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European economy during modern times

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  1. Introduction
  2. The beginning of Nationalists drift
    1. The progressive integration of Jews
    2. The legacy of traditional Judaism
    3. Persistent prejudices
  3. The rise of antisemitism in the 1880s
    1. The Jew, 'scapegoat of modernity '
    2. Strengthening the construction of identity in race
    3. Discomfort spread by the press and the literature
  4. The violent antisemitism led to a division of corporations
    1. Of termination to the exclusion
    2. The instrumentalization of anti-Semitism by political forces
    3. Zionism, a response to the barbaric antisemitism

The time frames of the modern period are not unanimously agreed upon among historians. However, most agree that they start around 1492, and for good reason. Europe knows that date for a number of breaks; firstly on January 2: the last episode of the Reconquista, when the Spanish captured Granada and put an end to the presence of Muslims in Spain; secondly on October 12 when Christopher Columbus arrived on the island of Guanahani in the Bahamas, bringing the New World out of the shadows to the eyes of Europe; and finally, on November 3, when Charles VIII and Henry VII of England signed the Peace of Etaples, ending the British presence on the land of Brittany. 1789 may be considered as the year that marks the end of the French Revolution, but again it is difficult to agree.

Thus we confine the modern period from the sixteenth to eighteenth century. During those three centuries, Europe, far from being unified, was divided into many rival states. Kingdoms and empires competed for territories, technical progress, issues of religion, wealth, and so on.

It was among the most powerful empires such as England, Spain, Portugal, France or the Holy Roman Empire. "Modern history is that of the emergence of Europe, and stands at the head of a world economy" (Braudel). It is indeed possible to speak of an economy of Old Regime and we will see that it has nothing stable throughout the three centuries of the period, the economy continues in a slow evolution sometimes bringing in to confrontation difficult conjunctures of one century to another. What are the foundations of the dynamism of the European economy through the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries?

After the great crises of the late Middle Ages, modern Europe underwent a period of demographic recovery. Back then, manual labor constituted the main productive force at a time when machines were still unknown. Sources to identify this phenomenon are plenty and vary between countries, however, from the sixteenth century onwards censuses (1530 in the kingdom of Castile), parish registers and the rise of the civil state states made it possible to draw the outlines of the European demographics in modern times. This growth is not uniform over the three centuries or geographically.

Indeed, Europe has experienced a long period of depression corresponding to an economic ebb in the second half of the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. France, in the late fifteenth century accounted for about 15 to 16 million people. However, in the late eighteenth century, France had between 28 and 29 million. Also according to the figures of Jerome Helie, most European populations were multiplied by two from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

Note the special case of the British Isles which have early sixteenth population figures of 3-5 million. At the end of the eighteenth century, it is 15 to 16 million. If today some historians speak of "Revenge of life over death" as Joel Cornette, this assertion remains to be qualified, as the major health scourges, such as plagues (1720-1722 in Marseille and Provence), measles or smallpox, famine and war, are far from having disappeared.

Tags: Reconquista, Middle Ages, European demographics

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