Lorenzo de’ Medici (1449–92) and his followers outside the gates of Florence. He was the ruler of the Republic of Florence at the...Read More >>Lorenzo de’ Medici (1449–92) and his followers outside the gates of Florence. He was the ruler of the Republic of Florence at the height of the Italian Renaissance. The history of Europe between 1400 and 1800 is one of religious conflict and almost continual warfare. The Renaissance, a time when the arts and learning of ancient Greece and Rome were being rediscovered, had started in the 14th century in Italy, and began to spread across the rest of Western Europe during the 15th century. During this time, the leading nations began to unite behind powerful monarchies. France, Spain, Austria and England (later Britain) gradually built up substantial kingdoms, although Italy and Germany continued to remain divided into numerous independent states.
England and France
In France, the French eventually emerged victorious from the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453) with England. The English kept only the port of Calais and gave up the rest of their French possessions to France. England descended into a civil war between two rival royal houses known as the Wars of the Roses. The conflict came to an end when Henry Tudor seized the throne in 1485 and, as King Henry VII, established a strong government.
The Holy Roman Empire was never a single country ruled by a powerful individual, but a collection of states. The emperor was elected by German princes, and given the title "King of the Romans"—but he held only limited powers.
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