Queen Elizabeth II is the longest reigning monarch in modern history and has ruled England as Queen since 1952.
The Queen has only ceremonial powers and no real political power to enforce change or policy. For example, if she withheld her approval of a law, the entire government would have to resign, and a new one would have to be installed.
The British monarchy does something good for England by acting as the country’s ambassador abroad. When the Queen dies, Prince Charles will become the new King, and his siblings will solemnly kiss his hands and pledge loyalty to the new King of the United Kingdom.
The news will be relayed through secure communications channels to the 15 governments where the Queen is technically still head of state and will be greeted with a casual shrug of the shoulders.
The British media will focus entirely on the Queen’s death, and the nation will enter a period of mourning. The new King will then perform the necessary rituals and proclamations and embark on a tour of the four nations of the United Kingdom.
The passing of Queen Elizabeth II will have a significant impact on the British psyche, as she represents the “great decline” of the British Empire, which the nation has been unable to stop.
In the event of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, what to expect
In the event of Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s death, what will happen to the people who don’t know life without her?
The nation will be in shock after the Queen’s death, but before the public learns of her death, several things must happen behind the scenes.
Once the Queen has passed away, her private secretary will inform the Prime Minister, and then the State Department’s Global Response Centre will inform the other Commonwealth countries.
Buckingham Palace will post a notice on its gates informing the public of her death. In addition, the left arm of all staff members will be adorned with a black armband.
ITV and Sky staff have been using the code word Mrs. Robinson to refer to the Queen for years, and news outlets are scrambling for space in all key locations.
Once Queen Elizabeth dies, Prince Charles becomes king and takes the name Charles III. There will be proclamations and Charles will visit Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
Prince Charles attended a memorial service at the Welsh Guards Chapel and laid a wreath at the Guards’ Memorial.
The queen’s body will remain at Buckingham Palace for 10 days before being transferred to Westminister Hall for a state funeral attended by state officials worldwide.
A funeral service will be held at St. Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh if the Queen dies at Balmoral. She will be carried up the Royal Mile to Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh after moving her body to Holyroodhouse.
King Charles III
Prince Charles will become King when the Queen dies. He will be allowed to choose his name. After he becomes King, there will be a meeting of the Accessions Council at St James’ Palace. After that, all formalities will take place, including naming him King.
He will be named Charles III. A proclamation will be made, and while the Queen lies dead in state, Charles will go to Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and other parts of the United Kingdom. His first words as King will take place at St. James’ Palace.
Google founder Larry Page, tech billionaire Elon Musk, terraplanists, ufologists. Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla doesn’t have an eclectic fan base by accident. The same scientist who changed the way people use and distribute electricity had pigeons as pets, was a germaphobe, and believed he was receiving signals from Mars.
His eccentric personality and a story full of ups and downs – he frequented New York high society in the late 19th century, lived in luxury hotels like the New Yorker and the Waldorf Astoria, died poor, and spent years in obscurity – are so special that one of his best-known biographers is psychologist Marc Seifer. Tesla was his doctoral thesis. “I wanted to understand how his head worked”.
Inventions came in visions
Tesla was born in 1856 in Smiljan, in present-day Croatia, to ethnic Serbian parents.
Did Nikola Tesla have a degree? Yes, he studied electrical engineering at the University of Graz, in Austria (then still Austro-Hungarian Empire), and, at the age of 26, he moved to Paris to work at the American Thomas Edison’s company, Continental Edison Company.
Two years later he was transferred to the company’s headquarters in New York, with the function of “redesigning Edison’s machines”, as he tells in his autobiography, written when Tesla was 63 years old and published by the American magazine Electrical Experimenter.
In the book, he tells how, as a child, he had hallucinations, images accompanied by strong flashes of light, which were replaced by the very well-defined outlines of his inventions after he turned 17.
“I change the design, make improvements, and operate the equipment in my head. It makes no difference to me whether I test my turbine in my head or in the laboratory. When I visualize it, I can even tell if it is out of balance.
In one year, he perfected all 24 machines that the manager of the Edison Machine Works had presented to him and for which he had promised a $50,000 bonus if they were improved.
