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Unit 08 PPT-2

Unit 08
Political Revolutions
• Between 1500 and 1800
the old feudal order gave
way to nation-states with
strong central
• Some countries set up
absolute monarchies,
meaning that a ruler has
complete authority
• These rulers embraced
the idea of divine right –
the authority to rule
comes directly from God
Spain and the Hapsburg
• In 1516 Charles I (grandson of
Ferdinand and Isabella) became King
of Spain
• In 1519 his Austrian grandfather
Maximilian died and he also became
ruler of the Hapsburg Empire, which
included the Holy Roman Empire
and the Dutch Netherlands
• He took the name Charles V as ruler
of the Holy Roman Empire
• His reign was marked by constant
wars – with France (over claims in
Italy), the Muslim Ottoman Empire,
and Protestants in Germany (led by
Spain and the Hapsburg
• Exhausted, Charles V
gave up his titles in 1556
and entered a monastery
• He divided his empire
between his brother
Ferdinand (who became
Holy Roman Emperor)
and his son Philip II (who
became ruler of Spain,
the Netherlands, some
southern Italian states
and the colonies in the
New World
Philip II Becomes an
Absolute Monarch
• Philip II ruled for 42 years as a
devout, hard working, and ambitious
• Philip won important victories
against the Ottoman Empire in the
Mediterranean and fought
Protestantism in all of his lands
• In 1581 the northern provinces of
the Netherlands, known as the
Dutch Netherlands, declared
independence from Spain
• They were secretly supported by
Elizabeth I of England
The Spanish Armada
• In 1588 Philip
assembled a huge
armada (fleet of
ships) to invade
• With more than 130
ships, 20,000 men,
and 2,400 pieces of
artillery the Spanish
were confident of
• The lighter, faster
English ships
outmaneuvered and
defeated the Spanish
Decline of the Spanish
• While the defeat of the armada
and economic problems weakened
the empire, the “Golden Century”
in Spain saw advancements in the
arts and literature
• Paintings by “El Greco” and literary
works such as Don Quixote by
Miguel de Cervantes made
indelible impressions on the world
Royal Power Expands in
• In the 1500s rivalry with
Spain and the Protestant
Reformation posed new
challenges in France
• Religious wars between
the Catholic majority
and French Protestants,
called Huguenots, tore
France apart
• In the St. Bartholomew’s
Day Massacre in 1572 a
Catholic plot led to the
death of thousands of
Henry IV Restores Order
• In 1589 a Huguenot prince inherited
the throne as Henry IV, the first ruler
of the Bourbon Dynasty
• To honor the Catholic majority he
converted to Catholicism, but to
protect the Protestant minority he
issued the Edict of Nantes in 1598,
which granted toleration and
freedom to the Huguenots
• Henry built the foundations for royal
absolutism by reducing the influence
of the nobles, improving
infrastructure (roads and bridges),
and promoting the welfare of all
Richelieu Strengthens Royal Authority
• When Henry IV was killed by an assassin in
1610 his 9 year-old son Louis XIII inherited the
• In 1624 Louis appointed Cardinal Richelieu as
his chief minister
• Richelieu was determined to destroy the
power of the two groups that defied royal
authority – the nobles and the Huguenots
• He defeated the private armies of the nobles
and destroyed their fortified castles
• He made the nobles dependent on the king by
giving them positions in the royal court
• He destroyed the walled cities of the
Huguenots and outlawed their armies, but
allowed them to practice their religion
Richelieu Strengthens Royal
• Richelieu died in 1642 and hand-picked his
successor, Cardinal Mazarin
• In 1643 5 year-old Louis XIV inherited the
throne but Mazarin continued to direct
affairs until his death in 1661
• Louis XIV, at age 23, declared himself the
sole ruler of France, calling himself the “Sun
King” and asserting “I am the state”
• Under Louis XIV the French army became
the strongest in Europe, enforcing royal rule
at home and abroad
The Royal Palace at
• Near Paris, Louis XIV built
the immense palace of
• Nobles competed for the
honor of holding his wash
basin or buckling his shoes in
the daily levée (rising) ritual
• In this way Louis kept the
nobles in his service rather
than competing against him
The Legacy of Louis XIV
• Louis XIV ruled France for 72 years –
longer than any other monarch
• During that time French culture,
manners, and customs set the
standard for Europe
• Costly attempts to unite the Spanish
and French crowns failed
• Persecution of the Huguenots
caused more than 100,000 to flee
France, damaging the French
The Thirty Years’ War
• In 1618 tensions between Catholics and
Protestants in the Holy Roman Empire
erupted when two royal officials were
thrown out of a castle window in
Prague by Protestant nobles
• The Holy Roman Emperor tried to roll
back Protestantism by force with the
support of Spain, Poland, and other
Catholic states
• Protestant Sweden and the
Netherlands sent troops into Germany
to help the Protestants
• Roughly 1/3 of people in the German
states died as a result of the war
• Finally ended in 1648 with the Peace of
The Rise of Austria and Prussia
• After the war, the Hapsburgs rebuilt
their Empire with Austria as its base,
adding Bohemia, Hungary, parts of
Poland and some Italian states
• Emperor Charles VI died in 1740 and his
daughter, Maria Theresa, succeeded
• Prussia emerged as a Protestant power
and, under the rule of Frederick II (the
Great), they seized the Austrian
province of Silesia
• Maria Theresa was unable to regain
Silesia, but she did solidify her reign
over the Hapsburg Empire
Peter the Great Modernizes
• Isolated from Western Europe,
Russia remained a medieval state
• Peter I took the throne as tsar in
1682 at the age of 10 and took full
control seven years later
• Peter traveled to Europe to learn
about European technology and
• When he returned to Russia he
implemented many changes
designed to westernize his country
• He was a harsh but effective ruler
Peter the Great Modernizes
• Peter created the largest standing
army in Europe and built a worldclass navy from scratch
• He tried, but failed, to push
through the Ottoman Empire to
establish a warm-water port on
the Black Sea
• However, he did push Sweden out
of territory along the Baltic Sea,
where he established his great
capital city of St. Petersburg
Catherine the Great
• The Romanov successors to Peter
the Great were ineffective rulers
• Tsar Peter III was mentally unstable,
but had married a German princess
• Catherine was 15 when she came to
Russia: she learned the Russian
language and culture and won the
loyalty of the Russian people
• In 1762 Russian army officers
murdered Tsar Peter III and
Catherine ascended the throne
Catherine the Great
• Catherine continued the
modernization of Russia and
embraced western ideas
• She ruled as an absolute
monarch and could be ruthless
• She harshly suppressed uprisings
by the Russian serfs (peasants)
and their conditions deteriorated
under her rule
• Catherine did succeed in
securing a warm-water port on
the Black Sea and also seized
lands from Poland