Published on January 26, 2014
THE LATE MIDDLE AGES IN EUROPE AND THE IBERIAN PENINSULA: THE 15TH CENTURY María Jesús Campos learningfromhistory.wikispaces.com
The 15th century is considered to be a period of transition between the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age. The Early Modern Age was a period full of changes but most of these changes were seeded during the 15th century.
DEMOGRAPICH GROWTH IN EUROPE During the 14th century, Europe suffered a crisis as a result of poor harvests, wars and illness. The most terrible event was the Plague or Black Death. The Black Death wiped out a quarter of the population in Europe.
People thought that God was punishing them for their sins. Today we know that the Black Death was an illness caused by the fleas carried by the black rat. As cities were crowded and had no sewage, healthy conditions there were very poor so more people died in the cities than in the countryside.
During the 15th century, the situation improved. The population began to recover slowly. Mortality was still high but the end of the Black Death and the higher birth rate helped population growth.
ECONOMIC GROWTH IN EUROPE The population needed to be fed, so there was a greater demand for agricultural products. Agriculture improved as new lands were cultivated. The improvement in the quality and quantity of food decreased the number of epidemics, thus fostering demographic growth.
The growing population also demanded more goods so craftsmanship developed. The demand of the population needed to be satisfied so trade increased. This fostered the foundation of cities as they were the centres of commerce.
As the economy and trade expanded, the banking system improved thanks to the use of new payment and lending methods that made financial transactions easier.
Population grew: Greater demand of food and goods Economy expanded: the quantity and quality of food and goods increased Agriculture and craftmanship improved and developed Trade increased and new banking techniques were invented
SOCIAL CHANGES IN EUROPE Society was still divided into three estates: two privileged estates, the clergy and the nobles, and a non-privileged estate, the workers. But out of the commercial development that took place during the 15th century, a new group within the workers was going to appear, the bourgeoisie.
The bourgeoisie was made up of rich and powerful merchant and banking families. They belonged to the Third Estate so they didn’t have privileges although sometimes they were richer than the nobles.
They achieved political power in the cities and near the monarchs as they used to lend money and support the kings against the nobles to gain power over them. The peasants continued to live under harsh conditions and most of them were very poor. In Western Europe, peasants became free and were no longer serfs but in Eastern Europe servitude continued.
POLITICAL CHANGES: FROM FEUDAL TO AUTHORITARIAN MONARCHIES As a result of the wars and military conflicts that had taken place during the first part of the Middle Ages, the nobility had obtained great influence and power. One of the main objectives of the monarchs by the end of the Middle Ages was to get rid from the nobles influence and to strenghten their political power.
Means used to reduce the power of the nobility and the clergy Professional and centralized administration: a bureaucracy that depended directly on the monarchs formed by officials from the bourgeoisie and the lower nobility. Professional army: paid by the monarchs. Diplomatic system: to maintain relations with other countries, set up alliances, etc. Royal Treasury: to collect taxes and organize expenses. Reforms: new legal codes; religious reform, etc.
Professional and centrilized administration Professional army The path to Authoritarian Monarchies Royal Treaury Diplomatic system
By the end of the 15th century Europe was divided into different political states but the ones that were going to gain more power and influence during the following century would be: Spain: the Crown of Castille+the Crown of Aragon England France
THE IBERIAN PENINSULA DURING THE 15TH CENTURY
THE IBERIAN PENINSULA IN THE 15TH CENTURY In the first half of the 15th century, the Iberian Peninsula was divided into: The Crown of Castile The Crown of Aragon The Kingdom of Navarre The Kingdom of Portugal The Nasrid Kingdom of Granada
THE CROWN OF CASTILE Continuous revolts of the nobles: they had obtained great influence during the Reconquest and they did not want to lose it and submit to the monarch’s authority. Ruling dinasty: the Trastamaras
After King Henry IV’s death there was an internal struggle between the supporters of his daughter Juana, la Beltraneja, and the supporters of his sister, Isabel. After the civil war: Juana was helped by Portugal, and Isabel by Aragon; Isabel was proclaimed Queen of Castile
Political organization The monarch was the highest authority. The monarch’s power came from God’s desire. He/she had been chosen by God to govern and protect the kingdom’s subjects. Divine right of kings/queens. God Monarch Laws Government Subjects Justice
Monarch • Highest authority • Executive, legislative, judicial power + army + coinage • Assisted by the court, later the Royal Council
Royal Council • Previously known as the court • Formed by nobles, important clergy and some jurists • Advised the monarch but needed his/her approval to implement measures
Cortes • Assembly of representatives of the nobles, the clergy and the workers (mainly representatives from the cities) • The monarch called them and closed them • Did not have legislative power • Their function was to aprove or reject taxes and to promise loyalty to the heir of the throne
Municipalities • Territories under the King’s authority, “realengo”. • Ruled by the City Council. • Applied the monarch’s decissions and orders • Fueros granted by the monarchs
THE CROWN OF ARAGON The Crown of Aragon had been founded in 1137, when Petronila, the heiress of Aragón, married Ramón Berenguer IV, Count of Barcelona. Their son Alfonso II of Aragon inherited both territories in 1164, becoming its first king. In 1410, King Martin I died without descendants. By the Pact of Caspe, Ferdinand of Antequera, from the Castilian dynasty of Trastámara, received the Crown of Aragon as Ferdinand I.