During this period, the young man worked 18.5 hours daily – from 10:30 to 5:00 the next day – only to discover, according to his autobiography, that the manager’s comment was a joke, which he had taken literally. Tesla resigned.
What is Nikola Tesla famous for?
One of his main discoveries, alternating current earned him a years-long dispute with Edison, who patented direct current.
Its operation and applications – Tesla’s turbine, the induction motor, and the high-voltage transformer – he conceived when he was still living in Paris. He tried to convince Edison to bet on the idea, but only after leaving the company was he able to put into practice what he had kept in his head for years.
To this end, he allied himself in the second half of the 1880s with George Westinghouse, owner of the Westinghouse Electric Company, which financed the project.
Direct current is the current that circulates, for example, in batteries, which flows constantly between the negative and positive poles. In alternating current, the poles are reversed all the time, and electricity flows in a zigzag pattern.
It sounds inefficient, but just the opposite, says Bernard Carlson, professor of the history of technology at the University of Virginia and author of Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age.
The innovation changed the concept of electricity and created the notion of power. “Until then, electricity was only used to light a lamp. The induction motor allowed buildings to have elevators, and houses to have electrical appliances,” he explains.
Tesla’s patented power distribution system, which used high-voltage transformers, made it possible for electricity to travel long distances, adds the biographer.
It was with this technology that, in 1895, Tesla and Westinghouse built the first modern hydroelectric power plant at Niagara Falls – the technology we use to this day.
“Before, generation sites needed to be close to consumer centers. Niagara changed that. It distributed to Toronto, Boston, Philadelphia… places hundreds of miles away,” points out Seifer, author of Wizard: The Life and Times of Nikola Tesla.
The inauguration of the power plant is one of the chapters in the “war of the currents”, the dispute that lasted for years between Tesla and Edison – who did not believe in alternating currents and even campaigned against it.
In one such episode, in 1890, the businessman used his influence to use alternating current in the first-ever human execution in an electric chair. “He used to say that it was dangerous and wanted to use that situation to prove it,” says José Roberto Cardoso, professor of the department of electrical engineering at the Polytechnic School of the University of São Paulo (USP).
The shot backfired. The executioners at Auburn prison in New York didn’t know how to manipulate the current and the voltage constantly dropped. After two minutes of an unpleasant spectacle, the room smelled of burning flesh and William Kemmler, the condemned man, was not yet dead. Some witnesses, however, were already passed out.
The showman of high society
Despite the controversies, the two inventors had a cordial rivalry, says Seifer. “Contrary to what many people think, they were not enemies. They exchanged letters for years.”
Tesla became eternalized as a scientist full of quirks. He himself recounts in his autobiography that he had an “aversion” to women’s earrings, disliked touching other people’s hair, counted his own steps, and calculated the volume of his soup plates and coffee cups.
For the psychologist, the weirdness masks his main characteristic. “Tesla was a ‘bon vivant’.
He circulated among the parties and dinners of New York’s high society and was close to personalities such as writer Mark Twain and billionaire John Jacob Astor, who allowed him to live for years in his luxurious Waldorf Astoria.
He had no girlfriends – he never married or had children – but he gathered a legion of friends with whom he exchanged letters, among them Katherine Johnson, wife of writer Robert Underwood Johnson, and Corinne Roosevelt, sister of President Roosevelt.
“A lot of people speculate whether Tesla was homosexual, but he exchanged gallant letters with these women,” Seifer says.
The scientist became a celebrity with pyrotechnic demonstrations of his inventions, Carlson adds. “He even ran 200,000 volts through his own body to show how his coil worked,” he points out, referring to one of the scenes he recounts in the book, an 1893 performance in a St. Louis theater in front of 4,000 people.
“He was a showman.
What is the problem with Nikola Tesla?
In 1901, Tesla began his most ambitious project, which he never achieved. With a $150,000 loan from banker John Pierpont Morgan, he bought a large plot of land on Long Island, built a laboratory, and erected a tower, named Wardenclyffe.
