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Social Sci LibreTexts

2.2: Historical Development Patterns

  • Page ID
  • Learning Objectives

    1. Outline how the Roman Empire and the Viking era contributed to European development.
    2. Describe how European colonialism changed or influenced other countries.
    3. Explain the major developments that prompted the Industrial Revolution.
    4. Summarize the impact of the rural-to-urban shift and its impact on urbanization specifically.
    5. Outline the concept of a nation-state and explain how this applies to Europe.
    6. Explain how cultural forces can positively or negatively influence political units.
    7. Identify the three main language groups and the three main religious denominations of Europe.

    Europe didn’t become a center for world economics with high standards of living by accident. Historical events in global development have favored this realm because of its physical geography and cultural factors. In southern Europe, the Greeks provided ideas, philosophy, and organization. Greek thinkers promoted the concept of democracy. The Romans carried the concept of empire to new levels. From about 150 BCE to 475 CE, the Romans brought many ideas together and controlled a large portion of Europe and North Africa. The Roman Empire introduced a common infrastructure to Europe. The Romans connected their world by building roads, bridges, aqueducts, and port facilities. They understood how to rule an empire. By taking advantage of the best opportunities of each region they controlled, they encouraged the best and most-skilled artisans to focus on what they did best. This created the specialization of goods and a market economy. No longer did everyone have to make everything for themselves. They could sell in the market what they produced and purchase products made by others, which would be of higher quality than what they could make at home. Regions that specialized in certain goods due to local resources or specialty skills could transport those goods to markets long distances away. The Roman Empire connected southern Europe and North Africa.

    Figure 2.6 Extent of the Roman Empire, 117 CE


    Wikimedia Commons – public domain.