- See also: History of Europe
During these few centuries, Europe rose from being an isolated part of the world to global domination.
Periodization of history is, by necessity, an abstraction made by posterity. The term early modern came into widespread use only in the 1990s, to include periods which have been known as the Renaissance, the Age of Discovery and the colonial era. In Europe, the early modern period was marked by the rise of Protestant Reformation, centralized empires with mercantilist economy, the bourgeois, the scientific revolution and gunpowder farfare, and those institutions' challenge to the Catholic church and feudal systems based around castles.
As regions of Europe developed differently, the early modern period has no universal year limit. One candidate for the year that ended the Middle Ages would be 1453; as the Hundred Years' War ended, and the Ottoman Empire seized Constantinople with cannons, ending the Byzantine Empire. However, the Italian renaissance had been in full bloom already in the 14th century, and parts of northern and eastern Europe had traits of medieval society for centuries to come.
The early modern era is regarded to have ended with the wave of revolutions of the late 17th and early 18th century, including the American, Haitian, French and Bolivarian revolutions, and the industrial revolution. These events challenged the aristocratic monarchies and guild-based mercantilist economies (in which most commerce happened within countries and empires), and saw the rise of constitutional governments with a capitalist and global economy.
Wars and events
- The Protestant Reformation
- The Thirty Years War from 1618 to 1648 was Europe's most devastating war during the period
- The Napoleonic Wars from 1803 to 1815 marked the transition from early modern to modern Europe
Exploration and colonisation
- Age of Discovery
- The Voyages of Columbus from 1492 started a period of sustained European colonization of the Americas
- The Magellan-Elcano circumnavigation was the first known journey around the world
- The Cape Route between Europe and Asia was completed in 1498 by Vasco da Gama
- The Atlantic slave trade displaced millions of West Africans to the Americas
- Voyages of James Cook
- Carl Linnaeus tourism
- Early United States history from the first colonies to the Civil War