Renaissance and Reformation
In the 1400s Europeans started on a new path, initiating a series of six major changes that transformed the world.
- Renaissance artists became more interested in the world than in the afterlife. They created ways of representing life in art that focused on reality and the reality of the inner life.
- The printing press (1453) made it possible to spread ideas much faster, to more people, in more places, with less control. Literacy spread, as did new ideas.
- Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo, and many others took on the Church by proving that the earth is not the center of the universe. They discovered that the world follows physical laws that anyone can learn.
- Luther and Calvin broken the power of the Catholic Church and its officials, giving believers the power to follow their conscience. Protestants put faith at the center of religion and made God, not the Pope, the final arbiter of salvation.
- Kings increased their power by taking control of the religions of their people. England and France emerged as leading Protestant powers in Europe, while the Netherlands developed a powerful and Protestant empire.
- The Catholic Church fought back, with the Inquisition and the forceful new kingdoms of Spain and Portugal Spain and Portugal competed with England and France for control of the new world, vastly expanding their power and resources in the process.