17th Century Transformations and Conflicts: Political, Economic, Social, and Cultural Changes

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The 17th century. Transformations and conflicts.

1.1.The transformations of the 17th century

  • Political transformations: Authoritarian monarchy was substituted by absolute monarchy and the first parliamentary systems emerged.
  • Economic transformations: The rise of commerce encouraged financial capitalism and the majority of states imposed mercantilism, a new economic doctrine based on the accumulation of wealth and precious metals.
  • Social transformations: The society of the three estates began to rupture due to the rise of the bourgeoisie, who became wealthier through colonial trade.
  • Cultural and artistic transformations: The 17th century witnessed the birth of modern science. In terms of art, the Baroque arose in Italy and spread to other European countries.

1.2.The European conflicts

  • The thirty years war (1618-1648): The conflict in Germany between the Catholic emperor and the Protestant German princes. The emperor received support from Spain, while the German princes were supported by France, Sweden, Denmark, the United Provinces, and England. The Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 required the emperor to accept religious tolerance and acknowledge the power of the German princes, while Spain had to accept the independence of the United Provinces.
  • The Franco Spanish War (1635-1659): France and Spain continued fighting until the final years of the following decade. Spain ceded the Catalan territories north of the Pyrenees to France in the Treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, leading to the decline of the Hispanic Monarchy and the hegemony of France in Europe.

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