- A revival of TRADE
- The growth of CITIES
- The growth of a new SOCIAL GROUP LIVING ON TRADE, BANKING AND CRAFTMANSHIP
- An increase in the POWER OF KINGS at the expense of the feudal nobility.
Prior to the 1500s, in Europe, the nation-state as we know it did not exist. Most people did not consider themselves part of a nation; the rulers of states had little control over their countries. Instead, local feudal lords had a great power, and kings often had to depend on the nobles to rule.
In the Early Modern Age, kings began to consolidate power by weakening the feudal nobles and allying with the commercial goups.
The consolidation of power took a long time. Kings and queens worked to bring all the people of their territories under unified government. Monarchs encouraged their subjects to feel loyalty toward the new nations.
The monarchs used these elements to consolidate their power:
- The key to the power and success of monarchs lay in how they solved their financial problems. The solution was the creation of new state administration that collected taxes.
- To defend the nation whithout depending on the nobility, kings created permanent armies.
- Diplomacy and ambassadors helped the monarchs to direct the international relations. Ambassadors represented the king´s interests in other countries.
- Monarchs centralized power by creating new institutions established in a permanent seat. These new institutions became powerful and limited the privileges of the feudal lords.
MAIN STATES AT THE BEGINNING OF THE EARLY MODERN AGE
- The Spanish Monarchy was a result of the marriage the Catholic Monarchs, Isabel and Fernando.
- The French Monarchy was reinforced after defeating the English at the Hundred Years War (1337-1453). The Valois Dynasty ruled the country and the most important king was Francis I who fought against Carlos V. After a period of religious wars, Henry IV established the Bourbon Dynasty.
- The English Monarchy was consolidated after the civil war, the War of the Two Roses when a new dynasty came to power. Henry VIII confronted with the Pope to get his marriage anulled and founded the Anglicanism. His daughter, Elizabeth I defeated the Spanish Armada.