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Chapter ALL

History 1401E Chapter ALL : History Reading Notes

Course Code
HIS 1401E
Brock Millman

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History Reading Notes
Chapter 5: The Transformation of Eastern Europe, 1648 1740
Political systems that failed to become more “modern” might be in danger of
going out of existence in the century after the Peace of Westphalia
17th century most parts of eastern Europe belonged to one or another of three
older, decentralized political organizations
o Holy Roman Empire
o Republic of Poland
o Empire of the Ottoman Turks
All three loosely organized and increasingly ineffective
Challenged and superseded by three new and stronger powers
o Prussia
o Austria
o Russia
Came to adjoin one another and cover all of eastern Europe except for the Balkans
16th to 18th century, peasants increasingly lost many of their older, feudal-type
rights and freedoms
Commercial revolution and widening of the market created a strong merchant
class in Western Europe
Turned working people into a legally free and mobile labour force
These changes strengthened the great landlords who produced for export and who
secured their labour force by the institutions of the electors ere willing to consider
whichever candidate that promised the most
o French obtained the elevation of their Bavarian ally to the imperial throne
in 1742
Half century after the Peace of Westphalia was a highly critical period in central
Situation in Germany was fluid no one knew who would emerge in the lead
Two states came forward after 1700 by the skill and persistence of their rulers,
Austria and Prussia
Republic of Poland about 1650
Geographical expansion made for a large and diverse region
Far more recent and less substantial creation than the Holy Roman Empire
Poland proper in the west, Grand Duchy of Lithuania in the east were joined by a
union of their crowns
Poland town population were mostly Germans and Jews who lived in separate
communities and resisted assimilation
No national middle class, official and political language was Latin, leading
religion was Roman Catholicism
Aristocracy prevailed over all other groups in the country, not creating an
effective constitutional or parliamentary government
Made up 8% of the population
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Germany had an ineffective central diet, causing there to be no consensus and
could veto a diet
Government under these conditions became a paralyzing stalemate
Monopoly of law and force failed to develop in Poland
No authority or power within one institution to make reforms
No outside legal or administrative system to set the limits of exploitation for
As more powerful centers developed (Berlin, Moscow) the push against Polish
frontiers became stronger, facilitated by the Poles themselves
Ottoman Empire about 1650
Ottoman state, third of the three multicultural empires that spread over much of
central and eastern Europe
Larger than either of the others
Much more solidly organized and powerful in the 17th century
1529 Turks had attacked Vienna and seemed about to move into Germany
where the Lutheran Reformation were then dividing and distracting the German
Turks were a mystery as well as a commercial rival, looming military threat
Philip 2 of Spain sent his navy to wage war in the Mediterranean during the 16th
Turkish culture and institutions were still not well known in Europe
Turks had lived originally in central Asia, migrated to Anatolia during the Middle
Ages, conquered Constantinople in 1453
Steadily gained control of new Balkan territories after military victories (ie. Battle
of Kosovo 1389)
Remained the dominant power in the eastern Mediterranean and southeastern
Europe throughout the seventeenth century
o Extended from the Hungarian plan and the south Russian steppes as far as
Algeria, upper Nile, Persian Gulf (1650)
Based to a large degree on military proficiency
Turks already had a standing army before the European states had established
permanent military force
Used janissaries
o Originally recruited from Christian children taken from their families,
brought up in Muslim surroundings, forbidden to marry, reared in military
o Were ideal professional fighting force under the control of political leaders
because of the lack of social ties, interests, ambitions
Strong artillery
Mid 17th century
o Armies had changed little compared to the Christian states
Cared little about assimilating subject people to their language/institutions
Law was not separated from religions
Applied Muslim law to Muslim and left its non-Muslim subjects to settle their
own affairs
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Greek Orthodox church became an almost autonomous intermediary between the
sultan and a large fraction of its subject
A relatively tolerant empire because it was composite, an aggregation of peoples,
religions and laws with no drive
King of France had had treaty arrangements with Turkey since 1535 and many
traders had spread over the Middle East
o Exempted by treaty from the laws of the Ottoman Empire
o Free to exercise their Roman Catholic religion
Beginning of extraterritorial privileges resentment came later
Ottoman rule was oppressive to Christians if only because it relegated them to a
secondary position, was often arbitrary and brutal, worse in the 17th century
Began to further expand worry they would break to Italy
Stopped by the house of Austria
The Formation of an Austrian Monarchy
Austria of 1700 was a new creation
Successfully made a difficult transition and emerged from the husk of the Holy
Roman Empire after it collapsed
Relation of Austria to the rest of Germany remained a political conundrum down
to the 20th century
Austrian Habsburgs held direct control over Upper and Lower Austria, kingdom
of Bohemia and the Kingdom of Hungary during the Thirty Year’s War
1638, Turkish army reached Vienna and threatened to break through to the main
centers of German culture and political power
Held off the besiegers for two months until a defending force arrived
Both sides showed the international character of the conflict Turkish, Christians
vs Poles, Austrian dynastic troops, Germans
Prince Eugene of Savoy was the founder of the modern Austrian state
o 1697 drove Turks out of Hungary in the battle of Zenta
o Peace of Karlowitz (1699), Turks yielded most of Hungary to the
Habsburg house
o Ottoman Empire was pushed back permanently into Romania and the
West: Entered the War of the Spanish Succession to win the Spanish crown, but
contented themselves by the treaty of Rastatt (1714)
East: captured Belgrade, pushed through the Iron Gate
Ottoman Empire pushed Austrians from much of the Balkan territory they
recently occupied
Peace of Belgrade (1739) drew a new frontier that on the Austrian side remained
unchanged until the 20th century
Habsburg government opened a seaport
Ottoman Empire remained an important contributor to the cross-cultural
exchanges, contacts, and conflicts that constantly influenced the political and
economic life of every European country in the Mediterranean
Austrian Monarchy by 1740
Acquired a new empire after humiliation at the Peace of Westphalia
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