History of Europe
Overview
 
History of Europe describes the history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 of humans inhabiting the European continent since it was first populated in prehistoric times to present, with the first human settlement between 45,000 and 25,000 BC.
Greco-Roman civilizations dominated Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 starting in Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of Western civilisation and influential on language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science and the arts, with the writing of the epic Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

 at around 700 BC.
Encyclopedia
History of Europe describes the history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 of humans inhabiting the European continent since it was first populated in prehistoric times to present, with the first human settlement between 45,000 and 25,000 BC.

Overview

Greco-Roman civilizations dominated Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity
Classical antiquity is a broad term for a long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world...

 starting in Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

, generally considered to be the seminal culture which provided the foundation of Western civilisation and influential on language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, science and the arts, with the writing of the epic Iliad
Iliad
The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

 at around 700 BC. Those values were acquired by the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

 established in 509 BC, having expanded from Italy, centred in the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, until the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 reached its greatest extent around the year 150.

After a period of civil wars, emperor Constantine I shifted the capital from Rome to the Greek town Byzantium in 313, then renamed it "the city of Constantine". In 395 the empire was permanently split in two, with the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 repeatedly attacked during the migration period
Migration Period
The Migration Period, also called the Barbarian Invasions , was a period of intensified human migration in Europe that occurred from c. 400 to 800 CE. This period marked the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages...

. Rome was sacked in 410 by the Visigoths, the first of the Germanic peoples
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 migrating into Roman territories. With the last West Roman emperor removed in 476, south-eastern Europe and some parts of the Mediterranean remained under the Byzantine Empire up to the later 6th century.

After 1453, when Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople, the name of the city would morph into Istanbul
Istanbul
Istanbul , historically known as Byzantium and Constantinople , is the largest city of Turkey. Istanbul metropolitan province had 13.26 million people living in it as of December, 2010, which is 18% of Turkey's population and the 3rd largest metropolitan area in Europe after London and...

, a Turkification of 'Stamboul', derived from the Greek phrase "εις την Πόλιν" or "στην Πόλη" [istimbolin], meaning "in the city" or "to the city".

As Roman Empire started to become weaker, Bulgars
Bulgars
The Bulgars were a semi-nomadic who flourished in the Pontic Steppe and the Volga basin in the 7th century.The Bulgars emerge after the collapse of the Hunnic Empire in the 5th century....

 established First Bulgarian Empire
First Bulgarian Empire
The First Bulgarian Empire was a medieval Bulgarian state founded in the north-eastern Balkans in c. 680 by the Bulgars, uniting with seven South Slavic tribes...

 next to the north-eastern border of the Roman Empire, and Germanic peoples established kingdoms in territories north to the Empire. The new states shared Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 written language, lingering Roman culture and Christian religion. Much territory was brought under the rule of the Franks by Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, whom the pope
Pope
The Pope is the Bishop of Rome, a position that makes him the leader of the worldwide Catholic Church . In the Catholic Church, the Pope is regarded as the successor of Saint Peter, the Apostle...

 crowned an Emperor in 800, but soon divided while Europe came under attack from Vikings, Muslims from North Africa, and Magyars from Hungary. By the mid-10th century the threat had decreased, although Vikings remained threatening Britain and Ireland.

After the establishment of Constantinople and the creation of a church there, which replaced the pre-existing bishopric of Heracleia nearby, tensions between the new and rapidly growing church and the church of Rome gradually increased, with doctrinal disputes masking the struggle for primacy. One well known instance of such tension (although it did not lead to a formal schism) occurred when in 1054 AD a legate of the pope, Cardinal Humbert, formally excommunicated the patriarch of Constantinople, an excommunication which was repeated against him the following day. However, from 1095 a series of religiously sanctioned military campaigns
Religious war
A religious war; Latin: bellum sacrum; is a war caused by, or justified by, religious differences. It can involve one state with an established religion against another state with a different religion or a different sect within the same religion, or a religiously motivated group attempting to...

 began to be waged by coalitions of Latin Christian Europeans, in response to a call from the Byzantine Empire, for help against the Muslim expansion
Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests also referred to as the Islamic conquests or Arab conquests, began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He established a new unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Muslim power.They...

. Spain
History of Spain
The history of Spain involves all the other peoples and nations within the Iberian peninsula formerly known as Hispania, and includes still today the nations of Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain...

, southern France
Albigensian Crusade
The Albigensian Crusade or Cathar Crusade was a 20-year military campaign initiated by the Catholic Church to eliminate Catharism in Languedoc...

, First Bulgarian Empire
History of Bulgaria
The history of Bulgaria spans from the first settlements on the lands of modern Bulgaria to its formation as a nation-state and includes the history of the Bulgarian people and their origin. The first traces of human presence on what is today Bulgaria date from 44,000 BC...

, Lithuania
History of Lithuania
The history of Lithuania dates back to at least 1009, the first recorded written use of the term. Lithuanians, a branch of the Baltic peoples, later conquered neighboring lands, establishing the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and in the 13th century the short-lived Kingdom of Lithuania. The Grand Duchy...

 and pagan
Paganism
Paganism is a blanket term, typically used to refer to non-Abrahamic, indigenous polytheistic religious traditions....

 regions were consolidated during this time, with the Battle of Nicopolis
Battle of Nicopolis
The Battle of Nicopolis took place on 25 September 1396 and resulted in the rout of an allied army of Hungarian, Wallachian, French, Burgundian, German and assorted troops at the hands of an Ottoman force, raising of the siege of the Danubian fortress of Nicopolis and leading to the end of the...

 the last large-scale crusade of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 fought in 1396. Complex feudal loyalties developed and the aristocracy
Aristocracy
Aristocracy , is a form of government in which a few elite citizens rule. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning "rule of the best". In origin in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy...

 of new nations become very closely related by intermarriage. The feudal society began to break as Mongol
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 invaded frontier areas and the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 pandemic
Pandemic
A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic...

 killed from 30% to 60% of Europe's population.

Beginning roughly in the 14th century in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

, and later spreading through Europe with the development of printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

, a Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance 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 historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 of knowledge challenged traditional doctrines in science and theology, with the rediscovery of classical Greek and Roman knowledge. Simultaneously Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 under German Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 questioned Papal authority. Henry VIII
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 sundered the English Church, allying in ensuing religious wars between German and Spanish rulers. The Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 of Portugal and Spain led to a series of oceanic explorations resulting in the age of discovery
Age of Discovery
The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration and the Great Navigations , was a period in history starting in the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century during which Europeans engaged in intensive exploration of the world, establishing direct contacts with...

 that established direct links with Africa, the Americas and Asia, while religious wars continued to be fought in Europe, which ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia
Peace of Westphalia
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October of 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the...

.

European overseas expansion led to the rise of colonial empire
Colonial empire
The Colonial empires were a product of the European Age of Exploration that began with a race of exploration between the then most advanced maritime powers, Portugal and Spain, in the 15th century...

s, producing the Columbian Exchange
Columbian Exchange
The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations , communicable disease, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres . It was one of the most significant events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in all of human history...

. The combination of resource inflows from the New World and the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

, allowed a new economy based on manufacturing instead of subsistence agriculture. Starting in 1775, British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 colonies in America revolted
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 to establish a representative government. Political change in continental Europe was spurred by the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 under the motto liberté, egalité, fraternité. The ensuing French leader, Napoleon Bonaparte, conquered and enforced reforms through war up to 1815.

The period between 1815 and 1871 saw a large number of revolutionary attempts and independence wars. In France and the United Kingdom, socialist and trade union activity developed. The last vestiges of serfdom
Serfdom
Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to Manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted to the mid-19th century...

 were abolished in Russia
Russian serfdom
The origins of serfdom in Russia are traced to Kievan Rus in the 11th century. Legal documents of the epoch, such as Russkaya Pravda, distinguished several degrees of feudal dependency of peasants, the term for an unfree peasant in the Russian Empire, krepostnoi krestyanin , is translated as serf.-...

 in 1861 and Balkan nations began to regain independence from the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. After the Franco-Prussian War
Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

, Germany and Italy unified into nation states, and most European states had become constitutional monarchies
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 by 1871.

Rivalry in a scramble for empires spread. The outbreak of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 was precipitated by a series of struggles among the Great Powers. War and poverty triggered the Russian Revolution which led to the formation of the communist Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

. Hard conditions imposed on Germany by the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 and the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 led to the rise of fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

 in Germany as well as in Italy, Spain and other countries. The rise of the irredentist totalitarian regime Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 led to a Second World War.

Following the end of the Second World War, Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain
The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

 between American dominated non-socialist countries of Europe and Soviet dominated socialist countries of Europe. Most non-socialist European countries came under US protection via NATO and formed the European Economic Community
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

 amongst themselves. The East was dominated by communist countries under the Soviet Union's economic and military leadership. There were also a number of neutral countries in between.

In the late 1989, the Fall of Communism begun in countries allied with USSR: Poland, Hungary and Romania. The Soviet Union itself felt a bit later, in years 1990-1991, and countries which were Soviet republics became independent. As a consequence Europe's economic integration deepened, the continent became depolarised and the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 expanded to include many of the formerly communist European countries, in 2004 and 2007.

Prehistory

Homo erectus
Homo erectus
Homo erectus is an extinct species of hominid that lived from the end of the Pliocene epoch to the later Pleistocene, about . The species originated in Africa and spread as far as India, China and Java. There is still disagreement on the subject of the classification, ancestry, and progeny of H...

 and Neanderthals migrated from Africa to Europe before the emergence of modern humans. The bones of the earliest Europeans are found in Shkoder
Shkodër
Shkodër , is a city located on Lake of Shkoder in northwestern Albania in the District of Shkodër, of which it is the capital. It is one of the oldest and most historic towns in Albania, as well as an important cultural and economic centre. Shkodër's estimated population is 90,000; if the...

, Albania
Albania
Albania , officially known as the Republic of Albania , is a country in Southeastern Europe, in the Balkans region. It is bordered by Montenegro to the northwest, Kosovo to the northeast, the Republic of Macedonia to the east and Greece to the south and southeast. It has a coast on the Adriatic Sea...

, dated at 1.8 million years ago.

The earliest appearance of anatomically modern people
Anatomically modern humans
The term anatomically modern humans in paleoanthropology refers to early individuals of Homo sapiens with an appearance consistent with the range of phenotypes in modern humans....

 in Europe has been dated to 35,000 BC. Some locally developed transitional cultures (Szletian in Central Europe and Châtelperronian
Châtelperronian
Châtelperronian was the earliest industry of the Upper Palaeolithic in central and south western France, extending also into Northern Spain. It derives its name from the site of la Grotte des Fées, in Châtelperron, Allier, France....

 in the Southwest) use clearly Upper Palaeolithic technologies at very early dates and there are doubts about who were their carriers: H. sapiens, Neanderthal or the intermarried population of the same species.

Nevertheless, the definitive advance of these technologies is made by the Aurignacian
Aurignacian
The Aurignacian culture is an archaeological culture of the Upper Palaeolithic, located in Europe and southwest Asia. It lasted broadly within the period from ca. 45,000 to 35,000 years ago in terms of conventional radiocarbon dating, or between ca. 47,000 and 41,000 years ago in terms of the most...

 culture. The origins of this culture can be located in what is now Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 (proto-Aurignacian) and Hungary (first full Aurignacian). By 35,000 BC, the Aurignacian culture and its technology had extended through most of Europe. The last Neanderthals seem to have been forced to retreat during this process to the southern half of the Iberian Peninsula
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

.

Around 24,000 BC two new technologies/cultures appeared in the southwestern region of Europe: Solutrean
Solutrean
The Solutrean industry is a relatively advanced flint tool-making style of the Upper Palaeolithic, from around 22,000 to 17,000 BP.-Details:...

 and Gravettian
Gravettian
thumb|right|Burins to the Gravettian culture.The Gravettian toolmaking culture was a specific archaeological industry of the European Upper Palaeolithic era prevalent before the last glacial epoch. It is named after the type site of La Gravette in the Dordogne region of France where its...

. The Gravettian technology/culture has been theorised to have come with migrations of people from the Middle East, Anatolia, and the Balkans.
Around 19,000 BC, Europe witnesses the appearance of a new culture, known as Magdalenian
Magdalenian
The Magdalenian , refers to one of the later cultures of the Upper Paleolithic in western Europe, dating from around 17,000 BP to 9,000 BP...

, possibly rooted in the old Aurignacian one. This culture soon supersedes the Solutrean area and the Gravettian of mainly France, Spain, Germany, Italy, Poland, Portugal and Ukraine.
Around 12,500 BC, the Würm
Würm
The Würm is a river in Bavaria, Germany, right tributary of the Amper. It drains the overflow from Lake Starnberg and flows swiftly through the villages of Gauting, Krailling, Planegg, Gräfelfing and Lochham as well as part of Munich before joining, near Dachau, the Amper, which soon afterwards...

 Glacial age ends. Slowly, through the following millennia, temperatures and sea levels rise, changing the environment of prehistoric people. Nevertheless, Magdalenian culture persists until c. 10,000 BC, when it quickly evolves into two microlithist cultures: Azilian
Azilian
The Azilian is a name given by archaeologists to an industry of the Epipaleolithic in northern Spain and southern France.It probably dates to the period of the Allerød Oscillation around 10,000 years ago and followed the Magdalenian culture...

, in Spain and southern France, and Sauveterrian
Sauveterrian
The Sauveterrian is the name for an archaeological culture of the European Epipaleolithic which flourished around 7000-8000 years BC. The name is derived from the type site of Sauveterre-la-Lémance in the French of Lot-et-Garonne....

, in northern France and Central Europe.
Evidence of permanent settlement dates from the 7th millennium BC in the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

. The Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 reached Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 in the 6th millennium BC and parts of Northern Europe
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

 in the 5th and 4th millennium BC.

Lepenski Vir - Vinča - Cucuteni cultures 7000 - 2750 BC

Lepenski Vir
Lepenski Vir
Lepenski Vir is an important Mesolithic archaeological site located in Serbia in the central Balkan peninsula. It consists of one large settlement with around ten satellite villages. The evidence suggests the first human presence in the locality around 7000 BC with the culture reaching its peak...

 (Лепенски Вир, Lepen Whirl) is an important Mesolithic
Mesolithic
The Mesolithic is an archaeological concept used to refer to certain groups of archaeological cultures defined as falling between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic....

 archaeological site
Archaeological site
An archaeological site is a place in which evidence of past activity is preserved , and which has been, or may be, investigated using the discipline of archaeology and represents a part of the archaeological record.Beyond this, the definition and geographical extent of a 'site' can vary widely,...

 located in Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 in the central Balkan peninsula
Peninsula
A peninsula is a piece of land that is bordered by water on three sides but connected to mainland. In many Germanic and Celtic languages and also in Baltic, Slavic and Hungarian, peninsulas are called "half-islands"....

. It consists of one large settlement with around ten satellite villages. The evidence suggests the first human presence in the locality around 7000 BC with the culture
Archaeological culture
An archaeological culture is a recurring assemblage of artifacts from a specific time and place, which are thought to constitute the material culture remains of a particular past human society. The connection between the artifacts is based on archaeologists' understanding and interpretation and...

 reaching its peak between 5300 BC and 4800 BC. In 7000 BC the settlement had a population under 100, In later periods the problems of overpopulation of the original settlement became evident, This is clearly evident in the layout of the Lepenski Vir settlement. The village is well planned. All houses are built according to one complex geometric pattern. 136 buildings, settlements and altars were found in the initial excavations in 1965-1970.
The Lepenski Vir culture were a forerunner to the Vinča-Turdaș culture
Vinca culture
The Vinča culture is a Neolithic archaeological culture in Southeastern Europe, dated to the period 5500–4500 BCE. Named for its type site, Vinča-Belo Brdo, a large tell settlement discovered by Serbian archaeologist Miloje Vasić in 1908, it represents the material remains of a prehistoric society...

, dated to the period 5500–4500 BC in the same area of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

, during the Vinča era the area sustained population growth led to an unprecedented level of settlement size and density along with the population of areas that were bypassed by earlier settlers. Vinča settlements were considerably larger than any other contemporary European culture, in some instances surpassing the cities of the Aegean and early Near Eastern Bronze Age
Ancient Near East
The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia , ancient Egypt, ancient Iran The ancient Near East was the home of early civilizations within a region roughly corresponding to the modern Middle East: Mesopotamia...

 a millennium later. The largest sites, more than 29 hectares, may have had populations of up to 2,500 individuals.
According to Marija Gimbutas
Marija Gimbutas
Marija Gimbutas , was a Lithuanian-American archeologist known for her research into the Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures of "Old Europe", a term she introduced. Her works published between 1946 and 1971 introduced new views by combining traditional spadework with linguistics and mythological...

, the Vinča culture was part of Old Europe – a relatively homogeneous, peaceful and matrifocal
Matriarchy
A matriarchy is a society in which females, especially mothers, have the central roles of political leadership and moral authority. It is also sometimes called a gynocratic or gynocentric society....

 culture that occupied Europe during the Neolithic. According to this theory its period of decline was followed by an invasion of warlike, horse-riding Proto-Indo-European
Proto-Indo-Europeans
The Proto-Indo-Europeans were the speakers of the Proto-Indo-European language , a reconstructed prehistoric language of Eurasia.Knowledge of them comes chiefly from the linguistic reconstruction, along with material evidence from archaeology and archaeogenetics...

 tribes from the Pontic-Caspian steppe
Pontic-Caspian steppe
The Pontic-Caspian steppe is the vast steppeland stretching from the north of the Black Sea as far as the east of the Caspian Sea, from western Ukraine across the Southern Federal District and the Volga Federal District of Russia to western Kazakhstan,...

.
The Vinča site of Pločnik
Pločnik (archaeological site)
Pločnik is an archaeological site in the village of the same name in Toplica District, Serbia. A 120 hectare settlement belonging to the Neolithic Vinča culture existed on the site from 5500 BCE until it was destroyed by fire in 4700 BCE....

 has produced the earliest example of copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

 tools in the world. Copper ores were mined on a large scale at sites like Rudna Glava
Rudna Glava
Rudna Glava is a mining site in present-day eastern Serbia that demonstrates one of the earliest evidences of European copper mining and metallurgy, dating to the 5th millennium BC. Shafts were cut into the hillside, with scaffolding constructed for easy access to the veins of ore. It belongs to...

, but only a fraction were smelted and cast into metal artefacts – and these were ornaments and trinkets rather than functional tools, which continued to be made from chipped stone
Lithic reduction
Lithic reduction involves the use of a hard hammer precursor, such as a hammerstone, a soft hammer fabricator , or a wood or antler punch to detach lithic flakes from a lump of tool stone called a lithic core . As flakes are detached in sequence, the original mass of stone is reduced; hence the...

, bone and antler. It is likely that the primary use of mined ores was in their powdered form, in the production of pottery or as bodily decoration.

This period is associated with the Vinča symbols, which are conjectured to be an early form of proto-writing alongside with the Dispilio Tablet
Dispilio Tablet
The Dispilio Tablet is a wooden tablet bearing inscribed markings , unearthed during George Hourmouziadis's excavations of Dispilio in Greece and carbon 14-dated to about 7300 BP...

 (5260 BC) from northern Greece not far from The Vinca Culture, the Tărtăria clay tablets dating back to around 5300 BC. This means that the Vinča finds predate the proto-Sumerian pictographic
Pictogram
A pictograph, also called pictogram or pictogramme is an ideogram that conveys its meaning through its pictorial resemblance to a physical object. Pictographs are often used in writing and graphic systems in which the characters are to considerable extent pictorial in appearance.Pictography is a...

 script from Uruk
Uruk
Uruk was an ancient city of Sumer and later Babylonia, situated east of the present bed of the Euphrates river, on the ancient dry former channel of the Euphrates River, some 30 km east of modern As-Samawah, Al-Muthannā, Iraq.Uruk gave its name to the Uruk...

 (modern Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

), which is usually considered as the oldest known script, by more than a thousand years.
The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture
Cucuteni culture
The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, also known as Cucuteni culture , Trypillian culture or Tripolye culture , is a late Neolithic archaeological culture which flourished between ca...

  5508-2750 BC was the first big civilisation in Europe and among the earliest in the world. it was a late Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 archaeological Civilization  from the Carpathian Mountains
Carpathian Mountains
The Carpathian Mountains or Carpathians are a range of mountains forming an arc roughly long across Central and Eastern Europe, making them the second-longest mountain range in Europe...

 to the Dniester
Dniester
The Dniester is a river in Eastern Europe. It runs through Ukraine and Moldova and separates most of Moldova's territory from the breakaway de facto state of Transnistria.-Names:...

 and Dnieper regions in modern-day Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

, Moldova
Moldova
Moldova , officially the Republic of Moldova is a landlocked state in Eastern Europe, located between Romania to the West and Ukraine to the North, East and South. It declared itself an independent state with the same boundaries as the preceding Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic in 1991, as part...

, and Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

, encompassing an area of more than 350000 km² (135,135.8 sq mi). At its peak the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture built the largest settlements in Neolithic Europe
Neolithic Europe
Neolithic Europe refers to a prehistoric period in which Neolithic technology was present in Europe. This corresponds roughly to a time between 7000 BC and c. 1700 BC...

, some of which had populations of up to 15,000 inhabitants. Likewise, their density was very high, with the settlements averagely spaced 3 to 4 kilometers apart.

Minoans and Mycenae 2700 - 1100 BC

The first well-known literate civilisation in Europe was that of the Minoans, The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age
Bronze Age
The Bronze Age is a period characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze as the chief hard materials in the manufacture of some implements and weapons. Chronologically, it stands between the Stone Age and Iron Age...

 civilization that arose on the island of Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Arthur Evans
Arthur Evans
Sir Arthur John Evans FRS was a British archaeologist most famous for unearthing the palace of Knossos on the Greek island of Crete and for developing the concept of Minoan civilization from the structures and artifacts found there and elsewhere throughout eastern Mediterranean...

. Will Durant
Will Durant
William James Durant was a prolific American writer, historian, and philosopher. He is best known for The Story of Civilization, 11 volumes written in collaboration with his wife Ariel Durant and published between 1935 and 1975...

 referred to it as "the first link in the European chain". Minoan palace
Palace
A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop. The word itself is derived from the Latin name Palātium, for Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills in Rome. In many parts of Europe, the...

s (anaktora) are the best known building types to have been excavated on the island. They are monumental buildings serving administrative purposes as evidenced by the large archive
Archive
An archive is a collection of historical records, or the physical place they are located. Archives contain primary source documents that have accumulated over the course of an individual or organization's lifetime, and are kept to show the function of an organization...

s unearthed by archaeologists. Each of the palaces excavated to date has its own unique features, but they also share features which set them apart from other structures. The palaces were often multi-storied, with interior and exterior staircases, light wells, massive column
Column
A column or pillar in architecture and structural engineering is a vertical structural element that transmits, through compression, the weight of the structure above to other structural elements below. For the purpose of wind or earthquake engineering, columns may be designed to resist lateral forces...

s, storage magazines and courtyards.

