Factors Encouraging Overseas Voyages

1. Middle Ages: Europeans were limited to Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia.

2. Beginning in the 15th Century: first Portugal, Spain - then England, Holland and France explored the Americas, new regions of Africa and the Far East.

3. Trade with the East

a. It began during the Crusades.

b. Monopolies:

1.) Asian Traders brought goods overland to Constantinople, Alexandria and other Mediterranean ports.

2.) Italian Merchants from such cities as Venice, Genoa, and Pisa controlled Eastern trade to Europe.

c. 15th Century: Eastern trade attracted the attention of Portugal and Spain. Both financed expeditions to discover an all water route to the Far East.

4. European Curiosity

a. Reports of travelers to Eastern Asia (ie. Marco Polo in the 13th Century- Cathay, China).

b. Renaissance spirit of inquiry; a desire for information about the world's size, shape, and people.

5. Wealth and Ambition: By the 16th Century

a. Nations with Capital to finance expensive voyages of exploration.

b. Middle Class: desire for increased trade.

c. Absolute Monarches: sought to build up Colonial Empires.

6. Scientific Progress

a. Renaissance geographical knowledge (ie. the earth was round not flat).

b. Improved maps.

c. A better compass for determining direction/greater use of the astrolabe, an instrument for determining latitude.


1. Prince Henry the Navigator inspired Portugal to search for an all water route to the East (around Africa).

2. 1488: Bartholomew Diaz reached the southern tip of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope.

3. 1487-1498: Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape and sailed to India.

* He returned with a cargo 60 times the cost of the voyage.

SPAIN: Two Significant Expeditions

1. Columbus: 1492 (an Italian Navigator)

a. To reach the East by sailing West. Discovery of the New World.

b. Publicized by the Italian explorer Amerigo Vespucci -ie. the Americas.

2. Magellan: 1519

a. A Portuguese captain, sailed from Spain around the southern tip of South America and crossed the Pacific.

b. He was killed in the Philippines: 1522 - one ship returned to Spain (44,000 miles) proving the earth was round.


1. To find a "Northwest Passage" through or around North America to the East.

2. To secure gold, silver, gems, and other valuable goods.

3. To convert natives to Christianity.

4. To establish claims to the new lands for European Nations.

5. To establish trading posts and settlements.


1. Spain

a. Balboa - 1513: First European in America to see the Pacific Ocean.

b. Pounce De Leon - 1513: Exploration of Florida.

c. Cortez - 1519-1521: Conquered the Aztec Indians in Mexico.

d. Pizarro - 1532: Conquered the Inca Indians in Peru.

e. De Soto - 1541: First European to see the Mississippi River.

2. France

a. Verazano - 1524: Explored the Atlantic Coast of North America; first European to sail into New York Harbor.

b. Cartier - 1535: Explored the Saint Lawrence River.

c. Champlain - 1603-1608: Explored Eastern Canada and Northern New England; founded Quebec.

d. Marquette and Joliet - 1673: Explored the upper Mississippi River Valley.

3. England

a. Cabot - 1497: sailed to Labrador and the northeast coast of North America.

b. Drake - 1577-1580: led the second expedition to circumnavigate the world.

c. Cook - 1763-1779: explored New Zealand, Australia and the Hawaiian Islands.

4. Portugal

* Cabral - 1500: reached Brazil.

5. Holland

* Hudson - 1609: entered New York Harbor and sailed up the Hudson River.

MERCANTILISM: 16th and 17th Centuries

1. Based on the amount of gold and silver brought into the mother nation.

2. To maintain a favorable balance of trade, a nation would export more than it imports.

3. To increase exports, a government would grant subsidies and monopolies.

4. Tariffs would be imposed to discourage imports.

5. Colonies would be established as markets and as a source of raw materials for the mother nation.

* Colonies were allowed to trade only with the mother nation.


1. The Hapsburgs: the Austrian royal family had come to power in Spain through marriage.

Charles I: King of Spain in 1516.