New dynasty: Trastamara. After the Reconquest, the Crown of Aragon focused on its expansion through the Mediterranean Sea.
Political organization The monarch was the highest authority. The monarch’s power came from a pact with the subjects who gave them authority to govern and organize the territories but respecting their natural rights and customs. Pactist monarchy Monarch Laws Government Subjects Justice
In 1238, King Pedro III, the Great, needing money for the conquest of Sicily gave the General Privilege to the Aragonese and the Catalan Cortes. The king compromised himself and his succesors to ask for the Cortes approval in any important issue concerning the territory.
Thus, the Crown of Aragon established a pactist monarchy, a type of government in which the monarch had negotiate with the territories’ representatives and obtain their approval whenever a new law, tax or governmental mesure was going to be taken.
The Crown was organized as a confederacy of territories: Kingdom of Aragon Catalan Counties Kingdom of Valencia Kingdom of Mallorca Kingdom of Naples (Naples, Sicily, Sardinia) Dukedom of Athens
Monarch • Highest authority • Executive, legislative, judicial power + army + coinage • Needed the Cortes approval to impose new taxes or change laws
Viceroy • Represented the monarch’s authority on the different territories of the Crown • Chosen among the royal family members.
Cortes • Assembly of representatives of the nobles, the clergy and the workers (mainly representatives from the cities) • 3 Cortes, one for each territory: Aragon, Catalonia, Valencia • They approved or rejected new taxes and new laws proposed by the monarch
Diputaciones • Committees created by the Cortes to supervise their decissions in taxation, they also had some executive power over the territories. • 3 diputaciones: Diputación of Aragón, Diputación of Valencia, Generalitat of Catalonia Municipalities • Territories under the King’s authority, “realengo”. • Ruled by the City Council. • Applied the monarch’s decissions and orders • Fueros granted by the monarchs
Justicia of Aragon • Only for the Kingdom of Aragon • Official chosen from the nobility • His function was to defend Aragonese subjects rights and privileges from the monarch’s abuses.
THE KINGDOM OF NAVARRE In mid 11th century, Navarra had lost its frontier to the Muslims so the kingdom could not expand further. Sandwiched between the Crown of Castile and the Crown of Aragon, the Kingdom of Navarre established marriage alliances with France to obtain support and protection.
At the beginning of the 15th century, Queen Blanca I of Navarra married King Juan II of Aragon (son of Ferdinand I of Aragon). When Queen Blanca I died, she was succeded by their son Charles, Prince of Viana (1441) but his father Juan II was de facto ruler of Navarre.
In 1447, King Juan II of Aragon remarried with Juana Enriquez, a Castilian noblewoman, who bore him a son, the future Ferdinand II. Their attempt to assure the succession of Aragon to their son Ferdinand provoked a civil war which Charles of Viana won
But when Charles of Viana died in 1461, his sister Blanca, who succeeded him, was inmediately imprisoned by his father King Juan II and died 3 years later. Nevertheless, the Navarrese revolt against Juan II continued until 1472. After King Juan II’s death, there was a struggle among different pretenders to the throne from French,
THE KINGDOM OF PORTUGAL King John I of Portugal defeated the Castilian forces in the Battle of Aljubarrota (1385), beginning a proccess in which Portugal would become completely independent. After the Reconquest, Portugal continued its territorial expansion through Africa.
THE NASRID KINGDOM OF GRANADA Last Muslim kingdom in the Iberian Peninsula after the battle of Las Navas de Tolosa. Vassal of the Crown of Castile. It survived until 1492 when the Catholic Monarchs conquered it and annexed it to the Crown of Castile.
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