The Minoans were replaced by the Mycenaean civilization which flourished during the period roughly between 1600 BC, when Helladic culture in mainland Greece was transformed under influences from Minoan Crete, and 1100 BC. The major Mycenaean cities were Mycenae
Mycenae
Mycenae is an archaeological site in Greece, located about 90 km south-west of Athens, in the north-eastern Peloponnese. Argos is 11 km to the south; Corinth, 48 km to the north...

 and Tiryns
Tiryns
Tiryns is a Mycenaean archaeological site in the prefecture of Argolis in the Peloponnese, some kilometres north of Nauplion.-General information:...

 in Argolis, Pylos
Pylos
Pylos , historically known under its Italian name Navarino, is a town and a former municipality in Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Pylos-Nestoras, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. It was the capital of the former...

 in Messenia, Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

 in Attica, Thebes
Ancient Thebes (Boeotia)
See Thebes, Greece for the modern city built on the ancient ruins.Ancient Thebes was a Boeotian city-state , situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain...

 and Orchomenus in Boeotia, and Iolkos in Thessaly. In Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

, the Mycenaeans occupied Knossos
Knossos
Knossos , also known as Labyrinth, or Knossos Palace, is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and probably the ceremonial and political centre of the Minoan civilization and culture. The palace appears as a maze of workrooms, living spaces, and store rooms close to a central square...

. Mycenaean settlement sites also appeared in Epirus
Epirus
The name Epirus, from the Greek "Ήπειρος" meaning continent may refer to:-Geographical:* Epirus - a historical and geographical region of the southwestern Balkans, straddling modern Greece and Albania...

, Macedonia
Macedonia (region)
Macedonia is a geographical and historical region of the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe. Its boundaries have changed considerably over time, but nowadays the region is considered to include parts of five Balkan countries: Greece, the Republic of Macedonia, Bulgaria, Albania, Serbia, as...

, on islands in the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

, on the coast of Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 and Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. Mycenaean artifacts have been found well outside the limits of the Mycenean world: namely Mycenaean swords are known from as far away as Georgia
Georgia (country)
Georgia is a sovereign state in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the southwest by Turkey, to the south by Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital of...

 in the Caucasus, an amber object inscribed with Linear B symbols has been found in Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and Mycenaean bronze double axes and other objects dating from 13th century BC have been found in Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

 and in Wessex
Wessex
The Kingdom of Wessex or Kingdom of the West Saxons was an Anglo-Saxon kingdom of the West Saxons, in South West England, from the 6th century, until the emergence of a united English state in the 10th century, under the Wessex dynasty. It was to be an earldom after Canute the Great's conquest...

 and Cornwall
Cornwall
Cornwall is a unitary authority and ceremonial county of England, within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of , and covers an area of...

 in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

.
Quite unlike the Minoans, whose society benefited from trade, the Mycenaeans advanced through conquest. Mycenaean civilization was dominated by a warrior aristocracy
Aristocracy
Aristocracy , is a form of government in which a few elite citizens rule. The term derives from the Greek aristokratia, meaning "rule of the best". In origin in Ancient Greece, it was conceived of as rule by the best qualified citizens, and contrasted with monarchy...

. Around 1400 BC, the Mycenaeans extended their control to Crete, centre of the Minoan civilization
Minoan civilization
The Minoan civilization was a Bronze Age civilization that arose on the island of Crete and flourished from approximately the 27th century BC to the 15th century BC. It was rediscovered at the beginning of the 20th century through the work of the British archaeologist Arthur Evans...

, and adopted a form of the Minoan script (called Linear A
Linear A
Linear A is one of two scripts used in ancient Crete before Mycenaean Greek Linear B; Cretan hieroglyphs is the second script. In Minoan times, before the Mycenaean Greek dominion, Linear A was the official script for the palaces and religious activities, and hieroglyphs were mainly used on seals....

) to write their early form of Greek
Greek language
Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages. Native to the southern Balkans, it has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning 34 centuries of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the majority of its history;...

 in Linear B
Linear B
Linear B is a syllabic script that was used for writing Mycenaean Greek, an early form of Greek. It pre-dated the Greek alphabet by several centuries and seems to have died out with the fall of Mycenaean civilization...

.

The Mycenaean civilization perished with the collapse of Bronze-Age civilization
Bronze Age collapse
The Bronze Age collapse is a transition in southwestern Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean from the Late Bronze Age to the Early Iron Age that some historians believe was violent, sudden and culturally disruptive...

 in the eastern Mediterranean. The collapse is commonly attributed to the Dorian invasion
Dorian invasion
The Dorian invasion is a concept devised by historians of Ancient Greece to explain the replacement of pre-classical dialects and traditions in southern Greece by the ones that prevailed in Classical Greece...

, although other theories describing natural disasters and climate change have been advanced as well. Whatever the causes, the Mycenaean civilization had definitely disappeared after LH III C, when the sites of Mycenae and Tirynth were again destroyed and lost their importance. This end, during the last years of the 12th century BC, occurs after a slow decline of the Mycenaean civilization, which lasted many years before dying out. The beginning of the 11th century BC opens a new context, that of the protogeometric, the beginning of the geometric period, the Greek Dark Ages
Greek Dark Ages
The Greek Dark Age or Ages also known as Geometric or Homeric Age are terms which have regularly been used to refer to the period of Greek history from the presumed Dorian invasion and end of the Mycenaean Palatial civilization around 1200 BC, to the first signs of the Greek city-states in the 9th...

 of traditional historiography.

Classical Antiquity

The Greeks and the Romans left a legacy in Europe which is evident in current language, thought
Western philosophy
Western philosophy is the philosophical thought and work of the Western or Occidental world, as distinct from Eastern or Oriental philosophies and the varieties of indigenous philosophies....

, law and minds. Ancient Greece was a collection of city-states, out of which the original form of democracy developed. Athens
Classical Athens
The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece was a notable polis of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias...

 was the most powerful and developed city, and a cradle of learning from the time of Pericles
Pericles
Pericles was a prominent and influential statesman, orator, and general of Athens during the city's Golden Age—specifically, the time between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars...

. Citizens forums debated and legislated policy of the state, and from here arose some of the most notable classical philosophers, such as Socrates
Socrates
Socrates was a classical Greek Athenian philosopher. Credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy, he is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of later classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon, and the plays of his contemporary ...

, Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, and Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

, the last of whom taught Alexander the Great.

The king of the kingdom of Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

, Alexander's military campaigns spread Hellenistic culture and learning to the banks of the River Indus. But the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

, strengthened through victory over Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 in the Punic Wars
Punic Wars
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 B.C.E. to 146 B.C.E. At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place...

 was rising in the region. Greek wisdom passed into Roman institutions, as Athens itself was absorbed under the banner of the Senate and People of Rome (Senatus Populusque Romanus).

The Romans expanded from Arabia to Britannia. In 44 BC as it approached its height, its leader Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 was murdered
Assassination of Julius Caesar
The assassination of Julius Caesar was the result of a conspiracy by approximately forty Roman senators who called themselves Liberators. Led by Gaius Cassius Longinus and Marcus Junius Brutus, they stabbed Julius Caesar to death in the Theatre of Pompey on the Ides of March 44 BC...

 on suspicion of subverting the Republic, to become dictator. In the ensuing turmoil, Octavian usurped the rein
Rein
Reins are items of horse tack, used to direct a horse or other animal used for riding or driving. Reins can be made of leather, nylon, metal, or other materials, and attach to a bridle via either its bit or its noseband.-Use for riding:...

s of power and fought the Roman Senate. While proclaiming the rebirth of the Republic, he had ushered in the transfer of the Roman state from a republic to an empire, the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

, which lasted for more than four centuries until the fall of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

.

Ancient Greece

The Hellenic civilisation took the form of a collection of city-states, or poleis (the most important being Athens
Athens
Athens , is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, as its recorded history spans around 3,400 years. Classical Athens was a powerful city-state...

, Sparta
History of Sparta
The History of Sparta describes the destiny of the ancient Dorian Greek state known as Sparta from its beginning in the legendary period to its forced incorporation into the Achaean League under the late Roman Republic, its conquerors, in 146 BCE, a period of roughly 1000 years...

, Thebes
Thebes, Greece
Thebes is a city in Greece, situated to the north of the Cithaeron range, which divides Boeotia from Attica, and on the southern edge of the Boeotian plain. It played an important role in Greek myth, as the site of the stories of Cadmus, Oedipus, Dionysus and others...

, Corinth
Ancient Corinth
Corinth, or Korinth was a city-state on the Isthmus of Corinth, the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece, roughly halfway between Athens and Sparta. The modern town of Corinth is located approximately northeast of the ancient ruins...

, and Syracuse), having vastly differing types of government and cultures, including what are unprecedented developments in various governmental forms, philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

, science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

, mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

, politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

, sports, theatre
Theatre
Theatre is a collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience in a specific place. The performers may communicate this experience to the audience through combinations of gesture, speech, song, music or dance...

 and music.

Athens, the most powerful city-state, governed itself with an early form of direct democracy
Direct democracy
Direct democracy is a form of government in which people vote on policy initiatives directly, as opposed to a representative democracy in which people vote for representatives who then vote on policy initiatives. Direct democracy is classically termed "pure democracy"...

 founded by Athenian noble Cleisthenes
Cleisthenes
Cleisthenes was a noble Athenian of the Alcmaeonid family. He is credited with reforming the constitution of ancient Athens and setting it on a democratic footing in 508/7 BC...

. In Athenian democracy
Athenian democracy
Athenian democracy developed in the Greek city-state of Athens, comprising the central city-state of Athens and the surrounding territory of Attica, around 508 BC. Athens is one of the first known democracies. Other Greek cities set up democracies, and even though most followed an Athenian model,...

, the citizens of Athens themselves voted on legislation and executive bills in their own right. From here arose Socrates, considered one of the founders of Western philosophy
Western philosophy
Western philosophy is the philosophical thought and work of the Western or Occidental world, as distinct from Eastern or Oriental philosophies and the varieties of indigenous philosophies....

.

Socrates also created the Socratic Method
Socratic method
The Socratic method , named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas...

, or elenchus, a type of pedagogy
Pedagogy
Pedagogy is the study of being a teacher or the process of teaching. The term generally refers to strategies of instruction, or a style of instruction....

 used to this day in philosophical teaching, in which a series of questions are asked not only to draw individual answers, but to encourage fundamental insight into the issue at hand. Due to this philosophy, Socrates was put on trial and sentenced to death for "corrupting the youth" of Athens, as his discussions conflicted with the established religious beliefs of the time. Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, a pupil of Socrates and founder of the Platonic Academy
Platonic Academy
The Academy was founded by Plato in ca. 387 BC in Athens. Aristotle studied there for twenty years before founding his own school, the Lyceum. The Academy persisted throughout the Hellenistic period as a skeptical school, until coming to an end after the death of Philo of Larissa in 83 BC...

, recorded this episode in his writings, and went on to develop his own unique philosophy, Platonism
Platonism
Platonism is the philosophy of Plato or the name of other philosophical systems considered closely derived from it. In a narrower sense the term might indicate the doctrine of Platonic realism...

.

The Hellenic city-states founded a large number of colonies on the shores of the Black Sea
Black Sea
The Black Sea is bounded by Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus and is ultimately connected to the Atlantic Ocean via the Mediterranean and the Aegean seas and various straits. The Bosphorus strait connects it to the Sea of Marmara, and the strait of the Dardanelles connects that sea to the Aegean...

 and the Mediterranean sea, Asia Minor
Asia Minor
Asia Minor is a geographical location at the westernmost protrusion of Asia, also called Anatolia, and corresponds to the western two thirds of the Asian part of Turkey...

, Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

 and Southern Italy in Magna Graecia
Magna Graecia
Magna Græcia is the name of the coastal areas of Southern Italy on the Tarentine Gulf that were extensively colonized by Greek settlers; particularly the Achaean colonies of Tarentum, Crotone, and Sybaris, but also, more loosely, the cities of Cumae and Neapolis to the north...

, but in the 5th century BC their eastward expansions led to retaliation from the Achaemenid Persian Empire. In the Greco-Persian Wars
Greco-Persian Wars
The Greco-Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between the Achaemenid Empire of Persia and city-states of the Hellenic world that started in 499 BC and lasted until 449 BC. The collision between the fractious political world of the Greeks and the enormous empire of the Persians began when Cyrus...

, the Hellenic city-states formed an alliance and defeated the Persian Empire at the Battle of Plataea
Battle of Plataea
The Battle of Plataea was the final land battle during the second Persian invasion of Greece. It took place in 479 BC near the city of Plataea in Boeotia, and was fought between an alliance of the Greek city-states, including Sparta, Athens, Corinth and Megara, and the Persian Empire of Xerxes...

, repelling the Persian invasions.

The Greeks formed the Delian League
Delian League
The Delian League, founded in circa 477 BC, was an association of Greek city-states, members numbering between 150 to 173, under the leadership of Athens, whose purpose was to continue fighting the Persian Empire after the Greek victory in the Battle of Plataea at the end of the Greco–Persian Wars...

 to continue fighting Persia, but Athens' position as leader of this league led to Sparta forming the rival Peloponnesian League
Peloponnesian League
The Peloponnesian League was an alliance in the Peloponnesus from the 6th to the 4th centuries BC.- Early history:By the end of the 6th century, Sparta had become the most powerful state in the Peloponnese, and was the political and military hegemon over Argos, the next most powerful state...

. The two leagues began the Peloponnesian War
Peloponnesian War
The Peloponnesian War, 431 to 404 BC, was an ancient Greek war fought by Athens and its empire against the Peloponnesian League led by Sparta. Historians have traditionally divided the war into three phases...

 over leadership of Greece, leaving the Peloponnesian League as the victor. Discontent with the Spartan hegemony
Spartan hegemony
The city-state of Sparta was the greatest military land power of classical Greek antiquity. During the classical period, Sparta owned, dominated or influenced the entire Peloponnese. Additionally, the defeat of the Athenians and the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War in 431-404 BCE resulted in...

 that followed led to the Corinthian War
Corinthian War
The Corinthian War was an ancient Greek conflict lasting from 395 BC until 387 BC, pitting Sparta against a coalition of four allied states; Thebes, Athens, Corinth, and Argos; which were initially backed by Persia. The immediate cause of the war was a local conflict in northwest Greece in which...

 where an alliance led by Thebes crushed Sparta at the Battle of Leuctra
Battle of Leuctra
The Battle of Leuctra was a battle fought on July 6, 371 BC, between the Boeotians led by Thebans and the Spartans along with their allies amidst the post-Corinthian War conflict. The battle took place in the neighbourhood of Leuctra, a village in Boeotia in the territory of Thespiae...

.

Continued Hellenic infighting made Greek city states easy prey for king Philip II
Philip II of Macedon
Philip II of Macedon "friend" + ἵππος "horse" — transliterated ; 382 – 336 BC), was a king of Macedon from 359 BC until his assassination in 336 BC. He was the father of Alexander the Great and Philip III.-Biography:...

 of Macedon
Macedon
Macedonia or Macedon was an ancient kingdom, centered in the northeastern part of the Greek peninsula, bordered by Epirus to the west, Paeonia to the north, the region of Thrace to the east and Thessaly to the south....

, who united all the Greek city states. The campaigns of his son Alexander the Great spread Greek culture into Persia
Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

, Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and India, but also favoured contact with the older learnings of those countries, opening up a new period of development, known as Hellenism
Hellenistic period
The Hellenistic period or Hellenistic era describes the time which followed the conquests of Alexander the Great. It was so named by the historian J. G. Droysen. During this time, Greek cultural influence and power was at its zenith in Europe and Asia...

. Alexander died in 323 BC, splitting his empire into many Hellenistic civilisations.

The rise of Rome

Much of Greek learning was assimilated by the nascent Roman state as it expanded outward from Italy, taking advantage of its enemies' inability to unite: the only challenge to Roman ascent came from the Phoenicia
Phoenicia
Phoenicia , was an ancient civilization in Canaan which covered most of the western, coastal part of the Fertile Crescent. Several major Phoenician cities were built on the coastline of the Mediterranean. It was an enterprising maritime trading culture that spread across the Mediterranean from 1550...

n colony of Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

, and its defeats in the three Punic Wars
Punic Wars
The Punic Wars were a series of three wars fought between Rome and Carthage from 264 B.C.E. to 146 B.C.E. At the time, they were probably the largest wars that had ever taken place...

 marked the start of Roman hegemony
Hegemony
Hegemony is an indirect form of imperial dominance in which the hegemon rules sub-ordinate states by the implied means of power rather than direct military force. In Ancient Greece , hegemony denoted the politico–military dominance of a city-state over other city-states...

. First governed by kings, then as a senatorial republic (the Roman Republic
Roman Republic
The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

), Rome finally became an empire at the end of the 1st century BC, under Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 and his authoritarian successors.

The Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 had its centre in the Mediterranean Sea
Mediterranean Sea
The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean surrounded by the Mediterranean region and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Anatolia and Europe, on the south by North Africa, and on the east by the Levant...

, controlling all the countries on its shores; the northern border was marked by the Rhine and Danube
Danube
The Danube is a river in the Central Europe and the Europe's second longest river after the Volga. It is classified as an international waterway....

 rivers. Under emperor Trajan
Trajan
Trajan , was Roman Emperor from 98 to 117 AD. Born into a non-patrician family in the province of Hispania Baetica, in Spain Trajan rose to prominence during the reign of emperor Domitian. Serving as a legatus legionis in Hispania Tarraconensis, in Spain, in 89 Trajan supported the emperor against...

 (2nd century AD) the empire reached its maximum expansion, controlling approximately 5900000 km² (2,278,002.7 sq mi) of land surface, including Britain
Roman Britain
Roman Britain was the part of the island of Great Britain controlled by the Roman Empire from AD 43 until ca. AD 410.The Romans referred to the imperial province as Britannia, which eventually comprised all of the island of Great Britain south of the fluid frontier with Caledonia...

, Romania and parts of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq, northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and southwestern Iran.Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the...

. A period of peace
Pax Romana
Pax Romana was the long period of relative peace and minimal expansion by military force experienced by the Roman Empire in the 1st and 2nd centuries AD. Since it was established by Caesar Augustus it is sometimes called Pax Augusta...

, civilisation and an efficient centralised government in the subject territories ended in the 3rd century, when a series of civil wars
Crisis of the Third Century
The Crisis of the Third Century was a period in which the Roman Empire nearly collapsed under the combined pressures of invasion, civil war, plague, and economic depression...

 undermined Rome's economic and social strength.

In the 4th century, the emperors Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

 and Constantine were able to slow down the process of decline by splitting the empire into a Western part with a capital in Rome and an Eastern part with the capital in Byzantium, or Constantinople. Whereas Diocletian severely persecuted Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

, Constantine declared an official end to state-sponsored persecution of Christians in 313 with the Edict of Milan
Edict of Milan
The Edict of Milan was a letter signed by emperors Constantine I and Licinius that proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire...

, thus setting the stage for the Church
Christian Church
The Christian Church is the assembly or association of followers of Jesus Christ. The Greek term ἐκκλησία that in its appearances in the New Testament is usually translated as "church" basically means "assembly"...

 to become the State church of the Roman Empire
State church of the Roman Empire
The state church of the Roman Empire was a Christian institution organized within the Roman Empire during the 4th century that came to represent the Empire's sole authorized religion. Both the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches claim to be the historical continuation of this...

 in about 380.

Decline of the Roman Empire

The Roman Empire had been repeatedly attacked by invading armies from Northern Europe and in 476, Rome finally fell. Romulus Augustus
Romulus Augustus
Romulus Augustus , was the last Western Roman Emperor, reigning from 31 October 475 until 4 September 476...

, the last Emperor of the Western Roman Empire
Western Roman Empire
The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

 surrendered to the Germanic King Odoacer
Odoacer
Flavius Odoacer , also known as Flavius Odovacer, was the first King of Italy. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of Julius Nepos and, after Nepos' death in 480, of the...

. British historian Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon
Edward Gibbon was an English historian and Member of Parliament...

 argued in The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (1776) that the Romans had become decadent, they had lost civic virtue.

Gibbon said that the adoption of Christianity, meant belief in a better life after death, and therefore made people lazy and indifferent to the present. "From the eighteenth century onward", Glen W. Bowersock has remarked, "we have been obsessed with the fall: it has been valued as an archetype for every perceived decline, and, hence, as a symbol for our own fears." It remains one of the greatest historical questions, and has a tradition rich in scholarly interest.

Some other notable dates are the Battle of Adrianople
Battle of Adrianople
The Battle of Adrianople , sometimes known as the Battle of Hadrianopolis, was fought between a Roman army led by the Roman Emperor Valens and Gothic rebels led by Fritigern...

 in 378, the death of Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

 in 395 (the last time the Roman Empire was politically unified), the crossing of the Rhine in 406 by Germanic tribes
Germanic peoples
The Germanic peoples are an Indo-European ethno-linguistic group of Northern European origin, identified by their use of the Indo-European Germanic languages which diversified out of Proto-Germanic during the Pre-Roman Iron Age.Originating about 1800 BCE from the Corded Ware Culture on the North...

 after the withdrawal of the legions in order to defend Italy against Alaric I
Alaric I
Alaric I was the King of the Visigoths from 395–410. Alaric is most famous for his sack of Rome in 410, which marked a decisive event in the decline of the Roman Empire....

, the death of Stilicho
Stilicho
Flavius Stilicho was a high-ranking general , Patrician and Consul of the Western Roman Empire, notably of Vandal birth. Despised by the Roman population for his Germanic ancestry and Arian beliefs, Stilicho was in 408 executed along with his wife and son...

 in 408, followed by the disintegration of the western legions, the death of Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

, the last Roman Emperor who tried to reconquer the west, in 565, and the coming of Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

 after 632. Many scholars maintain that rather than a "fall", the changes can more accurately be described as a complex transformation. Over time many theories have been proposed on why the Empire fell, or whether indeed it fell at all.

Late Antiquity and Migration period

When Emperor Constantine had reconquered Rome under the banner of the cross
Cross
A cross is a geometrical figure consisting of two lines or bars perpendicular to each other, dividing one or two of the lines in half. The lines usually run vertically and horizontally; if they run obliquely, the design is technically termed a saltire, although the arms of a saltire need not meet...

 in 312, he soon afterwards issued the Edict of Milan
Edict of Milan
The Edict of Milan was a letter signed by emperors Constantine I and Licinius that proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire...

 in 313, declaring the legality of Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 in the Roman Empire. In addition, Constantine officially shifted the capital of the Roman Empire from Rome to the Greek town of Byzantium, which he renamed Constantinople ("City of Constantine").

In 395 Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

, who had made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire, would be the last emperor to preside over a united Roman Empire, and from thenceforth, the empire would be split into two halves: the Western Roman Empire centred in Ravenna
Ravenna
Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

, and the Eastern Roman Empire (later to be referred to as the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

) centred in Constantinople. The Western Roman Empire was repeatedly attacked by marauding Germanic tribes (see: Migration Period
Migration Period
The Migration Period, also called the Barbarian Invasions , was a period of intensified human migration in Europe that occurred from c. 400 to 800 CE. This period marked the transition from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle Ages...

