(1469-1796) by Lance Wilson, Cole Bachmeier, and Austen Tyryfter

"I am the state."- Louis XIV

Following the Middle Ages, in which nobles ruled small sects of land which were governed by a king, who ruled over the numerous sects of land. Following the Renaissance, this system changed slightly. The new system, called absolutism, still contained nobles, but the state was more strongly governed by one supreme ruler. In some places, such as France under Louis XIV, the nobles had no power at all. On the other extreme was the Holy Roman Empire, which was overseen by the Holy Roman Emperor but was actually governed by the rulers of the small German states that made up the Holy Roman Empire. France under absolutism first began under King Henry IV, the first of the Bourbon kings. He was king during the end of the French Wars of Religion. The main combatants of this war, which began in 1562, where the Huguenots and the Catholics. Henry IV brought the war to an end in 1598 with the Edict of Nantes, which granted religious freedom to the Huguenots. Following Henry IV was King Louis XIII, who was king for most of the Thirty Years' War. The Thirty Years' War was the last religious war, which was between the Protestants, which consisted of Denmark, Sweden under Gustavus Aldolphus, and France, and the Catholics, which consisted of the Holy Roman Empire under Ferdinand II and Spain. The war was begun by Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand II. While most of the many states in the Holy Roman Empire were Protestant, Ferdinand was Catholic, and his attempt to restore Catholicism to the Germanic states sparked the war. Over 21 million people were killed by the time the Peace of Westphalia granted the Protestants religious freedom again (the first time being under the Peace of Augsburg) and ended the war in 1648. The chief adviser of Louis XIII was Cardinal Richelieu, who was key to the creation of a strong monarchy in France. He is considered by many to be one of the greatest rulers in European history. Louis XIII died in 1642 and was succeeded by Louis XIV. Louis XIV was also known as the Sun King. He was a powerful absolutist, giving power to no one but himself. During his reign he built the Palace of Versailles, which took 27 years to build and covered over 20,000 acres. One of his grandsons became the Spanish ruler following the War of Spanish Succession. He ruled for 72 years, and was succeeded by his great-grandson in 1715.

Spain was first united when Queen Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon married each other in 1469. They initiated the Spanish Inquisition, which persecuted Muslims and Jews, who they believed to be heretics. In 1516 Charles V became the Spanish king and the Holy Roman Emperor. He eventually decided that his empire was too large, and he divided it into Spain and Austria. His son, Philip II, attempted to invade England with the Spanish Armada, which contained 168 ships and over 60,000 men, in 1588. However, the attempt was unsuccessful, and the Spanish Armada was defeated by the English admiral Francis Drake. The leader of England at the time was Elizabeth I. The Elizabethan Age lasted from 1558 to 1603, and was a period of heightened English culture and literature. Elizabeth was the last of the Tudors, and was succeed by the son of her cousin, James I of the Stuart line. James I translated the Bible into English, and released it in 1611. It is known as the King James Bible today. During his reign the first English colony in America, Jamestown, was established. James I was succeeded by Charles I. During Charles' reign Parliament began to petition for less power for the king. As a result, the English Civil War began in 1642. The fighting occured between the Cavaliers and Royalists loyal to King Charles I and the Roundheads, led by Oliver Cromwell and his New Model Army. King Charles was captured in 1646, and beheaded on January 30, 1649. Cromwell then reformed England into a commonwealth, a type of republic. However, the true power did not lie with Parliament (which now only consisted of Cromwell's supporters), but with Cromwell himself, who was titled "Lord Protector." This dictatorship angered the people, and the monarchy was restored with the return of Charles I's son, Charles II, in 1660. Under Charles II, religious toleration was granted to all, and the Habeas Corpus Act was passed, which required prisoners to be brought before a judge when accused of a crime. Political parties also emerged in Parliament during Charles II's reign. Charles II died in 1685, and was succeeded by his brother, James II. James II was disliked by Parliament because he was Catholic, and in 1688 he fled to France. The Parliament replaced him with Queen Mary and William of Orange. During their reign, the Act of Union was passed, which joined Scotland and England into the United Kingdom of Great Britain. The last step away from and absolutist regime in England occured in 1721 with the creation of the Prime Minister, who was originally the chief adviser to the king, but would eventually go on to be the effectual head of state. Following the Mongol Invasions in the 1200's, the region that is now European Russia was ruled by the Mongols for over a hundred years until Ivan I, who had good relations with the Mongols, was given the city and the surrounding areas, securing him the title of Grand Prince of Russia. The Mongols were finally driven out entirely by Ivan III the Great, who ruled from 1462 to 1480. Ivan III established the Kremlin, a central fortress in Moscow, as the government headquarters. Ivan III grandson, Ivan IV, took power in 1533. He was the first to be crowned Czar of Russia, and became known as Ivan the Terrible. During Ivan's regin of terror, thousands of Russian nobility were executed. Due to killing his son in a heat quarrel, Ivan IV left no strong leader as an heir when he died in 1584. There was no strong leadership from that time until 1613, when Czar Michael Romanov established the Romanov Dynasty. Western Civilization was first introduced under the rule of Perter the Great, who ruled from 1682 to 1725. Peter also expanded the Russian borders, and he moved the capital city to St. Petersburg, which he constructed, in 1712. Russia continued to expand its borders under Catherine the Great, who ruled from 1762 to 1796. Under Catherine's reign Russia expanded south to the Black Sea, into Siberia, and even into a colony made in Alaska. England would ally itself with Russia and Austria during the War of Austrian Succession.

