The Habsburgs and the Quest for Universal Empire in Europe
-Habsburgs dynasts were heirs to the eastern half of Charlemagne’s empire. The Holy Roman Empire
continued to obey an emperor elected by elite lower level sovereigns. After 1273 the emperor usually
came from the Austrian house of Habsburg.
-holy roman empire included territory in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Belgium, Croatia and parts
of Italy, Poland, and Switzerland. (It did not have centralized power)
-in 1519 the Habsburgs prince Charles V was elected Holy Roman Emperor (was grandson of Spanish
monarchs Isabella and Ferdinand & of holy roman emperor Maximilian I) so he ended up inheriting
Spain and its territories in the Americas as well as the Habsburgs traditional European territories.
-Charles struggled to prevent come European princes from embracing the protestant faith and he
abdicated in 1556 and divided the realm with his younger brother Ferdinand and his son Philip.
-Ferdinand: got austral, German and central Europeans territories
-Philip got Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, southern Italy, and the new world possession. He also
inherited the Portuguese throne form his mother. This gave him monopoly over Atlantic commerce.
Conflict in Europe and the Demise of Universal Empire
-French, English, and Dutch elites envied the riches of the Portuguese and Spanish colonial processions
and yearned to have their own profitable colonies.
-they managed to steal wealth on the seas. Some of the plunderers were pirates who raided for their
own benefit; others were privateers who stole with official sanction and shared the profits with their
-most famous raider was Sir Francis Drake, whom the English crown commissioned to plunder Spanish
processions. His favourite hunting ground was the Caribbean, where Mesoamerican and Andean silver,
loaded onto Spanish ships. Though he undertook his exploits for personal gain, Queen Elizabeth
approved of his assaults on the Spanish empire and rewarded him knighthood.
-to retaliate the Spanish sailed an armada of 130 ships of 20,000 men into the English Channel. But the
English defeat them and destroyed their ships. The conflict continued on the sea and Drake continued
privateering. He died of yellow fever in the Caribbean. The English fleet sailed into Spain’s premier port
of Cadiz, occupied the city for 2 weeks and burned 200 ships and seized treasure.
-Spanish (the powerhouse of the Atlantic) was humbled, and when King Phillip died the dream of a
universal empire within Europe failed. War of Christendom continued to be at war with itself. The Reformation
-Protestant Reformation: religious movement initiated by sixteenth-century monk Martin Luther who
openly criticized the corruption in the Catholic church and voiced his belief that Christians could speak
directly to god. His doctrines gained wide support and those who followed his new view of Christianity
rejected the authority of the papacy and the catholic clergy, broke away from the Catholic Church, and
called themselves “Protestants”.
-he wanted reform
-believed humans were so given to sin that no one was worthy of salvation. That only their faith in god
can save them. This meant good deeds and taking sacraments did not give god’s forgiveness. And faith
can be obtained by reading the bible rather than listening to a priest’s beliefs.
Luther’s reforming principles:
1) Belief that faith alone saves
2) Belief that scriptures alone hold the key to Christian truth
3) Belief in the priesthood of all believers
-the church and the Habsburg emperor, Charles V, demanded that Luther take back his criticism and
theological claims. Luther refused; he was declared a heretic and narrowly avoided being burned at the
-Luther wrote many pamphlets attack the church and pope
-he married a former nun) Katharina von Bora. In Luther’s views good approves of human sexuality
within the bongs of marriage
-translated the New Testament from Latin to German so people could access its materials. This spurred
others to undertake their own translations too.
Other “Protestant” Reformers
-printed books and preachers spread Luther’s doctrines and support. It appealed to elites as well as
-Jean Calvin in France modified Luther’s ideas. To Luther’s emphasis on the individual’s relationship to
god, Calvin added a focus on moral regeneration through church discipline and the autonomy of
-Calvin laid out the idea of predestination...where a person is ‘predestined’ for damnation or salvation
-CALVINISM also called Presbyterianism in some places
-people who were loyal to the original protestant described themselves as Lutherans. -In England Henry VIII and his daughter Elizabeth created a “middle way’ of Anglicanism which retained
many Catholic practices and a hierarchy topped by bishops.