He wanted to discover a way to transmit electrical power wirelessly. His goal was that the whole world should have access to power, preferably free of charge. Tesla’s experiments in this area – which gave rise to the remote control, which he presented at Madison Square Garden controlling a small boat from a distance – were the first step in the creation of the technology that would give rise to wi-fi.
“The problem is that it is only possible to transmit low powers. The transmission of a higher power would produce high-intensity magnetic fields, dangerous for humans,” explains Cardoso, a professor at USP.
Tesla didn’t give up. He spent everything he had, and four years later, faced with failure, he had a nervous breakdown from which he never recovered.
“I have analyzed 40 years of Tesla’s handwriting. His writings from 1906 onwards clearly show that something happened,” says Seifer, who is also a graphologist.
The inventor died on January 7, 1943, in-suite 3327 of the New Yorker hotel on the 33rd floor – he had an obsession with the number 3 and its multiples. Poor, he spent his last years living in the hotel suite thanks to Westinghouse. “He had made a fortune from Tesla’s patents, who threatened to sue him if he didn’t help him.”
Wardenclyffe spent years abandoned until, in the early 1990s, a woman named Jane Alcorn found it when she was looking for a new space for the science club she coordinated at an area school.
“I lived a block away from the place and had never heard of Tesla. Little by little I discovered that he was one of those people who dreamed big,” she says. The inspiration made her spend the next 20 years trying to convince politicians and the local community that it was necessary to buy the space, to reclaim it.
In 2012, the Americans launched the first campaign to raise funds to launch the Tesla Science Center. In one year, crowdfunding received 33,000 contributions from 108 countries and raised $1.37 million.
Now, the president of the organization, Alcorn hopes that the space will be open for visitors as early as next year. The iconic tower no longer exists, but the outside of Tesla’s old laboratory is intact.
Elon Musk is also an Edison fan
Elon Musk donated $1 million to the initiative in 2014. He and his company, Tesla, are partly responsible for bringing the inventor back into the 21st century. “He had literally been erased from the history books,” says Seifer.
The curious thing is that Musk did not name the company. It was named in 2003 by its two founders – whom he joined shortly afterward -, who wanted to develop an electric car at more affordable prices from the induction motor created by Tesla.
The businessman has even said in interviews that although he admired the scientist, he considered Thomas Edison as one of his personal heroes, alongside Winston Churchill.
In addition to Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Tesla attracts sympathy from more “esoteric” groups, in Seifer’s definition – fans of conspiracy theories, terraplaning organizations (those who defend that the Earth is flat), and ufologists.
For the biographer, the explanation for this comes from Tesla’s forays into the field of astrophysics. “He believed in extraterrestrials and that he received messages from Mars,” he says.
Tesla’s popularization, in general, has to do with the moment in which we live, Carlson assesses. “As a scholar of the history of technology I realize that in times of prosperity the heroes tend to be the realistic, practical entrepreneurs, the Henry Ford’s, the Thomas Edison’s. When things are harder people look to inventors, to visionaries, for inspiration.”
The story of human evolution is the story of our species acquiring dominance. This episode goes back over three million years to examine clues in the human genome that explain how humans evolved from being tree-dwelling apes to becoming the world’s most dominant primate.
We explore how genetics has underpinned human evolution, from our rise from primates on the African plains to our spread across the globe. This article asks how genetics can be even more influential in shaping future evolution. The amazing story of the human race is told through location film and state-of-the-art computer visualization.
The Pleistocene epoch is thought to be the time when humans began changing the global environment. This contributed to the mass extinction of megafauna, including giant kangaroos and mammoths on almost every continent. However, some date it to the advent of agriculture some 7,000 years ago.
What are the discoveries of Galileo Galilei? Galileo Galilei was an Italian physicist and astronomer whose most famous discovery was that the Earth revolves around the sun. But Galileo was also responsible for other remarkable discoveries in the field of physics and motion. Although he had to deal with the Church’s inquisition because of his work, Galileo continued to create, making paradigm-shifting discoveries that redefined the known laws of the universe.
