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Central Europe extends from the Elbe River
in Germany to the marshes of eastern
Poland. The northern plains and the southern
mountains lacked clear natural frontiers,
leaving the region open to warfare,
migration, and shifting boundaries.
Social Development: While in western Europe serfs won freedom and the
middle-class developed in the towns, in eastern Europe the landowning aristocracy
gained greater control over the serfs.
There were few middle-class merchants or free artisans
Rulers: Central Europe was controlled by the Holy Roman Emperor, the
_Hapsburg Emperor, and the king of Poland.
Power Vacuum: Situation in which a region is made up of old,
weakening empires and kingdoms whose weakness tempt ambitious
leaders to move into the area a take control
SLAVS: Settled in Poland in the fifth century. They were converted to_Christianity_ in
966 under Prince Mieszko I.
B. BOLESLAW I: Mieszko's son, he was crowned as the first king of Poland,
establishing the Piast dynasty, which lasted until 1370.
Under the Piast kings, the Polish state was threatened from within by rivalries among
nobility, and from without by Bohemian and Germanic invasions. The last of the dynasty
was Casimir III, crowned in 1333.
GOLDEN AGE OF POLAND (1386-1572): Began
with a marriage between the grand duke of
Lithuania, Jagello, and the __Polish_princess
Jadwiga. The initial personal union with Lithuania,
formalized only 200 years later by the Union of
Lublin in 1569, produced a state that extended
from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Black Sea in
the south. The Polish ___culture__ of the 16th
century produced a flourishing of the arts and
intellectual life, exemplified by the scientific work
of ____Copernicus____ . Protestantism gained
adherents in Poland during this period, which was
one of great religious diversity. The __Jewish__
community, which had prospered in Poland since
the 14th century, won the right of self-government.
The country's economic wealth was based on grain
exports to western Europe.
Dynasty ended with the death of Sigismund II in 1572.
The Polish nobility, the szlachta, formed the Sejm, in
which each of the nobles had a vote and participated
in the choosing of the next king. During a war-torn
decade beginning in _about 1650_ , Poland's vast
territories were attacked by Ukrainian Cossacks,
marauding Tartars, Turks, and Russians. But the
greatest devastation was inflicted by the__Russians__
who conquered and laid to waste virtually the entire
country in 1655.
King John III Sobieski's victory over the Turks at
__Lember_ in 1682 recovered some of Poland's
prestige as a European power, but he could not stop
Russian encroachment in the Ukraine and further loss
of the eastern territories. During the reign (1697-1733)
of Augustus II, Poland was involved in the Great
Northern War, which took place largely on Polish soil.
END OF THE MONARCHY: On Augustus' death,
in 1733, the French candidate, Stanislaw
Leszczynski, was again elected King; this
sparked off the War of Polish__Succession__
(1733 - 35) during which Polish resistance was
crushed by combined Prussian and Russian
armies. The__Russians__ sent in an army and
reran the election; their candidate, Augustus' son,
Frederik Augustus II (1696-1763) was elected
king, Augustus III, in 1734. Augustus spent his
reign almost exclusively in Dresden, only fleeing
to Poland when the Prussians occupied Saxony
during the Seven Years War. He supported
Prussia in the first Silesian War (1740 - 42) but
sided with Austria in the second Silesian War
(1744 - 45), was defeated and forced to pay
The Electorate of Saxony was occupied by Prussia during the Seven
Years War - the third Silesian War (1756 - 63); during this war, by which
Prussia gained Silesia, Poland's neutrality was ignored and she became
a staging area for the deployment of t he combatants.
Frederick II (_the Great_ ) of Prussia
recouped his war costs by flooding
Poland with counterfeit money and
imposing illegal tolls.
Prussia and Russia continued to
renew their alliances by which Poland
would be kept weakened. At Augustus'
death, the Russians forced the election
of Stanislaw Poniatowski, destined to
become the__last_ King of Poland.
REGIONS: Also, other German states and scattered lands in Italy See map,
page 498 1) dukedom of Austria on the Danube River
2) Kingdom of Bohemia to the North, duchies of Moravia and Silesia (Crown of
Saint Wenceslas)
3) Kingdom of Hungary to the East, Croatia, Transylvania
FERDINAND II (1619-1637) A. Principal champion
of the Roman Catholic cause in the Thirty Years'
1. As king of Bohemia (from 1617) and as emperor,
he worked to crush the rebellion of the Bohemian
Protestants, who elected (1619) the elector
palatine, Frederick V, as a rival king of Bohemia.
