Changes and Continuity in Western Europe Essay

769 WordsJan 4, 20124 Pages
During the period of 1492 to 1750, Europe experienced drastic changes during their Age of Discovery. As a result of contact and colonization, Western Europe’s economy, political, social, and military systems changed, but also maintained certain aspects that enabled them to build strong civilizations. Such changes include increased (international) trade routes, more centralized governments such as monarchies, decreased unifying influence of the Catholic Church, and increased interest in military conquest and expansion. In terms of the economy, industrialization and manufacturing drove the economy forward, catalyzing change and developments that would contribute to the economy. Advancements in metallurgy produced an increased demand for…show more content…
Parts of the European political systems that remained untouched included the feudal political forms that remained strong, even with introduction of monarchies. Since European states thirsted for expansion of their states, military remained a top priority in funding; therefore, the strong feudal forms remained, although with shifted balance. Furthermore, ordinary people were not highly affected by the political changes, because politics did not concern them; all they had to worry about was paying their taxes as usual, and the general economic life was not altered. In terms of the social system and structure, a main change that altered the social structure was commercialization, which created a new social class, the proletariats, who suffered from poverty. Other notable social changes include the emergence of a European-style family, which emphasized the nuclear family structure, and intensified links between family and individual property, and the decline of influence of the Catholic Church, which cause a separation of peoples’ religious and daily lives. However, women maintained their low statuses as inferiors to men, and have fewer alternatives when Protestants abolished convents. In addition, although the Catholic Church lost its influence, the elite remained powerful and limited cultural movements, mirroring that of the Dark Ages but to a lesser extent because of the Enlightenment. Militarily, the main

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