Earth’s orbit – Galileo Galilei’s discoveries
Shortly after the telescope was invented in Holland, Galileo created his own from makeshift eyeglass lenses. He learned to create increasingly powerful telescopes, which he eventually used to observe the solar phases of the planet Venus. After noticing that Venus went through phases similar to those of the Moon, he concluded that the sun must be the central point of the solar system and not the Earth as previously assumed.
The Pendulum Principle
When he was only 20 years old, Galileo went to a large cathedral and noticed that the swinging of the lamps overhead took exactly the same time for all of them to swing, although the swinging distance got progressively shorter. This pendulum principle made Galileo famous and was eventually used to regulate clocks. The law says that a pendulum will always take the same amount of time to complete a swing since there is always the same amount of kinetic energy in the pendulum, it is simply transferred from one direction to the other.
The law of falling bodies
This law states that all objects will fall with the same velocity, taking into account relatively small differences in aerodynamic and environmental conditions. Galileo demonstrated his theory by climbing to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa and dropping objects of different weights down one side. All the objects reached the ground at the same time. Contrary to conventional belief as established by Aristotle, the speed of falling heavy objects was not proportional to their weight.
Galileo made several astronomical discoveries that people today simply accept as common sense. He discovered that the surface of the moon is rough and not uniform, rather than smooth as people thought, and in 1610 he discovered 4 moons revolving around Jupiter. More important than any of these findings was his discovery that there are many more stars than are visible to the eye, a claim that came as a surprise to the scientific community of the time.
The Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy
For centuries, natural philosophy – which at the time encompassed fields such as physics and astronomy – was discussed and theorized from a qualitative point of view. Galileo not only discovered the specific laws of the universe but also reformed the qualitative point of view and established mathematics as the language of scientific discovery. He pioneered the scientific method and gave rise to the modern practice of experimentation and calculated laws of nature. This resulted in revelations that many of the laws of the Greek philosophers, such as Plato and Aristotle, were incorrect.
We explain what the Ancient Age is and what characterized its beginning. In addition, its general characteristics and stages into which it is divided. How is the Ancient Age classified and what are the main characteristics of the Ancient Ages?
The Ancient Age ended with the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
What was the Ancient Age?
The Ancient Age is the historiographic period that begins approximately between 4,000 and 3,000 BC, with the appearance of writing, and ends with the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD.
Antiquity is the first period for which relatively accurate historiography can be carried out, thanks to the fact that writing makes it possible to obtain documents on historical facts, customs and beliefs.
It is the longest age in history as the following are:
1. Middle Ages. It extends from the fall of the Western Roman Empire to the discovery of America in 1492. It is characterized by the fragmentation of political power in Europe, the development of culture associated with religious values, and a strong division of social classes.
2. Modern Age. It lasted until the French Revolution in 1789. It is characterized by the apogee of monarchies, the reappearance of great empires and cities, the accelerated development of sciences and arts, and the social and economic mobility of a new social class: the bourgeoisie.
3. Contemporary Age. It is the one that reaches the present day. It is characterized by an accelerated advance of technology and its profound influence on daily life, by the development of capitalism as a socio-economic system, and by the establishment of global centers and peripheries.
Characteristics of the Ancient Age:
This civilization settled in Asia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, changing its political organization between the unification and division between Upper Mesopotamia and Lower Mesopotamia. Together with the Egyptians, they were the first to develop writing, around 4,000 BC.
It is considered the cradle of civilization since the first settlements were established here, which led to organized social and political forms.
2. Ancient Egypt
Diverse populations are grouped in Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt around 4,000 BC. It was unified under Pharaoh Menes in 3,100 B.C. This civilization was organized on the banks of the Nile River.
Its political organization was monarchical, with an important priestly class. Its importance is due to being one of the first civilizations to develop writing, as well as to its monumental works of architecture, such as the pyramids.
3. Ancient Greece
It is considered the cradle of Western culture, as its philosophy, political organization, and art continue to influence Western culture to this day.
The first signs of an organized civilization began in 1200 BC and continued as an independent people until 145 BC when they were invaded by Rome. In Greece, the political system of democracy was born, although at that time it had a different meaning since it did not include women or slaves.