), and in 476 finally fell to the Heruli
Heruli
The Heruli were an East Germanic tribe who are famous for their naval exploits. Migrating from Northern Europe to the Black Sea in the third century They were part of the...

 chieftain Odoacer
Odoacer
Flavius Odoacer , also known as Flavius Odovacer, was the first King of Italy. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of Julius Nepos and, after Nepos' death in 480, of the...

.

Roman authority in the West completely collapsed and the western provinces soon became a patchwork of Germanic kingdoms. However, the city of Rome, under the guidance of the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, still remained a centre of learning, and did much to preserve classic Roman thought in Western Europe. In the meantime, the Roman emperor in Constantinople, Justinian I
Justinian I
Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

, had succeeded in codifying all Roman law
Roman law
Roman law is the legal system of ancient Rome, and the legal developments which occurred before the 7th century AD — when the Roman–Byzantine state adopted Greek as the language of government. The development of Roman law comprises more than a thousand years of jurisprudence — from the Twelve...

 into the Corpus Juris Civilis
Corpus Juris Civilis
The Corpus Juris Civilis is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Eastern Roman Emperor...

 (529-534).

For the duration of the 6th century, the Eastern Roman Empire was embroiled in a series of deadly conflicts, first with the Persian Sassanid Empire
Sassanid Empire
The Sassanid Empire , known to its inhabitants as Ērānshahr and Ērān in Middle Persian and resulting in the New Persian terms Iranshahr and Iran , was the last pre-Islamic Persian Empire, ruled by the Sasanian Dynasty from 224 to 651...

 (see Roman-Persian Wars
Roman-Persian Wars
The Roman–Persian Wars were a series of conflicts between states of the Greco-Roman world and two successive Iranic empires: the Parthian and the Sassanid. Contact between the Parthian Empire and the Roman Republic began in 92 BC; wars began under the late Republic, and continued...

), followed by the onslaught of the arising Islamic Caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

 (Rashidun
Rashidun Caliphate
The Rashidun Caliphate , comprising the first four caliphs in Islam's history, was founded after Muhammad's death in 632, Year 10 A.H.. At its height, the Caliphate extended from the Arabian Peninsula, to the Levant, Caucasus and North Africa in the west, to the Iranian highlands and Central Asia...

 and Umayyad). By 650, the provinces of Egypt
Muslim conquest of Egypt
At the commencement of the Muslims conquest of Egypt, Egypt was part of the Byzantine Empire with its capital in Constantinople. However, it had been occupied just a decade before by the Persian Empire under Khosrau II...

, Palestine and Syria
Muslim conquest of Syria
The Muslim conquest of Syria occurred in the first half of the 7th century, and refers to the region known as the Bilad al-Sham, the Levant, or Greater Syria...

 were lost to the Muslim forces
Rashidun army
The Rashidun Caliphate Army or Rashidun army was the primary military body of the Rashidun Caliphate's armed forces during the Muslim conquests of the 7th century, serving alongside the Rashidun Navy...

, followed by Hispania
Umayyad conquest of Hispania
The Umayyad conquest of Hispania is the initial Islamic Ummayad Caliphate's conquest, between 711 and 718, of the Christian Visigothic Kingdom of Hispania, centered in the Iberian Peninsula, which was known to them under the Arabic name al-Andalus....

 and southern Italy
History of Islam in southern Italy
The history of Islam in southern Italy begins with the Islamic conquest and subsequent rule of Sicily and Malta, a process that started in the 9th century. Islamic rule over Sicily was effective from 902, and the complete rule of the island lasted from 965 until 1061...

 in the 7th and 8th centuries (see Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests
Muslim conquests also referred to as the Islamic conquests or Arab conquests, began with the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He established a new unified polity in the Arabian Peninsula which under the subsequent Rashidun and Umayyad Caliphates saw a century of rapid expansion of Muslim power.They...

). The Arab invasion from the east was stopped after the intervention of Bulgarian Empire
Bulgarian Empire
Bulgarian Empire is a term used to describe two periods in the medieval history of Bulgaria, during which it acted as a key regional power in Europe in general and in Southeastern Europe in particular, rivalling Byzantium...

 (see Tervel of Bulgaria
Tervel of Bulgaria
Khan Tervel also called Tarvel, or Terval, or Terbelis in some Byzantine sources, was the Emperor of the Bulgarians at the beginning of the 8th century. In 705 he received the title Caesar which was a precedent in history. He was probably a Christian like his grandfather Khan Kubrat...

).

In Western Europe, a political structure was emerging: in the power vacuum left in the wake of Rome's collapse, localised hierarchies were based on the bond of common people to the land on which they worked. Tithes were paid to the lord of the land, and the lord owed duties to the regional prince. The tithes were used to pay for the state and wars.

This was the feudal
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 system, in which new princes and kings arose, the greatest of which was the Frank ruler Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

. In 800, Charlemagne, reinforced by his massive territorial conquests, was crowned Emperor of the Romans (Imperator Romanorum) by Pope Leo III
Pope Leo III
Pope Saint Leo III was Pope from 795 to his death in 816. Protected by Charlemagne from his enemies in Rome, he subsequently strengthened Charlemagne's position by crowning him as Roman Emperor....

, effectively solidifying his power in western Europe.

Charlemagne's reign marked the beginning of a new Germanic Roman Empire in the west, the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. Outside his borders, new forces were gathering. The Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

 were marking out their territory, a Great Moravia
Great Moravia
Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe and lasted for nearly seventy years in the 9th century whose creators were the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks. It was a vassal state of the Germanic Frankish kingdom and paid an annual tribute to it. There is some controversy as...

 was growing, while the Angles
Angles
The Angles is a modern English term for a Germanic people who took their name from the ancestral cultural region of Angeln, a district located in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany...

 and the Saxons
Saxons
The Saxons were a confederation of Germanic tribes originating on the North German plain. The Saxons earliest known area of settlement is Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein...

 were securing their borders.

Middle Ages

The Middle Ages are commonly dated from the fall of the Western Roman Empire (or by some scholars, before that) in the 5th century to the beginning of the Early Modern Period
Early modern period
In history, the early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the Middle Ages through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions...

 in the 16th century, marked by the rise of nation-states, the division of Western Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 in the Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, the rise of humanism
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 in the Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

, and the beginnings of European overseas expansion which allowed for the Columbian Exchange
Columbian Exchange
The Columbian Exchange was a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations , communicable disease, and ideas between the Eastern and Western hemispheres . It was one of the most significant events concerning ecology, agriculture, and culture in all of human history...

.

The Middle Ages witnessed the first sustained urbanisation of northern and western Europe. Many modern European states owe their origins to events unfolding in the Middle Ages; present European political boundaries are, in many regards, the result of the military and dynastic achievements during this tumultuous period.

Byzantium

Many consider Emperor Constantine I
Constantine I
Constantine the Great , also known as Constantine I or Saint Constantine, was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Well known for being the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity, Constantine and co-Emperor Licinius issued the Edict of Milan in 313, which proclaimed religious tolerance of all...

 (reigned 306–337) to be the first "Byzantine Emperor". It was he who moved the imperial capital in 324 from Nicomedia
Nicomedia
Nicomedia was an ancient city in what is now Turkey, founded in 712/11 BC as a Megarian colony and was originally known as Astacus . After being destroyed by Lysimachus, it was rebuilt by Nicomedes I of Bithynia in 264 BC under the name of Nicomedia, and has ever since been one of the most...

 to Byzantium
Byzantium
Byzantium was an ancient Greek city, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas . The name Byzantium is a Latinization of the original name Byzantion...

, re-founded as Constantinople, or Nova Roma ("New Rome
New Rome
The term "New Rome" has been used in the following contexts:* "Nova Roma" is traditionally reported to be the Latin name given by emperor Constantine the Great to the new imperial capital he founded in 324 at the city on the European coast of the Bosporus strait, known as Byzantium until then and...

"). The city of Rome
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 itself had not served as the capital since the reign of Diocletian
Diocletian
Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

. Some date the beginnings of the Empire to the reign of Theodosius I
Theodosius I
Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

 (379–395) and Christianity
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

's official supplanting of the pagan Roman religion
Religion in ancient Rome
Religion in ancient Rome encompassed the religious beliefs and cult practices regarded by the Romans as indigenous and central to their identity as a people, as well as the various and many cults imported from other peoples brought under Roman rule. Romans thus offered cult to innumerable deities...

, or following his death in 395, when the political division between East and West became permanent. Others place it yet later in 476, when Romulus Augustulus, traditionally considered the last western Emperor, was deposed, thus leaving sole imperial authority with the emperor in the Greek East
Greek East
"Greek East" and "Latin West" are terms used to distinguish between the two parts of the Greco-Roman world, specifically the eastern regions where Greek was the lingua franca, and the western parts where Latin filled this role...

. Others point to the reorganisation of the empire in the time of Heraclius
Heraclius
Heraclius was Byzantine Emperor from 610 to 641.He was responsible for introducing Greek as the empire's official language. His rise to power began in 608, when he and his father, Heraclius the Elder, the exarch of Africa, successfully led a revolt against the unpopular usurper Phocas.Heraclius'...

 (c. 620) when Latin titles and usages were officially replaced with Greek versions. In any case, the changeover was gradual and by 330, when Constantine inaugurated his new capital, the process of hellenization and increasing Christianisation was already under way. The Empire is generally considered to have ended after the fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 to the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 in 1453.
The Plague of Justinian
Plague of Justinian
The Plague of Justinian was a pandemic that afflicted the Eastern Roman Empire , including its capital Constantinople, in 541–542 AD. It was one of the greatest plagues in history. The most commonly accepted cause of the pandemic is bubonic plague, which later became infamous for either causing or...

 was a pandemic
Pandemic
A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that is spreading through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic...

 that afflicted the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, including its capital Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

, in the years 541–542. It is estimated that the Plague of Justinian killed as many as 100 million people across the world. It caused Europe's population
Medieval demography
This article discusses human demography in Europe during the Middle Ages, including population trends and movements. Demographic changes helped to shape and define the Middle Ages...

 to drop by around 50% between 541 and 700. It also may have contributed to the success of the Arab conquests.

Early Middle Ages

The Early Middle Ages span roughly five centuries from 500 to 1000. During this period, most of Europe was Christianised, and the "Dark Ages" following the fall of Rome took place. The establishment of the Frankish Empire
Frankish Empire
Francia or Frankia, later also called the Frankish Empire , Frankish Kingdom , Frankish Realm or occasionally Frankland, was the territory inhabited and ruled by the Franks from the 3rd to the 10th century...

 by the 9th century led to the Carolingian Renaissance
Carolingian Renaissance
In the history of ideas the Carolingian Renaissance stands out as a period of intellectual and cultural revival in Europe occurring from the late eighth century, in the generation of Alcuin, to the 9th century, and the generation of Heiric of Auxerre, with the peak of the activities coordinated...

 on the continent. Europe still remained a backwater compared to the rising Muslim world
Muslim world
The term Muslim world has several meanings. In a religious sense, it refers to those who adhere to the teachings of Islam, referred to as Muslims. In a cultural sense, it refers to Islamic civilization, inclusive of non-Muslims living in that civilization...

, with its vast network of caravan trade, or India with its Golden Period under the Gupta Empire
Gupta Empire
The Gupta Empire was an ancient Indian empire which existed approximately from 320 to 550 CE and covered much of the Indian Subcontinent. Founded by Maharaja Sri-Gupta, the dynasty was the model of a classical civilization. The peace and prosperity created under leadership of Guptas enabled the...

 and the Pratiharas or China, at this time the world's most populous empire under the Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

. By AD 1000, Constantinople had a population of about 300,000, but Rome had a mere 35,000 and Paris 20,000. Islam had over a dozen major cities stretching from Córdoba, Spain
Córdoba, Spain
-History:The first trace of human presence in the area are remains of a Neanderthal Man, dating to c. 32,000 BC. In the 8th century BC, during the ancient Tartessos period, a pre-urban settlement existed. The population gradually learned copper and silver metallurgy...

, at this time the world's largest city with 450,000 inhabitants, to central Asia.

Feudal Christendom

The Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

 emerged around 800, as Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

, king of the Franks
Franks
The Franks were a confederation of Germanic tribes first attested in the third century AD as living north and east of the Lower Rhine River. From the third to fifth centuries some Franks raided Roman territory while other Franks joined the Roman troops in Gaul. Only the Salian Franks formed a...

, was crowned by the pope as emperor. His empire based in modern France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, the Low Countries and Germany expanded into modern Hungary, Italy, Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

 and Spain. He and his father received substantial help from an alliance with the Pope, who wanted help against the Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

. The pope was officially a vassal of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

, but the Byzantine emperor did (could do) nothing against the Lombards.

To the east, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 was established in 681 and became the first Slavic
Slavic peoples
The Slavic people are an Indo-European panethnicity living in Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, North Asia and Central Asia. The term Slavic represents a broad ethno-linguistic group of people, who speak languages belonging to the Slavic language family and share, to varying degrees, certain...

 country. The powerful Bulgarian Empire
Bulgarian Empire
Bulgarian Empire is a term used to describe two periods in the medieval history of Bulgaria, during which it acted as a key regional power in Europe in general and in Southeastern Europe in particular, rivalling Byzantium...

 was the main rival of Byzantium for control of the Balkans for centuries and from the 9th century became the cultural centre of Slavic Europe. The Empire created the Cyrillic alphabet
Cyrillic alphabet
The Cyrillic script or azbuka is an alphabetic writing system developed in the First Bulgarian Empire during the 10th century AD at the Preslav Literary School...

 during the 10th century AD, at the Preslav Literary School
Preslav Literary School
The Preslav Literary School was the first literary school in the medieval Bulgarian Empire. It was established by Boris I in 885 or 886 in Bulgaria's capital, Pliska...

. Two states, Great Moravia
Great Moravia
Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe and lasted for nearly seventy years in the 9th century whose creators were the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks. It was a vassal state of the Germanic Frankish kingdom and paid an annual tribute to it. There is some controversy as...

 and Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus'
Kievan Rus was a medieval polity in Eastern Europe, from the late 9th to the mid 13th century, when it disintegrated under the pressure of the Mongol invasion of 1237–1240....

, emerged among the Slavic peoples respectively in the 9th century. In the late 9th and 10th centuries, northern and western Europe felt the burgeoning power and influence of the Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

s who raided, traded, conquered and settled swiftly and efficiently with their advanced sea-going vessels such as the longship
Longship
Longships were sea vessels made and used by the Vikings from the Nordic countries for trade, commerce, exploration, and warfare during the Viking Age. The longship’s design evolved over many years, beginning in the Stone Age with the invention of the umiak and continuing up to the 9th century with...

s. The Hungarians pillaged mainland Europe, the Pechenegs raided Bulgaria, Rus States and the Arab
Arab
Arab people, also known as Arabs , are a panethnicity primarily living in the Arab world, which is located in Western Asia and North Africa. They are identified as such on one or more of genealogical, linguistic, or cultural grounds, with tribal affiliations, and intra-tribal relationships playing...

 states. In the 10th century independent kingdoms were established in Central Europe, for example, Poland and Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Hungary
The Kingdom of Hungary comprised present-day Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia , Transylvania , Carpatho Ruthenia , Vojvodina , Burgenland , and other smaller territories surrounding present-day Hungary's borders...

. Hungarians had stopped their pillaging campaigns; prominent also included Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 and Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 in the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

. The subsequent period, ending around 1000, saw the further growth of feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

, which weakened the Holy Roman Empire.

High Middle Ages

The slumber of the Dark Ages
Early Middle Ages
The Early Middle Ages was the period of European history lasting from the 5th century to approximately 1000. The Early Middle Ages followed the decline of the Western Roman Empire and preceded the High Middle Ages...

 was shaken by renewed crisis in the Church. In 1054, the East–West Schism
East–West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

, an insoluble split, occurred between the two remaining Christian seats in Rome
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and Constantinople.

The High Middle Ages of the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries show a rapidly increasing population
Medieval demography
This article discusses human demography in Europe during the Middle Ages, including population trends and movements. Demographic changes helped to shape and define the Middle Ages...

 of Europe, which caused great social and political change from the preceding era. By 1250, the robust population increase greatly benefited the economy, reaching levels it would not see again in some areas until the 19th century.
From about the year 1000 onwards, Western Europe saw the last of the barbarian invasions and became more politically organised. The Viking
Viking
The term Viking is customarily used to refer to the Norse explorers, warriors, merchants, and pirates who raided, traded, explored and settled in wide areas of Europe, Asia and the North Atlantic islands from the late 8th to the mid-11th century.These Norsemen used their famed longships to...

s had settled in Britain, Ireland, France and elsewhere, whilst Norse Christian kingdoms were developing in their Scandinavian homelands. The Magyars had ceased their expansion in the 10th century, and by the year 1000, the Roman Catholic Apostolic Kingdom of Hungary was recognised in central Europe. With the brief exception of the Mongol invasions
Mongol invasions
Mongol invasions progressed throughout the 13th century, resulting in the vast Mongol Empire which covered much of Asia and Eastern Europe by 1300....

, major barbarian incursions ceased.

In the 11th century, populations north of the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

 began to settle new lands, some of which had reverted to wilderness after the end of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. In what is known as the "great clearances," vast forests and marshes of Europe were cleared and cultivated. At the same time settlements moved beyond the traditional boundaries of the Frankish Empire
Frankish Empire
Francia or Frankia, later also called the Frankish Empire , Frankish Kingdom , Frankish Realm or occasionally Frankland, was the territory inhabited and ruled by the Franks from the 3rd to the 10th century...

 to new frontiers in Europe, beyond the Elbe River, tripling the size of Germany in the process. Crusaders founded European colonies
Crusader states
The Crusader states were a number of mostly 12th- and 13th-century feudal states created by Western European crusaders in Asia Minor, Greece and the Holy Land , and during the Northern Crusades in the eastern Baltic area...

 in the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

, the majority of the Iberian Peninsula was conquered
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 from the Moors, and the Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 colonised southern Italy, all part of the major population increase and resettlement pattern.

The High Middle Ages produced many different forms of intellectual, spiritual and artistic works
Medieval art
The medieval art of the Western world covers a vast scope of time and place, over 1000 years of art history in Europe, and at times the Middle East and North Africa...

. This age saw the rise of modern nation-states in Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 and the ascent of the great Italian city-state
City-state
A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity whose territory consists of a city which is not administered as a part of another local government.-Historical city-states:...

s. The still-powerful Roman Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 called armies from across Europe to a series of Crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

 against the Seljuq Turks, who occupied the Holy Land
Holy Land
The Holy Land is a term which in Judaism refers to the Kingdom of Israel as defined in the Tanakh. For Jews, the Land's identifiction of being Holy is defined in Judaism by its differentiation from other lands by virtue of the practice of Judaism often possible only in the Land of Israel...

. The rediscovery of the works of Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 led Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 and other thinkers to develop the philosophy of Scholasticism
Scholasticism
Scholasticism is a method of critical thought which dominated teaching by the academics of medieval universities in Europe from about 1100–1500, and a program of employing that method in articulating and defending orthodoxy in an increasingly pluralistic context...

. In architecture, many of the most notable Gothic cathedrals
Gothic architecture
Gothic architecture is a style of architecture that flourished during the high and late medieval period. It evolved from Romanesque architecture and was succeeded by Renaissance architecture....

 were built or completed during this era.

A divided church

The Great Schism between the Western (Catholic) and Eastern (Orthodox) Christian Churches was sparked in 1054 by Pope Leo IX
Pope Leo IX
Pope Saint Leo IX , born Bruno of Eguisheim-Dagsburg, was Pope from February 12, 1049 to his death. He was a German aristocrat and as well as being Pope was a powerful secular ruler of central Italy. He is regarded as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, with the feast day of April 19...

 asserting authority over three of the seats in the Pentarchy
Pentarchy
Pentarchy is a term in the history of Christianity for the idea of universal rule over all Christendom by the heads of five major episcopal sees, or patriarchates, of the Roman Empire: Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem...

, in Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria. Since the mid-8th century, the Byzantine Empire's borders had been shrinking in the face of Islamic expansion. Antioch
Antioch
Antioch on the Orontes was an ancient city on the eastern side of the Orontes River. It is near the modern city of Antakya, Turkey.Founded near the end of the 4th century BC by Seleucus I Nicator, one of Alexander the Great's generals, Antioch eventually rivaled Alexandria as the chief city of the...

 had been wrested back into Byzantine control by 1045, but the resurgent power of the Roman successors in the West claimed a right and a duty for the lost seats in Asia and Africa. Pope Leo sparked a further dispute by defending the filioque clause
Filioque clause
Filioque , Latin for "and the Son", is a phrase found in the form of Nicene Creed in use in the Latin Church. It is not present in the Greek text of the Nicene Creed as originally formulated at the First Council of Constantinople, which says only that the Holy Spirit proceeds "from the Father":The...

 in the Nicene Creed
Nicene Creed
The Nicene Creed is the creed or profession of faith that is most widely used in Christian liturgy. It is called Nicene because, in its original form, it was adopted in the city of Nicaea by the first ecumenical council, which met there in the year 325.The Nicene Creed has been normative to the...

 which the West had adopted customarily. Eastern Orthodox today state that the XXVIII-th Canon of the Fourth Ecumenical Council explicitly proclaimed the equality of the Bishops of Rome and Constantinople. The Orthodox also state that the Bishop of Rome has authority only over his own diocese and does not have any authority outside his diocese. There were other less significant catalysts for the Schism however, including variance over liturgical
Liturgy
Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

. The Schism of Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and Eastern Orthodox‎
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 followed centuries of estrangement between Latin and Greek worlds.

Further changes were set afoot with a redivision of power in Europe. William the Conqueror
William I of England
William I , also known as William the Conqueror , was the first Norman King of England from Christmas 1066 until his death. He was also Duke of Normandy from 3 July 1035 until his death, under the name William II...

, a Duke of Normandy
Duke of Normandy
The Duke of Normandy is the title of the reigning monarch of the British Crown Dependancies of the Bailiwick of Guernsey and the Bailiwick of Jersey. The title traces its roots to the Duchy of Normandy . Whether the reigning sovereign is a male or female, they are always titled as the "Duke of...

 invaded England in 1066. The Norman Conquest was a pivotal event in English history
History of England
The history of England concerns the study of the human past in one of Europe's oldest and most influential national territories. What is now England, a country within the United Kingdom, was inhabited by Neanderthals 230,000 years ago. Continuous human habitation dates to around 12,000 years ago,...

 for several reasons. This linked England more closely with continental Europe through the introduction of a Norman aristocracy, thereby lessening Scandinavian influence. It created one of the most powerful monarchies in Europe and engendered a sophisticated governmental system. Being based on an island, moreover, England was to develop a powerful navy and trade relationships that would come to constitute a vast part of the world including India, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and many key naval strategic points like Bermuda
Bermuda
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

, Suez
Suez
Suez is a seaport city in north-eastern Egypt, located on the north coast of the Gulf of Suez , near the southern terminus of the Suez Canal, having the same boundaries as Suez governorate. It has three harbors, Adabya, Ain Sokhna and Port Tawfiq, and extensive port facilities...

, Hong Kong and especially Gibraltar
Gibraltar
Gibraltar is a British overseas territory located on the southern end of the Iberian Peninsula at the entrance of the Mediterranean. A peninsula with an area of , it has a northern border with Andalusia, Spain. The Rock of Gibraltar is the major landmark of the region...

