Hist268 Economic and Military Dominance in Early Europe

Hist268 Economic and Military Dominance in Early Europe -...

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History 268-01 25 March 2013 Economic and Military Dominance in Early Europe The tumultuous nature of Europe during the Middle Ages left states in a constant  struggle for dominance. Rival governments were endlessly looking for ways to defeat  their foes through military means. The technology of warfare was ever changing thus  leaving previous world powers behind, often the result of a single invention or  advancement. In order to remain dominant, states needed to keep pace with new  technology, which proved to be difficult due to the cost of advancement. Those fortunate  or innovative enough to have the resources to purchase the latest and greatest, often  found themselves atop their rivals. Prior to 1700, the relationship between prosperity and  arms strength was direct, as military supremacy came to those who had the financial and  people resources necessary to bear the brunt of war technology. A number of warfare innovations in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries ushered  in a new age of war that placed a significant burden on the fiscal assets of a state. For  one, the Gunpowder Age introduced European militaries to cannons and artillery fire.  German miners originally used the explosive material to gain access to silver deposits in  the Harz Mountains, thus leaving excess amounts of copper, tin, and iron as nothing more than shrapnel. 1  Military personnel, however, took advantage of the mining and utilized  1 William H. McNeill,  The Pursuit of Power: Technology, Armed Force, and Society   (University of Chicago Press), 71.
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the copper and iron as a material with which to cast more durable and powerful cannons. 2 Therefore, the advancements made in the field of chemistry innovated warfare through  the development of artillery capable of reducing existing ramparts to dust. In response to  the advancement in offensive firepower, research on stronger defenses began, and came  into fruition in Italy. In a defensive endeavor against the Florentines in 1500, the Pisan  army utilized loosely compacted earth as a secondary defense after their preexisting  stonewalls had fallen. 3  Trace Italienne, as the style became known, proved successful as  the earth absorbed the force of the cannon fire while the resulting hole the cannon fire  created, slowed foot troops in their pursuit of besieging the fortification. 4  Consequently, a transformation in defensive technology occurred in response to the need to keep pace  with the advanced cast-iron cannons. Furthermore, a change in military strategy occurred 
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  • Fall '13
  • Grimmer-Solen
  • History, Power, McNeill, william h. mcneill, pursuit

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