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The Renaissance
Spirit of the Renaissance
• Began in the city-states of northern Italy.
• Spread to northern Europe and Spain.
• City-states had become wealthy because of
the Crusades.
• Created a powerful middle-class of bankers
and merchants.
• Had the time and money to seek education
and support the work of artists.
Interest in the Classics
• Learning of ancient Greece and Rome.
• Read ancient texts.
• Rediscovered knowledge that had been lost or
forgotten during the Middle Ages.
New views of the world
• Europeans changed the way they thought
about themselves.
• Had strong religious views.
• Read the works of early Christian writers.
• Interested in secular affairs.
• Focused on “how to behave”.
• Machiavelli – “The Prince” – handbook for
rulers – “safer to be feared than to be loved”
Achievements of the Renaissance
• Confidence in the ability of individuals to
shape their own lives.
• Stimulated a creative spirit that revolutionized
the arts and world of learning in Western
• Studied Greek statues and Roman buildings.
• Works reflected realism and grace.
• Experimented with new paints and paimting
• Developed “perspective” – a method of
painting that makes objects or scenes appear
• Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo
Madonna and Child - Giotto
Da Vinci – Benois Madonna
• Wrote on religious and secular subjects
• Petrarch – wrote sonnets (a 14 line poem)
most famous are love poems to “Laura”
• Cervantes – Spaniard – Don Quixote – novel
that mocks the ideals of medieval knights –
the musical Man of La Mancha is based on
this book.
• Shakespeare – Romeo and Juliet - Hamlet
The Printing Press
• Johann Gutenberg invented a press using
movable type.
• Used to produce the first Bible printed by
• Meant books could be mass produced.
• Spread new ideas more rapidly as more
people learned to read.
Age of Exploration
• Motives – desire to bypass trade routes
controlled by Muslims and Italian city-states.
• Desire for gold and silver led to conquering of
the Americas.
• Wanted to spread Christianity to other lands.
Impact of Technology
• Renaissance mapmakers produced more
accurate maps.
• Astrolabe – could be used at sea to calculate
latitude – didn’t have to hug the coastline.
• Improved the magnetic compass
• Adopted the lateen sail from the Arabs.
• Used new shipbuilding techniques to build
large, seaworthy ships.
• 1488 – Bartholomeu Dias rounded the Cape of
Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa.
• 1498 – Vasco da Gama sailed around Africa to
India. Led Portugal to build a rich trading
empire in Asia.
• 1492 – Christopher Columbus sailed to the
New World.
• Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigated the
Effects of Expansion
• Had worldwide impact
• Spread foods, animals, and ideas from one
continent to another.
• Known as the Columbian Exchange.
• Also introduced European disease to the New
World. Wiped large populations of native
• Established colonies in the Americas and
trading outposts in Asia.
• Spain and Portugal divided South America.
• Spain, France, the Netherlands, and England
set up colonies in North America.
• Supplied Europe with precious metals, foods,
timber, and furs.
• Led to increased warfare between nations
competing for land and power.
Economic Impact
Changed the economy of Europe.
Trade and commerce grew.
Harbor cities grew in importance.
Developed new ways of doing business – jointstock companies- raised capital for trade
• Set up banks and insurance companies.
• Helped European nations increase their
• Rulers adopted the economic philosophy of
• Colonies supplied the parent country with raw
materials – parent country expanded
industries to produce manufactured goods for
the colonies.