. These strategic advantages grew and were to prove decisive until after the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

.

Holy wars

After the East-West Schism
East-West Schism
The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

, Western Christianity
Western Christianity
Western Christianity is a term used to include the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church and groups historically derivative thereof, including the churches of the Anglican and Protestant traditions, which share common attributes that can be traced back to their medieval heritage...

 was adopted by newly created kingdoms of Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

: Poland, Hungary and Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

. The Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 developed as a major power, leading to conflicts between the Pope and Emperor. The geographic reach of the Roman Catholic Church expanded enormously due to conversions of pagan kings (Scandinavia, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

, Poland, Hungary), Christian reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 of Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus
Al-Andalus was the Arabic name given to a nation and territorial region also commonly referred to as Moorish Iberia. The name describes parts of the Iberian Peninsula and Septimania governed by Muslims , at various times in the period between 711 and 1492, although the territorial boundaries...

, and crusades
Crusades
The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

. Most of Europe was Roman Catholic in the 15th century.

Early signs of the rebirth of civilisation in western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 began to appear in the 11th century as trade started again in Italy, leading to the economic and cultural growth of independent city states such as Venice and Florence; at the same time, nation-states began to take form in places such as France, England, Spain, and Portugal, although the process of their formation (usually marked by rivalry between the monarchy, the aristocratic feudal lords and the church) actually took several centuries. These new nation-states began writing in their own cultural vernaculars, instead of the traditional Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

. Notable figures of this movement would include Dante Alighieri
Dante Alighieri
Durante degli Alighieri, mononymously referred to as Dante , was an Italian poet, prose writer, literary theorist, moral philosopher, and political thinker. He is best known for the monumental epic poem La commedia, later named La divina commedia ...

 and Christine de Pisan (born Christina da Pizzano), the former writing in Italian, and the latter although an Italian (Venice) relocated to France, writing in French.(See Reconquista
Reconquista
The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

 for the latter two countries.) On the other hand, the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, essentially based in Germany and Italy, further fragmented into a myriad of feudal principalities or small city states, whose subjection to the emperor was only formal.

The 13th and 14th century, when the Mongol Empire
Mongol Empire
The Mongol Empire , initially named as Greater Mongol State was a great empire during the 13th and 14th centuries...

 came to power, is often called the Age of the Mongols. Mongol armies expanded westward under the command of Batu Khan
Batu Khan
Batu Khan was a Mongol ruler and founder of the Ulus of Jochi , the sub-khanate of the Mongol Empire. Batu was a son of Jochi and grandson of Genghis Khan. His ulus was the chief state of the Golden Horde , which ruled Rus and the Caucasus for around 250 years, after also destroying the armies...

. Their western conquests included almost all of Russia (save Novgorod, which became a vassal), Kipchak lands, Hungary, and Poland (Which had remained sovereign state). Mongolian records indicate that Batu Khan was planning a complete conquest of the remaining European powers, beginning with a winter attack on Austria, Italy and Germany, when he was recalled to Mongolia
Mongolia
Mongolia is a landlocked country in East and Central Asia. It is bordered by Russia to the north and China to the south, east and west. Although Mongolia does not share a border with Kazakhstan, its western-most point is only from Kazakhstan's eastern tip. Ulan Bator, the capital and largest...

 upon the death of Great Khan Ögedei
Ögedei Khan
Ögedei Khan, born Ögedei was the third son of Genghis Khan and second Great Khan of the Mongol Empire by succeeding his father...

. Most historians believe only his death prevented the complete conquest of Europe. In Russia, the Mongols of the Golden Horde
Golden Horde
The Golden Horde was a Mongol and later Turkicized khanate that formed the north-western sector of the Mongol Empire...

 ruled for almost 250 years.

Late Middle Ages

The Late Middle Ages span the 14th and 15th centuries. Around 1300, centuries of European prosperity and growth came to a halt. A series of famines and plagues, such as the Great Famine of 1315–1317
Great Famine of 1315–1317
The Great Famine of 1315–1317 was the first of a series of large scale crises that struck Northern Europe early in the fourteenth century...

 and the Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

, reduced the population by as much as half according to some estimates. Along with depopulation came social unrest and endemic warfare
Endemic warfare
Endemic warfare is the state of continual, low-threshold warfare in a tribal warrior society. Endemic warfare is often highly ritualized and plays an important function in assisting the formation of a social structure among the tribes' men by proving themselves in battle.Ritual fighting permits...

. France and England experienced serious peasant risings: the Jacquerie
Jacquerie
The Jacquerie was a popular revolt in late medieval Europe by peasants that took place in northern France in the summer of 1358, during the Hundred Years' War. The revolt, which was violently suppressed after a few weeks of violence, centered in the Oise valley north of Paris...

, the Peasants' Revolt
Peasants' Revolt
The Peasants' Revolt, Wat Tyler's Rebellion, or the Great Rising of 1381 was one of a number of popular revolts in late medieval Europe and is a major event in the history of England. Tyler's Rebellion was not only the most extreme and widespread insurrection in English history but also the...

, and the Hundred Years' War
Hundred Years' War
The Hundred Years' War was a series of separate wars waged from 1337 to 1453 by the House of Valois and the House of Plantagenet, also known as the House of Anjou, for the French throne, which had become vacant upon the extinction of the senior Capetian line of French kings...

. To add to the many problems of the period, the unity of the Catholic Church was shattered by the Great Schism
Western Schism
The Western Schism or Papal Schism was a split within the Catholic Church from 1378 to 1417. Two men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope. Driven by politics rather than any theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance . The simultaneous claims to the papal chair...

. Collectively these events are sometimes called the Crisis of the Late Middle Ages
Crisis of the Late Middle Ages
The Crisis of the Late Middle Ages refers to a series of events in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries that brought centuries of European prosperity and growth to a halt...

.

Beginning in the 14th century, the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

 became one of the most important trade route
Trade route
A trade route is a logistical network identified as a series of pathways and stoppages used for the commercial transport of cargo. Allowing goods to reach distant markets, a single trade route contains long distance arteries which may further be connected to several smaller networks of commercial...

s. The Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

, an alliance of trading cities, facilitated the absorption of vast areas of Poland, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

 and other Baltic countries
Baltic countries
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

 into trade with other European countries. This fed the growth of powerful states in this part of Europe including Poland-Lithuania, Hungary, Bohemia, and Muscovy later on. The conventional end of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 is usually associated with the fall of the city Constantinople
Constantinople
Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

 and of the Byzantine Empire
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 to the Ottoman Turks
Ottoman Turks
The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

 in 1453. The Turks made the city the capital of their Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, which lasted until 1922 and included Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and most of the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

. The Ottoman wars in Europe
Ottoman wars in Europe
The wars of the Ottoman Empire in Europe are also sometimes referred to as the Ottoman Wars or as Turkish Wars, particularly in older, European texts.- Rise :...

, also sometimes referred as the Turkish wars, marked an essential part of the history of the continent
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 as a whole.
  • Hanseatic League
    Hanseatic League
    The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

    , Marco Polo
    Marco Polo
    Marco Polo was a Venetian merchant traveler from the Venetian Republic whose travels are recorded in Il Milione, a book which did much to introduce Europeans to Central Asia and China. He learned about trading whilst his father and uncle, Niccolò and Maffeo, travelled through Asia and apparently...

    , Lex Mercatoria
    Lex mercatoria
    Lex mercatoria is the body of commercial law used by merchants throughout Europe during the medieval period. It evolved similar to English common law as a system of custom and best practice, which was enforced through a system of merchant courts along the main trade routes. It functioned as the...

    , History of trade
  • Western Schism
    Western Schism
    The Western Schism or Papal Schism was a split within the Catholic Church from 1378 to 1417. Two men simultaneously claimed to be the true pope. Driven by politics rather than any theological disagreement, the schism was ended by the Council of Constance . The simultaneous claims to the papal chair...

     (1378–1417)
  • Hundred Years War, Joan of Arc
    Joan of Arc
    Saint Joan of Arc, nicknamed "The Maid of Orléans" , is a national heroine of France and a Roman Catholic saint. A peasant girl born in eastern France who claimed divine guidance, she led the French army to several important victories during the Hundred Years' War, which paved the way for the...


Early Modern Europe

The Early Modern period spans the centuries between the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 and the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, roughly from 1500 to 1800, or from the discovery of the New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 in 1492 to the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 in 1789.
The period is characterised by the rise to importance of science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 and increasingly rapid technological progress
History of technology
The history of technology is the history of the invention of tools and techniques, and is similar in many ways to the history of humanity. Background knowledge has enabled people to create new things, and conversely, many scientific endeavors have become possible through technologies which assist...

, secularised civic politics
Politics
Politics is a process by which groups of people make collective decisions. The term is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil governments, but also applies to institutions, fields, and special interest groups such as the...

 and the nation state. Capitalist economies began their rise, beginning in northern Italian republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

s such as Genoa
Genoa
Genoa |Ligurian]] Zena ; Latin and, archaically, English Genua) is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

. The early modern period also saw the rise and dominance of the economic theory of mercantilism
Mercantilism
Mercantilism is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade is of paramount importance for ensuring the prosperity and security of the state. In particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. Mercantilism dominated Western European economic policy and discourse from...

. As such, the early modern period represents the decline and eventual disappearance, in much of the European sphere, of feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

, serfdom and the power of the Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

.
The period includes the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

, the disastrous Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

, the European colonisation of the Americas and the European witch-hunts.

Renaissance

Despite these crises, the 14th century was also a time of great progress within the arts and sciences. A renewed interest in ancient Greek
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 and Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 texts led to what has later been termed the Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

.

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life in the early modern period
Early modern period
In history, the early modern period of modern history follows the late Middle Ages. Although the chronological limits of the period are open to debate, the timeframe spans the period after the late portion of the Middle Ages through the beginning of the Age of Revolutions...

. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the north and west during a cultural lag of some two and a half centuries, its influence affected literature, philosophy, art, politics, science, history, religion, and other aspects of intellectual enquiry.

The Italian Petrarch
Petrarch
Francesco Petrarca , known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism"...

 (Francesco di Petracco), deemed the first full-blooded Humanist, wrote in the 1330s: "I am alive now, yet I would rather have been born in another time." He was enthusiastic about Greek and Roman antiquity. In the 15th and 16th centuries the continuing enthusiasm for the ancients was reinforced by the feeling that the inherited culture was dissolving and here was a storehouse of ideas and attitudes with which to rebuild. Matteo Palmieri
Matteo Palmieri
Matteo di Marco Palmieri was a Florentine humanist and historian who is best known for his work Della vita civile which advocated civic humanism, and his influence in refining the Tuscan vernacular to the same level as Latin. He was sent as Florentine ambassador to the court of Alfonso of Naples...

 wrote in the 1430s: "Now indeed may every thoughtful spirit thank god that it has been permitted to him to be born in a new age." The renaissance was born: a new age where learning was very important.

The Renaissance was inspired by the growth in study of Latin and Greek texts and the admiration of the Greco-Roman era as a golden age. This prompted many artists and writers to begin drawing from Roman and Greek examples for their works, but there was also much innovation in this period, especially by multi-faceted artists such as Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

. Many Roman and Greek texts were already in existence in the European Middle Ages. The monks had copied and recopied the old texts and housed them for a millennium, but they had regarded them in another light. Many more flowed in with the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Fall of Constantinople
Fall of Constantinople
The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

 while other Greek and Roman texts came from Islamic sources, who had inherited the ancient Greek and Roman texts and knowledge through conquest, even attempting to improve upon some of them. With the usual pride of advanced thinkers, the Humanists saw their repossession of a great past as a Renaissance—a rebirth of civilisation itself.

Important political precedents were also set in this period. Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò Machiavelli
Niccolò di Bernardo dei Machiavelli was an Italian historian, philosopher, humanist, and writer based in Florence during the Renaissance. He is one of the main founders of modern political science. He was a diplomat, political philosopher, playwright, and a civil servant of the Florentine Republic...

's political writing in The Prince
The Prince
The Prince is a political treatise by the Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist Niccolò Machiavelli. From correspondence a version appears to have been distributed in 1513, using a Latin title, De Principatibus . But the printed version was not published until 1532, five years after...

 influenced later absolutism and real-politik. Also important were the many patrons who ruled states and used the artistry of the Renaissance as a sign of their power.

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—the immediate past being too "Gothic" in language, thought and sensibility.

Exploration and trade

Toward the end of the period, an era of discovery began. The growth of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

, culminating in the fall of Constantinople in 1453, cut off trading possibilities with the east. Europeans were forced to discover new trading routes, as happened with Columbus
Christopher Columbus
Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

’s travel to the Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 in 1492, and Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India...

’s circumnavigation of India
Indian subcontinent
The Indian subcontinent, also Indian Subcontinent, Indo-Pak Subcontinent or South Asian Subcontinent is a region of the Asian continent on the Indian tectonic plate from the Hindu Kush or Hindu Koh, Himalayas and including the Kuen Lun and Karakoram ranges, forming a land mass which extends...

 and Africa in 1498.

The numerous wars did not prevent European states from exploring and conquering wide portions of the world, from Africa to Asia and the newly discovered Americas
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

. In the 15th century, Portugal led the way in geographical exploration along the coast of Africa in search for a maritime route to India, followed by Spain near the close of the 15th century; dividing their exploration of world according to the Treaty of Tordesillas
Treaty of Tordesillas
The Treaty of Tordesillas , signed at Tordesillas , , divided the newly discovered lands outside Europe between Spain and Portugal along a meridian 370 leagueswest of the Cape Verde islands...

 of 1494. They were the first states to set up colonies in America and trading posts (factories)
Factory (trading post)
Factory was the English term for the trading posts system originally established by Europeans in foreign territories, first within different states of medieval Europe, and later in their colonial possessions...

 along the shores of Africa and Asia, establishing the first direct European diplomatic contacts with Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

n states in 1511, China in 1513 and Japan in 1542. In 1552, Russian tsar
Tsar
Tsar is a title used to designate certain European Slavic monarchs or supreme rulers. As a system of government in the Tsardom of Russia and Russian Empire, it is known as Tsarist autocracy, or Tsarism...

 Ivan the Terrible conquered two major Tatar khanates, Kazan
Russo-Kazan Wars
thumb|300px|[[St. Basil's Cathedral]] is a monument to the Russian conquest of Kazan in 1552.The Russo-Kazan Wars was a series of wars fought between the Khanate of Kazan and Muscovite Russia from 1438, until Kazan was finally captured by Ivan the Terrible and absorbed into Russia in 1552.- Wars of...

 and Astrakhan
Astrakhan Khanate
The Khanate of Astrakhan was a Tatar feudal state that appeared after the collapse of the Golden Horde. The Khanate existed in the 15th and 16th centuries in the area adjacent to the mouth of the Volga river, where the contemporary city of Astrakhan/Hajji Tarkhan is now located...

, and the Yermak
Yermak Timofeyevich
Yermak Timofeyevich , Cossack leader, Russian folk hero and explorer of Siberia. His exploration of Siberia marked the beginning of the expansion of Russia towards this region and its colonization...

's voyage of 1580 led to the annexation of Siberia into Russia.
Oceanic explorations were soon followed by France, England and the Netherlands, who explored the Portuguese and Spanish trade routes into the Pacific Ocean, reaching Australia in 1606 and New Zealand in 1642.

Reformation

Spreading through Europe with the development of printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

, knowledge challenged traditional doctrines in science and theology. Simultaneously Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 under German Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 questioned Papal authority. The most common dating begins in 1517, when Luther published The Ninety-Five Theses, and concludes in 1648 with the Treaty of Westphalia that ended years of European religious wars
European wars of religion
The European wars of religion were a series of wars waged in Europe from ca. 1524 to 1648, following the onset of the Protestant Reformation in Western and Northern Europe...

.

During this period corruption in the Catholic Church led to a sharp backlash in the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

. It gained many followers especially among princes and kings seeking a stronger state by ending the influence of the Catholic Church. Figures other than Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 began to emerge as well like John Calvin
John Calvin
John Calvin was an influential French theologian and pastor during the Protestant Reformation. He was a principal figure in the development of the system of Christian theology later called Calvinism. Originally trained as a humanist lawyer, he broke from the Roman Catholic Church around 1530...

 whose Calvinism
Calvinism
Calvinism is a Protestant theological system and an approach to the Christian life...

 had influence in many countries and King Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII of England
Henry VIII was King of England from 21 April 1509 until his death. He was Lord, and later King, of Ireland, as well as continuing the nominal claim by the English monarchs to the Kingdom of France...

 who broke away from the Catholic Church in England and set up the Anglican Church (contrary to popular belief, this is only half true; his daughter Queen Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 finished the organization of the church). These religious divisions brought on a wave of wars inspired and driven by religion but also by the ambitious monarchs in Western Europe who were becoming more centralised and powerful.

The Protestant Reformation also led to a strong reform movement in the Catholic Church called the Counter-Reformation
Counter-Reformation
The Counter-Reformation was the period of Catholic revival beginning with the Council of Trent and ending at the close of the Thirty Years' War, 1648 as a response to the Protestant Reformation.The Counter-Reformation was a comprehensive effort, composed of four major elements:#Ecclesiastical or...

, which aimed to reduce corruption as well as to improve and strengthen Catholic Dogma. Two important groups in the Catholic Church who emerged from this movement were the Jesuits, who helped keep Spain, Portugal, Poland and other European countries within the Catholic fold, and the Oratorians of St Philip Neri, who ministered to the faithful in Rome, restoring their confidence in the Church of Jesus Christ that subsisted substantially in the Church of Rome. Still, the Catholic Church was somewhat weakened by the Reformation, portions of Europe were no longer under its sway and kings in the remaining Catholic countries began to take control of the Church institutions within their kingdoms.

Unlike many European counties, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Hungary, were more tolerant. While still enforcing the predominance of Catholicism they continued to allow the large religious minorities to maintain their faiths, traditions and customs. Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth  became divided between Catholics, Protestants, Orthodox, Jews and a small Muslim population.

Another important development in this period was the growth of pan-European sentiments. Eméric Crucé (1623) came up with the idea of the European Council
European Council
The European Council is an institution of the European Union. It comprises the heads of state or government of the EU member states, along with the President of the European Commission and the President of the European Council, currently Herman Van Rompuy...

, intended to end wars in Europe; attempts to create lasting peace were no success, although all European countries (except the Russian and Ottoman Empires, regarded as foreign) agreed to make peace in 1518 at the Treaty of London
Treaty of London, 1518
The Treaty of London in 1518 was a non-aggression pact between the major European nations. The signatories were France, England, Holy Roman Empire, the Papacy, Spain, Burgundy and the Netherlands, all of whom agreed not to attack one another and to come to the aid of any that were under attack.The...

. Many wars broke out again in a few years. The Reformation also made European peace impossible for many centuries.

Another development was the idea of 'European superiority'. The ideal of civilisation was taken over from the ancient Greeks and Romans: discipline
Discipline
In its original sense, discipline is referred to systematic instruction given to disciples to train them as students in a craft or trade, or to follow a particular code of conduct or "order". Often, the phrase "to discipline" carries a negative connotation. This is because enforcement of order –...

, education
Education
Education in its broadest, general sense is the means through which the aims and habits of a group of people lives on from one generation to the next. Generally, it occurs through any experience that has a formative effect on the way one thinks, feels, or acts...

 and living in the city were required to make people civilised; Europeans and non-Europeans were judged for their civility, and Europe regarded itself as superior to other continents. There was a movement by some such as Montaigne
Michel de Montaigne
Lord Michel Eyquem de Montaigne , February 28, 1533 – September 13, 1592, was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for popularising the essay as a literary genre and is popularly thought of as the father of Modern Skepticism...

 that regarded the non-Europeans as a better, more natural and primitive people. Post services were founded all over Europe, which allowed a humanistic
Renaissance humanism
Renaissance humanism was an activity of cultural and educational reform engaged by scholars, writers, and civic leaders who are today known as Renaissance humanists. It developed during the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries, and was a response to the challenge of Mediæval...

 interconnected network of intellectuals across Europe, despite religious divisions. However, the Roman Catholic Church banned many leading scientific works; this led to an intellectual advantage for Protestant countries, where the banning of books was regionally organised. Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon
Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC was an English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, author and pioneer of the scientific method. He served both as Attorney General and Lord Chancellor of England...

 and other advocates of science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 tried to create unity in Europe by focusing on the unity in nature
Nature
Nature, in the broadest sense, is equivalent to the natural world, physical world, or material world. "Nature" refers to the phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general...

.1 In the 15th century, at the end of the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, powerful sovereign state
Sovereign state
A sovereign state, or simply, state, is a state with a defined territory on which it exercises internal and external sovereignty, a permanent population, a government, and the capacity to enter into relations with other sovereign states. It is also normally understood to be a state which is neither...

s were appearing, built by the New Monarchs
New Monarchs
The New Monarchs was a concept developed by European historians during the first half of the 20th century to characterize 15th century European rulers who unified their respective nations, creating stable and centralized governments. This centralization allowed for an era of worldwide colonization...

 who were centralising power in France, England, and Spain. On the other hand the Parliament in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth grew in power, taking legislative rights from the Polish king. The new state power was contested by parliaments in other countries especially England. New kinds of states emerged which were cooperation agreements between territorial rulers, cities, farmer republics and knights.

Mercantilism and colonial expansion

The Iberian
Iberian Peninsula
The Iberian Peninsula , sometimes called Iberia, is located in the extreme southwest of Europe and includes the modern-day sovereign states of Spain, Portugal and Andorra, as well as the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar...

 states (Spain and Portugal) were able to dominate New World
New World
The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

 (American) colonial activity in the 16th century but were increasingly challenged by British, French, and the short-lived Dutch and Swedish
New Sweden
New Sweden was a Swedish colony along the Delaware River on the Mid-Atlantic coast of North America from 1638 to 1655. Fort Christina, now in Wilmington, Delaware, was the first settlement. New Sweden included parts of the present-day American states of Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania....

 colonial efforts of the 17th and 18th centuries. New forms of trade and expanding horizons made new forms of government
Federalism
Federalism is a political concept in which a group of members are bound together by covenant with a governing representative head. The term "federalism" is also used to describe a system of the government in which sovereignty is constitutionally divided between a central governing authority and...

, law
Constitutionalism
Constitutionalism has a variety of meanings. Most generally, it is "a complex of ideas, attitudes, and patterns of behavior elaborating the principle that the authority of government derives from and is limited by a body of fundamental law"....

 and eco
Mercantilism
Mercantilism is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade is of paramount importance for ensuring the prosperity and security of the state. In particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. Mercantilism dominated Western European economic policy and discourse from...

nomics
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 necessary.

Colonial expansion continued in the following centuries (with some setbacks, such as successful wars of independence in the British American colonies
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

 and then later Mexico
Mexican War of Independence
The Mexican War of Independence was an armed conflict between the people of Mexico and the Spanish colonial authorities which started on 16 September 1810. The movement, which became known as the Mexican War of Independence, was led by Mexican-born Spaniards, Mestizos and Amerindians who sought...