Ferdinand II assumed the throne of the Holy Roman Empire in 1618. The Holy Roman Empire during this time was not really a central unified state, but actually consisted of hundreds of small, independent states that were tied together by the Holy Roman Emperor. Two of these states stood out as more powerful than the rest: Prussia and Austria. Prussia was a militaristic state, and had one of the largest armies in Europe despite its small size. It was first organized into a kingdom under King Frederick William I, who became Prussia's first king in 1713. HIs successor, King Frederick II the Great, became one of the worlds greatest military and political leaders and turned Prussia into a world power. Austria, farther to the south, was ruled by the Hapsburgs. When the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI left no male heir to the throne when he died in 1740, Austria attempted to make their new leader Maria Theresa also a leader of the Holy Roman Empire. They succeeded. However, because Maria Theresa was a woman, Frederick II of Prussia believed he could take advantage of Austria, and invaded one of Austria's northern provinces. The War of Austrian Succession followed. Prussia allied with France and Bavaria. Austria allied with England and Russia. The war lasted until 1748, and resulted in no change to the borders of the nations. Just eight years later the Seven Years' War began. In this war France and England switched sides, and all European nations were involved to some extent. The Seven Years' War was also called the French and Indian War in North America. The war ended in 1763 with the Peace of Paris, which gave Canada to England and led to England becoming the chief world power.

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A Picture of Don Quixote


  1. Charles I: During his reign the petition of rights was formed. The rights stated that the king could not levy taxes without the consent of parliament, and that he could not house soldiers in private homes. He eventually dissolved the Parliament in 11 years and held his own secret court called the star chambers. This chamber was used for the enemies of the king. Charles eventually led troops into the House of Commons to arrest opposition which started the English civil war between king and the parliament. Eventually the parliament wins and the king is beheaded.
  2. Queen Isabella of Castile: She was married to Ferdinand of Aragon; their marriage united Spain in 1469. During her reign the she helped finance Christopher Columbus’s journey. Also the Spanish inquisition in 1492 expelled Muslims and Jews from Spain.
  3. Elizabeth I: She was known as “The Virgin Queen” or “Good Queen Bess”. Under her rule the Anglican Church became the Church of England and England defeated the Spanish armada.
  4. Francis Drake: He was an English Admiral who destroyed the Spanish Armada. Spanish culture peaked during his reign. This period was called the century of gold.
  5. Charles II: “Merry Monarch”; son of Charles I restored the monarchy in England. Was eventually exiled to France.
  6. James II: He was the brother of Charles II. He was known as the “Duke of York”. He was disliked by the parliament and was eventually forced to give up the crown and flee to France in 1688.
  7. Sir Robert Walpole: The first Prime Minister of England, he was known as the “First Lord of the Treasury”; was the Chief adviser to the king.
  8. King James I: His family was the ruling family of Scotland; he was the son of Marty Stuart. He translated the bible in 1611 it was named the King James Bible.
  9. Louis XIII: He was 10 when he took the thrown. His mother had regent or actual control of France; then when he turned 16 he took control of France.
  10. Rodrigo Diaz: He was known as “El Cid” or champion. He was a hero who fought for all of the Muslims in Spain.



