|AP European Studies
Study Guide: Medieval Legacies and Transforming Discoveries
College Board Overview
Three trends shaped early modern political development: (1) from decentralized power and authority toward centralization; (2) from a political elite consisting primarily of hereditary landed nobility toward one open to men distinguished by their education, skills, and wealth; and (3) from religious toward secular norms of law and justice.
One innovation promoting state centralization and the transformation of the landed nobility was the new dominance of firearms and artillery on the battlefield. The introduction of these new technologies, along with changes in tactics and strategy, amounted to a military revolution that reduced the role of mounted knights and castles, raised the cost of maintaining military power beyond the means of individual lords and led to professionalization of the military on land and sea under the authority of the sovereign. This military revolution favored rulers who could command the resources required for building increasingly complex fortifications and fielding disciplined infantry and artillery units. Monarchs who could increase taxes and create bureaucracies to collect and spend them on their military outmaneuvered those who could not.
In general, monarchs gained power vis-à-vis the corporate groups and institutions that had thrived during the medieval period, notably the landed nobility and the clergy. Commercial and professional groups, such as merchants, lawyers and other educated and talented persons, acquired increasing power in the state – often in alliance with the monarchs – alongside or in place of these traditional corporate groups. New legal and political theories, embodied in the codification of law, strengthened state institutions, which increasingly took control of the social and economic order from traditional religious and local bodies. However, these developments were not universal. In eastern and southern Europe, the traditional elites maintained their positions in many polities.
The Struggle for sovereignty within and among states resulted in varying degrees of political centralization
The new concept of the sovereign state and secular systems of law played a central role in the creation of new political institutions
“New Monarchies” laid the foundation for the centralized modern state by establishing a monopoly on tax collection, military force, and the dispensing of justice, and gaining the right to determine the religion of their subjects (see Reformation)
Across Europe, commercial and professional groups gained in power and played a great role in political affairs
Secular political theories, such as those espoused in Machiavelli’s The Prince (see the Renaissance) provided a new concept of the state.
From the 15th through the 17th centuries, Europeans used their mastery of the seas to extend their power in Africa, Asia and the Americas. In the 15th century, the Portuguese sought direct access by sea to the sources of African gold, ivory and slaves. At the same time, the rise of Ottoman power in the eastern Mediterranean led to Ottoman control of the Mediterranean trade routes and increased the motivation of Iberians and then northern Europeans to explore possible sea routes to the East. The success and consequences of these explorations, and the maritime expansion that followed them, rested on European adaptation of Muslim and Chinese navigational technology as well s advances in military technology and cartography. Political, economic, and religious rivalries among Europeans also stimulated maritime expansion. By the 17th century, Europeans had forged a global trade network that gradually edged out earlier Muslim and Chinese dominion in the Indian Ocean and the western Pacific.
Europeans explored and settled overseas territories, encountering and interacting with indigenous populations
European nations were driven by commercial and religious motives to explore overseas territories and establish colonies
European states sought direct access to gold and spices and luxury goods as a means to enhance personal wealth and state power
Christianity served as a stimulus for exploration as governments and religious authorities sought to spread the faith and counter Islam, and as a justification for the physical and cultural subjugation of indigenous civilizations.
Advances in navigation, cartography, and military technology allowed Europeans to establish overseas colonies and empires
Europeans established overseas empires and trade networks through coercion and negotiation
The Portuguese established a commercial network along the African coast, in South and East Asia, and in South America.
The Spanish established colonies across the Americas, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, which made Spain a dominant state in Europe.
The Atlantic nations of France, England, and the Netherlands followed by establishing their own colonies and trading networks to compete with the Portuguese and Spanish dominance
The competition for trade led to conflicts and rivalries among European powers.
Europe’s colonial expansion led to a global exchange of goods, flora, fauna, cultural practices, and diseases, resulting in the destruction of some indigenous civilizations, a shift toward European dominance, and the expansion of the slave trade
The exchange of new plants, animals, and diseases -- the Columbian Exchange – created economic opportunities for Europeans and facilitated European subjugation and destruction of indigenous peoples, particularly in the Americas.
You will want to be able to define these terms and understand their context. Why/how are they important to understanding the period of time we are studying?
Holy Roman Empire (HRE)
Holy Roman Emperor
Standard of Living
Three Orders/Three Estates
Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain
Quadrant and astrolabe
Describe Europe’s political organization during the Middle Ages.
How did the Fuggers and other banking families contribute to the economic and political growth of Europe?
Analyze how trade and manufacturing lead to changes in Europe.
Discuss the changes that began to appear in Europe in the late Middle Ages and Early Modern Europe
Discuss how various inventions contributed to changes in Europe.
Discuss the differences between civil, cannon and customary law and how each impacted European society.
Discuss the factors that united Europe and the factors that divided Europe.
What areas of Europe were under Ottoman Control during the late Middle Ages and Early Modern Europe?
What were the three (3) social groups existing in Europe? What were their responsibilities? What were the relationships between the three groups?
Explain the purpose of feudalism – how did it work and change over time?
What distinguished the diet of the peasants from the diet of the nobles?
Analyze the role of religion in the lives of Europeans
Discuss the mortality rate in Europe in regard to location, gender and social status.
What motivated European exploration? What impact did European exploration have on conquered lands?
Describe family life. Analyze why these relationships developed.
Discuss the changes in warfare and analyze how the changes impacted the battlefield and war.
How were towns/cities different than villages and rural areas?
Discuss differences between towns in Western Europe abd than those in Eastern Europe. Analyze how this might have impacted their growth.
Discuss what made the “new monarchs different from medieval monarchs. How did the new monarchies consolidate their power?
How was the Holy Roman Empire (HRE) its emperor different from England and France?
What factors limited the authority of a monarch