Absolutism in Europe

Absolutism in Europe
• Monarchs were strengthened through their
– Economic growth through mercantilism
– Goal to become most wealthy nation
– Competition among nations
Absolute Rule and Divine Right
• Rulers believed they were chosen by god
to rule
– Known as Divine Right
• Also believed that they should have
absolute power without limit
– Known as Absolutism
• Once the most powerful nation in Europe
– Phillip II (rule 1156-1598)
• Catholic, disliked Protestants
– Spanish Inquisition, Reconquista
• Competition and conflict with England
– Religious differences and British piracy
• 1588- sends he Spanish Armada to invade
– Fails
• Spain loses its place as the most powerful nation
in Europe
• English monarchs share power with
– Some try to take power from Parliament
• Tudor Dynasty:
– Important rulers:
• Henry VIII (starts Anglican Church)
• Elizabeth I
– Highly educated, not married, Europe flourishes under
her reign, sponsored piracy against Spanish fleets
• Tudor Dynasty ends with Elizabeth
– She died without an heir
• King of Scotland becomes new English
– James I
• Founder of Stuart Dynasty
• Believed in Divine Right and wanted absolute
• England begins period of conflict
– Religious and political
• James I and his successor, Charles I
abuse their power
• English Civil War:
– Supporters of king fight with supporters of
• Parliamentary forces led by Oliver Cromwell
• Cromwell defeats the kings forces
– Monarchy abolished and England declared a
– Eventually, Cromwell will establish a military
• 1658: Cromwell dies and monarchy
eventually restored
– Trouble will soon begin again
• James II became king in 1685
– Openly Catholic, has son who will carry on the
Catholic rule
• 1688: Glorious Revolution
– Nobles invite William and Mary to take throne
• Mary was James II’s daughter (Protestant)
• James and his family flee to France
• 1689: William and Mary sign the English Bill of
– Limit power of monarchs and give political power to
• Ruled by Bourbon Family
• Support Catholic Church
– Short period of tolerance for Protestants
• Edict of Nantes
• Louis XIV
– Became king in 1643
at age 5
• Rules for 72 years
– Sun King
– Absolute ruler, Divine
– Palace of Versailles
• Important advisors to monarchs:
– Cardinal Richelieu: works to increase power of
monarch (advisor of Louis XIII)
– Jean Baptiste Colbert: believed in mercantilism
(economic advisor of Louis XIV)
• France will wage many wars in attempts to
increase her own power
– Conflict with England
• War of Austrian Succession
• Seven Years War
– Fought in Europe, Americas, India
German States
• Germany not a united country until late1800’s
– Broken into small states
– Part of the Holy Roman Empire
• Austria and Prussia two most important
German states
– Austria ruled by Hapsburgs
– Prussia ruled by Hohenzollerns
German States
• Austrian rulers often also served as
Emperors of Holy Roman Empire
• Important Ruler:
– Maria Theresa:
• Came to throne in 1740
German States
• Prussia was a very militaristic German
– Ran by the Hohenzollern family
• Frederick William I increased the power of
the Prussian military
• Frederick the Great made Prussia a great
• Largely isolated from rest of Europe
• Economy underdeveloped due to Mongols
• Mongols overthrown by Moscow
– Ivan III (Ivan the Great)
• Bloody history
– Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible)
• Romanov Dynasty began in 1613
• Important Rulers:
– Peter I (Peter the Great)
Rules from 1689-1725
Wanted to Westernize Russia
Made important changes to modernize Russia
New capital at St. Petersburg
War with Sweden for access to Baltic Sea
• Catherine the Great
– German Princess who seizes throne from her
husband Peter III
– Also wanted to modernize and westernize
• Although making improvements, Russian
peasants had very harsh lives
– Serfdom very much like slavery in Russia