This is a map of the countries of Europe in 1600.

Key Terms From Crisis and Absolutism Era:

  • Huguenots- French Protestants that were influenced by John Calvin. The Huguenots made up about seven percent of the French population, but about forty-five percent of the nobles became Huguenots.
  • Witchcraft- A form of magic that led to the Inquisition and for a hunt for heretics. Witchcraft had been a part of traditional village culture for many centuries.
  • Inflation- A major economic problem that raised prices. The influx of gold and silver from the Americas and the growing population lead to inflation in Europe.
  • Divine Right of Kings- The idea that kings received their power from God and they are responsible only to god. This idea was not popular among the members of Parliament.
  • Roundheads- A group of people that supported the Parliament in the Civil War against the King of England. Roundheads got their name from the way the cut their hair (short).
  • Cavaliers- A group of people that supported the king in the Civil War against the Parliament and the Roundheads. The Parliament crushed the Cavaliers, ending Charles I rule.
  • Commonwealth- The system of government that was created after King Charles I Cavalier Force lost the English Civil War. Commonwealth is a republic government.
  • Absolutism- A system in which a ruler holds total power. Absolutism was often tied to the idea of the divine right of kings in seventeenth-century Europe.
  • Mannerism- A movement that emerged in Italy in the 1520’s that reflected a new environment by breaking down the High Renaissance principles of balance, harmony, and moderation.
  • Natural Rights- Rights to which humans were born with. Locke believed that some of this natural rights included life, liberty, and property. The U.S. Constitution is based of some of these rights.

The Versailles Palace

Key Dates

1469: Queen Isabella of Castile and Ferdinand of Argon marry, uniting Spain under one banner.
1588: Spain attempts to invade England with its powerful armada of 168 ships. The Campaign is unsuccessful, and the fleet is defeated.
1607: Jamestown, Virginia, the first English colony in North America, is established.
1611: King James I of England translates the Bible into English, allowing common people in England to read the Bible.
1642: The English Civil War, which consists of people supporting Parliament angainst people supporting King Charles I, begins.
1643: Louis XIV, the king of France who ruled for 72 years and built the Palace of Versailles, takes power.
January 30, 1649: King Charles I of England is beheaded, ending the English Civil War.
1660: Following the unpopular Commonwealth rule of England, Charles II is given the throne, restoring the monarchy in England.
1707: The Act of Union joins England and Scotland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
1756: The Seven Years' War, which involves all European Nations as allies of either Prussia or Austria, begins.

The English Civil War

Crisis and Absolutism Links:

Charles I This link explains Charles life from young boy to ruler of England. It explains his battles, successes, honors, and many other things that Charles I did throughout his lifetime.
Huguenots This link explains the group of people known as the Huguenots. It explains the struggles they had to face to avoid being persecuted, which later lead to the Edict of Nantes.
Oliver Cromwell This link explains the leader that was Oliver Cromwell and his role in the English Civil War. Through Cromwell, the Commonwealth, or republic, of England was created.
Louis XIV This site explain Louis's, or the Sun King's, life and his power he held in France. He created the Palace at Versailles, a vast palace of fine objects and jewelery.
Thomas Hobbes This explains Thomas Hobbes' theory on absolution in England. It explains this wise
philosophers thoughts and his views about the world he lived in.
Online Book This has is an online book source that has plenty of accurate information on this time period.
Overview This is a overview on all of the stuff that happened during the crisis and absolutism in Europe.
Key Terms This site provides information on key terms and events that happened during the crisis and absolutism in Europe.
Timeline This site has alot of information and contains a very detailed accurate timeline.

The Spanish Armada

Who do you think was the best King/Queen?

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Philip II
Elizabeth Tudor

Louis XIV
El Cid Statue
Charles I