2. Ferdinand crushed this rebellion with military
help from the Spanish Hapsburgs and from Bavaria
but thereby precipitated the Thirty Years' War. After
1626, Albrecht von Wallenstein organized a huge
imperial army that made Ferdinand the virtual
military master of Germany.
C. Ecclesiastical property was
restored via the Edict of Restitution
(1629). Subsequently the Edict was
rescinded but in exchange the
German princes agreed to have
their armies put under imperial
FERDINAND III (1637-1658): He ended the
Thirty Years' War in Germany and took the
lead in the negotiations that finally led to the
Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The settlement
forced on Ferdinand a virtual retreat from
Germany. From then on, the Austrian
Hapsburgs concentrated more and more on
their ethnically diverse, Catholic, Danubian
LEOPOLD I (1658-1705) A. Consolidated his
diverse family possessions in Austria, Hungary,
and Bohemia. The Diet was established in
Regensburg in 1663 and remained there until
B. His efforts to extend Counter-Reformation
Catholicism throughout his domains provoked
revolts in Hungary since he antagonized the
Magyar nobility, many of whom had converted to
C. Leopold's generals won a series of victories
over the Turks, culminating in Eugene of Savoy's
triumph at Zenta in 1697 and making possible
Leopold's goal of a port at Trieste on the Adriatic.
D. By the Treaty of Karlowitz (1699) most of
Hungary was recovered from the Turks.
E. Leopold's imperial forces played a central role
in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-13).
JOSEPH I (1705-1711)
A. The War of the Spanish Succession continued
throughout his reign, the imperial armies under
Eugene of Savoy won victories in Italy, Germany, and
B. Joseph's death, without a male heir, and the
succession of his brother Charles VI, altered the
course of the war. The allies who had earlier
supported Charles's claim to the Spanish throne
abandoned him, fearing a united Spain and Austria.
C. During Joseph's reign the Hungarian revolt led by
Ferenc II Rakoczi was finally suppressed in 1711
CHARLES VI (1711-1740)
A. As a claimant to the Spanish throne, Charles
spent 7 years (1704-1711) in Spain fighting
supporters of Louis XIV's grandson, the future
Philip V of Spain.
B. The unexpected death of Joseph I made
Charles heir to Habsburg possessions in Austria,
Bohemia, and Hungary. Elected emperor on
October 12, 1711, he reluctantly gave up his
Spanish ambitions. At the Peace of Rastatt in
March, 1714 he received territories in Italy and the
Netherlands as compensation for the lost Spanish
C. Because he had no male heir Charles spent his
entire reign trying to gain acceptance of the
Pragmatic Sanction, a document designed to
protect the succession rights of his daughter Maria
Theresa. However, his death in 1740 led
immediately to the War of the Austrian
B. 1. East Prussia was a small duchy in
northern Poland controlled by the
2. Brandenburg was their most valued
state located in the HRE since 1417, its
ruling prince was one of the Seven
3. Berlin was the Hohenzollern capital.
Elector of Brandenburg
in 1640.
1. He was determined to strengthen Brandenburg by
building a strong standing army of 30,000 men.
2. He levied taxes without approval from the local
estates (provincial assemblies representing the landed
nobility and towns), thereby diminishing the
independence of the Junker aristocracy whose services
he enlisted as army officers and local administrators.
The Junkers were pacified with the right to demand
obedience from their serfs.
3. He sought to increase the wealth and prosperity of
Brandenburg- Prussia by promoting the growth of
agriculture, industry, and commerce, and by
encouraging Polish Jews, French Huguenots, and other
religious refugees to settle within his domains.
PRUSSIA (1688,1701-1713): Son of the Great
Elector; first Hohenzollern to call himself king of
Prussia (1701) - a title granted by the Holy Roman
Emperor as a reward for Frederick's help in the War
of the Spanish Succession.
1. He demonstrated more interest in cultural affairs
and court life (a la Louis XIV) than in his
government ("the Ostentatious"), which he allowed
to fall into the hands of corrupt favorites.
