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Nations and Nationalities in Europe

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                During the years between 1100 and 1450 many changes were happening in Europe that would create changes in the government and the form that the monarchy would take. The centralized monarchy that is well-known today as having been part of the French and English history for so many centuries would develop because of the changes happening in Europe, especially in regards to religion and economics. As Europe progressed into the 16th century, the monarchies would acheive majestic heights due to their control over their kingdoms.

                Prior to this period, in the Middle Ages, European nations had many personal dynastic rulers that were feudal lords ruling over smaller areas. In England, for example, different parts of the country were under the rule of different rulers. The power rested with these feudal lords, not with any centralized figure. The key factors that contributed to this shift in power towards a central monarch were both religious and economic. In England, the shift from kings who allowed the feudal lords keep control over the military, laws, and taxes to centralized monarchies took place largely due to the Magna Carta, which established the king as supreme power in England, with Parliament developing for the feudal lords and the House of Commons developing for other wealthy landowners. The establishment of a written law (the Magna Carta) was the pivotal point in the change in England. In France, on the other hand, control was established slowly by kings taking control of specific regions through use of force, diplomacy, and marriage, until finally the feudal lords had lost their power to a centralized monarch. By the 1500’s the monarchies had established majestic heights of sovereignty because they had taken control from the feudal lords and had control over the country’s money, military, and religion.

                France and England are both examples of how the European nations began to change their political governments into a system that would transform into the modern Europe of today. The change to a monarchy was the first step towards creating a cohesive government, centralized, that would lead each country into the next century and beyond.

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