What happened in the 15th century characteristics and events

15TH century

Period that runs from January 1, 1401 to December 31, 1500 AD. C., according to the Gregorian calendar. What happened in the 15th century?

The 15th century is the period of history that extends from January 1, 1401 to December 31, 1500 AD. C. , according to the Gregorian calendar. This century marked the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Age , in accordance with the traditional periodization of history.

In Europe it was a stage characterized by the strengthening of royal power , the beginning of overseas expansion , the advance of the Ottoman Empire  on the Balkan Peninsula, the transition from economic feudalism to commercial capitalism and the development of Humanism and the Renaissance .

It was also a century marked by religious conflicts ( Western Schism , questions from Lollards and Hussites) that anticipated the Protestant Reformation and the division of Christendom , at the beginning of the 16th century .

In America, the Incas and Aztecs created powerful empires, very shortly before the arrival of the Europeans, from the arrival of the Spanish to the Antilles and the Portuguese to Brazil.

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In Asia, the 2 great centers of power were the Mongol Empire , which briefly revived under the leadership of Tamerlane, and Imperial China, which began its commercial expansion along the Indian coast, from the 7 expeditions of Admiral Zheng He. What happened in the 15th century?

In Africa, the Mali Empire declined before the expansion of the Songhai Empire, while the Islamization of the middle course of the Nile led to the destruction of the Christian kingdoms of Nubia.

Characteristics of the 15th century

The main characteristics of the 15th century in Europe were the following:

  • The strengthening of royal authority to the detriment of the power of the feudal lords. This process was made possible by the weakening of the rural nobility and the rise of bourgeois families that provided the financial support that the kings needed to recruit armies of mercenaries, with which to subdue the local powers.
  • The beginning of overseas expansion , made possible by advances in nautical and geographical knowledge and encouraged by the desire for wealth, the adventurous spirit and the continuity of the spirit of the Crusades . The Castilians seized the Canary Islands in 1403 and the Portuguese of Ceuta, in 1415. This process of expansion, beyond the known seas, reached its climax towards the end of the century, when Columbus reached the Antilles (1492); Vasco da Gama to India (1498) and Pedro Álvarez de Cabral to Brazil (1500).
  • The shift of the axis of European trade from the Mediterranean Sea to the Atlantic, as a consequence of overseas expansion, and the irruption of the Ottoman Turks in the Eastern Mediterranean. The assertion of the power of the Muslims in that region hampered the long-distance trade that until then had been monopolized by Venetians and Genoese.
  • The beginning of the transition from economic feudalism to commercial capitalism , as a product of the repopulation of the cities; the expansion of long-distance trade and the crisis of the fourteenth century , which left many feudal manors without peasant labor.
  • The questions to the Roman Catholic Church , which had to face the Western Schism and the demands of the Hussite and Lollards for reforms.
  • The development of the  Renaissance , an artistic and cultural movement that had its origin in the Italian city of Florence.
  • The spread of written culture to ever larger sectors of the population, thanks to the invention of the printing press , around 1440. What happened in the 15th century?

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Most important events of the 15th century

The main events that occurred during the 15th century were:

  • The realization of the Council of Constance (1414-1418), which sought to put an end to the Western Schism, begun in 1378, and analyze the reform of the Catholic Church. The election of Pope Martin V put an end to the dispute between Rome and Avignon, but the burning at the stake of the Czech reformists Jan Hus and Jerome of Prague unleashed 4 Hussite wars, which bloodied Bohemia until 1427.
  • The end of the 100 Years’ War , which faced the English and the French since 1337. The century began with the triumphs in France of the English King Henry V, but the subsequent victories of Joan of Arc changed the course of the war, which the French ended up winning after the victory obtained at the Battle of Castillon, in 1453.
  • The taking of Constantinople by the Ottoman armies in 1453, which ended the millennial existence of the Byzantine Empire  and left the control of the passage from the Mediterranean to the Black Sea to Muslim hands.
  • The War of the Two Roses (1455-85), a conflict that began in England as a result of defeat in the 100 Years’ War. This civil war ended with the death of King Richard III and the coming to power of the Tudor dynasty , represented by Henry VII.
  • The marriage, in 1469, between Isabel de Castilla and Fernando de Aragón (known as Catholic kings ), which began the process of Spanish unification , which concluded in 1512 with the conquest of the Basque kingdom of Navarra.
  • The end of the Spanish Reconquest , as a consequence of the taking of the Moorish city of Granada by the Catholic kings in 1492. In this way, more than 7 centuries of Muslim rule of the Iberian Peninsula came to an end. That same year, and in pursuit of religious unity, the Catholic kings expelled the Jews from their territories.
  • The signing of the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), which delimited the areas of expansion and influence of Spain and Portugal in the overseas world. What happened in the 15th century?

XV century in America

During the 15th century, America witnessed the founding of 2 powerful warrior empires: the Aztec and the Inca .

  • The Aztecs had been established in the Valley of Mexico since 1325 . At first they were vassals of the Tepanecs, but in 1427 they founded a confederation, in which their capital, Tenochtitlán , shared power with two other cities: Texcoco and Tlacopán. During the reign of Moctezuma I (1440-69), the Aztecs subdued their allies and became the dominant power in Mesoamerica. Towards the end of the century, the Aztec Empire comprised central and southern Mexico and part of Guatemala. What happened in the 15th century?
  • The Incas were installed in the Cuzco region , in the Andean zone of present-day Perusince the beginning of the 13th century . Little by little they were subjugating the neighboring peoples until, in the times of the ninth Inca, Pachacútec (1438-1471), they created an empire that encompassed a large part of present-day Peru. In the times of Huayna Cápac (1493-1525), the Inca Empire extended from the south of present-day Colombia, to the north of Argentina and Chile, with a total extension of more than 4,000 km².

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