Charles V: elected Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire in 1520.

2. Extensive Empire (European and Overseas) ------------------ interests at times were in conflict.

3. Army and Navy: power was based on wealth from overseas possessions.

4. Little Industry in Spain: ie. the expulsion of Jews and Moors from Spain.

* Much of the land in Spain was devoted to sheep raising.

5. France: lost the cities of Metz, Verdun and Toul to Charles V. Charles also preserved his possession of the Duchy of Milan.

* 1529: Charles V prevented the Ottoman Turks from taking Vienna.

a. Forced to agree to Turkish rule of the Balkan Peninsula and half of Hungary.

b. In Germany, he attempted to bring an end to Lutheranism which resulted in the Peace of Augsburg in 1555.

6. 1556: Charles abdicated and retired to a monastery in Spain where he died two years later.

a. Ferdinand (Charles' brother): became emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

b. Philip (Charles' son): became King of Spain with her European and overseas possessions.

* (Two branches of the family: Austrian and Spanish Hapsburgs.)


1. Attack on the Moors and Jews:

a. Philip suspected many who had converted to Christianity of practicing their old religion.

b. Many fled the nation, others revolted which was crushed in 1571.

2. Involved Spain in many foreign wars: financed through increased taxation/10% sales tax which severely hurt business.

* reliance on overseas wealth became even greater.

3. Portugal and England:

a. 1580: there was no heir to the Portuguese throne and Philip claimed it.

1.) He took over Portuguese possessions in Asia, Africa, and South America.

2.) This created more problems for Spain: Defense

ie. Privateers (pirates) from England, France, and Holland made constant attacks on Spanish shipping.

b. Spanish rule lasted for sixty years until they were driven out of Portugal.

c. Philip II had married Mary Tudor of England.

1.) He helped Mary in her attempt to restore Catholicism to England.

2.) Mary also had attempted to get Parliament to recognize Philip as King of England which it never did.

3.) After Mary's death, Philip attempted to negotiate a marriage with Elizabeth - this attempt also failed.

d. Increased Spanish hostility toward England.

1.) Return of Protestantism (The Anglican Church) to England.

2.) English attacks on Spanish Shipping and English support of the Dutch Revolt against Spain.


* The English Victory of the Spanish, marks the beginning of England's emergence as a naval power.

4. The Netherlands

a. Considered the Spanish speaking Philip as a foreigner.

b. The Seventeen Provinces of the Netherlands had a long tradition of self government with no central administration.

c. Differences:

1.) Northern Provinces: spoke Dutch and had adopted Calvinism.

2. )Southern Provinces: spoke French and were Catholic.

d. Taxes and mercantile restrictions were resented especially by the Dutch in the North.

e. Strict Central Control - was imposed by Philip.

1.) Took away the right of self government, and used Spaniards to run the government.

2.) He introduced the Inquisition to bring an end to Protestantism in the North.

f. Riots broke out in the Protestant Northern Provinces.

1.) The Duke of Alva, Spanish Governor of the Netherlands, attempted to stop the riots.

2.) The bloody extremes of his actions led to a full scale revolt.

g. The Dutch Revolt

1.) Led by William the Silent: largest landowner in the North, and also the Prince of Orange, a small state in Southern France.

2.) 1579: the Northern Provinces formed the Union of Utrecht.

* United Provinces or the Dutch Netherlands.

* 1581: declared they owed no allegiance to Spain.

* 1598: Philip died.

3.) The war dragged on until 1648: Dutch Independence was recognized by the Treaty of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years' War.

* Independence of the Northern Provinces only.


1. Henry IV (1589-1610) had established the Bourbon Dynasty in France.

2. Edict of Nantes in 1598 granted religious toleration and certain political rights to the Huguenots.

a. Huguenots were allowed to have fortified cities.

b. Huguenots were also allowed the right of self government in their cities. (almost 100 cities)

3. The Hundred Years' War had broke the power of the Nobility in France.

* Henry now had to again re-establish royal authority over the Nobility.

