The Reformation began in October 1517 when Martin Luther wrote his 95 theses. Luther was a well-educated son of a miner who earns the right as a middle class by working hard. Luther became a monk and while sitting in the tower outhouse he was inspired by Romans 1:17 The just shall live by faith alone. This encourages him to challenge the church by using this as his thesis for Luthers theology. In 1521 he was excommunicated but he became a national hero because even though his opinions were not new they gave people new hope. One of the first items he did was to say that the Roman Catholic Church was being an Italian church exploiting the Germans. Since Germany was eager to get rid of Rome they accept this idea. Second if the people quit making payments to Rome and took back their lands they had allot to gain. There were other reasons but as you can see this made the people eager to believe and following Luther. At first the lower classes were excited by Luthers rebellion against papal authority believing that has someone standing behind them. This made the lower class revolted against there lords and Luther who was discussed by this wrote Against the Murdering, Thieving Hordes of Peasants. So in the end the lower class came to hate him.
Around the same time a man named Ulrich Zwingli who was a humanist and interpreted the bible by reason preach reform also. He differ from Luther as he was more humane he said heaven would welcome admirable Jews and heathen. His style of reform could have been more well known if he was not killed in the a battle in Switzerland.
Along the same time came John Calvin, he studied law and scholasticism and rejected Catholicism. He wrote a book were he stated his views against them. He believed in a Trinitarian God, divinity of Christ, resurrection after death, in the sacraments of baptism and the Eucharist. In his Doctrine of the Elect which was held in high regards by his followers, he stated Since God knows all and is all powerful, he knows the future and does not let anything happen that is against his will. Which is why someone people are selected for damnation and some for election. He puts bans on gambling, singing dancing. The council had enough with his strict teachings and kicked him out of Geneva only to have to ask him back when the council starting being taken over by the Catholics. Since there was no discipline the bible became the law. There was horrible punishment for breaking the law and even a few try to fight back( Huguenots) but they were out numbered.
The Counter- Reformation began in Spain and was the churchs response to the reformation. The church had to find away to revitalize itself so it decided to establish a new order (Jesuits which was founded by Ignatius Loyola), start a inquisition in Spain and other low countries, They started Council of Trent and finally the Baroque period supported and brought prestige to the church. In 1480 Ferdinand & Isabella re-established the inquisition as a modern form of crusade to wipe out converted Moslems and Jews. Paul III was the first of the reform popes. He felt that there was a need for reform and staffed his papal only with him of high integrity even though he had four illegitimate children.
During this time in England a man named Henry VIII was king. This was a man who didnt waste money but built up the treasury try monastery confiscation. He was one who helped create a new upper class, which was loyal to the crown, which gave them money. He also made the split from Rome smoothly with the help of Thomas Cromwell. Henry III was succeeded by his son Edward VI and then best known for his daughter Mary who burned 300 people. This earned her the name Bloody Mary and made people hate Catholicism.
In Germany was a place for religious wars. Imperialists vs. League of Sckmalkalden which was just one. Then there was the Thirty Years war which was from 1618-1648 which was the last of the religious wars which convulsed Europe during the reformation. The six combats were Germany, France, Spain, Bohemia, Denmark and Sweden. This conflict was three wars in one. It was a Religious war between Protestant and Catholic, International between Germany, France, Sweden and Denmark and Civil war between Princes and Emperor. It began as a religious and civil war and ended up as an international war fought mainly in Germany. The war gave Germany a national sense of inferiority and delayed national unity. The whole war left Germany with a need for authority.
In the 1450s The Age of Exploration were sparked because they needed better navigational tools, spices to preserve food and needed trade routes. Even though there was little success rate for seamen returning for these explorations they went anyway because on land it was not any better, life expectancy was 30 years. Portugal was the first nation to engage in exploration on a large scale. Italy already had a monopoly on the far eastern trade route. Prince Henry the navigator was the first ruler to begin state funded trade expedition. Vasco De Gama reached India in 1490s. Out of his 180 men only 50 return with him. Pedro Cabral was sent to India but went to far west and accidentally rant into Brazil. This is why even today they mainly speak Portuguese there. In 1492 Christopher Columbus wanted to reach the Indies. He returned three times but never knew that he was on a new land instead of Asia. Amerigo Vespucci was the first to state that Columbus had found a new world and the new land was named Amerigo. Magellan was the first to complete a circumnavigated the earth. The Age of Exploration is when the African slave trade began, the American Indians were almost wiped out east of the Mississippi, open western mans vision of the earth led to a reassessment of western civilization and new foods were added to the diets of most Europeans.
1600s was the Age of the Kings , it was a century of transition between medieval and the modern world. New institutions, beliefs ad theories rose up. Royal absolutism took over, Louis XIV of France, Stuart Kings in England and Hapsbugs in Germany. In 1682 Peter the Great came to the Throne. Peter was famous for defeating the Swedes in the Battle of Poltava. In 1703 he founded the city of St. Petersburg in the unhealthy marshes of the Baltic Sea. In Spain they ignored new mercantile and scientific methods because they came from the heretical stage of Holland and England and this cause them to become second rate. The Dutch had the highest living standard in the world but they had financial supported the long war of the Spanish Succession and this drained them.
In the 18th Century was the Age of Enlightenment or the Age of Reason. The natural world was known by the senses and understood by reason and dogma by revelation. The movement known as Rationalism began in England and was supported and popular in France. These people believed that reason could cure society ills and help achieve great government, peace and help to discover the laws of nature. This brought about new religious belief known as Deism. The basic beliefs of Deism were that miracles were impossible, universal moral laws and man should be worship. A man named Voltaire was the father of Deism and the most famous figure in the age of enlightenment. Humanism set the stage because they began the question some of the tales of visions and miracles.
There were many factors that led to the French Revolution, which was bloody radical and put an end to the Age of Enlightenment. The factors were the government should be the servant of the people; all men are entitled to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.