The 10 Most Important Features of the Modern Age

Between the Characteristics of the Modern Age More prominent we can cite the rise of commercial capitalism due to geographical discoveries, the emergence of enlightenment or Renaissance humanism or the end of the feudal system.

The Modern Age is the third of the historical periods in which the universal history is conventionally divided. This historical period ranged from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century.

Map corresponding to the Modern Age

Although the limits of the Modern Age lie in open debate, it extends over a period of time ranging from the last portion of the post-classical era, known as the Middle Ages (15th century) until the beginning of the"Age of Revolutions"(18th century).

Its beginning is debated between diverse historians, being fixed from the fall of Constantinople in 1453, the Renaissance And the era of discoveries, especially the voyages of Columbus from 1492 and the discovery of the sea route to India of Vasco da Gama in 1498.

More clearly it seems the point and end of this stage, being located in 1789 with the beginning of the French Revolution.

The Modern Age represented a period of change and progress, highlighting the values ​​of modernity (progress, communication, reason) as opposed to the obscurantism lived in the Middle Ages.

Main characteristics of the Modern Age

1 - Globalization

The Age of Discovery (also known as the Age of Exploration) has been mentioned as one of the possible starting points of the Modern Age.

In the same way, this era is also recognized as the beginning of globalization, one of the main characteristics of the Modern Age.

Christopher Columbus on his arrival to discover America

These voyages and discoveries of new countries, territories and continents of which there was no knowledge or certainty of their existence, represented an important change in diverse areas as the commerce, the culture, the religion, etc.

An important consequence of the discoveries is found in colonization, carried out especially by Spain and Portugal first, and later also by Great Britain and The Netherlands.

In turn, I also create a new trade need between continent. For example, spices became indispensable in European diets and cinnamon or pepper became a necessity.

This gastronomic exchange forced to develop new Conservation techniques Due to long journeys across the world.

2- Religion

The catholic religion, predominant in Europe and imposed to the new colonized territories, began to suffer a decline in its popularity, because it was in conflict with the new urban life.

During the papacy of Julius II, dubbed the"Warrior Pope", who increasingly resorted to the sale of indulgences (absolution of sins), the protests of John Wycliff, Jan Hus and Martin Luther against the Dominant Catholic church.

The 10 Most Important Features of the Modern Age Extract of the 95 theses of Martin Luther

It was Martin Luther Who gave a vision of the Catholic religion much more in accord with the ideals of the Modern Age. Having pointed out, when he refused to submit to the church, that the only source of authority was the sacred scriptures.

This represented a personalistic and intimate vision, in contrast to the communitarian idea of ​​the religion that had the medieval catholic church.

However, among Luther's followers there was no possible conformity, due to the personal interpretation of the Bible and the non-acceptance of intermediaries between God and man; So that in Europe were conglomerated diverse beliefs, some of these contradictory.

The re-establishment of the three major Muslim empires (Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal) gave a resurgence to Muslim culture. For example, the Safavid Empire established the Twelfth or Immani Shiism as an official religion in Iran.

3 - Renaissance humanism

He humanism Was a European intellectual, philosophical and cultural movement initiated in Italy and then expanded throughout Western Europe between the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. In this one was looked for to return to the models of the Classical Antiquity and the Greco-Roman humanism.

This movement arose in response to the doctrine of utilitarianism. Humanists sought to create citizens who were able to express themselves, orally and in writing, with eloquence and clarity, but still committing themselves to the civic life of their communities and persuading others to perform virtuous and prudent actions.

In order to fulfill this ideal, he used the study of"Studia humanitatis", which we know today as the humanities, among them: grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry and moral philosophy.

Traits humanism current affairs

The"Studia humanitatis"excluded logic from their study, and made poetry (a sequel to grammar and rhetoric) the most important area of ​​study.

This emphasis on the study of poetry and the quality of oral and written expression, above logic and practice, represent an illustration of the ideals of change and progress of the Modern Age and the yearning for the Renaissance.

4- Bourgeoisie

During the Middle Ages, the bourgeois were the name given to the inhabitants of the boroughs, which were the new neighborhoods of the expanding cities.

In the Modern Age this term changed, to mean free men. He was referring to those individuals who were outside the already decadent Feudal system , Standing out for its capacity to enrich itself with the creation of commercial networks.

The main economic centers were within the cities, which were now the place where the bourgeoisie lived.

For this reason, the economic difference between bourgeoisie and peasantry was considerable; Because the peasants lived outside the city, dedicating themselves to agricultural activities of low productivity, which left them in historical anonymity.

5 - Absolutism

The crown, the greatest symbol of European absolutism

Unlike the bourgeoisie, which could scarcely be considered a substitute for feudalism, absolutism Was a system that was present during the period of transition from feudalism to capitalism .

Absolutism can be described as monarchical power, which was unbridled and left behind any other institution, such as churches, legislatures or social elites. In the absolutist monarchy, a ruler has supreme authority, and there are no laws that restrict it.

The main features of absolutism are: the end of feudal partition, the consolidation of monarchical power, the growth of state power, the unification of state laws, a drastic increase in monarch tax revenues, and The influence of the nobility.

6- Mercantilism

Mercantilism was the dominant economic school in the Modern Age, from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century. It brought with it the first signs of significant government intervention and control over the economy.

The discovery of spices, silk, and other rare commodities in Europe created a new need and therefore a new desire to trade. By being able to be satisfied during the Age of Discoveries, European powers created new and vast networks of international trade.

Nations also found new sources of wealth, and to deal with these new economic theories and practices were created.

