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Life in 1400s: Informative Essay

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The European social order

How were European societies arranged in the 1400s? European societies were arranged in a hierarchy, that is, by order of rank or position. Rulers and nobles were at the top. They owned the most land and were the most powerful. Peasants were at the bottom. Most of the people in European society were peasants. In Europe, kinship did not play as important a role as it did in Native American and African societies. Life in Europe centered around the nuclear family. This kind of household was made up of a mother and father and their children.

Christianity shapes the European outlook

How did the Crusades affect Europe? The Roman Catholic Church was important in Europe. The pope, the leader of the church, had political and spiritual power. The church encouraged Christians to take Spain from the Muslims, who were followers of Islam. The church also wanted Muslims to leave the Holy Land. From 1096 to 1270, Europeans took part in the Crusades. These were a series of wars to retake the Holy Land. The Crusades failed to achieve this goal. The Crusades still had a big impact, though. Trade increased. Europeans wanted the goods they saw in Asia. The Crusades weakened the power of European nobles and the pope. They also let European monarchs gain more power. In the early 1500s reformers called for changes in the Roman Catholic Church. This movement was called the Reformation.

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Changes come to Europe

What changes were happening in Europe? In the 1300s Europe suffered several serious setbacks. Thousands died from starvation after a crop failure. An epidemic of plagues beginning in the 1340s killed 25 million people, a quarter of Europe’s population. Long wars killed thousands more. In the 1400s modern Europe began to take shape. The Crusades had opened trade routes. The population increased, and towns and cities grew larger and more powerful. The Crusades weakened the nobility and made monarchs more powerful. By the late 1400s, four major nations were taking shape in Western Europe: Portugal, Spain, France, and England. The Renaissance led to a more secular spirit, an interest in worldly pleasures, and a new confidence in human achievement. People began to regard themselves as individuals.

Europe enters a new age of expansion

Why did Europeans become interested in exploration? Europeans looked for new routes to the East. The introduction of the compass and astrolabe allowed ship captains to navigate better. New ships such as the Caravel allowed sailors to sail against the wind. Prince Henry of Portugal, often called Henry the Navigator, developed and employed these new innovations. He sent his captains to explore the coast of Africa. Bartolomeu Dias rounded the southern tip of Africa in 1488. Ten years later, Vasco da Gama reached India.

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Life in 1400s: Informative Essay. (2023, August 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
“Life in 1400s: Informative Essay.” Edubirdie, 17 Aug. 2023,
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