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The Earth and Its Peoples: A Global History, Second Edition
Richard W. Bulliet, Pamela Kyle Crossley, Daniel R. Headrick, Steven W. Hirsch, Lyman L. Johnson, David Northrup
History WIRED

The Transformation of Europe 1500-1750


General Relief Map of Europe

West-Central Europe
This map shows major urban centers in Europe around 1500.

Holy Roman Empire and Central Europe, 1490

Europe about 1560
This map shows the holdings of the House of Habsburg.

The Reformation in Europe
This maps shows the religious breakdown in Europe after 1600.

Europe in 1648
This is an older map that shows the political ramifications of the Treaty of Westphalia.

Europe at the end of the seventeenth century

The World ca. 1700
This global map shows European nation-states and their overseas possessions in addition to other political entities such as the Qing Empire in China.


Citta del Vaticano
This site provides images of the Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome, both interior and exterior shots, which was built in the early sixteenth century as the seat of the papacy.

Passing Through St. Peters
This site has great images but little description of Saint Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Chateau de Versailles
Discover the world of Louis XIV at this spectacular site.

A Tour of Schönbrunn Palace
Tour this imitation of Versailles built by the Austrian Habsburg monarchs.

The Famous Naval Battle of Lepanto in 1571
This site provides several European depictions of this well-known naval battle between the Spanish and Ottoman Empires.

The Spanish Armada
This essay provides images of the naval battle between Spain and England in 1588 and of the two monarchs involved.

Pages from the Original King James version
See manuscript of King James I of England's influential undertaking at the beginning of the seventeenth century.

Amsterdam Heritage: Dutch Classicism
Explore seventeenth-century Amsterdam at this site.

The City on Neva River: Sankt-Peterburg
View images of St. Petersburg, the seat of Peter the Great's Russian kingdom.

Selected Hogarth Prints
Explore a sampling of this eighteenth-century English social critic's view of urban life.

Images from the Scientific Revolution
This site contains images of the major figures of the Scientific Revolution and illustrations of their work.

Index of Renaissance Maps
This comprehensive site allows the viewer to trace the evolution of cartography in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe.  It also gives examples of Mercator's original work.

Activity One

A major theme of this chapter is the rise of nation-states in Western Europe between 1500 and 1750.  Unlike the urban empires of Rome or Han China explored in Chapter 6, An Age of Empires: Rome and Han China, 753 B.C.E.-330 C.E., these new political entities were smaller in area and less diverse in population.  Indeed, statecraft worked to homogenize the population of these emerging nation-states through the use of a common, state-controlled religion; the promotion of one vernacular language; and strong national institutions.  For the most part, the pioneers of this new development were monarchs.  Two of the more notable heads of state during this period were Henry IV of France and Elizabeth I of England.  Go to Henry IV and Elizabeth I and answer the following questions: What were Henry's and Elizabeth's goals as monarchs? Did they achieve them? How? In what ways did these monarchs deal with the religious  divisions within their realms? What were their personal religious beliefs, and how important were these beliefs to their duties as monarchs?  How did their reigns symbolize a new age in Europe?  In other words, how did the nation-state system that these monarchs created differ from the way of life during previous eras of European history?  You might want to review Chapter 16, The Latin West, 1200-1500 and Chapter 10, Christian Europe Emerges, 300-1200 in Bulliet, et al., The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition) before completing your answers.

Activity Two:

Although this chapter explains that a revolution in thinking occurred during this period in European history, especially in the realm of science, the majority of the population remained illiterate.  Monarchs such as Henry IV and Elizabeth I had to rely on means of communication other than the written word to create a sense of legitimacy for the consolidation of power around their thrones.  Elizabeth was particularly adept at this process.  Review Elizabeth I from Activity One.  You might also want to access Historic Royal Profiles: Elizabeth I.  What were the methods and policies that Elizabeth utilized to increase her power and authority?  What obstacles did she face, and what mystique did she personally cultivate to overcome them?

Study the images at Elizabeth I Gallery closely.  Click on each image to enhance its size and be sure to view all three pages of images.  While examining these representations, search for the visual methods which Elizabeth used to propagandize her authority or enhance her stature with the English people.  For example, In The Armada Portrait, which suggests the stability of Elizabeth's reign, notice her calming hand on the globe.  Be creative in your analysis.  Can you think of ways in which modern-day leaders have used visual imagery or other methods to create a certain image of themselves among the public?

Activity Three:

Other monarchs of this period also used art to enhance their prestige and power.  This practice was so common that art historians have labeled the seventeenth century as the baroque period.  According to Baroque, what characteristics define this artistic trend?  (Pay close attention to the site's last paragraph.)  What political developments in European history did it reflect?  (See The Baroque Era for clues.)  Next, take the virtual tour of Versailles and Schönbrunn Palace.  What were these two palaces used for?  How do they reflect the values of absolutism and baroque sensibilities?

Activity Four:

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Europe experienced the Scientific Revolution and the Age of Enlightenment.  Analyze the images at The Medici Collection, (click next in the right hand corner for the next image) paying close attention to the prints that depict the work of the period's scientists.  Compare and contrast these representations with those at Best Witches: The Witch and Devil in Art Prints.   Note that the images at the latter site appeared at roughly the same time as the scientific achievements.  Historians have long noted this apparent contradiction: How could the same society produce both the advances in science that Europeans did yet also execute thousands of victims because of a superstitious belief in witchcraft?  The authors of Bulliet, et al., The Earth and Its Peoples (Second Edition) provide some insight into recent scholarship on the issue in Traditional Thinking and Witch-Hunts on pages 464-466.  For additional information, read the essays at Climatic Change and Witch-Hunting.  Next, place this author explanation into broad categories. Do you find one of the explanations of the causes of this witch-hunting hysteria more plausible than the others, or do you believe there are multiple explanations?  Defend your answer.