Background of Medieval Europe

Fall of Constantinople (29 May, 1453)

  • It is an event of capturing the capital of the Byzantine Empire by the Ottoman Empire and the fall of Byzantine empire.
  • Byzantine empire also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium has its capital in Constantinople.
  • Ottomans were represented by Sultan Mehmed II (later nicknamed “the Conqueror”) while Byzantine Empire was led by Emperor Constantine XI Palaiologos.


  • Mehmed II made Constantinople the new Ottoman capital, replacing Adrianople. Byzantine empire lost its control over the trade with Central and East and South Asia.
  • After getting hands over the existing silk route and Red sea route, Arab traders began controlling European trade to India and China. They charged huge fee and taxes on the passage of goods. This made them supernormally rich while the European traders registered huge losses year on year.
  • Meanwhile, due to various fears and threats, Greek Christians moved from Turkey to Italian cities and brought their culture and knowledge to Italy. They taught mathematics, history, geography, philosophy, astronomy, medicine etc. to the people of Italy.
  • Renaissance began in Europe with improvement in shipbuilding and navigation.
  • Ruling dynasty in Portugal (e.g., Prince Hency the Navigator) took the lead to lay down exploration plans to find new sea routes to India.
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