4. Henry IV appointed the Duke of Sully (a Huguenot) as his Chief Minister.

a. He introduced a farmed system of taxation similar to the Ancient Romans.

* The Clergy and Nobility were exempted.

b. He limited court expenditures and closely supervised tax collection.

c. Transportation within France was also improved.

d. Sully as a Mercantilist:

1.) Encouraged manufacturing by granting subsidies and monopolies.

2.) The Silk Industry was established in France at this time as well as the colony of Quebec in Canada.

5. Henry IV was assassinated in 1610 by a fanatical monk.


a. Louis was only a boy of eight years old at Henry's death, and his mother, Marie de Medici, was appointed regent.

b. As a devout Catholic and intolerant of Protestants, she did not allow any Huguenots to serve in the government.

c. Her administration of France was weak, and the Nobility again began to assert its independence.

d. Louis XIII at the age of sixteen took control of the government from his mother.

1.) Marie's advisors were banished or executed.

2.) Louis chose Cardinal Richelieu as his chief minister.

ie. Richelieu actual ruler of France from 1624-1642.


a. He believed in Machiavelli's Doctrine of Power:

Primary Goals: to make -------------

The King supreme in France.

France supreme in Europe.

b. To establish royal power in France: the political independence of the Huguenots and the power of the Nobility had to be destroyed.

c. To establish French superiority in Europe: Hapsburg power in Spain and the Holy Roman Empire had to be reduced.

d. The Huguenots

1.) Huguenot Fortified Cities had become states within a state (centralized government of the King was almost impossible).

2.) Huguenots sought help from England. 1627: Richelieu moved militarily against these cities, decisive victory for the King.

3.) Huguenots lost their right of self government in independent towns.

* Religious toleration remained.

e. The Nobility

1.) Military Power - all fortified castles not necessary for the defense of France were destroyed.

* Some noblemen revolted, but were easily crushed.

2.) Political Power - Richelieu appointed governor's to each of the French Provinces who supported a strong monarchy.

* Intendants: local administration; appointed by Richelieu from members of the Middle Class who owed their position to him and were responsible only to the King.

* Known as the "eyes and ears of the king".


a. The Holy Roman Empire: 1555-1618, an uneasy peace had existed for 60 years.

b. Cause: The Peace of Augsburg

1.) Religious choice was limited to Lutheranism and Catholicism; Calvinism was not recognized.

2.) 300 different German states: rivalry between German Princes.

* Rulers wanted independence from the Hapsburgs.

* France, Denmark, and Sweden wanted Hapsburg power in the Holy Roman Empire reduced.

c. Actually a series of wars:

1.) It started as a revolt in Bohemia (after the emperor tried to impose the Catholic Church on Protestant Nobles) which the emperor put down.

2.) Denmark entered the war and was eventually forced to agree not to interfere in German affairs.

3.) Sweden then entered the war against the Hapsburgs. Richelieu gave French support and aid to Sweden, and kept France out of the war as long as possible.

4.) 1635: France finally declared war, Richelieu died a few years later in 1642.

Richelieu's successor, Cardinal Mazarin, continued the policies of Richelieu and saw the war to a successful conclusion.

* 1645: France and her allies were victorious.

d. The Treaty of Westphalia: 1648

1.) Political Results: France emerged as the leading power in Europe, decline of Hapsburg power in both Spain and Germany, independence of German princes was officially recognized.

2.) Economic Results: The war was fought almost all in Germany (physical destruction of the land; armies also lived off the land), loss of German life, disease and hunger that followed.


a. Hand picked successor who was trained by Richelieu.

* Richelieu had died in 1642.

* Louis XIII had died in 1643.

b. 1648: Mazarin promoted the interests of France in forming the Treaty of Westphalia.

c. Louis XIV: a boy king.

