All of these factors were to only catalyze the reactionary religious movement which would begin to sweep across Europe by the 1520's. The Protestant Reformation, as it would soon be called, set back years of national centralization by strengthening the aristocracy and dividing countries and regions religiously. Moreover, the strict religious and ethical guidelines of the new Protestant sects forever changed the culture of cities and town across Northern Europe; thereby bringing drastic social reform along with widespread religious fervor. In the first half of the sixteenth century, however, these Protestant movements were only beginning to form, yet their impact has had a lasting effect on the politics of Europe and the rest of the world well in the 20th century. The Reformation spurred a wave of political devolution throughout Europe in the early 1500s, the most obvious example being that of the Holy Roman Empire.
The English Reformation. Harlow: Longman Group UK Limited, 1989. Thomson, John A. F. The Early Tudor Church and Society, 1485-1529. London: Longman Group UK Limited, 1993.
Early modern Europe, specifically Spain and England, was going through major growing pains in the period before discovery and settlement of the New World. Recovery from the Black Plague, religious reformation, and newly formed nation-states were on the forefront of these changes. The political environment, economy, and religion were all intertwined during the upheaval of the Old World which proved to be a driving force in the search for and eventual settlement of new lands. The Reformation and the Counter-Reformation were major motivating factors in early modern Europe leading to exploration of new lands. This began with Martin Luther’s break from Catholic doctrine in 1519.
It can be said that the period of time between 1400 and 1600 was one of transformation. The Renaissance revolutionized art and reintroduced Greek and Roman works to Europe. Increased technologies and a hunger for products from the Indies led to Columbus’s discovery of the Americas in 1492 which revolutionized commerce and international trade. In 1517 a German monk named Martin Luther listed a series of complaints against the Roman church leading to a reformation that transformed the western church. At the same time a more obscure, though equally important revolution was taking place, one whose effects were no less significant.
Protestantism, a new religion separated from the Catholic Church, spread around Europe. Sovereign could increase power because of Protestants. Protestantism was helpful for the government to separate from the Catholic since Protestant leaders taught people to obey godly rulers while Catholic Church believed that the religion is more powerful than government. In Germany, Luther’s Bible words became the linguistic standard for all separated regions. In England, reformation fostered a sense of nationalism.
The Age of Reformation The Age of Reformation - religious revolution in Western Europe in the 16th cent. Beginning as a reform movement within the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformation ultimately led to freedom of dissent. The preparation for the movement was long and there had been earlier calls for reform, e.g., by John WYCLIF and John HUSS. Desire for change within the church was increased by the RENAISSANCE, with its study of ancient texts and emphasis on the individual. Other factors that aided the movement were the invention of printing, the rise of commerce and a middle class, and political conflicts between German princes and the Holy Roman emperor.
To move on to the next wars, one must discuss Cardinal Richelieu. Cardinal Richelieu was a driving power behind the thirty years war. He was frustrated with the amount of success and prosperity that the Hapsburg Empire was experiencing. Richelieu wanted to minimize the successes that the Hapsburgs were experiencing. To do this, he took advantage of the circumstances.
The Renaissance and Reformation were two very important periods of time in European history that included change in culture and religion. The Renaissance happened before the reformation. The Renaissance was the rebirth of art, literature, and architecture. The reformation focused mainly on reforming the Catholic Church from its evil ways. Out of the Catholic Church came the protestant church.