Early modern Europe - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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Early modern era & beginning of the modern era. Exploration, enlightenment, industrialisation, colonisation & empire (1492 - 1914 CE).
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By Lexington
#14632056
One of the things I don't like about how history was taught to me as a kid was how early modern Europe is overlooked.

It's a fucking epic.

Spain is united under Ferdinand and Isabella - and of course everyone knows about Columbus. Charles V, Holy Fucking Roman Emperor, takes over half a continent in the New World in his life as master of Spain, Austria, and the Netherlands; after the Reformation breaks out in Germany he leads wars to pacify the country and leads to "cuius religio, eius religio", allowing the Protestant states to remain as long as the country is peaceful. He personally leads his army to one of the most historic victories in the German religious wars, painted by Titian. His armies sack Rome itself. He abdicates all of it and goes to a monastery where he dies.

Francis I of France engages in a massive struggle against Spain and France as a personal vendetta with Henry VIII until they join forces on the Field of the Cloth of Gold. This fails and he joins in an alliance with Suleiman the Magnificent of the Ottoman Empire to war on his enemies.

The war between Spain and France ends in the Peace of Cateau-Cambrésis where Francis's son Henry II is killed by a splinter from a lance during the celebrations of the peace.

The last Valois king of France, Henry III, (who was bisexual) dies, assassinated while besieging the walls of Paris. A Protestant prince of Navarre converts to Catholicism - "Paris is worth a mass," he quipped - to become the first Bourbon king of France.

A united fleet of European forces annihilates a Turkish fleet at Lepanto in the largest naval battle in 15 centuries.

Spain is locked in a struggle with the Netherlands called the Eighty Years War. William the Silent, just look at this guy, I'm not saying anything more about him because nothing needs to be said:

Image

Oh, but he did get killed by an assassin. Still, don't fuck with anyone named William the Silent unless you're going to sneak up and shoot him point blank.

War breaks out in Germany again after some Austrians get thrown out of a window (Defenestration of Prague). The Thirty Years' War begins. The Catholics fight back until the sole city holding out against the Holy Fucking Roman Emperor is a city called Stralsund; Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden comes down, saves it, wrecks Imperial armies left and right and fights his way all the way down to central Germany where he dies in a victorious battle at Lutzen.

The exhausted German states sign a peace with the Holy Fucking Roman Emperor, which pisses off Cardinal Richelieu (you know him from The Three Musketeers) who promptly invades Spain. Meanwhile, Spain is being run by a guy named Olivares, who's so awesome they resurrected a title from ages ago called Count-Duke just for him. "God is Spanish and fights for our nation these days." he wrote.

Twenty years later Spain is still fighting with France. The Army of Flanders, holding the best soldiers in Europe, the symbol of Spain's invincibility, is destroyed by the Duc D'Enghien at the Battle of Rocroi. The German and Walloon tercios are broken, but Enghien, having surrounded the Spaniards after attacking them four times with cavalry offers them surrender terms where they leave with their weapons and flags held high. But after that battle the empire that Holy Fucking Roman Emperor Charles V built is breaking at the seams.

Rocroi:

[youtube]CTYuYxmICGo[/youtube]

I don't really have a point to this - it makes Game of Thrones look peaceful. And I was annoyed after studying history the fact that all of this epic shit was a sideshow during history classes when I was a kid.
By layman
#14632060
Since SO isnt here I will have to be the one to point out AMERICA didnt exist during these times.

Therefore, irrelevant.

Seriously though, we barely hear about these conflicts in the UK. Of course they mention the tudors but then little about foreign affairs. Of course England was pretty irrelevant in continental affairs during this time. We only started to play a major role after the glorious revolution and so that angle is of less interest.
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By Potemkin
#14632066
Of course England was pretty irrelevant in continental affairs during this time. We only started to play a major role after the glorious revolution and so that angle is of less interest.

The English actually played it smart during this period of history - we held aloof from the internicine conflicts on continental Europe, allowing our frenemies on the continent to exhaust themselves struggling for hegemony while we bided our time, husbanding our strength and resources while unifying the British Isles under a single polity, until the time came to unleash ourselves upon an unsuspecting world.... Mwuhahahahahaha!!
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By fuser
#14632079
^ Devious bastards.

To be fair everyone mostly learns history of their own shitty country in school but if one pursues history as their major or are interested in it generally do know about this period and region. The other thing is that we do actually have authentic good and large number of sources for this period.

Anyway in sheer scale of awesomeness, Diadochi wars > Everything else including your puny little early modern Europe. As I have said previously Diadochi wars make Game of Thrones (as you mentioned it) look like a bunch of Buddhist monks having a nice little peaceful discussion over a pure vegetarian dinner. Antigonus the One-eyed will eat all these effeminate Kings for breakfast.

And forget being sideshow, this awesomest epicness isn't even mentioned in history classes.
By Rich
#14632081
Potemkin wrote:The English actually played it smart during this period of history
I'm not sure that's how I'd describe it. England was in the process of a tumultuous rebirth. It is a miracle that it wasn't still born. For anyone who wants to know what pure evil sounds like, I recommend the most powerful sexposition that I've come across. The Tudors series 3 Episode 5 starting at 45:00. The hot sex contrasting with the chilling words, words like the dagger in the heart of any true English man.

