlandish painting, with masters such as Robert Campin, Jan van
Eyck, and Rogier van der Weyden, was greatly respected in Italy, but there was little reciprocal influence on the North until nearly the end of the 15th century.[2] Despite frequent cultural and
artistic exchange, the Antwerp Mannerists (1500–1530)—chronologically overlapping with but un-
related to Italian Mannerism—were among the first artists in the Low Countries to clearly reflect
Italian formal developments.

Around the same time, Albrecht Dürer made his two trips to Italy, where he was greatly admired
for his prints. Dürer, in turn, was influenced by the art he saw there. Other notable painters, such
as Hans Holbein and Jean Fouquet, retained a Gothic influence that was still popular in the north,
while highly individualistic artists such as Hieronymus Bosch and Pieter Bruegel the Elder developed styles that were imitated by many subsequent generations. Northern painters in the 16th century increasingly looked and travelled to Rome, becoming known as the Romanists. The High Renaissance
art of Michelangelo and Raphael and the late Renaissance stylistic tendencies of Mannerism that were
in vogue had a great impact on their work.

Renaissance humanism and the large number of surviving classical artworks and monuments encouraged many Italian painters to explore Greek and Roman themes more prominently than northern artists, and likewise the most famous 15th-century German and Netherlandish paintings tend to be religious. Especially common are winged polyptychs, from the monumental to the portable, that could be opened and closed on different days of the liturgical year. In the 16th century, mythological and other themes from history became more uniform amongst northern and Italian artists. Northern Renaissance painters, however, took the leading role in establishing new subject matter, such as landscape and genre painting.

As Renaissance art styles moved through northern Europe, they changed and were adapted to local circumstances. In England and the northern Netherlands the Reformation brought religious painting almost completely to an end. Despite several very talented Artists of the Tudor Court in England, portrait painting was slow to spread from the courts. In France the School of Fontainebleau was begun by Italians such as Rosso Fiorentino in the latest Mannerist style, but succeeded in establishing a durable national style. By the end of the 16th century, artists such as Karel van Mander and Hendrik Goltzius collected in Haarlem after studying in Italy and firmly established the Romanist tendencies of Mannerism there.

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 01:48:11 pm

                                                 T H E   A G E   O F   D I S C O V E R Y

Perhaps the most important technological development of the Renaissance was the invention of the caravelle, 
the first truly oceangoing ship.

This combination of European and Arab ship building technologies for the first time made extensive trade and
travel over the Atlantic feasible.

While first introduced by the Italian states, and the early captains, such as Christopher Columbus and Giovanni Caboto, who were Italian, the development would end Northern Italy’s role as the trade crossroads of Europe, shifting wealth and power westwards to Spain, Portugal, France, and England.

These states all began to conduct extensive trade with Africa and Asia, and in the Americas began extensive colonisation activities. This period of exploration and expansion has become known as the Age of Discovery.

Eventually European power, and also Renaissance art and ideals, spread around the globe.

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 01:54:08 pm


Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 01:57:31 pm

The prelude to the Age of Exploration was a series of European expeditions crossing Eurasia by land
in the late Middle Ages.

While the Mongols had threatened Europe with pillage and destruction, the Mongol states also unified much of Eurasia creating trade routes and communication lines stretching from the Middle East to China.

A series of Europeans took advantage of these to explore eastwards.

These were almost all Italians as the trade between Europe and the Middle East was almost completely controlled by traders from the Italian city states. The close Italian links to the Levant created great curiosity and commercial interest in countries which lay further east.

Christian leaders, such as Prince Henry the Navigator, also launched expeditions in hopes of finding converts, or the fabled Prester John. There were many different types of causes and effects on the
Age Of Exploration.

The first of these travelers was Giovanni de Plano Carpini who journeyed to Mongolia and back from 1241–1247.

The most famous traveler, however, was Marco Polo who wrote of journeys throughout Asia from 1271 to 1295 in which he described being a guest at the Yuan Dynasty court of Kublai Khan. His journey was written up as Travels and the work was read throughout Europe.

In 1439, Niccolò Da Conti published an account of his travels to India and Southeast Asia. In 1466-1472, a Russian merchant Afanasy Nikitin of Tver described travels to India in his book A Journey Beyond the Three Seas.

These journeys had little immediate effect.

The Mongol Empire collapsed almost as quickly as it formed and soon the route to the east became
far more difficult and dangerous.

