Period: 400 to
From the Fall of the Roman Empire to the Age of Discovery
The Fall of the Roman Empire• The fall of the Roman Empire marks the beginning of the Middle Ages, known for poverty, war, disease, and religion.
• The Vikings were one of many tribes who invaded Rome during the time of its downfall from 376-476 AD.
• Underfloor heating, concrete, and the calendar are among the many things we owe to the Romans.
The Early Middle Ages/the Dark Ages (from 500-1000CE)• The Early Middle Ages signifies the beginning of the Middle Ages, a period of war and conflict, but also social and political changes that are still present.
• A new social, political, and economical system, feudalism, shaped Europe into small areas, fiefdoms. Those were ruled by kings who promised protection from invasions/wars.
• The Catholic Church had immense power over Medieval Europe. The pope, as head of the Church, had more power than the king.
Viking raids and settlement around Europe (793-1063CE)• This era is significant because the Vikings colonised lands such as Greenland and England. They were also the first Europeans to discover Greenland and the Americas. They were known mostly for their raids, but they were also active traders.
• Vikings were incredible at building ships, crafting, and navigating. Their longboats could travel to inland river towns such as Paris.
• The Vikings raided, explored, and colonised Europe for close to 300 years until the Normans invaded England.
The Late Middle Ages (1000-1500CE)• The Late Middle Ages are known for deadly epidemic diseases that took millions of lives, and contributed to drastic changes in European social and political order.
• The beginning of the feudal system is associated with the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. The Normans re-established stability to the government.
• A bubonic epidemic, known as ‘The Black Death’, occurred in this era, and is estimated to have killed 45 million people in Europe.
Dominance of Catholic Church in Europe (1000-1500CE)• This period marks the peak of the power of the Catholic Church in Europe. Social structure changed significantly as well.
• Priests were seen as the messengers carrying words from God to the people.
• The pope was more powerful than the king, and the Church held huge wealth and power.
Norman invasion of England and beginning of the feudal system• The Norman invasion of England is significant because it changed the political, social, and economical structure of Europe for centuries.
• William of Normandy, a Viking descendant, led the Norman army which invaded England in 1066.
• A new system called feudalism was established. At the top of the social pyramid was the pope, under whom were positioned the king, the nobles, barons and bishops, the knights, and finally the peasants, in that descending order.
Magna Carta issued to King John of England• This event is significant because the political power of the English King was constrained. The barons demanded equality before the law.
• John l was the King of England in 1199CE, and was one of the most hated kings, due to his random and harsh imprisonment of nobles.
• The barons protested and forced King John to sign a document called the Magna Carta on the island of Runnymede in 1215. Its clauses were meant to give the nobility more legal rights and equality.
Ottoman Empire at its peak (1299-1683CE)•The Ottoman Empire is significant because it dominated parts of Asia, Africa, and Europe for almost 400 years. It was a constant threat to Christianity until its decline in the 1600s. It was finally reduced to modern Turkey.
•The Ottomans conquered Constantinople in 1453 and cut off Europe’s access to Asian sea trade routes.
•Napoleon, the leader of France, won back lands that the Ottoman Empire had claimed and the Ottoman Empire lost its dominance.
The Black Death (1348-49CE)• The Black Death is significant because it is estimated to have killed 45 million people in Europe, or a third of the continent’s population.
• This disease is believed to have started in Central Asia, from where it spread by rats and through poor hygiene along the Silk Road to China, and eventually through ships all the way to Europe.
• At the time, people believed that an enraged God was causing the deadly disease.
Renaissance (1400-late 1700s CE)• This period marked another change in medieval society. Many new, creative ideas related to science, art, and religion emerged in this period.
• Europeans became interested and curious about past civilisations such as Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, the Crusaders, and took inspiration from these eras.
• The art of painting was influenced by new ideas, in which non-religious subjects became more interesting. Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were some of the greatest artists in this era.
Age of Discovery (1492-1778CE)• The Age of Exploration is significant because it re-established contact between Europeans and the people of other regions after the decline of the land-based Silk Road.
• Before the medieval times, people did not know much about other regions besides their own, until Silk Road trading started.
• Europeans were threatened by the spread of Islam in Asia, and decided to show off their superior religion, Christianity, when they travelled to new lands.