If president Assad was reading this I would encourage him to take particular note of the 5th article, an effective amnesty on Papism. No private Sunni prayer should be allowed in free Syria.
#14632090
England also likes to write itself out of the history as it underlines a kind of British exceptionalism. They don't really like to think of themselves as part of Philip II's empire, but until his Queen Mary in Britain died without a child it was his.

It's somewhat easy to mock Phillip for fighting in France instead of fucking his queen and holding onto Britain forever.

However, France, Catholic France, was the holdout. Had it fell to Phillip, Europe, for the first time since Rome, would have been united. Not only that, but the Americas would have been under the same single crown.

But France resisted. And when Mary died with no heir, Britain exited. Phillip tried to marry Elizabeth to reestablish his rule there, when she declined, he tried to take what he thought his with the Spanish Armada. And the Hapsburgs in the East gracefully asserted their rightful authority as Phillip lost further influence after his loss.

Britain likes to think they stayed out of the whole thing, but they were onboard as France stood alone. Of course, no European power is going to credit another for its independence. No Englishman would credit France for its exceptionalism any more than the Irish would credit Britain for their infrastructure.
By Rich
#14632201
The Immortal Goon wrote:And when Mary died with no heir, Britain exited. Phillip tried to marry Elizabeth to reestablish his rule there, when she declined, he tried to take what he thought his with the Spanish Armada.
Mary died in 1558, he didn't send the first Armada till 1588. Elizabeth was 55 years old by the time of Armada.
By layman
#14632249
It's somewhat easy to mock Phillip for fighting in France instead of fucking his queen and holding onto Britain forever.


Spain could not have held on to Britain by force any more than William of orange could have. Same with the alleged potential English hold of france under henry 5th.

The nations already had too strong a character by that point and were too large to be vassals.
#14632520
Rich wrote:Mary died in 1558, he didn't send the first Armada till 1588. Elizabeth was 55 years old by the time of Armada.


Yes, this was a post to make a general point about Britain's connection to the continent and not a historical chronology. How clever of you to pick up on that.

Layman wrote:Spain could not have held on to Britain by force any more than William of orange could have. Same with the alleged potential English hold of france under henry 5th.

The nations already had too strong a character by that point and were too large to be vassals.


Oh, I agree. And I think that's why history worked out in that manner. You see this all over the place, though in my field, it's evident in Ireland after the Flight of the Earls. Theoretically, with the native aristocracy gone, by all reasonable expectations, a tiny country like Ireland should have just accepted the new British lords. But they didn't because, as you said, there was too strong a character to just expect that to happen any more. Same with above, quite right.
By layman
#14632615
a tiny country like Ireland should have just accepted the new British lords. But they didn't because, as you said, there was too strong a character to just expect that to happen any more. Same with above, quite right.


Ireland seemed ok with english lords during the middle ages. After all it was then about dynasties rather than identity and they became anglo-irish quite easily.

As you say, european political unions just dont seem to last beyond the middle ages. Cases in point being aragon/castile vs Spain/portugal, austria/hungary etc.

Scotland is an interesting case as it started off hating the union up until the great era of nationalism (19th century) when we started to love it. Only how during a decline in nationalism does a split seem more likely. Go figure ....
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By Lexington
#14632870
layman wrote:Spain could not have held on to Britain by force any more than William of orange could have. Same with the alleged potential English hold of france under henry 5th.

The nations already had too strong a character by that point and were too large to be vassals.


I'm not so sure. Spain seized Portugal in this period; England seized Ireland; France and Spain had something like half of Italy between them.

England and France were both fractious and in repeated civil wars of various kinds. Between these kinds of wars, England was conquered by Normans in 1066; a French king, Louis VIII, came close to conquering england in the 1200s, France was conquered by a prince of Navarre in 16th century.

I'm not sure why William of Orange's conquest doesn't count. History might have remembered the return of the Catholic monarchs the same as the return of the Protestant dynasty of Orange.
By layman
#14632914
I'm not so sure. Spain seized Portugal in this period; England seized Ireland; France and Spain had something like half of Italy between them.


I am not sure there are the best examples. Both portugal and ireland were some what dwarfed by their neighbours. Also, portugal thing didnt last long and the Normans conquered all the britons in the dark ages.

If you look at the maps there is a remarkable lack of full on conquests from the early modern period onwards. Yes, maps change, and by quite a lot, but few nations get totally wiped out overnight. Certainly not "major ones".

England and France were both fractious and in repeated civil wars of various kinds. Between these kinds of wars, England was conquered by Normans in 1066; a French king, Louis VIII, came close to conquering england in the 1200s, France was conquered by a prince of Navarre in 16th century.


Hmm well my point was really regaridng the change in identity that Europeans experienced between the middle ages and the early modern period. Conquests from the normans and Louis VIII is during the earlier stage of that.

Also, the civil wars dont always make a country more open to take over. It can actually make it more resistant by militarizing the nation. England during the civil wars had probably its strongest land army (compared to the continent) than at any point in history.

I'm not sure why William of Orange's conquest doesn't count. History might have remembered the return of the Catholic monarchs the same as the return of the Protestant dynasty of Orange.


Because it wasnt really a conquest. Holland did not rule england after this happened. In fact england ended up benefiting by basically stealing all of hollands trade. By what definition was it a conquest? I am not sure what you would call it but a coup seems most appropriate.

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