, Argentina
Argentine War of Independence
The Argentine War of Independence was fought from 1810 to 1818 by Argentine patriotic forces under Manuel Belgrano, Juan José Castelli and José de San Martín against royalist forces loyal to the Spanish crown...

, Brazil, and others following French occupation of Spain
Kingdom of Spain (Napoleonic)
The Kingdom of Spain was a short-lived client state of the First French Empire that briefly existed during the Peninsular War, a contest between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars...

 in the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

). Spain had control of a large part of North America, all of Central America and a great part of South America, the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

 and the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

; Britain took the whole of Australia and New Zealand, most of India, and large parts of Africa and North America; France held parts of Canada and India (nearly all of which was lost to Britain in 1763
Treaty of Paris (1763)
The Treaty of Paris, often called the Peace of Paris, or the Treaty of 1763, was signed on 10 February 1763, by the kingdoms of Great Britain, France and Spain, with Portugal in agreement. It ended the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War...

), Indochina
French Indochina
French Indochina was part of the French colonial empire in southeast Asia. A federation of the three Vietnamese regions, Tonkin , Annam , and Cochinchina , as well as Cambodia, was formed in 1887....

, large parts of Africa and Caribbean islands; the Netherlands gained the East Indies
Indies
The Indies is a term that has been used to describe the lands of South and Southeast Asia, occupying all of the present India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and also Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Brunei, Singapore, the Philippines, East Timor, Malaysia and...

 (now Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

) and islands in the Caribbean
Caribbean
The Caribbean is a crescent-shaped group of islands more than 2,000 miles long separating the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, to the west and south, from the Atlantic Ocean, to the east and north...

; Portugal obtained Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 and several territories in Africa and Asia; and later, powers such as Germany, Belgium, Italy and Russia acquired further colonies.

This expansion helped the economy of the countries owning them. Trade
Mercantilism
Mercantilism is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade is of paramount importance for ensuring the prosperity and security of the state. In particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. Mercantilism dominated Western European economic policy and discourse from...

 flourished, because of the minor stability of the empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

s. By the late 16th century American silver
Silver
Silver is a metallic chemical element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. A soft, white, lustrous transition metal, it has the highest electrical conductivity of any element and the highest thermal conductivity of any metal...

 accounted for one-fifth of the Spain's total budget. The European countries fought wars that were largely paid for by the money coming in from the colonies. Nevertheless, the profits of the slave trade and of plantations of the West Indies, then the most profitable of all the British colonies, amounted to less than 5% of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

's economy (but was generally more profitable) at the time of the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 in the late 18th century.

Enlightenment

Throughout the early part of this period, capitalism
Capitalism
Capitalism is an economic system that became dominant in the Western world following the demise of feudalism. There is no consensus on the precise definition nor on how the term should be used as a historical category...

 (through Mercantilism
Mercantilism
Mercantilism is the economic doctrine in which government control of foreign trade is of paramount importance for ensuring the prosperity and security of the state. In particular, it demands a positive balance of trade. Mercantilism dominated Western European economic policy and discourse from...

) was replacing feudalism
Feudalism
Feudalism was a set of legal and military customs in medieval Europe that flourished between the 9th and 15th centuries, which, broadly defined, was a system for ordering society around relationships derived from the holding of land in exchange for service or labour.Although derived from the...

 as the principal form of economic organisation, at least in the western half of Europe. The expanding colonial frontiers resulted in a Commercial Revolution
Commercial Revolution
The Commercial Revolution was a period of European economic expansion, colonialism, and mercantilism which lasted from approximately the 16th century until the early 18th century. It was succeeded in the mid-18th century by the Industrial Revolution. Beginning with the Crusades, Europeans...

. The period is noted for the rise of modern science
Science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 and the application of its findings to technological improvements, which culminated in the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

.

The Reformation had profound effects on the unity of Europe. Not only were nations divided one from another by their religious orientation, but some states were torn apart internally by religious strife, avidly fostered by their external enemies. France suffered this fate in the 16th century in the series of conflicts known as the French Wars of Religion
French Wars of Religion
The French Wars of Religion is the name given to a period of civil infighting and military operations, primarily fought between French Catholics and Protestants . The conflict involved the factional disputes between the aristocratic houses of France, such as the House of Bourbon and House of Guise...

, which ended in the triumph of the Bourbon Dynasty
House of Bourbon
The House of Bourbon is a European royal house, a branch of the Capetian dynasty . Bourbon kings first ruled Navarre and France in the 16th century. By the 18th century, members of the Bourbon dynasty also held thrones in Spain, Naples, Sicily, and Parma...

. England avoided this fate for a while and settled down under Elizabeth
Elizabeth I of England
Elizabeth I was queen regnant of England and Ireland from 17 November 1558 until her death. Sometimes called The Virgin Queen, Gloriana, or Good Queen Bess, Elizabeth was the fifth and last monarch of the Tudor dynasty...

 to a moderate Anglicanism
Anglicanism
Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

. Much of modern day Germany was made up of numerous small sovereign states under the theoretical framework of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, which was further divided along internally drawn sectarian lines. The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth is notable in this time for its religious indifference and a general immunity to the horrors of European religious strife.

The Thirty Years' War
Thirty Years' War
The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

 was fought between 1618 and 1648, principally on the territory of today's Germany, and involved most of the major European powers. Beginning as a religious conflict between Protestants and Catholics in Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

, it gradually developed into a general war involving much of Europe, for reasons not necessarily related to religion. The major impact of the war, in which mercenary
Mercenary
A mercenary, is a person who takes part in an armed conflict based on the promise of material compensation rather than having a direct interest in, or a legal obligation to, the conflict itself. A non-conscript professional member of a regular army is not considered to be a mercenary although he...

 armies were extensively used, was the devastation of entire regions scavenged bare by the foraging armies. Episodes of widespread famine
Famine
A famine is a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including crop failure, overpopulation, or government policies. This phenomenon is usually accompanied or followed by regional malnutrition, starvation, epidemic, and increased mortality. Every continent in the world has...

 and disease devastated the population of the German states and, to a lesser extent, the Low Countries
Low Countries
The Low Countries are the historical lands around the low-lying delta of the Rhine, Scheldt, and Meuse rivers, including the modern countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and parts of northern France and western Germany....

, Bohemia and Italy, while bankrupting many of the regional powers involved. Between one-fourth and one-third of the German population perished from direct military causes or from illness and starvation related to the war. The war lasted for thirty years, but the conflicts that triggered it continued unresolved for a much longer time.
After the Peace of Westphalia
Peace of Westphalia
The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October of 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the...

 which ended the war in favour of nations deciding their own religious allegiance, Absolutism became the norm of the continent, while parts of Europe experimented with constitutions foreshadowed by the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

 and particularly the Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
The Glorious Revolution, also called the Revolution of 1688, is the overthrow of King James II of England by a union of English Parliamentarians with the Dutch stadtholder William III of Orange-Nassau...

. European military conflict did not cease, but had less disruptive effects on the lives of Europeans. In the advanced northwest, the Enlightenment gave a philosophical underpinning to the new outlook, and the continued spread of literacy, made possible by the printing press
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

, created new secular forces in thought. Again, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth would be an exception to this rule, with its unique quasi-democratic Golden Freedom.

Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 in 16th and 17th century was an arena of conflict for domination in the continent between Sweden, the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

. This period saw a gradual decline of these three powers which were eventually replaced by new enlightened absolutist monarchies, Russia, Prussia
Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

 and Austria. By the turn of the 19th century they became new powers, having divided Poland
Partitions of Poland
The Partitions of Poland or Partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth took place in the second half of the 18th century and ended the existence of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, resulting in the elimination of sovereign Poland for 123 years...

 between them, with Sweden and Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 having experienced substantial territorial losses to Russia and Austria respectively as well as pauperisation. Numerous Polish Jews emigrated to France, Germany and America, founding Jewish communities in places where they had been expelled from during the Middle Ages.

From revolution to imperialism

The "long nineteenth century
The long 19th century
The long nineteenth century, defined by Eric Hobsbawm , a British Marxist historian and author, refers to the period between the years 1789 and 1914...

", from 1789 to 1914 sees the drastic social, political and economic changes initiated by the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

, the French Revolution
French Revolution
The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

 and the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, and following the reorganisation of the political map of Europe at the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

 in 1815, the rise of Nationalism
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

, the rise of the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 and the peak of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, paralleled by the decline of the Ottoman Empire
Decline of the Ottoman Empire
The Decline of the Ottoman Empire is the period that followed after the Stagnation of the Ottoman Empire in which the empire experienced several economic and political setbacks. Directly affecting the Empire at this time was Russian imperialism...

. Finally, the rise of the German Empire
German Empire
The German Empire refers to Germany during the "Second Reich" period from the unification of Germany and proclamation of Wilhelm I as German Emperor on 18 January 1871, to 1918, when it became a federal republic after defeat in World War I and the abdication of the Emperor, Wilhelm II.The German...

 and the Austro-Hungarian Empire initiated the course of events that culminated in the outbreak of the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 in 1914.

Industrial Revolution

The Industrial Revolution was a period in the late 18th century and early 19th century when major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, and transport affected socioeconomic
Socioeconomics
Socioeconomics or socio-economics or social economics is an umbrella term with different usages. 'Social economics' may refer broadly to the "use of economics in the study of society." More narrowly, contemporary practice considers behavioral interactions of individuals and groups through social...

 and cultural conditions in Britain
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 and subsequently spread throughout Europe and North America and eventually the world, a process that continues as industrialisation
Industrialisation
Industrialization is the process of social and economic change that transforms a human group from an agrarian society into an industrial one...

. In the later part of the 18th century the manual labour based economy of the Kingdom of Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

 began to be replaced by one dominated by industry and the manufacture of machine
Machine
A machine manages power to accomplish a task, examples include, a mechanical system, a computing system, an electronic system, and a molecular machine. In common usage, the meaning is that of a device having parts that perform or assist in performing any type of work...

ry. It started with the mechanisation of the textile
Textile
A textile or cloth is a flexible woven material consisting of a network of natural or artificial fibres often referred to as thread or yarn. Yarn is produced by spinning raw fibres of wool, flax, cotton, or other material to produce long strands...

 industries, the development of iron-making techniques and the increased use of refined coal. Once started it spread. Trade expansion was enabled by the introduction of canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

s, improved roads and railways
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

. The introduction of steam power
Steam engine
A steam engine is a heat engine that performs mechanical work using steam as its working fluid.Steam engines are external combustion engines, where the working fluid is separate from the combustion products. Non-combustion heat sources such as solar power, nuclear power or geothermal energy may be...

 (fuelled primarily by coal) and powered machinery (mainly in textile manufacturing
Textile manufacturing
Textile manufacturing is a major industry. It is based in the conversion of three types of fibre into yarn, then fabric, then textiles. These are then fabricated into clothes or other artifacts. Cotton remains the most important natural fibre, so is treated in depth...

) underpinned the dramatic increases in production capacity. The development of all-metal machine tool
Machine tool
A machine tool is a machine, typically powered other than by human muscle , used to make manufactured parts in various ways that include cutting or certain other kinds of deformation...

s in the first two decades of the 19th century facilitated the manufacture of more production machines for manufacturing in other industries. The effects spread throughout Western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

 and North America during the 19th century, eventually affecting most of the world. The impact of this change on society was enormous.

Political revolution

French intervention in the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

 had bankrupted the state. After repeated failed attempts at financial reform, Louis XVI
Louis XVI of France
Louis XVI was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre until 1791, and then as King of the French from 1791 to 1792, before being executed in 1793....

 was persuaded to convene the Estates-General
Estates-General of 1789
The Estates-General of 1789 was the first meeting since 1614 of the French Estates-General, a general assembly representing the French estates of the realm: the nobility, the Church, and the common people...

, a representative body of the country made up of three estates: the clergy, the nobility, and the commoners. The members of the Estates-General assembled in the Palace of Versailles
Versailles
Versailles , a city renowned for its château, the Palace of Versailles, was the de facto capital of the kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789. It is now a wealthy suburb of Paris and remains an important administrative and judicial centre...

 in May 1789, but the debate as to which voting system should be used soon became an impasse. Come June, the third estate, joined by members of the other two, declared itself to be a National Assembly
National Assembly (French Revolution)
During the French Revolution, the National Assembly , which existed from June 17 to July 9, 1789, was a transitional body between the Estates-General and the National Constituent Assembly.-Background:...

 and swore an oath
Tennis Court Oath
The Tennis Court Oath was a pivotal event during the first days of the French Revolution. The Oath was a pledge signed by 576 of the 577 members from the Third Estate who were locked out of a meeting of the Estates-General on 20 June 1789...

 not to dissolve until France had a constitution
Constitution
A constitution is a set of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is governed. These rules together make up, i.e. constitute, what the entity is...

 and created, in July, the National Constituent Assembly
National Constituent Assembly
The National Constituent Assembly was formed from the National Assembly on 9 July 1789, during the first stages of the French Revolution. It dissolved on 30 September 1791 and was succeeded by the Legislative Assembly.-Background:...

. At the same time the people of Paris revolted, famously storming the Bastille
Bastille
The Bastille was a fortress in Paris, known formally as the Bastille Saint-Antoine. It played an important role in the internal conflicts of France and for most of its history was used as a state prison by the kings of France. The Bastille was built in response to the English threat to the city of...

 prison on 14 July 1789.

At the time the assembly wanted to create a constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

, and over the following two years passed various laws including the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen
The Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen is a fundamental document of the French Revolution, defining the individual and collective rights of all the estates of the realm as universal. Influenced by the doctrine of "natural right", the rights of man are held to be universal: valid...

, the abolition of feudalism, and a fundamental change
Civil Constitution of the Clergy
The Civil Constitution of the Clergy was a law passed on 12 July 1790 during the French Revolution, that subordinated the Roman Catholic Church in France to the French government....

 in the relationship between France and Rome. At first the king agreed with these changes and enjoyed reasonable popularity with the people, but as anti-royalism increased along with threat of foreign invasion, the king, stripped of his power, decided to flee along with his family. He was recognised and brought back to Paris. On 12 January 1793, having been convicted of treason, he was executed.

On 20 September 1792 the National Convention
National Convention
During the French Revolution, the National Convention or Convention, in France, comprised the constitutional and legislative assembly which sat from 20 September 1792 to 26 October 1795 . It held executive power in France during the first years of the French First Republic...

 abolished the monarchy and declared France a republic
Republic
A republic is a form of government in which the people, or some significant portion of them, have supreme control over the government and where offices of state are elected or chosen by elected people. In modern times, a common simplified definition of a republic is a government where the head of...

. Due to the emergency of war
French Revolutionary Wars
The French Revolutionary Wars were a series of major conflicts, from 1792 until 1802, fought between the French Revolutionary government and several European states...

 the National Convention created the Committee of Public Safety
Committee of Public Safety
The Committee of Public Safety , created in April 1793 by the National Convention and then restructured in July 1793, formed the de facto executive government in France during the Reign of Terror , a stage of the French Revolution...

, controlled by Maximilien Robespierre
Maximilien Robespierre
Maximilien François Marie Isidore de Robespierre is one of the best-known and most influential figures of the French Revolution. He largely dominated the Committee of Public Safety and was instrumental in the period of the Revolution commonly known as the Reign of Terror, which ended with his...

 of the Jacobin Club
Jacobin Club
The Jacobin Club was the most famous and influential political club in the development of the French Revolution, so-named because of the Dominican convent where they met, located in the Rue St. Jacques , Paris. The club originated as the Club Benthorn, formed at Versailles from a group of Breton...

, to act as the country's executive. Under Robespierre the committee initiated the Reign of Terror
Reign of Terror
The Reign of Terror , also known simply as The Terror , was a period of violence that occurred after the onset of the French Revolution, incited by conflict between rival political factions, the Girondins and the Jacobins, and marked by mass executions of "enemies of...

, during which up to 40,000 people were executed in Paris, mainly nobles, and those convicted by the Revolutionary Tribunal
Revolutionary Tribunal
The Revolutionary Tribunal was a court which was instituted in Paris by the Convention during the French Revolution for the trial of political offenders, and eventually became one of the most powerful engines of the Reign of Terror....

, often on the flimsiest of evidence. Elsewhere in the country, counter-revolutionary insurrections
Revolt in the Vendée
The War in the Vendée was a Royalist rebellion and counterrevolution in the Vendée region of France during the French Revolution. The Vendée is a coastal region, located immediately south of the Loire River in western France. The uprising was closely tied to the Chouannerie, which took place in...

 were brutally suppressed. The regime was overthrown in the coup of 9 Thermidor (27 July 1794) and Robespierre was executed. The regime which followed ended the Terror and relaxed Robespierre's more extreme policies.

Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon I of France
Napoleon Bonaparte was a French military and political leader during the latter stages of the French Revolution.As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815...

 was France's most successful general in the Revolutionary wars, having conquered large parts of Italy and forced the Austrians to sue for peace. In 1799 he returned from Egypt and on 18 Brumaire
18 Brumaire
The coup of 18 Brumaire was the coup d'état by which General Napoleon Bonaparte overthrew the French Directory, replacing it with the French Consulate...

 (9 November) overthrew the government, replacing it with the Consulate
French Consulate
The Consulate was the government of France between the fall of the Directory in the coup of 18 Brumaire in 1799 until the start of the Napoleonic Empire in 1804...

, in which he was First Consul. On 2 December 1804, after a failed assassination plot, he crowned himself Emperor
First French Empire
The First French Empire , also known as the Greater French Empire or Napoleonic Empire, was the empire of Napoleon I of France...

. In 1805, Napoleon planned to invade Britain, but a renewed British alliance with Russia and Austria (Third Coalition
Third Coalition
The War of the Third Coalition was a conflict which spanned from 1803 to 1806. It saw the defeat of an alliance of Austria, Portugal, Russia, and others by France and its client states under Napoleon I...

), forced him to turn his attention towards the continent, while at the same time failure to lure the superior British fleet away from the English Channel
English Channel
The English Channel , often referred to simply as the Channel, is an arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates southern England from northern France, and joins the North Sea to the Atlantic. It is about long and varies in width from at its widest to in the Strait of Dover...

, ending in a decisive French defeat at the Battle of Trafalgar
Battle of Trafalgar
The Battle of Trafalgar was a sea battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French Navy and Spanish Navy, during the War of the Third Coalition of the Napoleonic Wars ....

 on 21 October put an end to hopes of an invasion of Britain. On 2 December 1805, Napoleon defeated a numerically superior Austro-Russian army at Austerlitz
Battle of Austerlitz
The Battle of Austerlitz, also known as the Battle of the Three Emperors, was one of Napoleon's greatest victories, where the French Empire effectively crushed the Third Coalition...

, forcing Austria's withdrawal from the coalition (see Treaty of Pressburg) and dissolving the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

. In 1806, a Fourth Coalition was set up. On 14 October Napoleon defeated the Prussians at the Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
Battle of Jena-Auerstedt
The twin battles of Jena and Auerstedt were fought on 14 October 1806 on the plateau west of the river Saale in today's Germany, between the forces of Napoleon I of France and Frederick William III of Prussia...

, marched through Germany and defeated the Russians on 14 June 1807 at Friedland
Battle of Friedland
The Battle of Friedland saw Napoleon I's French army decisively defeat Count von Bennigsen's Russian army about twenty-seven miles southeast of Königsberg...

. The Treaties of Tilsit
Treaties of Tilsit
The Treaties of Tilsit were two agreements signed by Napoleon I of France in the town of Tilsit in July, 1807 in the aftermath of his victory at Friedland. The first was signed on 7 July, between Tsar Alexander I of Russia and Napoleon I of France, when they met on a raft in the middle of the Neman...

 divided Europe between France and Russia and created the Duchy of Warsaw
Duchy of Warsaw
The Duchy of Warsaw was a Polish state established by Napoleon I in 1807 from the Polish lands ceded by the Kingdom of Prussia under the terms of the Treaties of Tilsit. The duchy was held in personal union by one of Napoleon's allies, King Frederick Augustus I of Saxony...

.

On 12 June 1812 Napoleon invaded Russia with a Grande Armée
La Grande Armée
The Grande Armée first entered the annals of history when, in 1805, Napoleon I renamed the army that he had assembled on the French coast of the English Channel for the proposed invasion of Britain...

 of nearly 700,000 troops. After the measured victories at Smolensk
Battle of Smolensk (1812)
The Battle of Smolensk, the first major battle of the French invasion of Russia took place on August 16–18, 1812, between 175,000 men of the Grande Armée under Napoleon Bonaparte and 130,000 Russians under Barclay de Tolly, though only about 50,000 and 60,000 respectively were actually engaged...

 and Borodino
Battle of Borodino
The Battle of Borodino , fought on September 7, 1812, was the largest and bloodiest single-day action of the French invasion of Russia and all Napoleonic Wars, involving more than 250,000 troops and resulting in at least 70,000 casualties...

 Napoleon occupied Moscow, only to find it burned by the retreating Russian Army. He was forced to withdraw. On the march back his army was harassed by Cossacks, and suffered disease and starvation. Only 20,000 of his men survived the campaign. By 1813 the tide had begun to turn from Napoleon. Having been defeated by a seven nation army at the Battle of Leipzig
Battle of Leipzig
The Battle of Leipzig or Battle of the Nations, on 16–19 October 1813, was fought by the coalition armies of Russia, Prussia, Austria and Sweden against the French army of Napoleon. Napoleon's army also contained Polish and Italian troops as well as Germans from the Confederation of the Rhine...

 in October 1813, he was forced to abdicate after the Six Days Campaign
Six Days Campaign
The Six Days Campaign was a final series of victories by the forces of Napoleon Bonaparte as the Sixth Coalition closed in on Paris....

 and the occupation of Paris. Under the Treaty of Fontainebleau he was exiled to the Island of Elba
Elba
Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, from the coastal town of Piombino. The largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, Elba is also part of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia...

. He returned to France on 1 March 1815 (see Hundred Days
Hundred Days
The Hundred Days, sometimes known as the Hundred Days of Napoleon or Napoleon's Hundred Days for specificity, marked the period between Emperor Napoleon I of France's return from exile on Elba to Paris on 20 March 1815 and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII on 8 July 1815...

), raised an army, but was comprehensively defeated by a British and Prussian force at the Battle of Waterloo
Battle of Waterloo
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

 on 18 June 1815.

Nations rising

After the defeat of revolutionary France, the other great powers tried to restore the situation which existed before 1789. In 1815 at the Congress of Vienna
Congress of Vienna
The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

, the major powers of Europe managed to produce a peaceful balance of power
Balance of power in international relations
In international relations, a balance of power exists when there is parity or stability between competing forces. The concept describes a state of affairs in the international system and explains the behavior of states in that system...

 among the empires after the Napoleonic wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

 (despite the occurrence of internal revolutionary movements) under the Metternich system. However, their efforts were unable to stop the spread of revolutionary movements: the middle class
Middle class
The middle class is any class of people in the middle of a societal hierarchy. In Weberian socio-economic terms, the middle class is the broad group of people in contemporary society who fall socio-economically between the working class and upper class....

es had been deeply influenced by the ideals of democracy of the French revolution, the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 brought important economical and social changes, the lower classes started to be influenced by socialist, communist and anarchistic
Anarchism
Anarchism is generally defined as the political philosophy which holds the state to be undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, or alternatively as opposing authority in the conduct of human relations...

 ideas (especially those summarised by Karl Marx
Karl Marx
Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

 and Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels
Friedrich Engels was a German industrialist, social scientist, author, political theorist, philosopher, and father of Marxist theory, alongside Karl Marx. In 1845 he published The Condition of the Working Class in England, based on personal observations and research...

 in The Communist Manifesto
The Communist Manifesto
The Communist Manifesto, originally titled Manifesto of the Communist Party is a short 1848 publication written by the German Marxist political theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It has since been recognized as one of the world's most influential political manuscripts. Commissioned by the...