2- In the Peace of Utrecht (1713), which ended the
War of the Spanish Succession, East Prussia was
recognized as a sovereign kingdom and all
Hohenzollern territories were grouped under the
name of Prussia.
FREDERICK WILLIAM I (1713-1740): Son of
Frederick I He centralized governmental
administration in a single board known as the
General Directory.
He organized an efficient bureaucracy that cut royal
expenditures while more than doubling annual
3. The king utilized this additional revenue to expand
his peacetime army to 83,000 men, transforming it
into one of the best-trained and best-disciplined
military establishments in Europe. He chose officers
from the Junkers. He is known as the ''Soldiers' King"
and his motto was ''Build a bigger and better army".
4. To strengthen the economy, he nurtured industry
and agriculture through mercantilist policies.
5. At his death, he left his heir, Frederick II (The
Great) a well-filled treasury and a superior fighting
A. 'Barbarian'' Tribes (1000 BC to 800 AD) - Scythians, Goths, Huns B. Slavs:
Probably came from southern Poland and the Baltic shore.
They were conquered by__Varangian (Norse)_ warriors who established the
first unified government around 862 under Rurik at Novgorod. Moving south,
Rurik established (879) his authority in Kiev.
Kiev: First Russian state established in the 800's. Other
Russian cities recognized Kiev's leadership. The ruler of
Kiev was called the___Grand Duke____ . 988 Grand
Prince Vladimir I becomes a ____Christian___(Eastern
Orthodox). The height of Kievan power was reached
under Yaroslav the Wise who ruled from 1019 to 1054.
Tatars: Mongol tribe which conquered Russia in the 1200's. It was led by late
the grandson of__Ghengis Khan___ . Kiev was sacked in 1240. Russia
became part of the Mongol Empire, and was called the Golden Horde. During
this period Russia was under ''the Mongol yoke's.
early l300's Prince Yuri married the sister of
the Khan. He was appointed Russian Grand
Prince and was allowed to collect __vykhod
(taxes)_ .
A. Ivan I: Nicknamed ''Moneybags'', he kept
some of the tax money, bought land,
expanding the territory under his control. He
defeated the Mongols in 1380 but they
recaptured Moscow in 1382.
Ivan III (1462-1505): Called ''the Great", he tripled
the size of his domain through conquering
surrounding territory. In 1472 he married Sophia, the
niece of the last Byzantine emperor. Seeing himself
as the heir to the Byzantine heritage, he began to
call himself Czar from ''__Caesar_ ". He freed Russia
from Mongol control in 1480 by refusing to pay
__tribute__. He built a palace inside the Kremlin
(walled citadel in the center of the city). Upon his
death he was succeeded by his eldest son, Vasily III.
Ivan IV (1530-1584): Grandson of Ivan III, he came
to the throne at age of 3. During his childhood there
was a struggle for power among the ___Boyars
(nobles)__ (princes comparable to feudal lords) and
Ivan, a sickly child, was ignored and poorly
educated. He was the first to be crowned czar of all
Russia in 1547. In that same year he married
Anastasia Romanov and ruled well until her death in
1560, which marked the end of Ivan's constructive
policies. After that he began the tactics which earned
him the name ''the Terrible.'' He was the first of many
czars to pass laws binding the peasants to the land,
making them serfs. He massacred conquered
peoples, murdered from 400 to as high as 10,000
boyars, and confiscated their property. He married
and killed six wives. He killed his own son and heir in
a fit of rage in 1581. At his death in 1584 he was
succeeded by his son, Fyodor I.
''Time of Troubles'' (1598-1613): Period that
followed the death of Tsar Fyodor I, the last ruler
of the Rurik dynasty, and lasted until the
crowning of the first Romanov. It was a time of
civil war political confusion, peasant revolts,
foreign invasions. During Fyodor's reign real
power lay in the hands of his brother-in-law,
Boris Gudunov. Fyodor's half brother, Dmitry,
was killed in 1591, possibly by order of
Godunov, who became tsar when Fyodor died.
In 1604 a pretender who claimed to be Dmitry
appeared. This ''false Dmitry'' became tsar upon
the assassination of Godunov's son and
successor, Fyodor II (r. 1605). Dmitry was killed
in an uprising.
other pretenders appeared but finally order was
restored in 1612.