4. Roman Empire
The Roman civilization began to develop approximately in the 8th century B.C. and became an empire, reaching its greatest splendor under the Julio-Claudian dynasty during the 1st century. The empire came to extend along the entire coast of the Mediterranean Sea and even reached the part of the current territory of the United Kingdom to the North and Mesopotamia to the East.
Different cultures develop particular forms of writing:
Egyptian writing. It begins approximately in 3300 with a hieroglyphic form, that is to say, that the symbols represented objects. Subsequently, it evolved into simpler and more abbreviated forms: hieratic and demotic writing.
Mesopotamian writing. It begins approximately 4,000 B.C. and develops at the same time as Egyptian writing, parallel. It begins as ideographic writing, that is to say, that objects are represented to symbolize objects, and then it represents sounds. It`s called cuneiform writing because it was shaped like wedges or nails used to write on clay.
Greek script. The ancestor of our alphabet, with twenty-four signs. The first sign system to include vowels.
6. Great empires and cities
In earlier times, that is, in prehistoric times, human groups were organized in small villages, some of them nomadic. In contrast, in the Ancient Ages, populations settled in one place permanently, so cities began to replace camps. To defend themselves against possible attackers, walled cities were created.
Some of these cities expanded into empires, centralizing power in one man or a parliament. Empires resulted in the spread of the language, religion, customs, and architecture of the empire.
Most ancient religions were polytheistic, meaning that different gods were worshipped, generally representing the forces of nature. These religions were not usually dogmatic, i.e. the gods did not expect certain behavior from their followers, but rather certain offerings at certain times of the year.
The exceptions are Judaism and Islam, which are monotheistic and dogmatic religions. Later, also Christianity.
8. Social classes
Social classes were immovable and were inherited from parents. The class was associated with the occupation. They were divided into:
Monarchs. Kings and pharaohs could only accede to power by being descendants of a previous king or by defeating him in battle.
Aristocracy. Relatives and ministers of the kings.
Religious and intellectual class. Monarchies had divine legitimacy, so the religious class was always close to the king.
Artisans, merchants, and peasants. They were in charge of providing the population with objects of daily use.
Slaves. They came from conquered peoples.
9. First laws
The administration of large populations required regulations to facilitate coexistence. That is why the first written codes and laws are found in Antiquity. The first comes from Babylon (Mesopotamia) and is called the Code of Hammurabi. In it, penalties are applied for different illegal acts ranging from the payment of money to mutilation or death.
10. Fall of the Western Roman Empire
After a period of decline, which began at the beginning of the 5th century, the last emperor of Rome, Romulus Augustulus, was deposed by Odoacer on September 4, 476. This occurred after the centralized power had lost effectiveness for decades, losing territories that no longer responded to it.
This is considered to be the end of the Ancient Age because from this moment on Europe, instead of being organized by imperial governments, will be filled with small economic-political administrations called fiefdoms. A type of organization that will characterize the Middle Ages.
We explain and summarize the history of technology and its causes. Also, what were the technological revolutions and characteristics.
The history of technology is the historical account of how humans developed tools and techniques that enabled them to fulfill practical purposes. Because of them, they were able to change the world around them in such a way that their lives became easier.
It is to a large extent an important part of human history itself, as the application of scientific knowledge and its impact on society can radically change human life.
On the other hand, technology is a unique tool of the human species, a consequence of the application of its intellectual capacity and creative abilities. Therefore, the history of technology can also be understood as a historical account of human adaptability.
A few years ago, not many, say about 5 million years ago, man had his entire body covered with furs. Then he lost it (although not in all cases…) but anyway, man found a way to cover his body and avoid the cold by covering himself with the skins of the animals he hunted for food.
Later, he discovered that plant fibers could provide him with shelter and invented clothing. He got tired of walking barefoot and invented shoes, he got tired of shouting and invented the telephone, he got tired of burning his fingers (and eyelashes) with candles and invented the electric light, he got tired of counting by hand and invented the calculator, and the computer?
As we know, technology manufactures objects to improve our quality of life in all aspects. What’s more, these technological innovations seem to emerge at a very high rate, just think how quickly your computer will become obsolete after only months.