1.) Mazarin was chief minister until his death in 1661.

2.) Fought a war with Spain for 11 years - further gains for France.

d. Mazarin's Death: 1661

1.) France was the strongest nation in Europe.

2.) The French Monarch was the most absolute monarchy in Europe.

3.) Louis XIV took over the government. He believed in the Divine Right of Kings: saying "I am the state."


a. Colbert was appointed finance minister following many of the same policies of the Duke of Sully.

b. He encouraged the development of industry in France and promoted trade abroad.

1.) Granting subsidies to private companies.

2.) Imposing high tariffs on foreign imports.

3.) Transportation was improved and forests were replanted.

4.) Encouraged companies to establish colonies. ie. in Canada, the West Indies, and the Far East.


a. Appointed Minister of War by Louis XIV.

b. Reorganized the Army: promotion based on merit and not on wealth or social position.

c. Developed a quartermaster's office to furnish supplies for the army.


a. During the first half of Louis XIV's reign, Colbert had more influence.

* France became a prosperous and economically strong nation.

b. Under Louvois' influence, Louis became more interested in territorial expansion.


a. Louis XIV fought four major wars between 1667 and 1713.

b. Other European nations desired to maintain a Balance of Power in Europe.

BALANCE OF POWER: a condition in international affairs in which competing countries have equal or nearly equal strength.

c. To maintain the balance of power in Europe, various European nations formed alliances at different times to combat the threat of France.

ie. Dutch Netherlands, England, Sweden, Spain, Denmark, Austria, and some German states.

d. After the first two wars (France having suffered military defeat), Louis XIV revoked the Edict of Nantes suspecting the Huguenots of being disloyal.

1.) Over 100,000 French Protestants left France.

2.) Leaders of industry, tradesmen, and craftsmen.

* loss of such skilled workers seriously injured France's economy

e. End of the Third War: 1697.

* Louvois and other important French leaders were dead. Colbert was also dead and the French treasury was emptied.


1.) 1700: The last Spanish Hapsburg king died.

2.) The throne of Spain had been willed to a grandson of Louis XIV.

3.) Europeans feared that the thrones of Spain and France might some day be united under one monarch.

4.) Louis refused to agree that such a union would never happen.

5.) As a Result: /England, the Dutch Netherlands, and the Austrian Hapsburgs allied against France and Spain.

6.) The war began in 1701 and lasted until 1713 when France was forced to agree to peace.

* It was fought in Europe, on the high seas, and in North America.

In North America, it was known as QUEEN ANNE'S WAR.


1.) Philip V, Louis' grandson, became the King of Spain; but the two thrones could never be united.

2.) England: received from France in the New World - Hudson Bay, Newfoundland, and Nova Scotia.

From Spain - Gilbraltar, the island Minorca, a monopoly on the slave trade to America, and the right to send a ship load of goods to Spanish colonies each year.

3.) Austria: Received the Spanish Netherlands, Sardinia, the Kingdom of Naples and the Duchy of Milan.

4.) Minor Provisions: the ruler of Brandenburg, a member of the Hohenzollern family, became the King of Prussia.

* Sicily was given to the Italian Duchy of Savoy.


1. 1480: Russia became independent of Mongol rule (for more than two centuries the Mongols had controlled Russia).

2. Russia had been characterized by separation and isolation from Western Europe.

a. Asian influence under Mongol domination.

b. Religion: The Eastern Orthodox Church, the Russians had been converted to Christianity by the Byzantines.

c. Byzantine Missionary was Saint Cyril. The Russians had no written alphabet, so Cyril devised an alphabet so the Bible could be put in written form for them.

The Cyrillic Alphabet: the Roman alphabet was used in the rest of Europe.

d. Geography: Russia was a land locked nation.

3. 15th and 16th Centuries: Muscovite Rulers continued to expand their authority.

a. Ivan III: 1462-1505, expanded over most of N.W. Russia.

b. Ivan IV: 1533-1584, expanded to the south and the east. He was the first Russian ruler to be known as Czar.