The Black Death of the fourteenth century also blocked travel and trade.

The land route to the East was controlled by Mediterranean commercial interests and Islamic empires that both controlled the flow and price of goods. The rise of the aggressive and expansionist Ottoman Empire further limited the possibilities of European overland trade.

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 01:59:02 pm


The economically important Silk Road and Spice (Eastern) trade routes became blocked by the Ottoman
Empire, spurring exploration motivated initially by the finding of a sea route around Africa.

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 02:03:07 pm


                            The Santa Maria at anchor by Andries van Eertvelt,
                            painted c. 1628,
                            shows the famous carrack of Christopher Columbus.

It was not until the carrack and then the caravelle were developed in Iberia that Western Europeans
seriously considered Asiatic trade and oceanic exploration.

One factor was the lack of Christian European access to the spice and silk trade, for the eastern trade
routes had become controlled by the Ottoman Empire after the Turks took control of Constantinople in
1453, and they barred Europeans from those trade routes, as they did through
North Africa and the historically important combined-land-sea routes via the Red Sea.

Both spice and silk were big businesses of the day, and arguably, spices which were both used as preser-
vatives and used to disguise the taste of poorly preserved foods were something of a necessity—at least
to those Europeans of better than modest means

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 02:14:30 pm


                  The Fra Mauro map (1459) in Venice, provided one of the first practical descriptions of
                  Europe, Africa and Asia.

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 02:19:32 pm

                       English Cartographer Edward Wrights Portolan chart for sailing
                       to the recently discovered Azores.

The first great wave of expeditions was launched by Portugal under Prince Henry the Navigator.

European sailing practices before Prince Henry had been primarily coastal. Voyages out of sight of land relied on proven routes detailed in a portolan chart.

Portolan charts showed details of geographic land features, allowing navigators to identify their departure point, follow a compass heading, and on landfall identify their position and drift from the
newly presented land features.

Due to the risks involved in this process, European sailors avoided sailing beyond sight of land for extended periods. A number of nautical myths explained these risks in terms of oceanic monsters
or an edge of the world.

Prince Henry's navigation challenged this belief.

The Madeira Islands were discovered in the Atlantic ocean in 1419, and in 1427 the Azores.

The Portuguese settled these islands as colonies.

Henry the Navigator's primary project was exploration of the West Coast of Africa and development of useful portolan charts.

There were commercial, regal and religious motivations for Henry's endeavor.

For centuries the only trade routes linking West Africa with the Mediterranean world were over the Western Sahara Desert. These routes bringing slaves and gold were controlled by the Muslim states of North Africa, long rivals to Portugal and Spain. The Portuguese monarchy hoped that the Islamic nations could be bypassed by trading directly with West Africa by sea. It was also hoped that south of the Sahara the states would be Christian and potential allies against the Muslims in the Maghreb.In 1434 the Portuguese explorers surmounted the obstacle of Cape Bojador. In the bull Romanus Pontifex the trade monopoly for newly discovered countries beyond Cape Bojador was granted to the Portuguese.

Within two decades of Portuguese exploration, the barrier of the Sahara had been overcome and trade in slaves and gold began in what is today Senegal. A trading fort was built at Elmina. Cape Verde became the first sugar producing colony. 

In 1482 an expedition under Diogo Cão made contact with the Kingdom of Kongo.

The crucial breakthrough was in 1487 when Bartolomeu Dias rounded (and later named) the Cape of Good Hope and proved that access to the Indian Ocean was possible from the Atlantic.

In 1498 Vasco da Gama made good on this promise by reaching India.

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 02:28:32 pm

A Japanese Portolan chart of the Indian Ocean environs

(ca. early 1600s)

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 02:31:49 pm


The Cantino planisphere (1502), one of the oldest surviving Portuguese nautical charts, showing the results of the explorations of Vasco da Gama's to India, Columbus' to Central America and Pedro Álvares Cabral's to Brazil.