Technological evolution goes hand in hand with science, although the two are distinct:
At this time, city-states appeared in Greece and territorial empires (Rome).
The Greek contributions were more scientific and philosophical, while the Romans were more dedicated to civil and military engineering.
At the end of this period, technological development declines, historians attribute this to slavery. Slaves are cheap labor so there is no need to produce innovations that facilitate manual and repetitive tasks.
The Middle Ages (5th century AD-1492)
The Western Roman Empire fell permanently in the 5th century due to barbarian invasions. Much of the intellectual legacy of antiquity was lost.
In the East, the Arabs were the inheritors of classical culture, which they were responsible for reintroducing to Europe. At the same time, from 2000 B.C. to the 15th century in China, a flourishing society was built that produced numerous technological successes.
St. Albert the Great
Jabir ibn Hayyan (Geber)
The physicians: Avicenna and Averroës
and the mathematician: Al-Karaji
Are notable from this period.
In Europe, starting in the 11th century, there was an intellectual renaissance with the establishment of universities and cathedral schools.
Many inventions appeared at this time. Three technological innovations stand out above all others:
Key discovery: The printing press
The Early modern period (1492 – 1789)
This is the period between the discovery of America and the French Revolution.
This period includes the great geographical discoveries such as the discovery of America, the Renaissance, the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation.
With the growth of cities came a change in the economic system: the feudal economy gave way to the first signs of the capitalist system.
All this activity meant the development of new territories in order to obtain the raw materials needed to manufacture products. It also meant opening up new markets where they could be sold.
Numerous inventions were created during this period. Three technological innovations stand out in particular:
The first industrial revolution began in England in the late 18th century with the invention of the steam engine. For the first time, mankind was able to perform agricultural or industrial tasks without human or animal labor.
This invention led to large-scale agriculture and the development of industry.
As the means of production improved, there was a mass migration from the countryside to the cities where factories were located, which changed society with the rise of the working class. Early workers were forced to work long hours and had few breaks or vacations. This led to the birth of labor movements that began to fight for workers’ rights.
Many inventions and technical innovations such as:
Were created during this time.
Important Discovery: the steam engine
The 20th and 21st centuries to the present day
The 20th century was marked by an extraordinary technical development:
The first airplanes appeared
Electricity reached cities and factories
Electronics was born and led to the creation of the first personal computers around 1980
Nuclear technology was born and developed
Medicine experienced great progress that lengthened the quality and age of life of people
Space technology was born and developed with the putting into orbit of artificial satellites (1957)
Man reached the moon (1969) and interplanetary probes were launched
Mobile telephone networks were developed
The internet appeared (1967)
And the World Wide Web (www)
Many inventions and technical innovations appeared during this period, such as:
The various technological innovations that have occurred throughout history have changed people’s lives.
Transportation and communications have developed trade and commerce and have led us to enjoy materials, foods, items, etc. that are not available or specific to the region in which we live.
In addition, writing, printing, and the internet have allowed us to:
Gain more and more knowledge
Get more information about the world we live in
Move around the planet faster and faster
Communicate with people who are far away from us
Although technology has made us independent of changes in the natural environment (except in extreme cases), we can still live our lives in the:
However, it has made us dependent on increasingly complex and energy-intensive machines.
Technological activities have an impact on the environment that is very difficult to predict and can have negative consequences for our environment.
Sustainable development aims to balance the quality of life made possible by technological advances with protection of the environment by looking for ways to minimize the environmental impact of technology.
The keys to achieving sustainable development are:
Energy efficiency, i.e. saving energy
Avoiding waste of natural resources
and researching and promoting renewable energy
What is Technology?
Technology is the application of scientific knowledge and understanding of the universe to practical solutions of human problems.
Improving the goods or services available
To facilitate the adaptation of the species to its environment and the satisfaction of human desires or needs (physical, social, cultural).
House of Medici history: Throughout the 15th century, the name of an Italian banking family was synonymous with power. They were the Medici, who, through their loans, wielded great political influence and financed great works of the Renaissance.