), and the preference of the new capitalists became Liberalism
Liberalism
Liberalism is the belief in the importance of liberty and equal rights. Liberals espouse a wide array of views depending on their understanding of these principles, but generally, liberals support ideas such as constitutionalism, liberal democracy, free and fair elections, human rights,...

. Further instability came from the formation of several nationalist
Nationalism
Nationalism is a political ideology that involves a strong identification of a group of individuals with a political entity defined in national terms, i.e. a nation. In the 'modernist' image of the nation, it is nationalism that creates national identity. There are various definitions for what...

 movements (in Germany, Italy, Poland, Hungary, etc.), seeking national unification and/or liberation from foreign rule. As a result, the period between 1815 and 1871 saw a large number of revolutionary attempts and independence wars.One of the biggest revolutions was in Greece. The Ottomans ruled Greece until the early 19th century. On March 25, 1821 (also the same day as the Greek Orthodox day of the Annunciation of the Theotokos), the Greeks rebelled and declared their independence, led by Theodore Kolokotronis, but did not achieve it until 1829. The big European powers saw the war of Greek independence, with its accounts of Turkish atrocities, in a romantic light (see, for example, the 1824 painting Massacre of Chios by Eugène Delacroix). Napoleon III, nephew of Napoleon I, returned from exile in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom during the period when what is now the Republic of Ireland formed a part of it....

 in 1848 to be elected to the French parliament, and then as "Prince President" in a coup d'état elected himself Emperor, a move approved later by a large majority of the French electorate. He helped in the unification of Italy by fighting the Austrian Empire and fought the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 with the United Kingdom and the Ottoman Empire against Russia. His empire collapsed after an embarrassing defeat for France at the hands of Prussia in which he was captured. France then became a weak republic which refused to negotiate and was finished by Prussia in a few months. In Versailles, King Wilhelm I of Prussia was proclaimed Emperor of Germany
German Emperor
This article is about the emperors of the German Empire. For full list of German monarchs before 1871, see List of German monarchs.The German Emperor was the official title of the Head of State and ruler of the German Empire, beginning with the proclamation of Wilhelm I as emperor during the...

, and modern Germany was born. Even though the revolutionaries were often defeated, most European states had become constitutional
Constitutional monarchy
Constitutional monarchy is a form of government in which a monarch acts as head of state within the parameters of a constitution, whether it be a written, uncodified or blended constitution...

 (rather than absolute) monarchies by 1871, and Germany and Italy had developed into nation states. The 19th century also saw the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 emerge as the world's first global power due in a large part to the Industrial Revolution
Industrial Revolution
The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

 and victory in the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

.

Imperialism

Colonial empires were the product of the European Age of Discovery
Age of Discovery
The Age of Discovery, also known as the Age of Exploration and the Great Navigations , was a period in history starting in the early 15th century and continuing into the early 17th century during which Europeans engaged in intensive exploration of the world, establishing direct contacts with...

 from the 15th century. The initial impulse behind these dispersed maritime empires and those that followed was trade, driven by the new ideas and the capitalism that grew out of the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance 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 historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

. Both the Portuguese Empire
Portuguese Empire
The Portuguese Empire , also known as the Portuguese Overseas Empire or the Portuguese Colonial Empire , was the first global empire in history...

 and Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 quickly grew into the first global political and economic systems with territories spread around the world.

Subsequent major European colonial empires included the French, Dutch
Dutch Empire
The Dutch Empire consisted of the overseas territories controlled by the Dutch Republic and later, the modern Netherlands from the 17th to the 20th century. The Dutch followed Portugal and Spain in establishing an overseas colonial empire, but based on military conquest of already-existing...

, and British
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 empires. The latter, consolidated during the period of British maritime hegemony in the 19th century, became the largest empire in history because of the improved transportation technologies of the time. At its height, the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

 covered a quarter of the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

's land area and comprised a quarter of its population. By the 1860s, the Russian Empire
Russian Empire
The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

 – continued as the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 – became the largest contiguous state in the world, and the latter's main successor, Russia, continues to be so to this day. Despite having "lost" its Soviet periphery, Russia has 9 time zones, stretching slightly over half the world's longitude.

The peace would only last until the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 had declined enough to become a target for the others. (See History of the Balkans
History of the Balkans
The Balkans is an area of southeastern Europe situated at a major crossroads between mainland Europe and the Near East. The distinct identity and fragmentation of the Balkans owes much to its common and often violent history and to its very mountainous geography.-Neolithic:Archaeologists have...

.) This instigated the Crimean War
Crimean War
The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

 in 1854 and began a tenser period of minor clashes among the globe-spanning empires of Europe that set the stage for the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. It changed a third time with the end of the various wars that turned the Kingdom of Sardinia
Kingdom of Sardinia
The Kingdom of Sardinia consisted of the island of Sardinia first as a part of the Crown of Aragon and subsequently the Spanish Empire , and second as a part of the composite state of the House of Savoy . Its capital was originally Cagliari, in the south of the island, and later Turin, on the...

 and the Kingdom of Prussia
Kingdom of Prussia
The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom from 1701 to 1918. Until the defeat of Germany in World War I, it comprised almost two-thirds of the area of the German Empire...

 into the Italian and German nation-states, significantly changing the balance of power in Europe. From 1870, the Bismarckian
Otto von Bismarck
Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

 hegemony on Europe put France in a critical situation. It slowly rebuilt its relationships, seeking alliances with Russia and Britain, to control the growing power of Germany. In this way, two opposing sides formed in Europe, improving their military forces and alliances year-by-year.

World Wars and Cold War

The "short twentieth century", from 1914 to 1991, sees the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 and the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, including the rise and fall of Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 and of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

.
These disastrous events spell the end of the European Colonial empires and initiated widespread decolonisation. The collapse of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in 1989 to 1991 leaves the United States as the world's single superpower
Superpower
A superpower is a state with a dominant position in the international system which has the ability to influence events and its own interests and project power on a worldwide scale to protect those interests...

 and triggers the fall of the Iron Curtain
Iron Curtain
The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

, the reunification of Germany and an accelerated process of a European integration
European integration
European integration is the process of industrial, political, legal, economic integration of states wholly or partially in Europe...

 that is ongoing.

World Wars

After the relative peace of most of the 19th century, the rivalry between European powers exploded in 1914, when the First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 started. Over 60 million European soldiers were mobilised from 1914–1918. On one side were Germany, Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary , more formally known as the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council and the Lands of the Holy Hungarian Crown of Saint Stephen, was a constitutional monarchic union between the crowns of the Austrian Empire and the Kingdom of Hungary in...

, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

 (the Central Powers
Central Powers
The Central Powers were one of the two warring factions in World War I , composed of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Bulgaria...

/Triple Alliance
Triple Alliance (1882)
The Triple Alliance was the military alliance between Germany, Austria–Hungary, and Italy, , that lasted from 1882 until the start of World War I in 1914...

), while on the other side stood Serbia
Serbia
Serbia , officially the Republic of Serbia , is a landlocked country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the southern part of the Carpathian basin and the central part of the Balkans...

 and the Triple Entente
Triple Entente
The Triple Entente was the name given to the alliance among Britain, France and Russia after the signing of the Anglo-Russian Entente in 1907....

 – the loose coalition of France, the United Kingdom and Russia, which were joined by Italy in 1915, Romania in 1916 and by the United States in 1917. Despite the defeat of Russia in 1917 and the collapse of the Eastern Front
Eastern Front (World War I)
The Eastern Front was a theatre of war during World War I in Central and, primarily, Eastern Europe. The term is in contrast to the Western Front. Despite the geographical separation, the events in the two theatres strongly influenced each other...

 (the war was one of the major causes of the Russian Revolution, leading to the formation of the socialist Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

), the Entente finally prevailed in the autumn of 1918.

In the Treaty of Versailles
Treaty of Versailles
The Treaty of Versailles was one of the peace treaties at the end of World War I. It ended the state of war between Germany and the Allied Powers. It was signed on 28 June 1919, exactly five years after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. The other Central Powers on the German side of...

 (1919) the winners imposed relatively hard conditions on Germany and recognised the new states (such as Poland, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, Hungary, Austria, Yugoslavia
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was a state stretching from the Western Balkans to Central Europe which existed during the often-tumultuous interwar era of 1918–1941...

, Finland, Estonia
Estonia
Estonia , officially the Republic of Estonia , is a state in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by the Gulf of Finland, to the west by the Baltic Sea, to the south by Latvia , and to the east by Lake Peipsi and the Russian Federation . Across the Baltic Sea lies...

, Latvia
Latvia
Latvia , officially the Republic of Latvia , is a country in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. It is bordered to the north by Estonia , to the south by Lithuania , to the east by the Russian Federation , to the southeast by Belarus and shares maritime borders to the west with Sweden...

, Lithuania
Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

) created in central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 out of the defunct German, Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires, supposedly out of national self-determination. Most of those countries engaged in local wars, the largest of them being the Polish-Soviet War
Polish-Soviet War
The Polish–Soviet War was an armed conflict between Soviet Russia and Soviet Ukraine and the Second Polish Republic and the Ukrainian People's Republic—four states in post–World War I Europe...

 (1919–1921). In the following decades, fear of communism
Communism
Communism is a social, political and economic ideology that aims at the establishment of a classless, moneyless, revolutionary and stateless socialist society structured upon common ownership of the means of production...

 and the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

 of 1929–1933 led to the rise of extreme nationalist governments sometimes loosely grouped under the category of fascism
Fascism
Fascism is a radical authoritarian nationalist political ideology. Fascists seek to rejuvenate their nation based on commitment to the national community as an organic entity, in which individuals are bound together in national identity by suprapersonal connections of ancestry, culture, and blood...

in Italy (1922), Germany (1933), Spain (after a civil war
Spanish Civil War
The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

 ending in 1939) and other countries such as Hungary (1944), Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

 (1940) and Slovakia
Slovakia
The Slovak Republic is a landlocked state in Central Europe. It has a population of over five million and an area of about . Slovakia is bordered by the Czech Republic and Austria to the west, Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east and Hungary to the south...

 (1939).

After allying with Mussolini's Italy in the "Pact of Steel
Pact of Steel
The Pact of Steel , known formally as the Pact of Friendship and Alliance between Germany and Italy, was an agreement between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany signed on May 22, 1939, by the foreign ministers of each country and witnessed by Count Galeazzo Ciano for Italy and Joachim von Ribbentrop...

" and signing a non-aggression pact
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

 with the Soviet Union, the German dictator Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 started the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 on 1 September 1939 attacking Poland and following a military build-up throughout the late 1930s. After initial successes (mainly the conquest of western Poland, much of Scandinavia, France and the Balkans
Balkans
The Balkans is a geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe...

 before 1941) the Axis powers began to over-extend themselves in 1941. Hitler's ideological foes were the Communists in Russia but because of the German failure to defeat the United Kingdom and the Italian failures in North Africa and the Mediterranean the Axis forces were split between garrisoning western Europe and Scandinavia and attacking Africa. Thus, the attack on the Soviet Union (which together with Germany had partitioned central Europe in 1939–1940) was not pressed with sufficient strength. Despite initial successes, the German army was stopped close to Moscow in December 1941.

Over the next year the tide was turned and the Germans started to suffer a series of defeats, for example in the siege of Stalingrad
Battle of Stalingrad
The Battle of Stalingrad was a major battle of World War II in which Nazi Germany and its allies fought the Soviet Union for control of the city of Stalingrad in southwestern Russia. The battle took place between 23 August 1942 and 2 February 1943...

 and at Kursk
Battle of Kursk
The Battle of Kursk took place when German and Soviet forces confronted each other on the Eastern Front during World War II in the vicinity of the city of Kursk, in the Soviet Union in July and August 1943. It remains both the largest series of armored clashes, including the Battle of Prokhorovka,...

. Meanwhile, Japan (allied to Germany and Italy since September 1940) attacked the British in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia, South-East Asia, South East Asia or Southeastern Asia is a subregion of Asia, consisting of the countries that are geographically south of China, east of India, west of New Guinea and north of Australia. The region lies on the intersection of geological plates, with heavy seismic...

 and the United States in Hawaii on 7 December 1941; Germany then completed its over-extension by declaring war on the United States. War raged between the Axis Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) and the Allied Forces (British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, Soviet Union, and the United States). Allied Forces won in North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, invaded Italy in 1943, and invaded occupied France in 1944. In the spring of 1945 Germany itself was invaded from the east by the Soviet Union and from the west by the other Allies respectively; After Red Army conquered the Reichstag
Reichstag
Reichstag may refer to:*Reichstag – the diets or parliaments of the Holy Roman Empire, of the Austrian-Hungarian monarchy, and of Germany from 1871 to 1945** Reichstag ** Reichstag...

 in Berlin, Hitler committed suicide and Germany surrendered in early May ending the war in Europe.

This period was marked also by industrialised and planned genocide. The Nazis
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 began the systematic genocide of over 11 million people, including the majority of the Jews of Europe
The Holocaust
The Holocaust , also known as the Shoah , was the genocide of approximately six million European Jews and millions of others during World War II, a programme of systematic state-sponsored murder by Nazi...

 and Gypsies
Porajmos
The Porajmos was the attempt made by Nazi Germany, the Independent State of Croatia, Horthy's Hungary and their allies to exterminate the Romani people of Europe during World War II...

 as well as millions of Polish
Nazi crimes against ethnic Poles
In addition to about 2.9 million Polish Jews , about 2.8 million non-Jewish Polish citizens perished during the course of the war...

 and Soviet
Generalplan Ost
Generalplan Ost was a secret Nazi German plan for the colonization of Eastern Europe. Implementing it would have necessitated genocide and ethnic cleansing to be undertaken in the Eastern European territories occupied by Germany during World War II...

 Slavs. The Soviet system of forced labour, expulsions
Population transfer in the Soviet Union
Population transfer in the Soviet Union may be classified into the following broad categories: deportations of "anti-Soviet" categories of population, often classified as "enemies of workers," deportations of entire nationalities, labor force transfer, and organized migrations in opposite...

 and allegedly engineered famine
Holodomor
The Holodomor was a man-made famine in the Ukrainian SSR between 1932 and 1933. During the famine, which is also known as the "terror-famine in Ukraine" and "famine-genocide in Ukraine", millions of Ukrainians died of starvation in a peacetime catastrophe unprecedented in the history of...

 had a similar death toll. During and after the war millions of civilians were affected by forced population transfers.

Cold War

The First World War
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 and especially the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 ended the pre-eminent position of western Europe
Western Europe
Western Europe is a loose term for the collection of countries in the western most region of the European continents, though this definition is context-dependent and carries cultural and political connotations. One definition describes Western Europe as a geographic entity—the region lying in the...

. The map of Europe was redrawn at the Yalta Conference
Yalta Conference
The Yalta Conference, sometimes called the Crimea Conference and codenamed the Argonaut Conference, held February 4–11, 1945, was the wartime meeting of the heads of government of the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Soviet Union, represented by President Franklin D...

 and divided as it became the principal zone of contention in the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

 between the two power blocs, the Western countries and the Communist bloc. The United States and Western Europe (United Kingdom, France, Italy, Netherlands, West Germany, etc.) established the NATO alliance as a protection against a possible Soviet invasion. Later, the Soviet Union and its satellites in Europe (Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Bulgaria , officially the Republic of Bulgaria , is a parliamentary democracy within a unitary constitutional republic in Southeast Europe. The country borders Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, as well as the Black Sea to the east...

, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania
Romania
Romania is a country located at the crossroads of Central and Southeastern Europe, on the Lower Danube, within and outside the Carpathian arch, bordering on the Black Sea...

) established the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 as a counterpoint to NATO.

Meanwhile, western European countries slowly began a process of political and economic integration, with its aim to unite Europe and prevent another wars. This process included organisations such as the European Coal and Steel Community
European Coal and Steel Community
The European Coal and Steel Community was a six-nation international organisation serving to unify Western Europe during the Cold War and create the foundation for the modern-day developments of the European Union...

, which grew and evolved into the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, and the Council of Europe
Council of Europe
The Council of Europe is an international organisation promoting co-operation between all countries of Europe in the areas of legal standards, human rights, democratic development, the rule of law and cultural co-operation...

. The Solidarność movement in the 1980s weakened the Communist government in Poland. At the time the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Gorbachev
Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

 initiated perestroika
Perestroika
Perestroika was a political movement within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union during 1980s, widely associated with the Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev...

 and glasnost
Glasnost
Glasnost was the policy of maximal publicity, openness, and transparency in the activities of all government institutions in the Soviet Union, together with freedom of information, introduced by Mikhail Gorbachev in the second half of the 1980s...

, which weakened Soviet influence in Europe, particularly in the USSR. In 1989 the berlin Wall came down and the satellites threw off Communist control. In 1990 the Federal Republic of Germany had absorbed East Germany, after making large cash payments to the USSR. In 1991 the Communist Party in Moscow collapsed, ending the USSR, which split into fifteen independent states. The largest, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, took the Soviet Union's seat on the United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

. The most violent breakup happened in Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

, in the Balkans. Four (Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

, Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

 and Macedonia
Republic of Macedonia
Macedonia , officially the Republic of Macedonia , is a country located in the central Balkan peninsula in Southeast Europe. It is one of the successor states of the former Yugoslavia, from which it declared independence in 1991...

) out of six Yugoslav republics declared independence and for most of them a violent war ensued, in some parts lasting until 1995. In 2006 Montenegro seceded and became an independent state. In the post–Cold War era, NATO and the EU have been gradually admitting most of the former members of the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

.

Looking at the half century after the war historian Walter Laquer concluded:
"The postwar generations of European elites aimed to create more democratic societies. They wanted to reduce the extremes of wealth and poverty and provide essential social services in a way that prewar generations had not. They had had quite enough of unrest and conflict. For decades many Continental societies had more or less achieved these aims and had every reason to be proud of their progress. Europe was quiet and civilized. Europe’s success was based on recent painful experience: the horrors of two world wars; the lessons of dictatorship; the experiences of fascism and communism. Above all, it was based on a feeling of European identity and common values—or so it appeared at the time."

Recent history

Following the end of the Cold War, the European Economic Community
European Economic Community
The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

 pushed for closer integration, cooperation in foreign and home affairs and started to increase its membership into the neutral and former communist countries. In 1993, the Maastricht Treaty
Maastricht Treaty
The Maastricht Treaty was signed on 7 February 1992 by the members of the European Community in Maastricht, Netherlands. On 9–10 December 1991, the same city hosted the European Council which drafted the treaty...

 established the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

, succeeding the EEC and furthering political cooperation. The neutral countries of Austria, Finland and Sweden acceded to the EU and those that didn't join were tied into the EU's economic market via the European Economic Area
European Economic Area
The European Economic Area was established on 1 January 1994 following an agreement between the member states of the European Free Trade Association and the European Community, later the European Union . Specifically, it allows Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway to participate in the EU's Internal...

. These countries also entered the Schengen Agreement
Schengen Agreement
The Schengen Agreement is a treaty signed on 14 June 1985 near the town of Schengen in Luxembourg, between five of the ten member states of the European Economic Community. It was supplemented by the Convention implementing the Schengen Agreement 5 years later...

 which lifted border controls between member states.

Another major innovation in the Maastricht Treaty was the creation of a single currency for most EU members. The euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 was created in 1999 and replaced all previous currencies in 2002. The most notable exception to the currency union was the United Kingdom which also did not participate in the Schengen Agreement.

However, the EU's desire to work on foreign policy was undermined due to its failure to act during the Yugoslav
Yugoslavia
Yugoslavia refers to three political entities that existed successively on the western part of the Balkans during most of the 20th century....

 wars and its division over whether to support the United States in the Iraq War. European NATO countries faced frequent criticism from the United States for not spending enough on the military and for not sending enough troops to support the NATO war in Afghanistan
War in Afghanistan (2001–present)
The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001, as the armed forces of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the Afghan United Front launched Operation Enduring Freedom...

. Europe meanwhile decided to reap the benefits of its post–Cold War peace dividend
Peace dividend
The peace dividend is a political slogan popularized by US President George H.W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the early 1990s, purporting to describe the economic benefit of a decrease in defense spending. It is used primarily in discussions relating to the guns versus butter...

 and instead support the development of international law, for example through the International Criminal Court
European Union and the International Criminal Court
Due to its status, the European Union is not party to the International Criminal Court , but all the EU's member states are signatories and the EU has been one of the ICC's strongest supporters...

.

In 2004, the EU enlarged to include 10 new countries
2004 enlargement of the European Union
The 2004 enlargement of the European Union was the largest single expansion of the European Union , both in terms of territory, number of states and population, however not in terms of gross domestic product...

, eight developing former-communist countries (including three which were part of the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 itself along with Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 and the divided island of Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

. These would be followed by another two former-communist countries in 2007
2007 enlargement of the European Union
The 2007 enlargement of the European Union saw Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union on 1 January 2007. It was the latest expansion of the EU, though considered by the European Commission as part of the same wave as the 2004 enlargement of the European Union.-Negotiations:Romania was the...

. NATO likewise expanded to include these countries, despite protestations from Russia which was growing more assertive. Russia engaged in a number of bilateral disputes about gas supplies with Belarus
Belarus
Belarus , officially the Republic of Belarus, is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe, bordered clockwise by Russia to the northeast, Ukraine to the south, Poland to the west, and Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest. Its capital is Minsk; other major cities include Brest, Grodno , Gomel ,...

 and Ukraine
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 which endangered gas supplies to Europe. Russia also engaged in a minor war with Georgia
2008 South Ossetia war
The 2008 South Ossetia War or Russo-Georgian War was an armed conflict in August 2008 between Georgia on one side, and Russia and separatist governments of South Ossetia and Abkhazia on the other....

 in 2008.

However, with the influx of new members in 2004 together with awarding Turkey
Turkey
Turkey , known officially as the Republic of Turkey , is a Eurasian country located in Western Asia and in East Thrace in Southeastern Europe...

 candidate status, public opinion in the EU turned against enlargement. This came out in part with the rejection of the European Constitution
Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe
The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe , , was an unratified international treaty intended to create a consolidated constitution for the European Union...

 in referendums
Referendums related to the European Union
This is a list of referendums related to the European Union.- Enlargement of 1973 : - Before allowing the new candidate member states to join the European Communities, founding member France held a referendum on 23 April 1972...

 in France and the Netherlands. The constitution's replacement, the Treaty of Lisbon
Treaty of Lisbon
The Treaty of Lisbon of 1668 was a peace treaty between Portugal and Spain, concluded at Lisbon on 13 February 1668, through the mediation of England, in which Spain recognized the sovereignty of Portugal's new ruling dynasty, the House of Braganza....