The meridian of Tordesillas, separating the Portuguese and Spanish halves of the world is also depicted

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 02:40:18 pm

Portugal's rival Castile had been somewhat slower than its neighbour to begin exploring the Atlantic,
and it was not until late in the fifteenth and Castile and the completion of the reconquista that the large
nation became fully committed to looking for new trade routes and colonies overseas. In 1492
the joint rulers of the nation conquered the Moorish kingdom of Granada, that had been providing
Castile with African goods through tribute, and they decided to fund Christopher Columbus' expe-
dition that they hoped would bypass Portugal's lock on Africa and the Indian Ocean reaching Asia by travelling

Columbus did not reach Asia, but rather found what was to the Europeans a New World: America. In 1500, the Portuguese navigator, Pedro Álvares Cabral explored the land that is today called Brazil. For the two European monarchies a division of influence became necessary to avoid conflict.

This was resolved by Papal intervention in 1494 when the Treaty of Tordesillas divided the world between the
two powers.

The Portuguese "received" everything outside of Europe east of a line that ran 270 leagues west of
the Cape Verde islands; this gave them control over Africa, Asia and eastern South America (Brazil).
The Spanish received everything west of this line, territory that was still almost completely unknown,
and proved to be mostly the western part of the American continent plus the Pacific Ocean islands.

Columbus and other Spanish explorers were initially disappointed with their discoveries - unlike Africa
or Asia the Caribbean islanders had little to trade with the Spanish ships. The islands thus became the
focus of colonization efforts.

It was not until the continent itself was explored that Spain found the wealth it had sought in the
form of abundant gold. In the Americas the Spanish found a number of empires that were as large
and populous as those in Europe. However, small bodies of Spanish conquistadors, with large armies
of indigenous Americans groups, managed to conquer these states. The most notable amongst the
conquered states were the Aztec empire in Mexico (conquered in 1521) and the Inca empire in modern
Peru and Ecuador (conquered in 1532).

During this time, pandemics of European disease such as smallpox devastated the indigenous populations.
Once Spanish sovereignty was established, the Spanish focused on the extraction and export of gold and

In 1519 the Spanish crown funded the expedition of the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan.
The goal of the mission was to find the Spice Islands by traveling west, which would place the islands
in Spain's economic and political sphere.  The expedition managed to cross the Pacific Ocean and reach the
Spice Islands, and was the first to circumnavigate the world upon its return three years later. Magellan died
in the Pacific, leaving the Spaniard Juan Sebastián Elcano the task of completing the voyage.

The expedition was a failure in the sense that its route was impractical.

The Strait of Magellan was too far south and the Pacific Ocean too vast. It was not a realistic alternative to
the Portuguese route around Africa.

The Spanish were able to establish a presence in the Pacific, but not based on Magellan's voyage. Rather, a
cross-Pacific route was established, by other explorers, between Mexico and the Philippines. The eastbound
route to the Philippines first sailed by Alvaro de Saavedra in 1527. The westbound re-
turn route was harder to find, but was eventually discovered by Andrés de Urdaneta in 1565.

For a long time these routes were used by the Manila galleons, thereby creating a trade link joining China,
the Americas, and Europe via the trans-Pacific and trans-Atlantic routes.

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 02:44:51 pm

Portuguese exploration and colonization continued despite the new rivalry with Spain. The Portuguese became the first Westerners to reach and trade with Japan. Under the King Manuel I the Portuguese crown launched a scheme to keep control of the lands and trade routes that had been declared theirs. The strategy was to build a series of forts that would allow them to control all the major trade routes of the east. Thus forts and colonies were established on the Gold Coast, Luanda, Mozambique, Zanzibar, Mombassa, Socotra, Ormuz, Calcutta, Goa, Bombay, Malacca, Macau, and Timor.

Portugal had difficulty expanding its empire inland and concentrated mostly on the coastal areas.

Over time the Portuguese state proved to simply be too small to provide the funds and manpower sufficient to manage and defend such a massive and dispersed venture. The forts spread across the world were chronically undermanned and ill-equipped. They could not compete with the larger powers that slowly encroached on its empire and trade.

The days of near monopoly of east trade were numbered.

In 1580 the Spanish King Philip II became also King of Portugal, as rightful heir to the Crown after his cousin Sebastião died without sons (Philip II of Spain was grandson of Manuel I of Portugal).

The combined empires were simply too big to go unchallenged.

The Dutch, French and English explorers ignored the Papal division of the world. The principle of a free seafaring trade was justified in the concept of Mare Liberum by the Dutch jurist Hugo Grotius whose practical application of the principles of international law drew on the work of Spanish theorists such
as Fernando Vazquez and the School of Salamanca.