In 1429, Cosimo de’ Medici and Lorenzo de’ Medici inherited the banking business of their father Giovanni, whose loans would pay the salaries of the armies and the construction of public works. All this without forgetting the active role of the Medici family in the world of art, where they distinguished themselves as the great patrons of the Renaissance. This was probably the most influential Italian family of the 15th century.
The growing importance of commerce and the bourgeoisie allowed the banking industry to emerge strongly. The introduction of techniques such as the double-entry bookkeeping and credit instruments such as the bill of exchange also contributed to the expansion of the banking business.
What kind of banking activity did the Medici conduct?
Beyond the history, it is worth analyzing the efficient, serious and prudent management carried out by Cosimo de’ Medici.
Thus, the Florentine banker ended up establishing branches all over Europe, in cities such as:
With Florence serving as the nerve center, the risk and losses that could be taken on by the other branches were controlled and they had a considerable degree of autonomy. It should be noted that the Rome branch would conduct a large volume of business because of its substantial economic relationship with the Vatican.
But if we look at the banking activity of the time, what kind of bankers were the Medici?
In 15th century Italy, one could find:
Thus, moneylenders were usurers and had to pay a fine every year in order to continue their business and avoid further penalties. Money changers traded in jewelry, changed money, and could handle deposits.
Finally, the Medici would enter the category of international bankers, financing large projects with their loans, which they managed throughout Europe.
Usury and sin
At the time, religious morality was very strict and usury was considered a sin. The Medici wanted to satisfy their economic demands, but at the same time respect the doctrine of the Church.
The interests of the Medici and the Church would eventually align, as the Vatican needed the services of the bank to collect contributions from the faithful across the European continent. On the other hand, when loans were made to the Church, the Church could not be required to pay interest, as the bank would have sinned by practicing usury.
Thus, the payment of interest by the Church was made as an incentive or gift. In other words, the payment of interest by the clergy to the bank was not mandatory. In fact, groups of theologians carefully studied contracts with banks to make sure there was no usury.
The great patrons of the Italian Renaissance
As mentioned earlier, greed and usury were frowned upon in 15th century Florence. Therefore, wealthy families like the Medici had to find a way to make their wealth compatible with the doctrine of the Church.
To atone for their sins, the wealthy paid for religious works of art.
In the case of the Medici, it is worth mentioning the example of Cosimo de’ Medici. In 1430, appearing before Pope Eugene IV, Cosimo asked him how he could enjoy the wealth he had acquired and, at the same time, be free of sin. To obtain expiation, Eugene IV proposed to pay for the restoration of the convent of San Marco. By accepting Eugene IV’s suggestion, Cosimo de’ Medici ended up paying a considerable sum for the restoration of the convent.
One might wonder what role the other Medici had as patrons of the arts. While Cosimo, the banker par excellence of the Medici family, exercised patronage in order not to appear ostentatious and to find a certain political and social balance, Lorenzo the Magnificent was the most important patron of the family.
Lorenzo, as an art lover, was dedicated to reviving classical art by creating the school of modern art. Thus, Lorenzo would take under his protection artists such as the famous Michelangelo.
It is worth noting, however, that although Lorenzo was very active in art scene, he was not as efficient as Cosimo when it came to managing the family fortune.
Believing that the art paid for by the Medici was pagan, Savonarola ordered the burning of numerous works of art. Faced with Savonarola’s assault, Piero realized that the Medici family was in danger and decided to leave Florence. Ironically, it was Savonarola himself who was burned at the stake in 1498 after turning against Pope Alexander VI.
Although they had to go into exile for a time, the Medici exercised significant political and religious influence in Italy. They established themselves as dukes of Florence and some family members even became pope (Leo X). They did not, however, return to the banking business that the family had run between 1397 and 1494.
Among the members of the family, as with Leo X, we can highlight four popes:
Two French queens: Catherine de Medici and Maria de Medici
Numerous Florentine heads of state and members of the royal houses of France and England
In conclusion, the Medici family’s influence goes beyond banking, although its main activity and recognition is in banking and patronage. And we are talking about a family that, as our title indicates, established itself as the most important European family of the Renaissance.