Romanov Dynasty: Dynasty in power in Russia from 1613 - 1917; came to
power when representatives of 50 Russian cities chose the 17-year- old
Michael Romanov, grandnephew of Ivan IV, to be czar.
1. Michael Romanov (1613-1654), Alexis I (1654-1676), and Theodore III
(1676-1682) began the centralization of Russia.
2. Russian bureaucracy was mostly controlled by the___zemstvo___
3. 1670-71: revolt by peasants and Cossacks barely suppressed.
4. Possibilities of mutiny simmered among the ___strelsty___ , guards of
the Moscow garrison
A. Russia had looked to__Constantinople__ rather than Rome for
B. Russia was under Mongol rule during the Renaissance so was cut
off from new ideas
C. geographic barriers - only seaport , __Archangel___ , was blocked
by ice most of the year
D. Russians practiced Byzantine, or Eastern Orthodox, Christianity
rather than Roman Catholic or Protestant
A. PETER THE GREAT (1682-1725): Tsar of
Russia and the first Russian emperor (from
1721). He became co-tsar with his half brother
Ivan V, (Ivan died in 1696) under the regency of
his half sister, Sophia. Peter gained effective
control of the government in 1689. In 1697
Peter toured western Europe, studying
shipyards, armaments, industrial techniques:
etc. Peter returned to Russia determined to
bring his country into the modern world.
Modernization of Russia
1. Peter built up the Russian navy and modernized the army by making it
permanent and hiring European drill instructors, making Russia a major
European power. The Guards Regiments, aristocratic units that were the core
of Peter's army, became especially powerful. The 1698 revolt of the
____strelsty____ was brutally suppressed.
2. He introduced western customs, clothing. He
adopted the European calendar and alphabet. He
started first Russian newspaper
3. Tried to end seclusion of women by inviting
noblewomen to social gatherings and demanded
they come without veils. He ended arranged
marriages without consent of couple
4. 1698 he shaved off
the__beards___ of his nobles
who had viewed their beards as
symbols of manhood and
Christianity; resisters had to pay
a beard tax and wear metal tags
to prove they had paid the annual
fee. The nobles, previously
uneducated and attached to their
distant lands, were required to
attend schools and to devote
their lives to civil or military
The 1722 ____Table of Ranks__
equated social position to service
rather than lineage.
5. Introduced the potato to Russian agriculture
6. Adopted mercantilist ideas; encouraged exports and discouraged imports;
subsidized the growth of factories; encouraged the iron industry in the
__Ural___ Mountains.
7. Peter reorganized the Russian bureaucracy into __colleges__, groups in
charge of taxes, foreign relations, war, and the economy. A nine-member
__board___ was established to rule when Peter was with the army.
B. ''Window on the Sea'': Peter I's phrase for his desire to gain a warmwater seaport for Russia including a strip of coastline on the Baltic Sea
(opposed by Sweden) and on the Black Sea (opposed by ______Ottoman
Turks____) –
C. Great Northern War: War between Russia and
Sweden (1700-1721)7 initial Swedish victories
ended by invasion of the Ukraine where their real
enemy was the Russian winter. Victorious at the
Battle of Poltava, Peter entered into the Peace of
Nystadt which gave Russia its new Baltic
coastline and proclaimed Peter as emperor of all
the Russias
St. Petersburg: Built beginning in 1703 at the mouth of the Neva River as
his Window on the West. It was a poor location health-wise but good as a
port. It was named after Peter's patron saint.
Thousands died in the building of the city. It became the capital in 1712.
Religious Reform
1. The mid-17th century reforms of
Patriarch__Nikon__ had met with opposition
by a group known as the ___Raskolniki__ ,
thousands of whom killed themselves rather
than submit to the new texts and rituals.
2. To prevent the church from becoming a
focus of dissent Peter abolished the
patriarchy and established a group of high
priests called the____Holy Synod__ to take
the place of the patriarchy in 1721. Peter
was the head of the Holy Synod, and as
such, could command the huge material
resources of the church for the
government's use.
The End: Peter's attempt to arrange the succession to
the throne met with difficulties. The 1718
imprisonment of his son ____Alexis__ ended with the
mysterious death of his heir. Peter never designated a
successor so when he died his second wife ruled,
ineffectually, as Catherine I and was followed by
Peter's sickly grandsons Peter II (r. 1727-30).