The West emerged as a dominant culture in the Middle Ages. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Christian nations began gaining power. By the year 1500, Westerners were exploring new worlds and expanding their power, paving the way for the Age of Discovery. This period saw the exploration of new lands and the discovery of a variety of new technologies. Here are some examples of the events that shaped Western history:
During the early modern era, European cities became large metropolises. France and other countries became the cultural centers of the West. The middle class grew in importance and wealth. During this time, great artists such as Rembrandt, El Greco, and Caravaggio were born. The Mongols were largely defeated by Orthodox ChristianRussians. Czar Peter the Great began westernizing the country under his leadership. In the late nineteenth century, the Russians began their own exploration of the world and became involved in European politics. They also landed on the Moon, separating it from other countries.
Following the Napoleonic Wars, several revolutions took place in Europe. Most were aimed at establishing democracy in a nation, and were successful for a time. However, some reverted and failed to take hold. For example, Russia and Austria resisted these developments. Meanwhile, the Greek and Serbian wars of independence freed their nations from Ottoman rule. The Netherlands gained control of modern Belgium, and the United States gained a significant role in global politics.
After the American Revolution, the United States pushed westward. In 1803, it purchased the Louisiana Territory from France. In 1814, Napoleon I regained it from Spain. This essentially doubled the size of the U.S. As a result of its expansion westward, whites soon became the dominant ethnic group in the American West. A century later, a new era began. And the West continued to grow and expand.
The Reformation – The Protestant Reformation marked a pivotal point in Western history. It shattered the religious unity of the Western world. It began with the publication of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses in 1517. Luther’s arguments criticized the wealth and power of the Catholic Church and many other Catholic beliefs. He also challenged the papacy and the belief that “good works” are necessary for salvation. While Luther was a controversial figure, he drew inspiration from earlier critics of the church.
In addition to the influences of the Christian religion, the Western civilization also includes the influence of various ethnic groups. While Christianity has been a major influence on Western civilization since the 4th century, Hellenistic philosophy and humanism played important roles in the development of Western civilization. Political thought and widespread application of rational argument in favor of free thought have also shaped Western culture. A western civilization has shaped the world. And the values that are incorporated in its culture reflect the values of the Western people.