The Gunpowder Revolution 14th & 15th Century Warfare and the Emergence of the Modern “Gunpowder State” Medieval Warfare

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The Gunpowder Revolution

  • 14th & 15th Century Warfare and the Emergence of the Modern “Gunpowder State”

Medieval Warfare

  • The Mounted Knight was the supreme offensive weapon
  • Military was distinctly feudal (stop me here and define feudal with a few attributes)
  • Castles lent defensive warfare overwhelming advantage
    • Siege Warfare
    • Political realities

Gunpowder Revolution

  • Introduction of Gunpowder cannon neatly reverses the previous equation
    • Offense now has advantage
    • Kings “decastle” their kingdoms in the 50 years it takes architecture to adopt
      • Reality reflected in the changed political landscape
      • Cannon immensely expensive and require considerable industrial plant
      • Musket Armies are the first and most important modern state institutions
        • Taxation
        • Burocracy/rational origination of governance grow from the appetite of gunpowder armies for money, men and expertise

Floating Castles – Trade Empires & Conquest

  • Floating sovereignty – cannon and 200 ton ships immensely expensive yet could project power around the world
  • Mediterranean Empires – shift West, Genoa Venice to Catalonia. State trade to conquest, gold, and slavery
  • Portuguese caravels w. lateen sails
  • Portugal Azores by 1430, Cape Good Hope 1488, DaGama in India 1498, 1511 in Malacca with a string of forts to make real their domination of the spice trade.
  • Cape Verde Ils. & Slavery

Treaty of Tordesillas

16th Century “Castles”?

Decline of Aristocracy, Rise of Monarchy

  • As previously mentioned “Burghers, town residents whose entrepreneurial activity made possible the economic dynamism of medieval Europe, despite their increasing importance,” were no respecters of the Great Chain & its three orders in society. Monarchs encouraged, taxed, and chartered their mini-constitutions.
  • Increasing value of peasant labor lead to an end to serfdom. A liberation movement which monarchs strongly supported (why? Merriman p.13)
  • Aristocrats increasingly engaged in commercial agriculture collecting rent and even beginning the process of enclosure– how does this shift shift political power to the monarch?
  • Gunpowder de-castles and changes the scale of military operations before the aristocracy has an opportunity adopt. By the time they do the fortification technology has been moved to what are essentially the national boundries of European states to this day.

Continuity & Change ca. 1450

  • Discuss (consider various points of view; write about; examine)
  • Discuss social, political, and economic themes of continuity and change in late Medieval Europe ca. 1450.
  • Take your term cards and divide them into two stacks: forces of continuity and change
  • Further divide cards into piles for social, political, or economic content
  • Write a few sentences that describe Europe in 1450 in the broadest terms without using the words “continuity, change, social, political, or economic”
  • Write a thesis statement that
    • Answers all parts of the question
    • Takes a stand
    • Provides categories of analysis that give essay a clear structure!

Continuity & Change Essay

  • Finish writing your essay.
  • Make sure you have a topic sentence that directly relates to the categories of analysis you introduced in your thesis
  • Use adequate, specific, factual information to support your thesis.

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