- See also: History of Europe
During these few centuries, Europe rose from being an isolated part of the world to global domination.
Periodization of history is, by necessity, an abstraction made by posterity. The term early modern came into widespread use only in the 1990s, to include periods which have been known as the Renaissance, the Age of Discovery and the colonial era. In Europe, the early modern period was marked by the rise of Protestant Reformation, centralized empires with mercantilist economy, the bourgeois, the scientific revolution and gunpowder farfare, and those institutions' challenge to the Catholic church and feudal systems based around castles.
As regions of Europe developed differently, the early modern period has no universal year limit. One candidate for the year that ended the Middle Ages would be 1453; as the Hundred Years' War ended, and the Ottoman Empire seized Constantinople with cannons, ending the Byzantine Empire. However, the Italian renaissance had been in full bloom already in the 14th century, and parts of northern and eastern Europe had traits of medieval society for centuries to come.
The early modern era is regarded to have ended with the wave of revolutions of the late 17th and early 18th century, including the American, Haitian, French and Bolivarian revolutions, and the industrial revolution. These events challenged the aristocratic monarchies and guild-based mercantilist economies, and saw the rise constitutional governments with a capitalist economy.