‘stands in transition between on the one hand the relatively prosperous and dynamic sixteenth century, with its major religious debates, its overseas expansion and economic growth…and on the other hand, the more relaxed and expansive eighteenth century…where many intellectual and cultural trends came together in the Enlightenment. Boxed in by the Muslim world in the Mediterranean, threatened by recurrent warfare both amongst the European powers and overseas, and at times overwhelmed by disease and starvation…seventeenth-century Europe was under siege. Thomas Munck, Seventeenth-Century Europe (2005).Yet by the end of the century there had been significant changes:
- The witchcraft scare had virtually ended.
- Science had been revolutionized.
- Europe had re-oriented commercially away from the Mediterranean and towards the north west.
- England and the United Provinces (Holland) had become imperial powers.
- France had replaced Spain as the dominant land power.
- Religion remained important but wars were now fought for trade and dynastic rather than religious reasons.