Transformations in Europe

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Name World History 10—Minchillo Date
Transformations in Europe
Q. What were the political and economic changes that took place

in Europe as a result of European colonization?

Document 1: Population Trends in Europe: The Black Plague

Document 2: North American Exploration in the 16th and 17th Centuries

Document 3: Territories in the Americas colonized or claimed by a European power in 1750

Document 4: International Trade Routes at the Height of European Colonization

Document 5: Rise in Prices and the Development of Capitalism

“The influx of spices and precious metals into Europe from the Spanish Empire was a mixed blessing. It contributed to a steady rise in prices during the sixteenth century that created an inflation rate estimated at 2 percent a year. The new supply of bullion from the Americas joined with enlarged European production to increase greatly the amount of coinage in circulation, and this increase in turn fed inflation. Fortunately the increase in prices was by and large spread over a long period of time and was not sudden. Prices doubled in Spain by mid-century, quadrupled by 1600. In Wittenberg [Germany] the cost of food and clothing increased almost 100 percent between 1519 and 1540. Generally, wages and rents remained well behind the rise in prices.

The new wealth enabled governments and private entrepreneurs to sponsor basic research and expansion in the printing, shipping, mining, textile, and weapons industries. There was also evidence of widespread government planning in such ventures as the French silk industry and the… development of mines in Austria and Hungary.
In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries capitalist institutions and practices had already begun to develop in the rich Italian cities… Those who owned the means of production, either privately or corporately, were clearly distinguished from the workers who operated them. Wherever possible, entrepreneurs created monopolies in basic goods. High interest was charged on loans… And the “capitalist” virtues of thrift, industry, and orderly planning were everywhere in evidence—all intended to permit the free and efficient accumulation of wealth.
The late fifteenth and the sixteenth centuries saw the maturation [development] of capitalism together with its attendant social problems. The new wealth and industrial expansion both raised the expectations of the poor and the ambitious, and heightened the reactionary tendencies within the established and wealthy classes. This effect, in turn, greatly aggravated the traditional social divisions between the clergy and the laity, the higher and the lower clergy, the urban patriciate [nobility] and the guilds, masters and journeymen, and the landed nobility and the agrarian peasantry…
The far-flung transactions created by the new commerce increased the demand for lawyers and bankers. The Medicis of Florence grew very rich as the bankers of the pope, as did the Fuggers of Augsburg as bankers of the Habsburg rulers. The Fuggers lent Charles I of Spain over 500, 000 florins in 1519, and they later boasted that they had created the emperor. But those who paid out their money also took chances. Both the Medicis and Fuggers were later bankrupted by popes and kings who defaulted on their heavy debts.”
Kagan, Donald, Steven Ozment and Frank M. Turner. The Western Heritage. New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1991. Print. pp 381-382.

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