Counter-Reformation and Persecution
-Counter-Reformation: movement to counter the spread of the reformation; initiated by the Catholic
Church at the Council of Trent in 1545. The Catholic Church enacted reforms to attack clerical corruption
and it places a greater emphasis on individual spirituality. During this time, the Jesuits were founded to
help revive the Catholic Church.
-bishops and popes (compared to predecessors) were renowned for the piety and asceticism.
-Catholicism gave greater emphasis on individual spirituality.
-the reformed Catholics carried their messages overseas—especially thought an order from Ignatius
Loyola. Loyola founded a brotherhood of priests, the Society of Jesus, or Jesuits dedicated to the revival
of the Catholic Church.
Jesuits were active in politics education and missionary work. Yet the Vatican continued to use
repression and persecution to combat what it regarded as heretical beliefs.
-both Catholics and Protestants persecuted witches. Between 1500-1700 up to 100,000 people mostly
women were accused of being witches. Many were tried, tortured, burned at the stake or hanged. Older
women, widows and nurses were especially vulnerable to charges of cursing or poisoning babies.
People also believed that weak and susceptible women might have sex with the devil or be tempted to
do his bidding.
Religious Warfare in Europe
-the ultimate effect was to weaken the Holy Roman Empire and strengthen the English, French, and
-circulation of books presenting Luther’s ideas sparked peasant revolts.
-wars between and within central European states raged for nearly 40 years.
-in 1555, the exhausted Holy Roman Emperor Charles V was compelled to allow the German princes the
right to choose Lutheranism or Catholicism as the official religion within their domains (Calvinism still
outlawed). However this did not end the religious wars.
-religious war weakened dynasties
-created debts (Spain)
-trade wars as well (ex Dutch and English) -religious conflicts also sparked civil wars. In France the divide between Catholics and Protestants
exploded in the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1752. Catholics rampaged through the streets of
Paris murdering Protestant men, women, and children and dumping their bodies in the Seine River;
parades of rioters displayed Protestants severed heads on pikes. 3000 dead in Paris and 10,000 dead in
-to become king Henry IV converted to Catholicism. Shortly thereafter he issued the Edict of Nantes, a
proclamation that declared France a Catholic country but also tolerated some Protestant worship.
-religious conflict fueled rivalries for wealth and territories overseas.
-in Japan a singly ruling family emerged. This dynastic state, the Tokugawa Shogunate, regulated foreign
Unification of Japan
-During 16 century Japan suffered political instability and banditry, and civil strife disrupted the
-regional ruling families called daimyos, had commanded private armies of samurai. Japan has an
emperor but his authority did not extend beyond the court in Kyoto.
-several leaders tried to unify Japan. One general arranged marriages among the children of local
authorities to solidify political bonds. To coax cooperation from the daimyos he orders that their wives
and children be kept as semi hostages in the residence they were required to maintain in Edo. After the
general died, one of the daimyos, Tokugawa Ieyasu, took power for himself as military ruler. He said
ruler ship would be hereditary and his family would be the ruling household.
-Tokugawa shoguns ensured a flow of resources from the working population to the rulers and from the
provinces to the capital. Villages paid taxes.
-the samurai became administrators. Peace brought prosperity. Agriculture thrived. Improved farming
techniques and land reclamation projects allowed the population to grow significantly. (10 million to 30
Foreign Affairs and Foreigners
-Japanese were concerned was the intrusion of Christian missionaries and European trader. At first
Japanese officials welcomed these foreigners out of an eagerness to acquire muskets, gunpowder and
other new technology. But soon the realize Christians were intolerant of other faiths, believed Christ to
be superior to any authority, and fought among themselves. The Shoguns prohibited conversion to
Christianity. After a rebellion in which converted peasants rose up in protest against high rents and
taxes, the government suppressed Christianity and drove European missionaries from the country. -the shogunate restricted Europeans to trade in ports only in Edo. Then Japanese authorities expelled all
European competitors. Only t