During the last two centuries, Western history has shaped the modern world in many ways. It has influenced international politics and culture. Throughout this period, the West experienced the rise of Protestantism, the Reformation, the Renaissance, the Scientific Revolution, the Enlightenment, and the scientific revolution. The West also experienced the Industrial Revolution, which led to a rapid increase in industrial development and a rise in the middle class.
In the early modern period, cities in Europe began to expand into large metropolises. A powerful class of wealthy industrialists emerged. By the end of the century, most Western nations had joined the First and Second World Wars. They also began to expand overseas. The United States and Soviet Union emerged as rival global powers. A new ideology emerged in reaction to the perceived abuses of industrial society. This ideology, rooted in socialism, was developed by Karl Marx. In the 20th century, an absolute monarchy disappeared from Europe. During this period, European powers built massive overseas empires by force.
The West became a center of democracy and a crucible for the development of sports, sports like soccer, tennis, and basketball. The invention of the personal computer was one of the great advances of the West. It was also the first civilization to abolish slavery. Many Western writers have written a lot of great novels, such as Macbeth, Don Quixote, and Hamlet. These novels were all written in English.
The Renaissance, which began in Florence, Italy in the 14th century, included discoveries in science and art techniques. It also led to the invention of printing text. It also contributed to a flowering of art and culture throughout Europe. Some of the great artists of the Renaissance period were Michelangelo, El Greco, and Rembrandt. The Protestant Reformation, led by Martin Luther, converted northern Europe to Protestantism.
The rise of nationalism was one of the major developments of the 20th century. German and Italian nationalism emerged as a result of the Napoleonic Wars. These two nations became the center of a new world power for the next century. However, the Holy Roman Empire was toppled in the early part of the century. A new religious map of Europe was redrawn by 1650. The Church eventually regained its influence over Western Europe.
Western history also includes the evolution of the Catholic Church. This religion eventually became the dominant faith in Europe. Native populations adopted Western culture and language. They also converted to Catholicism. Many Iberian settlers intermarried with Amerindians. This resulted in a large segment of the Amerindian population being wiped out by Old World diseases. Eventually, the majority of Spanish American empires fell to the Mestizo population. By the early 18th century, the Thirteen Colonies of British North America were dominated by English descent.
In the 18th century, the Industrial Revolution first affected France and western Germany. The Industrial Revolution eventually spread to other parts of Europe. By the end of the century, many European cities were connected by railroads. This led to a great increase in the number of industrial workers.