The renaissance and the reformation are the beginning of the golden age of Europe. Many economic, religious, and cultural changes occurred during this time period. The economic and cultural rise of Italian city-states, the recentralization of government in northern Europe, and the separation of the Roman Catholic Church into different Catholic and Protestant groups were important achievements for Europe during this time. The renaissance and the reformation were not only the beginning of the modern western world, but also set the stage for the European rise in global colonization, which gave way to the birth of our glorious nation.
The renaissance, or rebirth, was a new beginning for Europe. After the ravages of the Bubonic plague on the continent, which wiped out over half of the European population, Europe entered an era of economic, cultural, and political success that brought new wealth and enlightenment to its devastated population. The renaissance was brought about by trade opportunities found in Asia during the Crusades. Ship builders and merchants in Italy profited from this trade, as Italy in the central trade route between the rest of Europe and the European Crusader states of The Principality of Antioch, The Kingdom of Jerusalem, and the County of Tripoli during the 12th and 13th centuries. Even after Saladin, an Islamic leader from Egypt, had defeated the crusaders, Italian merchant still held their trade connections in Asia Minor and Egypt. After the Bubonic Plague, trade became profitable once again.
By the late 14th century, the Italian city-states had amassed a large treasury from taxes and tariffs. People began to swarm to the cities to work as laborers and artisans, creating urban societies. The merchants of the city-states became patrons of the arts to show off their wealth. Soon, artists were creating masterpieces of their trade. Artist were not confined to religious subjects, but had the freedom to pursue more secular subjects, such as creating works of art like those of the ancient Romans and Greeks ( as did Architects and writers of the period.) Artist began to use geometry and mathematics in their paintings and drawings, and both artists and sculptors expressed the idealized form and realism in their works. Some of the famous artist of the day, such as Leonardo Di Vinci, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli, created works known throughout the world, such as Mona Lisa, The David, and The Price, respectively. The renaissance began to spread throughout the rest of Europe by war and trade. Philosophies began to develop, such as humanism, the belief in individual achievement and the study of the liberal arts. Some of the most famous Humanists were Petrarch, known to many as the father of Humanism, who wrote sonnets and epics based on ancient Greek and Roman styles. Erasmus was another, who founded the Philosophy of Christ, which believed in human’s abilities to improve themselves, and sought reform within the church.