Almudena Corrales Marbán
1. The importance of the Early
Modern Age (1492-1789)
During this period, a series of political, economic and social changes brought
about the establishment of a system historians call the ANCIEN RÉGIME
These changes including significant advances were:
Europeans’ discovery and conquest of new lands redefined the limits of the
Europeans monarchs became more powerful, exerting their power over
New forms of skilled craftmanship and increased trade over the world created
a more open economy.
Johannes Guttenberg’s invention of the printing press in 1440 facilitated
an exchange of information.
2. The Age of Discovery
The fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453
interrupted traditional transport and trade routes between Europe and Asia.
As a result, European traders could not import silk, gold, spices and other luxury
goods from the East.
NEW ROUTES TO EAST ASIA
In the 15th century, Spain and Portugal started making voyages to
find alternative routes to Asia. These explorations were successeful because
of three factors:
1. Spanish and Portuguese navigators already had a lot of experience sailing
along the coasts of Africa.
2. They had ships, such as caravels, which were well designed for long ocean
3. Compasses and more accurate maps were helped them to navigate
3.Monarchy during the Early
In this period there were three types of monarchy. Some monarchies
were authoritarian, while others were absolute. In England a parlamentary
monarchy was established in the 17th century.
3.1. AUTHORITARIAN MONARCHY
Monarchs in the 16th century are describe as ‘authoritarian’ because
they had forced the nobility to accept their authority. However, these monarchs
also had to respect institutions that were able to limit their power, such as the
Cortes in Spain of the Estates General in France.
These monarchs implemented various measures in order to govern
their kingdoms more effectively:
They unified all the territories that were under their control.
They established administrative unity for the entire kingdom.
They created royal armies to end their dependence on the nobility for military
authoritarian monarchy was
established by the Catholic
Monarchs, who expanded
their kingdoms to include
territories in Italy, North
Africa and the New World.
In the 16th century, the authoritarian
monarchy was consolidated by Carlos I
(1516-1556) and his son Felipe II (1556-
1598). In this period, Spain also became
global imperial power, with posessions in
the New World, Africa and Asia.
3.2. ABSOLUTE MONARCHY
In the 17th century, absolute monarchy came
to predominate in Western Europe. It was called
‘absolute’ because the crown had unlimited authority
which was believed to come from God.
Absolute monarchs exerted this authority in various
they did not allow representative bodies which
could limit crown’s power
they controlled the government and economy of
they expanded the army to increase their
In this period Spain’s
power began to decline
with the reigns of the
Felipe III, Felipe IV and
Carlos II, who left their
government in the hands
of the validos.
The causes of this decline
include Spain’s defeat in
the Thirty Years War.
3.3. PARLIAMENTARY MONARCHY
In England, there was a civil war in the
1640s between supporters of the king and the
supporters of Parliament. As a result, the absolute
monarchy was replaced by a republic under the
control of the former Parliamentarian commander
After Cromwell’s death, the absolute
monarchy was restored, but it only lasted until the
Glorious Revolution of 1688. This led to the
establishment of a parliamentary monarchy- with
William of Orange and Queen Mary- in which the
monarch’s power were limited by the Parliament.
In 1689 the Bill of Rights
established the need for
regular parliaments, and
stated that the monarch could
not imposed taxes without
Renaissance art developed
during the 15th and 16th
centuries. The name of this
style refers to the rebirth of
Ancient Greek and Roman
traditions in art and
architecture, such as the
importance of proportion and
an absence of excessive
Baroque style was popular in Europe
during the 17th and early 18th
centuries. The name of the style may
come from the Portuguese word which
describes an irregular or rough pearl.
This style is characterised by natural
forms an abundant decorative elements,
which created a sensation of drama and
In Catholic countries, absolute
monarchs used Baroque art to affirm
their religious doctrine and political
Bernini, Baldaquino en
San Pedro del Vaticano,
(28, 5 m high)