Seaport, one of the

Due to national interest in competing, nations sought to increase their power based on their colonial empires. In addition, this trade revolution represented a growth of interests other than manufacturing, such as banking and investment.

7- The woman

During the Modern Age a patriarchal model is followed, so that women are relegated to a subordinate role and are mostly invisible from history.

However, the role of women in Western civilizations was more visible on the rare occasions when they played the role of queen or regent.

Although there were antecedents of women who had held important positions (queens and regents) during the Middle Ages, they were treated misogynistic by historiography, unlike women like Isabel I of Castile or Isabel I of England, who have been treated With great admiration.

The 10 Most Important Features of the Modern Age Elizabeth I of England

However, some of the most exceptional cases of women with leading roles in the Modern Age were women with unconventional positions, such as Sister Teresa de Jesus or Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, poet, as well as the Japanese geishas, ​​who were supplanting To the men in the tasks that characterize them.

The French Revolution and the Spanish-American War of Independence were two historical situations in which some women had the opportunity to participate, challenging their social power, and in some cases occupying decisive roles, such as Colonel Juana Azurduy in Upper Peru.

8- Illustration

The Illustration , Also known as the Age of Reason, was an intellectual and philosophical movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the eighteenth century, called the 'Century of philosophy '.

This movement included a range of ideas centered on reason as the main source of legitimacy and authority, in addition to bringing more advanced ideals such as freedom, progress, tolerance, fraternity, a constitutional government in opposition to the monarchy and Separation of Church and State (secular state).

L'Encyclopedie or Enciclopedia, key work that marks the characteristics of the Enlightenment. The Encyclopedie or Encyclopedia

Some of the philosophers who preceded and influenced the illustration include Francis Bacon , Rene Descartes , John Locke and Baruch Spinoza.

Also noteworthy were other greats such as Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Immanuel Kant and Adam Smith, whose ideals were incorporated into the United States Constitution in 1787.

The most influential publication of the Enlightenment was the Ecyclopédia, or Systematic Dictionary of Sciences, Arts and Crafts, published in thirty-five (35) volumes between 1751 and 1772. This helped the proliferation of ideas of illustration in Europe and beyond Europe.

9- The Scientific Revolution

The Scientific Revolution is the concept by which historians describe the rise of modern science during the Modern Age.

That is, when development and discoveries in mathematics, biology, chemistry, physics and astronomy changed the way we see the nature of society.

Contributions copernico science Nicolaus Copernicus

This revolution took place in Europe from the end of the Renaissance, and extended until the eighteenth century, influencing the intellectual and philosophical movement of the Enlightenment.

The publication of About the Spins of the Celestial Orbs , from Nicolaus Copernicus , Is taken as the beginning of the scientific revolution, although the date is debated.

The philosophy of using an inductive method to obtain knowledge (abandoning the supposition and trying to observe with the open mind), was a contrast with the Aristotelian deductive method.

In practice, many philosophers and scientists believed that it was healthy to use a little of both; Question the assumption, but interpret the assumed observations to have some degree of validity.

During the beginning of the Scientific Revolution, known as the"Scientific Revival", focused on regaining knowledge of the ancients and is considered to have its place with the publication of Principia , from Isaac Newton , Which formulated the laws of Newton and the law of universal gravitation.

10- Art in the Modern Age

During the Renaissance, painters developed perspective and other topics of realism, studying light, shadows, and as he famously did Leonardo da Vinci , The human anatomy.

During the Renaissance the desire to illustrate the beauty of nature resurfaced, with Da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael as its main exponents.

In architecture, Filippo Brunelleschi studied the remains of the buildings of Classical Antiquity.

The 10 Most Important Features of the Modern Age

With the rediscovery of the knowledge of the writer Vitruvius of century I and the flourishing discipline of the mathematics, Brunelleschi formulated the Renaissance style, that was influenced by the classic style, but with better of the same.

However, the style that prevailed the longest during the Modern Age was the Baroque art , Which can be found from Protestant northern Europe, colonial America and the Philippines.

Characterized by being visually overloaded, away from the pursuit of simplicity and love for the typical nature of the Renaissance.

As for urbanism and baroque architecture, its principle was the experience of the city as an artificial stage, where the perspectives glorify the representative spaces of power, m While the Protestant Baroque presents a more individualistic style, such as the Lutheran principle of Christianity.

In addition, during the Modern Age, in Africa and Asia their own artistic manifestations were produced, of high level and with own characteristics.

In Islamic art, geometric patterns are emphasized, in India and Tibet expression was developed through painted sculptures, in Japan the relationship between calligraphy and painting continues, and in China, original manifestations are performed in a variety of styles.


  1. Early modern period. (2017, June 7). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Recovered from
  2. 02:36, June 15, 2017, from
  3. Modern age. (2017, June 13). Wikipedia, The free encyclopedia. Date of consultation:
  4. 02:36, June 15, 2017, from
  5. Renaissance. (2017, June 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Recovered from
  6. 02:36, June 15, 2017, from
  7. Age of Discovery. (2017, June 13). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Recovered from
  8. 02:37, June 15, 2017, from
  9. Anthropocentrism. (2017, May 22). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Recovered from
  10. 02:37, June 15, 2017, from
  11. Renaissance humanism. (2017, June 7). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Recovered from 02:37, June 15, 2017, from
  12. Age of Enlightenment. (2017, June 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Recovered from 02:37, June 15, 2017, from
  13. Scientific revolution. (2017, June 12). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Recovered from 02:37, June 15, 2017, from

Loading ..

Recent Posts

Loading ..