The Renaissance was a cultural, economic, and political movement, which emerged in Italy in the 14th century and lasted until the 17th century throughout Europe.
Inspired by Classical Antiquity values and generated by economic changes, the Renaissance reformulated medieval life and began the Modern Age.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Origin of the Renaissance
The term Renaissance was created in the 16th century to describe the artistic movement that emerged a century earlier. Later the term ended up designating the economic and political changes of the period as well.
After all, the cities never totally disappeared, and the people never stopped trading among themselves or using the currency. There was a decrease in these activities during the Middle Ages.
However, in the Italian Peninsula, several cities like Venice, Genoa, Florence, Rome, among others, have benefited from trade with the East.
These regions were enriched by trade development in the Mediterranean Sea, giving rise to a rich mercantile bourgeoisie. To affirm themselves socially, these merchants sponsored artists and writers. These artists inaugurated a new way of making art.
The Church and nobility were also patrons of artists like:
and Pietro Della Francesa, among many others
We highlight five outstanding characteristics of Renaissance culture:
Rationalism – reason was the only way to reach knowledge, and that everything could be explained by reason and science.
Scientificism – they felt that all knowledge should be demonstrated through scientific experience.
Individualism – the human being sought to affirm his personality, show his talents, achieve fame and satisfy his ambitions, through the conception that individual right was above collective right.
Anthropocentrism – placing man as the supreme creation of God and the center of the universe.
Classicism – artists seek their inspiration in Greek-Roman Classical Antiquity to create their artworks.
Humanism in the Renaissance
Humanism was a movement for the glorification of man and human nature, which emerged in the cities of the Italian Peninsula in the mid-14th century.
Man, the most perfect work of the Creator, was capable of understanding, modifying and even dominating nature. For this reason, humanists sought to interpret Christianity, using writings by authors of antiquity, such as Plato.
Religion did not lose importance, but it was questioned and new Christian trends such as Protestantism emerged.
The study of ancient texts also awakened a desire for historical research and knowledge of classical languages such as Latin and Greek.
In this way, humanism became a reference for many thinkers in the following centuries, such as the Enlightenment philosophers of the 17th century.
The Renaissance gave rise to great geniuses of literature, among them:
Dante Alighieri: Italian writer and author of the great poem “Divina Comédia”.
Machiavelli: author of “The Prince”, a forerunner of political science where the author gives advice to the governors of the time.
Shakespeare: considered one of the greatest playwrights of all times. In his work, he approached human conflicts in the most diverse dimensions: personal, social, political. He wrote comedies and tragedies, such as “Romeo and Juliet”, “Macbeth”, “The Taming Megera”, “Othello” and several others.
Miguel de Cervantes: Spanish author of “Don Quixote”, a strong criticism of medieval knighthood.
Luís de Camões: featured in Renaissance literature in Portugal, being the author of the great epic poem “Os Lusíadas”.
The main artists of the Renaissance were:
Leonardo da Vinci: Mathematician, physicist, anatomist, inventor, architect, sculptor and painter, he was the stereotype of the Renaissance man who mastered several sciences. Therefore, he is considered an absolute genius. The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper are his masterpieces.
Rafael Sanzio: he was a master of painting and famous for knowing how to convey delicate feelings through his images. One of his most perfect works is the Madonna of the Rose.
Michelangelo: Italian artist whose work was marked by humanism. Besides being a painter, he was one of the greatest sculptors of the Renaissance. Among his works are Pietá, David, The Creation of Adam and The Last Judgment. He was also responsible for painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
The Renaissance was marked by important scientific discoveries, especially in the fields of:
Nicolaus Copernicus, challenged the geocentric theory defended by the Church when he declared that “the Earth is not the center of the universe, but simply a planet revolving around the Sun”.
Galileo Galilei discovered Saturn’s rings, sunspots and Jupiter’s satellites. Persecuted and threatened by the Church, Galileo was forced to publicly deny his ideas and discoveries.
In medicine, he expanded his knowledge with works and experiments on: