When was the modern period Characteristics events and definition

Modern Period/age

Modern Age is called the stage of European history that goes from the middle of the 15th century to the end of the 18th century . When was the modern period

The events that marked the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Modern Age vary according to different authors, but are generally considered the invention of the printing press in 1440; the taking of Constantinople by the Turks in 1453, or the arrival of the Europeans in America, in 1492.

On the other hand, there is a consensus to take the French Revolution of 1789 as the end date of this period and the beginning of the Contemporary Age .

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Characteristics of the Modern Period/age

Some of the most important characteristics of the Modern Age were the following:

  • An anthropocentric system of thought prevailed in Europe , a conception that relies on the power of human reason to access knowledge of the world, through intellectual activity and experience.
  • The European overseas exploration process was deepened . Especially Spain and Portugal began adventurous voyages across the Atlantic Ocean and then the Indian and Pacific Oceans in search of new trade routes. These explorations resulted in the Europeans discovering territories unknown to them until now. When was the modern period
  • They came into contact and began to interact with societies from different regions of the world that were unknown to each other.
  • From the discovery of new geographical regions and societies, Europeans began a process of conquest and colonization of large territories in America and Asia.
  • The African slave trade began , which were captured in Africa and transported to America to be sold there. This trade remained throughout the entire Modern Age.
  • The crisis of the Catholic Church that culminated in the Protestant Reformation caused the rupture of the religious unity of Europe. From the Modern Age, different Christian religions coexisted, many times with serious conflicts .
  • Different systems of thought and different philosophical lines developed and began to coexist , for example, rationalism and empiricism . Thanks to the invention and diffusion of the printing press, millions of books were published that contributed to the dissemination of new ideas .
  • The monarchy was strengthened as a political system. The kings developed strategies that allowed them to focus more and more power on their person.
  • In Europe, mainly from the seventeenth century , there was a demographic explosion that brought the population from 95 million to 130 million inhabitants. Although most of the population continued to be rural, the growth of the cities was important. When was the modern period
  • In America there was a reverse demographic process. As a consequence of the Spanish conquest , the indigenous population dropped from about 25 million in the middle of the 16th century to around 2 million in the middle of the 17th century. During the 18th century a slow recovery of the American population began.
  • There were numerous and long armed conflicts between the European states due to religious intolerance , the search for control of the territory and the succession crises of the monarchies .

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Main events of the Modern Period/age

The main and most relevant events that occurred during the Modern Age were the following:

Date Event
1453 The Ottoman Empire occupied the city of Constantinople culminating the conquest of the Byzantine Empire and began its expansion over Europe and North Africa.
1492 Christopher Columbus , a Genoese navigator in the service of the kings of Spain, started a maritime expedition that took him to America.
Century XVI Spain, and later other European powers, conquered and occupied the American continent.
1517 In Germany, Martin Luther started the Protestant Reformation .
1519 Hernán Cortés conquered the Aztec Empire .
1535 Francisco Pizarro conquered the Inca Empire . When was the modern period
1545 The Catholic Church began profound reforms in the institution, known as the Catholic Counter-Reformation .
1582 The Gregorian calendar in force today in most countries was established.
1642-1688 The English Revolution took place , a series of confrontations for political power between the absolute monarchy and the members of Parliament.
1688-1689 In England, the Glorious Revolution ended the absolutist monarchy and consecrated the parliamentary monarchy .
1700 A series of Bourbon reforms began to modernize the Spanish monarchy.
1760 The First Industrial Revolution began in England.
1776 The Declaration of Independence of the United States of America from the British Crown was signed .
1789 The French Revolution broke out , overthrowing the monarchy and changing the power structures in France.

Art and knowledge in the Modern Period/age When was the modern period

Regarding the art and knowledge acquired by society during the Modern Age, we can say that the most relevant events were:

  • The awareness of the power of human reason to access knowledge favored the so-called Scientific Revolution , a current of knowledge construction based on observation , experimentation and rational speculation, which laid the foundations of current science.
  • There were major technical advances in areas such as maritime navigation, medicine, optics, astronomy, biology and other areas of knowledge.
  • Enlightenment thought developed in the 18th century . This intellectual, philosophical and cultural movement, also known as “Enlightenment“, believed that reason could lead humanity out of ignorance to build a better world. It had great influence on the social and political processes of Europe and America until the beginning of the 19th century .
  • The artistic movements in force during the Modern Age were the Renaissance , Mannerism , Baroque and Rococo .

Economy and society 

European society continued to be predominantly agrarian, although there were important changes in trade and modes of production .

From the entry into Europe of American precious metals , mercantilism developed in the European states . This economic doctrine considered that the wealth of the States depended on the amount of precious metals that they could accumulate.

Capitalism was consolidated as an economic system and the bourgeoisie as a rising social group, with economic and political power. However, society continued to be class , that is, it was divided by law into the privileged (the king, the nobles and the clergy) and the non-privileged (the bourgeois, artisans and peasants).

Large trading companies developed , such as the English East India Company and the Dutch East India Company. From the seventeenth century, England and Holland established themselves as maritime trading powers. In this way, international trade intensified . When was the modern period


Politics during the Modern Age developed as follows:

  • The concept of the State, linked to the idea of ​​the nation as an institution, emerged and consolidated above another type of individual, family or social organization .
  • The absolute monarchy was the predominant form of government on the European continent. It was characterized by the concentration of all the powers of the State in the figure of a king who acceded to the throne through his family inheritance. This was philosophically justified by theories such as divine right , according to which the king’s authority came from God. The most representative dynasties of this form of government were the Bourbons in France (Enrique IV – Luis XIII – Luis XIV – Luis XV and Luis XVI) and the Habsburgs in Spain (Carlos I – Felipe II – Felipe III – Felipe IV and Carlos II ).
  • In England, absolutism failed to consolidate and from 1688 a parliamentary monarchy was established . When was the modern period

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