, was also voted down by the Irish before they reversed their decision in 2009. This led to the period between up to 2009 being dominated by "institutional navel gazing" by the EU and a rise in euroskepticism in some states. The Lisbon Treaty did however enhance the EU's capacity for foreign policy action.

Opposition to Turkish membership of the EU developed parallel to an increasing unease as to how Europe deals with Islam. Al Qaeda inspired attacks in London and Madrid, together with a perception that Europe's large Muslim minority was not integrating, contributed to a backlash in some countries. Belgium enacted a ban on the Burqa
Burqa
A burqa is an enveloping outer garment worn by women in some Islamic religion to cover their bodies in public places. The burqa is usually understood to be the woman's loose body-covering , plus the head-covering , plus the face-veil .-Etymology:A speculative and unattested etymology...

, also pursed by France while Switzerland banned minarets
Minaret controversy in Switzerland
The minaret controversy in Switzerland refers to construction of minarets, which has been subject to legal and political controversy in Switzerland during the 2000s and a Swiss referendum regarding this issue. In a November 2009 referendum, a constitutional amendment banning the construction of new...

. Danish publication of cartoons portraying Islamic prophet Muhammad
Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy
The Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons controversy began after 12 editorial cartoons, most of which depicted the Islamic prophet Muhammad, were published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten on 30 September 2005...

 further damaged relations with Europe's Muslim population and the Islamic world at-large.

In 2008, the EU's eurozone
Eurozone
The eurozone , officially called the euro area, is an economic and monetary union of seventeen European Union member states that have adopted the euro as their common currency and sole legal tender...

 entered its first recession, sparking a debate about possible economic collapse. It agreed to set up a bail out mechanism and study proposals for more fiscal integration. Greece (as well as the UK, Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Ireland) has high amounts of debt. However, in May 2010, the German parliament agreed to loan 22.4 billion euros to Greece over three years, with the stipulation that Greece follow strict austerity measures. See Eurozone debt crisis.

Timeline

  • 700 BC: Epic poem Iliad
    Iliad
    The Iliad is an epic poem in dactylic hexameters, traditionally attributed to Homer. Set during the Trojan War, the ten-year siege of the city of Troy by a coalition of Greek states, it tells of the battles and events during the weeks of a quarrel between King Agamemnon and the warrior Achilles...

     by Homer
    Homer
    In the Western classical tradition Homer , is the author of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and is revered as the greatest ancient Greek epic poet. These epics lie at the beginning of the Western canon of literature, and have had an enormous influence on the history of literature.When he lived is...

    , earliest account on the continent.
  • 440 BC: Herodotus
    Herodotus
    Herodotus was an ancient Greek historian who was born in Halicarnassus, Caria and lived in the 5th century BC . He has been called the "Father of History", and was the first historian known to collect his materials systematically, test their accuracy to a certain extent and arrange them in a...

     defends the Athenian political freedom in the Histories
    Histories (Herodotus)
    The Histories of Herodotus is considered one of the seminal works of history in Western literature. Written from the 450s to the 420s BC in the Ionic dialect of classical Greek, The Histories serves as a record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various cultures that...

    .
  • 323 BC: Alexander the Great dies and his Macedonian Empire fragments.
  • 44 BC: Julius Caesar
    Julius Caesar
    Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

     is murdered. The Roman Republic
    Roman Republic
    The Roman Republic was the period of the ancient Roman civilization where the government operated as a republic. It began with the overthrow of the Roman monarchy, traditionally dated around 508 BC, and its replacement by a government headed by two consuls, elected annually by the citizens and...

     drawing to a close.
  • 27 BC: Establishment of the Roman Empire
    Roman Empire
    The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

     under Octavian.

AD
  • 293: Diocletian
    Diocletian
    Diocletian |latinized]] upon his accession to Diocletian . c. 22 December 244  – 3 December 311), was a Roman Emperor from 284 to 305....

     founded the Tetrarchy
    Tetrarchy
    The term Tetrarchy describes any system of government where power is divided among four individuals, but usually refers to the tetrarchy instituted by Roman Emperor Diocletian in 293, marking the end of the Crisis of the Third Century and the recovery of the Roman Empire...

    .
  • 330: Constantine makes Constantinople
    Constantinople
    Constantinople was the capital of the Roman, Eastern Roman, Byzantine, Latin, and Ottoman Empires. Throughout most of the Middle Ages, Constantinople was Europe's largest and wealthiest city.-Names:...

     into his capital, a new Rome
    New Rome
    The term "New Rome" has been used in the following contexts:* "Nova Roma" is traditionally reported to be the Latin name given by emperor Constantine the Great to the new imperial capital he founded in 324 at the city on the European coast of the Bosporus strait, known as Byzantium until then and...

    .
  • 365: A single catastrophic earthquake near Crete in 365
    365 Crete earthquake
    The AD 365 Crete earthquake was an undersea earthquake that occurred at about sunrise on 21 July 365 in the Eastern Mediterranean, with an assumed epicentre near Crete. Geologists today estimate the quake to have been 8 on the Richter Scale or higher, causing widespread destruction in central and...

     or an amalgamation of a number of earthquakes between 350 and 450 occurs.
  • 395: Following the death of Theodosius I
    Theodosius I
    Theodosius I , also known as Theodosius the Great, was Roman Emperor from 379 to 395. Theodosius was the last emperor to rule over both the eastern and the western halves of the Roman Empire. During his reign, the Goths secured control of Illyricum after the Gothic War, establishing their homeland...

    , the Empire is permanently split into eastern and western
    Western Roman Empire
    The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

     halves.
  • 476: Odoacer
    Odoacer
    Flavius Odoacer , also known as Flavius Odovacer, was the first King of Italy. His reign is commonly seen as marking the end of the Western Roman Empire. Though the real power in Italy was in his hands, he represented himself as the client of Julius Nepos and, after Nepos' death in 480, of the...

     captures Ravenna
    Ravenna
    Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy and the second largest comune in Italy by land area, although, at , it is little more than half the size of the largest comune, Rome...

     and the Western Roman Empire
    Western Roman Empire
    The Western Roman Empire was the western half of the Roman Empire after its division by Diocletian in 285; the other half of the Roman Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire, commonly referred to today as the Byzantine Empire....

     ends.
  • 597: Christianization of Anglo-Saxon England
    Christianization of Anglo-Saxon England
    The Christianization of Anglo-Saxon England was a process spanning the 7th century.It is essentially the result of the Gregorian mission of 597, which was joined by the efforts of the Hiberno-Scottish mission from the 630s...

  • 527: Justinian I
    Justinian I
    Justinian I ; , ; 483– 13 or 14 November 565), commonly known as Justinian the Great, was Byzantine Emperor from 527 to 565. During his reign, Justinian sought to revive the Empire's greatness and reconquer the lost western half of the classical Roman Empire.One of the most important figures of...

     is crown
    Coronation
    A coronation is a ceremony marking the formal investiture of a monarch and/or their consort with regal power, usually involving the placement of a crown upon their head and the presentation of other items of regalia...

    ed emperor of Byzantium
    Byzantine Empire
    The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

    . Corpus Juris Civilis
    Corpus Juris Civilis
    The Corpus Juris Civilis is the modern name for a collection of fundamental works in jurisprudence, issued from 529 to 534 by order of Justinian I, Eastern Roman Emperor...

    , Digest (Roman law).
  • 600: Saint Columbanus uses the term "Europe
    Europe
    Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

    "
    in a letter.
  • 655: Jus patronatus.
  • 732: Battle of Tours
    Battle of Tours
    The Battle of Tours , also called the Battle of Poitiers and in Battle of the Court of the Martyrs, was fought in an area between the cities of Poitiers and Tours, located in north-central France, near the village of Moussais-la-Bataille, about northeast of Poitiers...

    , the Franks stop the advance of Arabs into Europe.
  • 800: Coronation of Charlemagne
    Charlemagne
    Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

     as Holy Roman Emperor
    Holy Roman Emperor
    The Holy Roman Emperor is a term used by historians to denote a medieval ruler who, as German King, had also received the title of "Emperor of the Romans" from the Pope...

    .
  • 813: Third Council of Tours: Priests are ordered to preach in the native language of the population
    Vernacular
    A vernacular is the native language or native dialect of a specific population, as opposed to a language of wider communication that is not native to the population, such as a national language or lingua franca.- Etymology :The term is not a recent one...

    .
  • 843: Treaty of Verdun
    Treaty of Verdun
    The Treaty of Verdun was a treaty between the three surviving sons of Louis the Pious, the son and successor of Charlemagne, which divided the Carolingian Empire into three kingdoms...

    .
  • 863: Saints Cyril and Methodius
    Saints Cyril and Methodius
    Saints Cyril and Methodius were two Byzantine Greek brothers born in Thessaloniki in the 9th century. They became missionaries of Christianity among the Slavic peoples of Bulgaria, Great Moravia and Pannonia. Through their work they influenced the cultural development of all Slavs, for which they...

     arrive in Great Moravia
    Great Moravia
    Great Moravia was a Slavic state that existed in Central Europe and lasted for nearly seventy years in the 9th century whose creators were the ancestors of the Czechs and Slovaks. It was a vassal state of the Germanic Frankish kingdom and paid an annual tribute to it. There is some controversy as...

    .
  • 872: Unification of Norway
    Unification of Norway
    The unification of Norway into a single kingdom took place in 872 AD, during the Viking Age.By the time of the first historical records of these events, about the 700s AD, Norway was divided into several petty kingdoms...

    .
  • 895: Hungarian people led by Árpád
    Árpád
    Árpád was the second Grand Prince of the Hungarians . Under his rule the Hungarian people settled in the Carpathian basin. The dynasty descending from him ruled the Hungarian tribes and later the Kingdom of Hungary until 1301...

     start to settle in the Carpathian Basin.
  • 983: Otto III
    Otto III, Holy Roman Emperor
    Otto III , a King of Germany, was the fourth ruler of the Saxon or Ottonian dynasty of the Holy Roman Empire. He was elected King in 983 on the death of his father Otto II and was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 996.-Early reign:...

     became the first ruling "King of the Romans
    King of the Romans
    King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

    ", which meant "future Emperor".
  • 1054: Start of the East-West Schism
    East-West Schism
    The East–West Schism of 1054, sometimes known as the Great Schism, formally divided the State church of the Roman Empire into Eastern and Western branches, which later became known as the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, respectively...

    , which divides the Christian
    Christian
    A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

     church for centuries.
  • 1066: Successful Norman Invasion
    Norman conquest of England
    The Norman conquest of England began on 28 September 1066 with the invasion of England by William, Duke of Normandy. William became known as William the Conqueror after his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, defeating King Harold II of England...

     of England by William the Conqueror.
  • 1095: Pope Urban II
    Pope Urban II
    Pope Urban II , born Otho de Lagery , was Pope from 12 March 1088 until his death on July 29 1099...

     calls for the First Crusade
    First Crusade
    The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

    .
  • 12th century: The 12th century in literature
    12th century in literature
    See also: 12th century in poetry, 11th century in literature, 13th century in literature, list of years in literature.----The 12th century saw an increase in the production of Latin texts and a proliferation of literate clerics from the multiplying cathedral schools...

     saw an increase in texts. Renaissance of the 12th century
    Renaissance of the 12th century
    The Renaissance of the 12th century was a period of many changes at the outset of the High Middle Ages. It included social, political and economic transformations, and an intellectual revitalization of Western Europe with strong philosophical and scientific roots...

    .
  • 1128: Battle of São Mamede, formation of Portuguese sovereignty.
  • 1248: Pope Innocent IV
    Pope Innocent IV
    Pope Innocent IV , born Sinibaldo Fieschi, was pope from June 25, 1243 until his death in 1254.-Early life:...

     gave the unique privilege of using the Glagolitic alphabet
    Glagolitic alphabet
    The Glagolitic alphabet , also known as Glagolitsa, is the oldest known Slavic alphabet. The name was not coined until many centuries after its creation, and comes from the Old Slavic glagolъ "utterance" . The verb glagoliti means "to speak"...

     in the liturgy
    Liturgy
    Liturgy is either the customary public worship done by a specific religious group, according to its particular traditions or a more precise term that distinguishes between those religious groups who believe their ritual requires the "people" to do the "work" of responding to the priest, and those...

    .
  • 1303: The period of the Crusades
    Crusades
    The Crusades were a series of religious wars, blessed by the Pope and the Catholic Church with the main goal of restoring Christian access to the holy places in and near Jerusalem...

     is over.
  • 1309–1378: The Avignon Papacy
    Avignon Papacy
    The Avignon Papacy was the period from 1309 to 1376 during which seven Popes resided in Avignon, in modern-day France. This arose from the conflict between the Papacy and the French crown....

  • 1315–1317: The Great Famine of 1315–1317
    Great Famine of 1315–1317
    The Great Famine of 1315–1317 was the first of a series of large scale crises that struck Northern Europe early in the fourteenth century...

     in Northern Europe
    Northern Europe
    Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

  • 1341: Petrarch
    Petrarch
    Francesco Petrarca , known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet and one of the earliest humanists. Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism"...

    , the "Father of Humanism
    Renaissance humanism
    Renaissance humanism was an activity of cultural and educational reform engaged by scholars, writers, and civic leaders who are today known as Renaissance humanists. It developed during the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries, and was a response to the challenge of Mediæval...

    ", becomes the first Poet Laureate
    Poet Laureate
    A poet laureate is a poet officially appointed by a government and is often expected to compose poems for state occasions and other government events...

     since antiquity.
  • 1337–1453: The Hundred Years War
  • 1340: Black Death
    Black Death
    The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

     kills a third of Europe's population.
  • 1439: Johannes Gutenberg invents first printing press
    Printing press
    A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

     starting the Printing Revolution
  • 1453: Fall of Constantinople
    Fall of Constantinople
    The Fall of Constantinople was the capture of the capital of the Byzantine Empire, which occurred after a siege by the Ottoman Empire, under the command of Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II, against the defending army commanded by Byzantine Emperor Constantine XI...

     to the Ottoman Turks
    Ottoman Turks
    The Ottoman Turks were the Turkish-speaking population of the Ottoman Empire who formed the base of the state's military and ruling classes. Reliable information about the early history of Ottoman Turks is scarce, but they take their Turkish name, Osmanlı , from the house of Osman I The Ottoman...

    .
  • 1492: Christopher Columbus
    Christopher Columbus
    Christopher Columbus was an explorer, colonizer, and navigator, born in the Republic of Genoa, in northwestern Italy. Under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs of Spain, he completed four voyages across the Atlantic Ocean that led to general European awareness of the American continents in the...

     lands in the New World
    New World
    The New World is one of the names used for the Western Hemisphere, specifically America and sometimes Oceania . The term originated in the late 15th century, when America had been recently discovered by European explorers, expanding the geographical horizon of the people of the European middle...

    , the Reconquista
    Reconquista
    The Reconquista was a period of almost 800 years in the Middle Ages during which several Christian kingdoms succeeded in retaking the Muslim-controlled areas of the Iberian Peninsula broadly known as Al-Andalus...

     is completed in the Iberian Peninsula
  • 1497: Vasco da Gama
    Vasco da Gama
    Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira was a Portuguese explorer, one of the most successful in the Age of Discovery and the commander of the first ships to sail directly from Europe to India...

     departs to India starting direct trade with Asia
    Asia
    Asia is the world's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the eastern and northern hemispheres. It covers 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area and with approximately 3.879 billion people, it hosts 60% of the world's current human population...

    .
  • 1498: Leonardo da Vinci
    Leonardo da Vinci
    Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

     paints The Last Supper
    The Last Supper (Leonardo)
    The Last Supper is a 15th century mural painting in Milan created by Leonardo da Vinci for his patron Duke Ludovico Sforza and his duchess Beatrice d'Este...

     in Milan, as the Renaissance
    Renaissance
    The Renaissance 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 historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

     flourishes.
  • 1508: Maximilian I
    Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor
    Maximilian I , the son of Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and Eleanor of Portugal, was King of the Romans from 1486 and Holy Roman Emperor from 1493 until his death, though he was never in fact crowned by the Pope, the journey to Rome always being too risky...

     the last ruling "King of the Romans
    King of the Romans
    King of the Romans was the title used by the ruler of the Holy Roman Empire following his election to the office by the princes of the Kingdom of Germany...

    " and the first "elected Emperor of the Romans".
  • 1517: Martin Luther
    Martin Luther
    Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

     nails his demands for Reformation
    Protestant Reformation
    The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

     to the door of the church
    All Saints' Church, Wittenberg
    All Saints' Church, commonly referred to as Schlosskirche, meaning "Castle Church" — to distinguish it from the "town church", the Stadtkirche of St. Mary — and sometimes known as the Reformation Memorial Church, is a Lutheran church in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany...

     in Wittenberg
    Wittenberg
    Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a city in Germany in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, on the river Elbe. It has a population of about 50,000....

    .
  • 1519: Ferdinand Magellan
    Ferdinand Magellan
    Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

     begins first global circumnavigation. Expedition returns 1522.
  • 1519: Hernán Cortés
    Hernán Cortés
    Hernán Cortés de Monroy y Pizarro, 1st Marquis of the Valley of Oaxaca was a Spanish Conquistador who led an expedition that caused the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of mainland Mexico under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century...

     begins conquest of Mexico for Spain.
  • 1532: Francisco Pizarro
    Francisco Pizarro
    Francisco Pizarro González, Marquess was a Spanish conquistador, conqueror of the Incan Empire, and founder of Lima, the modern-day capital of the Republic of Peru.-Early life:...

     begins conquest of Peru for Spain.
  • 1543: Nicolaus Copernicus
    Nicolaus Copernicus
    Nicolaus Copernicus was a Renaissance astronomer and the first person to formulate a comprehensive heliocentric cosmology which displaced the Earth from the center of the universe....

    . De revolutionibus orbium coelestium
    De revolutionibus orbium coelestium
    De revolutionibus orbium coelestium is the seminal work on the heliocentric theory of the Renaissance astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus...

     (On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres).
  • 1547: Assumption of the title Tsardom of Russia
    Tsardom of Russia
    The Tsardom of Russia was the name of the centralized Russian state from Ivan IV's assumption of the title of Tsar in 1547 till Peter the Great's foundation of the Russian Empire in 1721.From 1550 to 1700, Russia grew 35,000 km2 a year...

    .
  • 1582: The introduction of Gregorian calendar
    Gregorian calendar
    The Gregorian calendar, also known as the Western calendar, or Christian calendar, is the internationally accepted civil calendar. It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582, a papal bull known by its opening words Inter...

    .
  • 1608: Hans Lippershey
    Hans Lippershey
    Hans Lippershey , also known as Johann Lippershey or Lipperhey, was a German-Dutch lensmaker commonly associated with the invention of the telescope, although it is unclear if he was the first to build one.-Biography:...

     designs first practical telescope
    Telescope
    A telescope is an instrument that aids in the observation of remote objects by collecting electromagnetic radiation . The first known practical telescopes were invented in the Netherlands at the beginning of the 1600s , using glass lenses...

  • 1610: Galileo Galilei
    Galileo Galilei
    Galileo Galilei , was an Italian physicist, mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher who played a major role in the Scientific Revolution. His achievements include improvements to the telescope and consequent astronomical observations and support for Copernicanism...

     discovers the moons of Jupiter.
  • 1648: The Peace of Westphalia
    Peace of Westphalia
    The Peace of Westphalia was a series of peace treaties signed between May and October of 1648 in Osnabrück and Münster. These treaties ended the Thirty Years' War in the Holy Roman Empire, and the Eighty Years' War between Spain and the Dutch Republic, with Spain formally recognizing the...

     ends the Thirty Years' War
    Thirty Years' War
    The Thirty Years' War was fought primarily in what is now Germany, and at various points involved most countries in Europe. It was one of the most destructive conflicts in European history....

    .
  • 1687: Isaac Newton
    Isaac Newton
    Sir Isaac Newton PRS was an English physicist, mathematician, astronomer, natural philosopher, alchemist, and theologian, who has been "considered by many to be the greatest and most influential scientist who ever lived."...

     published Principia Mathematica
    Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica
    Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, Latin for "Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy", often referred to as simply the Principia, is a work in three books by Sir Isaac Newton, first published 5 July 1687. Newton also published two further editions, in 1713 and 1726...

    .
  • 1699: Treaty of Karlowitz
    Treaty of Karlowitz
    The Treaty of Karlowitz was signed on 26 January 1699 in Sremski Karlovci , concluding the Austro-Ottoman War of 1683–1697 in which the Ottoman side had been defeated at the Battle of Zenta...

    .
  • 1707: The Kingdom of Great Britain
    Kingdom of Great Britain
    The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

     is formed by the union
    Political union
    A political union is a type of state which is composed of or created out of smaller states. Unlike a personal union, the individual states share a common government and the union is recognized internationally as a single political entity...

     of England
    Kingdom of England
    The Kingdom of England was, from 927 to 1707, a sovereign state to the northwest of continental Europe. At its height, the Kingdom of England spanned the southern two-thirds of the island of Great Britain and several smaller outlying islands; what today comprises the legal jurisdiction of England...

     and Scotland
    Kingdom of Scotland
    The Kingdom of Scotland was a Sovereign state in North-West Europe that existed from 843 until 1707. It occupied the northern third of the island of Great Britain and shared a land border to the south with the Kingdom of England...

    .
  • 1712: Thomas Newcomen
    Thomas Newcomen
    Thomas Newcomen was an ironmonger by trade and a Baptist lay preacher by calling. He was born in Dartmouth, Devon, England, near a part of the country noted for its tin mines. Flooding was a major problem, limiting the depth at which the mineral could be mined...

     invents first practical steam engine which begins Industrial Revolution
    Industrial Revolution
    The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

     in England.
  • 1721: Foundation of the Russian Empire
    Russian Empire
    The Russian Empire was a state that existed from 1721 until the Russian Revolution of 1917. It was the successor to the Tsardom of Russia and the predecessor of the Soviet Union...

    .
  • 1775: James Watt
    James Watt
    James Watt, FRS, FRSE was a Scottish inventor and mechanical engineer whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution in both his native Great Britain and the rest of the world.While working as an instrument maker at the...

     invents a new efficient steam engine accelerating the industrial revolution
    Industrial Revolution
    The Industrial Revolution was a period from the 18th to the 19th century where major changes in agriculture, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and technology had a profound effect on the social, economic and cultural conditions of the times...

     in England.
  • 1784: Immanuel Kant
    Immanuel Kant
    Immanuel Kant was a German philosopher from Königsberg , researching, lecturing and writing on philosophy and anthropology at the end of the 18th Century Enlightenment....

     published Answering the Question: What Is Enlightenment?. Age of Enlightenment
    Age of Enlightenment
    The Age of Enlightenment was an elite cultural movement of intellectuals in 18th century Europe that sought to mobilize the power of reason in order to reform society and advance knowledge. It promoted intellectual interchange and opposed intolerance and abuses in church and state...

    .
  • 1786: The Duchy of Tuscany becomes the first state in the modern era to completely abolish the death penalty.
  • 1789: The French Revolution
    French Revolution
    The French Revolution , sometimes distinguished as the 'Great French Revolution' , was a period of radical social and political upheaval in France and Europe. The absolute monarchy that had ruled France for centuries collapsed in three years...

