The study of Astronomy was also made more precise. It was developed on the basis of the observation of natural phenomenon. It was Francis Bacon who held that slow and laborious observation was necessary before any general principles could be assumed. This was a result of the spirit fostered by the humanists.
vi. Changes in Political Areas
Slowly the feudalism of the middle ages began to give way to absolute monarchies in Europe. The invention of gunpowder deprived the nobles of their privileged position. Previously they were called upon to lend political or military support to the king in time of crises. With the modern discoveries and inventions in the area of sciences even the political stage underwent a remarkable change. Kings gradually began to absorb the political power so far exercised by the nobles. They could now establish a centralized government in most provinces to wield to authority.
The spirit of Nationalism also started to grow along with the
rise of monarchies. The ‘voice’ of the common man was now more clear
and effective. A sense of unity among people started to develop.
But the roots of class formation also took place; in which common
people began opposing class interests. Many small and big groups
and associations in Europe combined their interests with that of
the nations and their interests became national.
vii. Socio-Economic Changes
Trade and commerce revived and improved in an orderly political atmosphere. During the barbarian invasions in 15th century Europe, trade and commerce were badly ruined. It was only after the barbarian influx receded that Europe could flourish economically. As new trunk routes were made modern, cities were established with urban communities. Besides this, classes were formed in society, where the middle class was more prominent, comprising business class people.
With the projection of a class-based society, a new era in Europe began, which uprooted the land tenure system. The middle class (the bourgeoisie), the intelligent business class people became wealthy. They took the political (local) machinery into their hands and clashed with traditional feudal landlords.
viii. Geographical Discoveries
Politically Europe could see the dawn of the Modern Age due to the geographical discoveries that took place. Essential factors behind these geographical discoveries were:
(a) Spread of Religion.
(b) Economic and commercial reasons.
(c) Adventurous nature.
Some important navigators were Sebastian Cabot, Magellan, Vasco da Gama etc.
A painting of Vasco da Gama
Vasco da Gama, in 1498, reached Goa through his route to India. An Englishman, Sebastian Cabot landed in America. Magellan, a Portuguese in Spanish service was famous for his expedition around the world. Africa was discovered. Prince Henry of Portugal dedicated his life towards encouraging the exploration of his countrymen.