Age of Doubt In Europe in the 16th Century

878 Words 4 Pages
In the 16th Century, Europeans had their faith shattered and were forced to realize that there was doubt in what they believed in. From the countless wars being fought in the name of religion, to the once great and wealthy countries that needed to reaffirm their place in the world, ‘all that they had once taken for granted was suddenly cast into doubt’ (446). Europeans were desperately searching for new foundations to put their faith in ‘in the face of intellectual, religious, and political challenges’ (446). This period is an example of the expression “Age of Doubt, Age of Uncertainty”.

The wars going on throughout Europe through this era were claiming territories through conquest, marriage alliances, or inheritance agreements on the
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With the help of alliances “William the Silent” made with France, Germany, and England, the Netherlands was divided up with Calvinism practiced in the north and Catholicism in the Spanish controlled South (432–433). Between 1618 and 1648, Cardinal Richelieu led the Thirty Years’ War against the Huguenots, with France against Austrian and Spain and with Germany getting the brunt of the casualties (434–437). An example of the viciousness of the attacks were described by author Hans Jakob Christoph von Grimmelshausen in his fictional memoir Siplicissimus (the Simpleton), where he illustrated how ‘each had his own device to torture the peasants, and each peasant had several tortures’ (435). This ended with the signing of the Peace of Westphalia in 1648, which left France in a powerful position in Europe, Germany and Austria losing not only in casualties but in the power structure of Europe, and Europe as a ‘checkerboard of Protestant and Catholic principalities’ (437).

The price revolution in Europe was another contributing factor giving Europeans cause for concern. Europe’s population grew after the Black Plague, yet the growth of food remained constant, which led to higher food prices for the large demand. While the price of food increased, the rate of wages did not match the increase. Additional factors was the surplus of bullions
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