    .
  • 1807: The Slave Trade Act was passed by the British Parliament
    Parliament of the United Kingdom
    The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

     on 25 March 1807, making the slave trade illegal throughout the British Empire.
  • 1815: Following the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte by the Duke of Wellington
    Duke of Wellington
    The Dukedom of Wellington, derived from Wellington in Somerset, is a hereditary title in the senior rank of the Peerage of the United Kingdom. The first holder of the title was Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington , the noted Irish-born career British Army officer and statesman, and...

     at the Battle of Waterloo
    Battle of Waterloo
    The Battle of Waterloo was fought on Sunday 18 June 1815 near Waterloo in present-day Belgium, then part of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands...

     the Treaty of Vienna
    Congress of Vienna
    The Congress of Vienna was a conference of ambassadors of European states chaired by Klemens Wenzel von Metternich, and held in Vienna from September, 1814 to June, 1815. The objective of the Congress was to settle the many issues arising from the French Revolutionary Wars, the Napoleonic Wars,...

     is signed.
  • 1825: George Stephenson
    George Stephenson
    George Stephenson was an English civil engineer and mechanical engineer who built the first public railway line in the world to use steam locomotives...

     opens the Stockton and Darlington Railway
    Stockton and Darlington Railway
    The Stockton and Darlington Railway , which opened in 1825, was the world's first publicly subscribed passenger railway. It was 26 miles long, and was built in north-eastern England between Witton Park and Stockton-on-Tees via Darlington, and connected to several collieries near Shildon...

     the first steam train railway for passenger traffic in the world.
  • 1833: Slavery abolished throughout the British Empire
    British Empire
    The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

  • 1836: Louis Daguerre
    Louis Daguerre
    Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre was a French artist and physicist, recognized for his invention of the daguerreotype process of photography.- Biography :...

     invents first practical photographic method - in effect the first camera.
  • 1838: the first steamship purpose-built for regularly scheduled trans-Atlantic crossings enters service.
  • 1848: Revolutions of 1848
    Revolutions of 1848
    The European Revolutions of 1848, known in some countries as the Spring of Nations, Springtime of the Peoples or the Year of Revolution, were a series of political upheavals throughout Europe in 1848. It was the first Europe-wide collapse of traditional authority, but within a year reactionary...

     and The Communist Manifesto
    The Communist Manifesto
    The Communist Manifesto, originally titled Manifesto of the Communist Party is a short 1848 publication written by the German Marxist political theorists Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It has since been recognized as one of the world's most influential political manuscripts. Commissioned by the...

    .
  • 1852: Start of Crimean War
    Crimean War
    The Crimean War was a conflict fought between the Russian Empire and an alliance of the French Empire, the British Empire, the Ottoman Empire, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. The war was part of a long-running contest between the major European powers for influence over territories of the declining...

     to 1855.
  • 1861: Unification of Italy after victories by Guiseppe Garibaldi
  • 1866: First commercially successful transatlantic telegraph cable
    Transatlantic telegraph cable
    The transatlantic telegraph cable was the first cable used for telegraph communications laid across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. It crossed from , Foilhommerum Bay, Valentia Island, in western Ireland to Heart's Content in eastern Newfoundland. The transatlantic cable connected North America...

     was successfully completed.
  • 1859: Charles Darwin
    Charles Darwin
    Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

     publishes On the Origin of Species.
  • 1860s: Russia emancipates its serfs
    Emancipation reform of 1861
    The Emancipation Reform of 1861 in Russia was the first and most important of liberal reforms effected during the reign of Alexander II of Russia. The reform, together with a related reform in 1861, amounted to the liquidation of serf dependence previously suffered by peasants of the Russian Empire...

     and Karl Marx
    Karl Marx
    Karl Heinrich Marx was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His ideas played a significant role in the development of social science and the socialist political movement...

     completes the first volume of Das Kapital
    Das Kapital
    Das Kapital, Kritik der politischen Ökonomie , by Karl Marx, is a critical analysis of capitalism as political economy, meant to reveal the economic laws of the capitalist mode of production, and how it was the precursor of the socialist mode of production.- Themes :In Capital: Critique of...

    .
  • 1870: Franco-Prussian War
    Franco-Prussian War
    The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...

     and the fall of the Second French Empire
    Second French Empire
    The Second French Empire or French Empire was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.-Rule of Napoleon III:...

    .
  • 1871: Unification of Germany
    Unification of Germany
    The formal unification of Germany into a politically and administratively integrated nation state officially occurred on 18 January 1871 at the Versailles Palace's Hall of Mirrors in France. Princes of the German states gathered there to proclaim Wilhelm of Prussia as Emperor Wilhelm of the German...

     under the direction of Otto von Bismarck
    Otto von Bismarck
    Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg , simply known as Otto von Bismarck, was a Prussian-German statesman whose actions unified Germany, made it a major player in world affairs, and created a balance of power that kept Europe at peace after 1871.As Minister President of...

  • 1873: Panic of 1873
    Panic of 1873
    The Panic of 1873 triggered a severe international economic depression in both Europe and the United States that lasted until 1879, and even longer in some countries. The depression was known as the Great Depression until the 1930s, but is now known as the Long Depression...

     and the Long Depression
    Long Depression
    The Long Depression was a worldwide economic crisis, felt most heavily in Europe and the United States, which had been experiencing strong economic growth fueled by the Second Industrial Revolution in the decade following the American Civil War. At the time, the episode was labeled the Great...

     begins.
  • 1885: Karl Benz
    Karl Benz
    Karl Friedrich Benz, was a German engine designer and car engineer, generally regarded as the inventor of the gasoline-powered car, and together with Bertha Benz pioneering founder of the automobile manufacturer Mercedes-Benz...

     invents Benz Patent Motorwagen
    Benz Patent Motorwagen
    The Benz Patent-Motorwagen , built in 1886, is widely regarded as the first automobile, that is, a vehicle designed to be propelled by a motor...

     worlds first automobile
    Automobile
    An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

    .
  • 1885: First permanent city-wide electrical tram
    Tram
    A tram is a passenger rail vehicle which runs on tracks along public urban streets and also sometimes on separate rights of way. It may also run between cities and/or towns , and/or partially grade separated even in the cities...

     system in Europe (Sarajevo
    Sarajevo
    Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

    ).
  • 1895: Auguste and Louis Lumière
    Auguste and Louis Lumière
    The Lumière brothers, Auguste Marie Louis Nicolas and Louis Jean , were among the earliest filmmakers in history...

     begin exhibitions of projected films before the paying public with their cinematograph, a portable camera, printer, and projector.
  • 1898: The NW First Truck
    NW First Truck
    Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriks-Gesellschaft First Truck is a veteran truck manufactured by Nesselsdorfer Wagenbau-Fabriks-Gesellschaft A.G. in 1898. The unique feature of the engines setup was that the two engines could be operated sequentially depending on the load requirements...

     is manufactured.
  • 1899: In Budapest
    Budapest
    Budapest is the capital of Hungary. As the largest city of Hungary, it is the country's principal political, cultural, commercial, industrial, and transportation centre. In 2011, Budapest had 1,733,685 inhabitants, down from its 1989 peak of 2,113,645 due to suburbanization. The Budapest Commuter...

     is a 1.5 km long test track with three-phase electric power
    Three-phase electric power
    Three-phase electric power is a common method of alternating-current electric power generation, transmission, and distribution. It is a type of polyphase system and is the most common method used by grids worldwide to transfer power. It is also used to power large motors and other heavy loads...

     for electric railways
    Railway electrification system
    A railway electrification system supplies electrical energy to railway locomotives and multiple units as well as trams so that they can operate without having an on-board prime mover. There are several different electrification systems in use throughout the world...

     put into operation.
  • 1902: Guglielmo Marconi
    Guglielmo Marconi
    Guglielmo Marconi was an Italian inventor, known as the father of long distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi's law and a radio telegraph system. Marconi is often credited as the inventor of radio, and indeed he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand...

     sends fist transatlantic Radio Transmission.
  • 1905: Albert Einstein
    Albert Einstein
    Albert Einstein was a German-born theoretical physicist who developed the theory of general relativity, effecting a revolution in physics. For this achievement, Einstein is often regarded as the father of modern physics and one of the most prolific intellects in human history...

     publishes his theory of special relativity and E = mc2
    Mass-energy equivalence
    In physics, mass–energy equivalence is the concept that the mass of a body is a measure of its energy content. In this concept, mass is a property of all energy, and energy is a property of all mass, and the two properties are connected by a constant...

    .
  • 1914: Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
    Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria
    Franz Ferdinand was an Archduke of Austria-Este, Austro-Hungarian and Royal Prince of Hungary and of Bohemia, and from 1889 until his death, heir presumptive to the Austro-Hungarian throne. His assassination in Sarajevo precipitated Austria-Hungary's declaration of war against Serbia...

     is assassinated in Sarajevo
    Sarajevo
    Sarajevo |Bosnia]], surrounded by the Dinaric Alps and situated along the Miljacka River in the heart of Southeastern Europe and the Balkans....

     and World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

     begins.
  • 1917: Vladimir Lenin
    Vladimir Lenin
    Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was a Russian Marxist revolutionary and communist politician who led the October Revolution of 1917. As leader of the Bolsheviks, he headed the Soviet state during its initial years , as it fought to establish control of Russia in the Russian Civil War and worked to create a...

     and the Bolsheviks seize power in the Russian Revolution
    Russian Revolution
    Russian Revolution can refer to:* Russian Revolution , a series of strikes and uprisings against Nicholas II, resulting in the creation of State Duma.* Russian Revolution...

    . The ensuing Russian Civil War
    Russian Civil War
    The Russian Civil War was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed to the Soviets, under the domination of the Bolshevik party. Soviet forces first assumed power in Petrograd The Russian Civil War (1917–1923) was a...

     lasts until 1922.
  • 1918: End of World War I
    World War I
    World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

     Germany defeated.
  • 1922: Benito Mussolini
    Benito Mussolini
    Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

     and the Fascists
    National Fascist Party
    The National Fascist Party was an Italian political party, created by Benito Mussolini as the political expression of fascism...

     take power in Italy.
  • 1926: John Logie Baird
    John Logie Baird
    John Logie Baird FRSE was a Scottish engineer and inventor of the world's first practical, publicly demonstrated television system, and also the world's first fully electronic colour television tube...

     gives the world's first demonstration of a working television
    Television
    Television is a telecommunication medium for transmitting and receiving moving images that can be monochrome or colored, with accompanying sound...

     system.
  • 1933: Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

     and the Nazis take power in Germany
  • 1936: Start of the Spanish Civil War
    Spanish Civil War
    The Spanish Civil WarAlso known as The Crusade among Nationalists, the Fourth Carlist War among Carlists, and The Rebellion or Uprising among Republicans. was a major conflict fought in Spain from 17 July 1936 to 1 April 1939...

     to 1939
  • 1939: Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler
    Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

     and Joseph Stalin
    Joseph Stalin
    Joseph Vissarionovich Stalin was the Premier of the Soviet Union from 6 May 1941 to 5 March 1953. He was among the Bolshevik revolutionaries who brought about the October Revolution and had held the position of first General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union's Central Committee...

     agree partition of Poland in Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
    Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact
    The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, was an agreement officially titled the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union and signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939...

  • 1939: Germany invades Poland starting World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

  • 1940: Great Britain
    Great Britain
    Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

     under Winston Churchill
    Winston Churchill
    Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

     become the last nation to hold out against the Nazis after winning the Battle of Britain
    Battle of Britain
    The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...

  • 1941: Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

     invades the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa
    Operation Barbarossa
    Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

    .
  • 1942: Nazi Germany
    Nazi Germany
    Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

     commences Final Solution
    Final Solution
    The Final Solution was Nazi Germany's plan and execution of the systematic genocide of European Jews during World War II, resulting in the most deadly phase of the Holocaust...

     an attempted genocide
    Genocide
    Genocide is defined as "the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group", though what constitutes enough of a "part" to qualify as genocide has been subject to much debate by legal scholars...

     of the Jews
    Jews
    The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

    .
  • 1945: World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

     ends with Europe in ruins and Germany defeated.
  • 1947: British Empire
    British Empire
    The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

     begins to be voluntarily dismantled with the granting of independence to India
    India
    India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

     and Pakistan
    Pakistan
    Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

    .
  • 1949: NATO established to defend western democracy
    Democracy
    Democracy is generally defined as a form of government in which all adult citizens have an equal say in the decisions that affect their lives. Ideally, this includes equal participation in the proposal, development and passage of legislation into law...

     from Soviet Communism.
  • 1950: The Schuman declaration
    Schuman Declaration
    The Schuman Declaration of 9 May 1950 was a governmental proposal by then-French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman to create a new form of organization of States in Europe called a supranational Community. Following the experiences of two world wars, France recognized that certain values such as...

     begins European unity
  • 1954: French Empire
    French Empire
    The term French Empire can refer to:* Two Empires of the French founded by members of the House of Bonaparte,** The First French Empire of Napoleon I and II ** The Second French Empire of Napoleon III...

     begins to be dismantled after suffering defeat at Dien Bien Phu
    Dien Bien Phu
    Điện Biên Phủ is a city in northwestern Vietnam. It is the capital of Dien Bien province, and is known for the events there during the First Indochina War, the Battle of Dien Bien Phu, during which the region was a breadbasket for the Việt Minh.-Population:...

     in Vietnam
    Vietnam
    Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

    .
  • 1956: Hungarian Uprising
    Hungarian Uprising
    Hungarian Uprising can refer to:*Hungarian Revolution of 1848 *Hungarian Revolution of 1956...

     crushed by Soviet tanks.
  • 1957: Treaties of Rome establish the European Economic Community
    European Economic Community
    The European Economic Community The European Economic Community (EEC) The European Economic Community (EEC) (also known as the Common Market in the English-speaking world, renamed the European Community (EC) in 1993The information in this article primarily covers the EEC's time as an independent...

     from 1958.
  • 1968: The Prague Spring
    Prague Spring
    The Prague Spring was a period of political liberalization in Czechoslovakia during the era of its domination by the Soviet Union after World War II...

     crushed by Soviet tanks. The Club of Rome
    Club of Rome
    The Club of Rome is a global think tank that deals with a variety of international political issues. Founded in 1968 at Accademia dei Lincei in Rome, Italy, the CoR describes itself as "a group of world citizens, sharing a common concern for the future of humanity." It consists of current and...

     is founded.
  • 1980: The Solidarność movement under Lech Walesa begin opposition to the Communist government in Poland
    Poland
    Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

    .
  • 1985: Mikhail Gorbachev
    Mikhail Gorbachev
    Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev is a former Soviet statesman, having served as General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991, and as the last head of state of the USSR, having served from 1988 until its dissolution in 1991...

     becomes leader of Soviet Union and begins reforms which inadvertently lead to the collapse of Communism and USSR.
  • 1989: Communism overthrown
    Revolutions of 1989
    The Revolutions of 1989 were the revolutions which overthrew the communist regimes in various Central and Eastern European countries.The events began in Poland in 1989, and continued in Hungary, East Germany, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and...

     by popular uprisings in all the Warsaw Pact
    Warsaw Pact
    The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

     countries except the USSR. The Berlin Wall
    Berlin Wall
    The Berlin Wall was a barrier constructed by the German Democratic Republic starting on 13 August 1961, that completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin...

     is torn down.
  • 1990: German reunification
    German reunification
    German reunification was the process in 1990 in which the German Democratic Republic joined the Federal Republic of Germany , and when Berlin reunited into a single city, as provided by its then Grundgesetz constitution Article 23. The start of this process is commonly referred by Germans as die...

  • 1991: Breakup of Yugoslavia
  • 1991: Dissolution of the Soviet Union
    Dissolution of the Soviet Union
    The dissolution of the Soviet Union was the disintegration of the federal political structures and central government of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , resulting in the independence of all fifteen republics of the Soviet Union between March 11, 1990 and December 25, 1991...

  • 1991: Tim Berners-Lee
    Tim Berners-Lee
    Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee, , also known as "TimBL", is a British computer scientist, MIT professor and the inventor of the World Wide Web...

     invents the World Wide Web
    World Wide Web
    The World Wide Web is a system of interlinked hypertext documents accessed via the Internet...

     commonly known as the "internet".
  • 1993: Treaty of Maastricht establishes the European Union
    European Union
    The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

    .
  • 2004: The European Union takes in Slovenia, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Cyprus and Manta
    2004 enlargement of the European Union
    The 2004 enlargement of the European Union was the largest single expansion of the European Union , both in terms of territory, number of states and population, however not in terms of gross domestic product...

    .
  • 2007: The European Union takes in Romania and Bulgaria
    2007 enlargement of the European Union
    The 2007 enlargement of the European Union saw Bulgaria and Romania join the European Union on 1 January 2007. It was the latest expansion of the EU, though considered by the European Commission as part of the same wave as the 2004 enlargement of the European Union.-Negotiations:Romania was the...



See also

  • English and French monarchs overlap chart
    English and French monarchs overlap chart
    This chart shows which monarchs of England and France reigned at the same time. This chart was created to help understand the progression of relations between these kingdoms because of the long rivalry between them over the centuries. France has had no monarchs since 1870...

  • Historic list of cities of Europe
    Historic list of cities of Europe
    The following is a list of the historically largest cities of Europe.-1400:The largest cities in Europe in 1400 :* Paris * Milan * Bruges * Venice * Granada * Genoa...

  • History of Western civilization
    History of western civilization
    Roots of the Western civilization in its broader sense may be traced back to 9000 BC, when around the headwaters of the Euphrates, Tigris, and Jordan Rivers farming began, spreading outwards across Europe; the West thus produced the world's first cities, states, and empires. However, Western...

  • Predecessors of sovereign states in Europe
    Predecessors of sovereign states in Europe
    This is a list of all present sovereign states in Europe and their predecessors. The borders of Europe are difficult to define. The borders between Europe and Asia are generally agreed to be the Caucasus Mountains between Russia and the Middle East, the Ural Mountains in Russia to the west and the...

  • Timeline of European nations
    Timeline of European nations
    This timeline lists all European sovereign states, both current and defunct, of the second and third millennia. Vassal states, unrecognised states or states with limited recognition throughout history are generally not included unless they evolved at some point into a sovereign state...


Surveys

  • McKay, John P. et al. A History of Western Society (2 vol 2010) 1300pp
  • Roberts, J. M. The History of Europe (1997)

Classical

  • Boardman, John, et al. eds. The Oxford History of Greece and the Hellenistic World (2nd ed. 2002) 520pp
  • Boardman, John, et al. eds. The Oxford History of the Roman World(2001)
  • Cartledge, Paul. The Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece (2002)

Late Roman

  • Heather, Peter
    Peter Heather
    Peter Heather is a historian of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, currently Professor of Medieval History at King's College London. He has held appointments at University College London and Yale University and was Fellow and Tutor in Medieval History at Worcester College, Oxford until...

    . Empires and Barbarians: The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe (Oxford University Press; 2010); 734 pages; Examines the migrations, trade, and other phenomena that shaped a recognizable entity of Europe in the first millennium.
  • Jones, A. H. M. The Later Roman Empire, 284-602: A Social, Economic, and Administrative Survey (2 Vol. 1964)
  • Mitchell, Stephen. A History of the Later Roman Empire, AD 284-641: The Transformation of the Ancient World (2006)

Medieval

  • Hanawalt, Barbara. The Middle Ages: An Illustrated History (1999)
  • Holmes, George, ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of Medieval Europe (2001)
  • Riddle, John M. A history of the Middle Ages, 300-1500 (2008)

Early Modern

  • Blanning, T. C. W. The Culture of Power and the Power of Culture: Old Regime Europe 1660–1789 (2003)
  • Rice, Eugene F. The Foundations of Early Modern Europe, 1460–1559 (2nd ed. 1994) 240pp
  • Merriman, John. A History of Modern Europe: From the Renaissance to the Present (3rd ed. 2009, 2 vol), 1412 pp
  • Wiesner, Merry E. Early Modern Europe, 1450–1789 (Cambridge History of Europe) (2006)

19th century

  • Anderson, M.S. The Ascendancy of Europe: 1815–1914 (3rd ed. 2003)
  • Blanning, T. C. W. ed. The Nineteenth Century: Europe 1789–1914 (Short Oxford History of Europe) (2000) 320pp
  • Grab, Alexander. Napoleon and the Transformation of Europe (2003),
  • Steinberg, Jonathan. Bismarck: A Life (2011)
  • Salmi, Hannu. 19th Century Europe: A Cultural History (2008)
  • Taylor, A. J. P. The Struggle for Mastery in Europe: 1848-1918 (Oxford History of Modern Europe) (1955), diplomatic history

20th century

  • Brose, Eric Dorn. A History of Europe in the Twentieth Century (2004) 548pp
  • Davies, Norman. No Simple Victory: World War II in Europe, 1939–1945 (2008)
  • Dear, I. C. B. and M. R. D. Foot, eds. The Oxford Companion of World War II (2006)
  • Judt, Tont. Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945 (2006)
  • Mazower, Mark. Dark Continent: Europe's Twentieth Century (2000) 512pp
  • Paxson, Robert. Europe in the 20th Century (1996)
  • Weinberg, Gerhard L. A World at Arms: A Global History of World War II (2005)

Agriculture and economy

  • Bakels, C. C. The Western European Loess Belt: Agrarian History, 5300 BC – AD 1000 (2009)
  • Broadberry, Stephen, and Kevin H. O'Rourke, eds. The Cambridge Economic History of Modern Europe (2 vol 2010), 1700 to present
  • Dovring, Folke, ed. Land and labor in Europe in the twentieth century: a comparative survey of recent agrarian history . 1965. 511 pp
  • Gras, Norman. A history of agriculture in Europe and America, (1925). free online edition
  • Murray, Jacqueline. The First European Agriculture (1970)
  • Pounds, N.J.G. An Historical Geography of Europe (2 vol 2009) from 450BC to 1840
  • Slicher van Bath, B. H. The agrarian history of Western Europe, AD 500-1850 (1966)

Ideas and science

  • Heilbron, John L., ed. The Oxford Companion to the History of Modern Science (2003)
  • Outhwaite, William. The Blackwell Dictionary of Modern Social Thought (2003).
  • Wiener, Philip P. Dictionary of the History of Ideas (5 vol 1973)

Social

  • Stearns, Peter N., ed. Encyclopedia of European Social History (6 vol 2000), 3000 pp

Warfare

  • Archer, Christon I.; John R. Ferris, Holger H. Herwig. World History of Warfare (2002)
  • Paret, Peter, ed. Makers of Modern Strategy (1986)

Women

  • Anderson, Bonnie S. and Judith P. Zinsser. A History of Their Own: Women in Europe from Prehistory to the Present (2nd ed 2000)
  • Offen, Karen. "Surveying European Women's History since the Millenium: A Comparative Review," Journal of Women's History Volume 22, Number 1, Spring 2010 DOI: 10.1353/jowh.0.13

External links

  • Maps of Europe Wikimedia Commons
  • An Atlas of European History Wikimedia Commons
  • European History Primary Sources Online access to primary sources for historians
The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK