Which was the most influential economic group in early modern society and why?
The 16th century otherwise known as early modern Europe is a historical period of time defining the end of the dark ages and the beginning of the first industrial revolution. It was a time of great change, for Europe and its economy. Europe was recovering from the Black Death and the end of the 100 year war, which had seriously damaged its economy at the time, population growth had started to stabilise (the European population grew by nearly 20 per cent) and insecurities of the past were ushered away by the changes that were occurring. Numerous changes were being made in the religious circle with movements such as the protestant reformation, this was a religious movement that criticised the behaviour and the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, which at the time caused a rupture in the Catholic Church and created a new Protestant Church. New knowledge and inventions were being broadcast such as the invention of the printing press which meant that literature and news was available to a wider audience (although still very small due to illiteracy), it was mainly used to diffuse religious literature at the time. The invention of the compass lead to the discovery of new lands and colonisation, such as the Cape of Good Hope by Diaz, America by Columbus, Africa and the beginnings of India by various Portuguese and Spanish adventurers. All of these things created the beginnings of a new world and more importantly brought the stagnating economy back to life. Up till now war and lack of resources had lead Europe’s economy to stagnate, poverty was very wide spread due to lack of jobs and crippling taxes to pay for war craft. Most of the population in Europe up until this new era lived in the countryside and lived mainly off of the lands ( subsistence agriculture), but new changes brought a new prospective of life for the towns and cities. During the revolution of the economy few changes were...
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