4. 1613: Michael Romanov came to the throne of Russia, and his family ruled Russia until 1917.

PETER THE GREAT: 1682-1725

1. Russia's Future: need for contact with Western European Nations.

Acquisition of warm water seaports would be necessary to achieve such contact.

2. The Ottoman Empire

a. Controlled the Balkan and Crimea Peninsulas.

b. During Peter's reign, they invaded Hungary.

3. Southern Expansion to the Ottoman Empire:

a. Objective: control of the Sea of Azov and the city of Azov.

b. Two Wars: captured the city of Azov, but failed to gain control of the Sea of Azov.

4. How to ensure a Turkish Defeat:

a. Aid from European Nations appeared to be necessary.

b. They were stronger and more efficient than Russia.


1. 1697: Purpose was to negotiate an alliance against the Turks. In this aspect of the trip, it was a failure - no alliance was ever made.

2. Peter:

a. Went disguised as a private citizen to learn and become more aware of European life.

He visited England, the Dutch Netherlands, Prussia, and Austria.

b. He persuaded many scientists and artisans to return to Russia.

c. He reorganized his army and equipped it with the best European weapons.

3. Sweden: Warm Water Port on the Baltic Sea

a. Sweden included Finland, territory on the Baltic and in Northern Germany.

b. War: 1700-1721-------- the Russians eventually were victorious.

c. Russia gained territory on the Northeastern Baltic Sea.

4. Built the city of Saint Petersburg.

a. Made the new city his capitol, so it would be closer to Europe.

b. Established a ship building industry and navy.


1. To westernize Russian Society.

2. Minor Reforms:

a. Woman would take part in the life of the community.

b. He introduced dancing, tobacco smoking, and European style clothing.

c. Men were forced to cut off their long beards.

3. Reforms in trade, finances, industry, and government.

a. Mercantilist: trade with the west and the Orient promoting industry.

b. The Russian Government was an Absolute Monarchy - the Church was used as a branch of the government to ensure the loyalty of the people.

1.) The hereditary nobility resisted reform.

2.) Young nobles were sent to study in Europe.

3.) Peter created a new nobility based on service to the state granting large estates worked by peasant serfs.


1. Peter died in 1725 ---- he was followed by a series of weak rulers.

2. Princess from a small German state: married to the heir to the Russian throne.

a. Her husband ruled only six months.

b. 1762: Catherine became the Czarina and ruled until 1796.

3. Domestic Policy: extension of serfdom to control the population.

4. Foreign Policy Goals:

a. Control of the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea.

b. Expand westward across Poland.

5. South: against the Turks.

a. Gained control of the Sea of Azov and most of the northern shore of the Black Sea.

b. Catherine also became the protector of Eastern Orthodox Christians within the Ottoman Empire.

c. Gained the right to send ships from the Black Sea into the Mediterranean Sea.

6. West: against Poland.

a. Poland had been declining in strength.

b. The Polish King

1.) Elected by the Polish nobility.

2.) Until the 16th Century, he was usually the heir to the throne.

3.) After the 16th Century, anyone who the nobility could control.

4.) Prussia, Austria, France, and Russia attempted to put their choice on the Polish throne.

c. The Diet: a legislature of nobles.

1.) liberum veto: right of any member to veto actions of the Diet.

2.) Each member could also dissolve the Diet.

d. Large Minorities:

1.) West: German Lutherans.

2.) East: Ukranians, Eastern Orthodox.

3.) Most Poles were Roman Catholics.

ie. appeals made to Prussia, Austria, and Russia.


1.) Russia, Prussia, and Austria each seized a part of Poland.

2.) 1/4 of the territory and 1/3 of the population.

f. Poland realized there was a need for reform.

1.) 1791: adopted a new constitution and abolished the practice of liberum veto.

2.) 1793: Second Partition by Russia and Prussia.

