Jacob Fugger: A trader who amassed a huge fortune using double-entry bookkeeping and began to loan money to rulers, funding dynastic wars between states. FuggerÕs economic prosperity shows the larger growth of the economy and use of bills of exchange in Europe.
Roman Catholic Church: The Roman Catholic Church was the dominant force in European life, holding vast influence in politics and society. The popeÕs word largely dictated the course of Europe. However, the beginnings of modern states and economies reduced the Catholic ChurchÕs power.
Ottoman Empire: The Turkish Ottoman Empire, an Islamic state, held territory in Southeast Europe, and their influence was feared by Christian Europe. Their economic expansion also fueled trade in new European states.
Civil, Canon, and Customary Law: Civil law is descendant from Roman, codified law that had been passed down for centuries and was imposed by rulers. Canon law is the ChurchÕs law, established by the pope and gave the Bible authority. Customary law was the codification of customs that sprung up independently among regular people. Most places were governed by a combination of the three.
Peasants: The peasants were the majority of the populace. They were poor, dirty people, completely controlled by the nobles and dependent on the nobles for protection in exchange for labor and most of what they earned.
Feudalism: Feudalism, the medieval system in place at the courseÕs beginning, involved the nobles controlling the peasants and extracting services and goods from them. Stronger state structures (in other words, monarchies) eventually replaced feudalism.
Black Death: The bubonic plague, which swept through Europe in the mid-fourteenth century, decimated a huge percentage of the population and made the individual more valuable, as there were less people to do the work. It also brought about a cultural shift, as people became disillusioned with the Church.
Subsistence Economy: The subsistence economy, in which individuals make just enough on the land to support themselves, was dominant in early modern Europe. It was eventually replaced by a monetary economy that involved trade.
Carnival: The Church celebration in which peasants were briefly released from their obligations, allowed to be merry and enjoy themselves.
Nuclear Family: A couple with children was the main family unit of early modern Europe.
Guilds: Guilds were associations of artisans and merchants who regulated production and distribution to protect their own economic interests and hold monopolies over their fields.
Cottage Industry: The system in which merchant-capitalists avoided guild monopolies by outsourcing work to peasants in the countryside, who would work cheaply. It was an important part of manufacturing for centuries.
City-State: City-states began to develop in about 1100, able to establish control over towns and villages. This came at the expense of traditional states like the Byzantine Empire and Holy Roman Empire.
Town air makes free air: In feudalism, towns were free zones, as nobles did not impose obligations within towns. Contastingly, those who lived in the countryside were crushed by nobility.
Parliament: A political representative body, originally only of nobles, that constrained royal authority by giving the people (however small a percentage) a voice and role in government. It began in England and began the English tradition of consulting the nobles in politics.
Holy Roman Empire: The Holy Roman Empire encompassed a great number of tiny states, over which the Emperor had very little control. The Emperor could not raise armies or impose authority outside of his own state, and over history became increasingly powerless.
The Habsburg dynasty, or the Holy Roman Empire, aggregated power in Central Europe through the late medieval period. By the time of Charles V, the Habsburgs (who controlled what is now Austria as well as many small German states) were a major European power. In 1521, the Habsburgs split into the Spanish and Austrian branches, and the Habsburg family generally sat on both thrones. For many years, they retained major power, but by the 1800s the Habsburgs had become powerless due to their lack of true authority. The Habsburgs are characterized by extreme Catholicism, desire to establish or hold strong divine-right monarchy, and long-standing animosity with the French emperors throughout European history. From the beginning of the course on, the Habsburgs become less and less powerful.
Gunpowder: Gunpowder fueled the rise of the musket in early modern Europe, allowing wars to be fought with guns for the first time. It made nobles less powerful, as nobles could be easily shot off their horses.
Mercenaries: Wars were usually fought between small nobles over territorial issues with mercenaries, or peasants being paid a small wage to fight for the noble they represented. Mercenaries lacked any loyalty towards the nobles they fought for, offering their services to the highest bidder.
Johann Gutenberg: Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press in the German town of Maintz, printed the first books (Bibles). The advent of the printing press fueled literacy and knowledge, as books could be widely reproduced and disseminated.
Columbus: Columbus, an Italian explorer, was paid by the Spanish in 1492 to explore the New World and eventually established the first Spanish bases in the Americas. His voyage signaled the beginnings of colonialism.
Montezuma: The Aztec emperor, Montezuma fought against the Spanish conquistadors (Cortez) and eventually saw the decline of the Aztec Empire through warfare and new European diseases.
Conquistadors: The conquistadors were largely Spanish and Portuguese explorers who conquered vast amounts of native territory in the Americas. Examples were Cortes and Pizarro.
New Monarchies: The new monarchies, principally Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, Francis I and the Valois of France, and Henry VII and the Tudors of England, consolidated power in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. They could impose taxes, raise armies, and control the nobles in their respective states.
Eastern Orthodox Church: The Eastern Orthodox Church, which split off from the Roman Catholics, was the dominant church in Russia and much of Eastern Europe. It was very similar to the Roman Catholic Church.
Bartolome de las Casas: de las Casa, a bishop, criticized European treatments of the Indians, as he believed the Indians lived moral lives and were being destroyed. However, de las Casa suggested using Africans instead, which later had disastrous consequences.
Syphilis: The Indians gave the invading Europeans syphilis, who diffused it from the New World back to Europe. It was one of many American things introduced to Europe through colonialism, along with new crops and spices.