During the 17th century as the Dutch, English and French established ever more trading posts in the east, at the expense of Portugal, the wealth gained added to their military might while Portugal's weakened as it lost trading posts and colonies in West Africa, the Middle East and the Far East.

Bombay was given away to the English as a marriage gift.

Some, like Macau, East Timor, Goa, Angola, and Mozambique, as well as Brazil, remained in Portuguese possession.

The Dutch attempted to conquer Brazil, and at one time controlled almost half of the occupied territory, but were eventually defeated.

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 02:49:24 pm

The nations outside of Iberia refused to acknowledge the Treaty of Tordesillas.

France, the Netherlands and England each had a long maritime tradition and, despite Iberian protections, the new technologies and maps soon made their way north.

The first Northern European mission (1497) was that of the English expedition led by the Italian, John Cabot (Giovanni Caboto). It was the first of a series of French and English missions exploring North America.

Spain put limited efforts into exploring the northern part of the Americas as its resources were fully stretched by its efforts in Central and South America where more wealth had been found.

In 1524, Giovanni da Verrazzano became the first recorded European to visit the East Coast of the present-day United States.

The expeditions of Cabot, Jacques Cartier (first voyage 1534) and others were mainly hoping to find
an oceanic Northwest Passage to Asian trade. This was never discovered, but in their travels other possibilities were found and in the early seventeenth century colonists from a number of Northern European states began to settle on the east coast of North America.

It was the Northern Europeans who also became the great rivals to the Portuguese in Africa and
around the Indian Ocean.

The Dutch, French, and English sent ships which flouted the Portuguese monopoly. They also founded trading forts and colonies of their own.

Gradually the Portuguese and Spanish market share declined.

The Northern Europeans also took the lead in exploring the last unknown regions of the Pacific Ocean and the North-American west coast.

Dutch explorers such as Willem Jansz and Abel Tasman explored the coasts of Australia while in the eighteenth century it was English explorer James Cook who mapped much of Polynesia. Cook travelled
as far as Alaska, leaving his mark with place names on Bristol Bay and Turnagain Arm in Alaska.

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 02:51:39 pm

17Th Century 64-Gun British Ship

The Age of Exploration ended in the early seventeenth century.

By this time European vessels were sufficiently well built and their navigators competent enough
to travel to virtually anywhere on the planet by sea.

European naval exploration continued.

The east coast of Australia was first explored in 1770.

Arctic and Antarctic seas were not explored until the 19th century.

It took much longer for Europeans to explore the interiors of continents.

Africa's deep interior was not explored by Europeans until the mid to late 19th and early 20th
centuries, due to a lack of trade potential in this region, and to serious problems with contagious tropical diseases in sub-Saharan Africa

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 02:53:35 pm

The new trans-oceanic links and their domination by the European powers led directly to the Age of Imperialism, where European colonial powers came to control most of the planet. The European appetite for trade, commodities, empire and slaves greatly affected many other areas of the world.

Spain participated in the destruction of wealthy oppressive empires in America, only to substitute their own brutal rule.

New religions were forced onto people, as were new languages, sexual and political cultures.

In areas of the Americas where states did not exist, but the land was perceived by Europeans to be desirable; Europeans ethnically cleansed the local inhabitants, traded with their new neighbours, and
set off economic changes which impacted deep within the continent.

Similarly, in coastal Africa, local states supplied the appetite of European slave traders, changing the complexion of coastal African states and fundamentally altering the nature of African slavery, causing impacts on societies and economies deep inland.

Aboriginal Peoples were living in North America at this time and still do today. There were many conflicts between Europeans and Natives. The Europeans had many advantages over the Natives. They gave them diseases that they had not been exposed to before and this wiped out 50-90% of their population.

Post by: Bianca on November 02, 2008, 02:55:51 pm


As a wider variety of global luxury commodities entered the European markets by sea, previous
European markets for luxury goods stagnated.

The Atlantic trade largely supplanted pre-existing Italian and German trading powers which had relied
on their Baltic, Russian and Islamic trade links.

The new commodities also caused social change, as sugar, spices, silks and chinawares entered the luxury markets of Europe. Additionally, the increase in wealth experienced by Spain coincided with a major inflationary cycle, both within Spain and within Europe generally.

Within a few decades American mines were outproducing European mines. The increase in prices as a result of currency circulation fueled the growth of the commercial middle class in Europe, which would come to influence the politics and culture of many countries.