European History Chronology (14th Century)


Figure 1.--

Although generally classified by most scholars as the last century of the medieval era, the 14th century is generally seen as the beginning of the Renaissance and the beginning of a modern state of mind. The precise time is difficlt to set and of course varied accross Europe. The Renaissance began at Firenze around 1300 and gradually spread north. Even so, the indicators that constitute the Renaissance did not reach other areas of Europe 1-2 centuries. Chaucer wrote his Canterbury Tales in England. The only Crusade ever deployed in Europe supressed the Catharists in southern France. The bubonic plague first appeared in Sicily and Europe and spread like wild fire, wihin a year it had reached England. Within 5 years a third of Europeans were dead asa result of the Black Death. The social, politicl, and economic consequences were immeasurable. Not by accident, the Renaissance like the plague also first appeared in Italy and gradually spread north to the other states of Western Europe. Germany was not only devestated by the Plague, but also the Hundred Years War. The Crusades played an important role in expanding the vision of Medieval Europe leading to the Renaissance. Crusading knights brought with them back to Europe new fabrics, especially silk. This was to fuel the European desire to establish direct trade contacts with China. After the Plague, Europe slowly recovers.

The Renaissance

Although generally classified by most scholars as the last century of the medieval era, the 14th century is generally seen as the beginning of the Renaissance and the beginning of a modern state of mind. "Renaissance" means "rebirth" in French and describes the cultural and economic changes that occurred in Europe beginning in the 14th century. The precise time is difficlt to set and of course varied accross Europe. The Renaissance began at Firenze around 1300 and gradually spread north. Even so, the indicators that constitute the Renaissance did not reach other areas of Europe 1-2 centuries. It was during the Renaissance that Europe emerged from the Feudal System of the Middle Ages. The stagnant Medieval economy began to expand. The Renaissance was not just a period of economic growth. It was an age of intense cultural ferment. Enormous changes began in artistic, social, scientific, and political endevours. Perhaps of greatest importance was that Europeans began to develop a radically different self image as they moved from a God-centered to a more humanistic outlook.

Economy

The economy of Western Europe was quickening. Cities were growing in size and trade routes developing. Trades routes connecting northern and southern Europe were becoming more established. The textile industry in the Low Countries was becoming increasingly important and Englnd was a major source of wool supporting thaat industry. The richest and most populace Europen country was France, largely because of the productivity of the French soil and climte. Agriculkture continued to be the most importnt elemnt in nationl economies. Innovations from China were impriving the prodyctivity of agriculture. The locus of the European economy was till in the south. A factor here was the Renissance. Another factor was the connection with the Silk Road. The Crusades had increased the demand or luxury goods like silk, porcelin, and spices from the East. The Silk road ran through Muslim areas controlled by the Ottomnd and Arabs. The Venetians and Genoese in the Eastern Mediterranean benefitted from this trade. This would lead in the next century to the Portuguese and Spanish in the West launching the maritime expansion of Europe, but in the 14th crntury this trade had to be conducted through Muslim areas and the Italian maritime republics.

Literature

Chaucer wrote his Canterbury Tales in England.

Religion

Europe continued to be dominated by the Catholic Church in the West and the Orthodox Church in the East. The only Crusade ever deployed in Europe supressed the Catharists in southern France. The Catholic Church was rocked by the Christianity: Babylonian (Avignon) Captivity of the Papacy and the Great Schism. The Ottomans pressured Chtistians in the Balkans. The Reconquista in Spain continued to press Muslims south. The Catholic Church dealt with heritics very severly, but reformers began to appear tht would eventully leadr to Luther and the Reformation.

The Plague

The bubonic plague first appeared in Sicily and Europe and spread like wild fire, wihin a year it had reached England. Within 5 years a third of Europeans were dead asa result of the Black Death. The social, politicl, and economic consequences were immeasurable. Not by accident, the Renaissance like the plague also first appeared in Italy and gradually spread north to the other states of Western Europe. Germany was not only devestated by the Plague, but also the Hundred Years War.

Impact of the Crusades

The Crusades played an important role in expanding the vision of Medieval Europe leading to the Renaissance. Crusading knights brought with them back to Europe new fabrics, especially silk. This was to fuel the European desire to establish direct trade contacts with China. After the Plague, Europe slowly recovers.

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Created: August 10, 2003
Last updated: 7:16 AM 8/24/2012