* This action had led to a Polish Rebellion.

3.) 1795: Third Partition by Russia, Prussia, and Austria.

* Fear that the revolt would spread.

4.) Poland disappeared from the political map of Europe until 1918 (after World War I).


1. Thirty Years' War had left it in a weakened condition.

a. Loss of territory.

b. Increased independence granted to other German states.

2. Territorial Gains: 18th Century

a. Turks were driven out of Hungary, and the Hapsburg emperor was recognized as the King of Hungary.

b. Treaty of Utrecht: Sardinia, Sicily, the Kingdom of Naples, the Duchy of Milan, and the Spanish (Austrian) Netherlands.


1. 1740: She became the ruler of Austria and all Hapsburg lands.

2. Pragmatic Sanction

a. Law prevented her from being the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.

b. 1745: her husband was elected the emperor.

3. Austrian Territory:

a. Many different Nationalities.

b. Germans, Hungarians, Italians, Belgians, Rumanians, Poles - and various slavic peoples.

4. Also, surrounded by rival German states.


1. The Treaty of Utrecht in 1713 had recognized the Elector of Brandenburg as the King of Prussia.

2. At the end of the Middle Ages, a Hohenzollern became the Elector of Brandenburg.

3. During the Reformation, the Hohenzollerns became Lutheran and seized Church Land.

4. The Thirty Years' war: they were able to gain control of Prussia.

5. Mid Seventeenth Century:

a. Ruled by Frederick William (Wilhelm) - "The Great Elector".

b. He led Brandenburg through the Thirty Years' War.

c. Reorganized the army from all his lands into one single army.

d. Improved tax collection, promoted agriculture, industry and improved transportation.

6. Successor was Frederick:

a. Supported the Hapsburgs in the War of Spanish Succession.

b. As a result of the Treaty of Utrecht, he became Frederick I, King of Prussia.

7. Frederick William (Wilhelm) I

a. Succeeded Frederick I in 1713; very conservative in money matters.

b. Used Prussia's resources to improve its strength.

c. Doubled the size of the Prussian Army.

1.) Developed into the most efficient fighting force in Europe.

2.) Impose a very harsh discipline on the Army. He became known as the "Sergeant King".

d. Mercantilist: promoting trade and industry.

e. Reorganized Prussia's Civil Service, promoted education, supervised tax collection, and spending to insure a surplus when needed.

8. Frederick the Great (II)

a. Frederick Wilhelm was concerned about his son (because of his son's interest in poetry, philosophy, and music).

b. Frederick II came to the Prussian throne in 1740.

* He proved to be good administrator, instituted social reform, and began work on a Prussian Law Code.

c. Prussia and Austria

1.) Prussia was challenging Austria's position of dominance in the Holy Roman Empire.

2.) Austrian Strength: vast Hapsburg territories and the Pragmatic Sanction.

3.) Austrian Weakness: number of different nationalities within her empire, poor administration, nearly bankrupt, because of the Pragmatic Sanction could not rely on aid from any other nation.

4.) Prussia: population and land smaller, land scattered (harder to defend). Population was all German (greater nationalism and unity), stable economy well administered government, strength in its army, allies: Bavaria, Saxony, and Sardinia.

d. 1740: Frederick seized the Province of Silesia from Austria.

1.) Violation of the Pragmatic Sanction - The War of Austrian Succession, it lasted until 1748.

2.) Prussia: supported by France, Bavaria, and Saxony.

3.) Austria: supported by Great Britain, Russia, Dutch Netherlands.

* Inconclusive results, compromise: the province was divided.

e. Diplomatic Shift: Britain and France

f. 1756: The Seven Years' War

1.) Britain and France over colonial empires in India and North America.

2.) Prussia was successful with Russian help and financial aid from Great Britain.

3.) 1763: Treaty of Hubertusburg brought an end to the war - Prussia kept all of Silesia.

* In North America, this war was known as the French and Indian War.