Western European history dates back to the time of the very first evidence of Homo sapiens in the regions during Paleolithic times, to the Neolithic, and then the Bronze Age, during which man was better developed and civilizations shaped, to the Christian Era when Christianity was formed and gained popularity, and Churches gained in power, to the time of the colonization, to the time of the famed Industrial Revolution when the modern day economy based on manufacture and trade came into being, to the present day western Europe.
Historical evidence points to the fact that in ancient times, that is, the Paleolithic times of man, there exited several developed civilizations in different parts of the world. The Cro-Magnons were people, who lived during these times, and according to archaeologist Carleton Coon, the Cro-Magnon man was large, heavy boned and muscular in appearance, and he also had a powerful jaw and an inordinately large head. (Leonard R Cedric)
One must remember the fact that Cro-Magnon is the term used by historians to describe the people who lived during the Ice Ages, and according to archaeologists, the physical dimensions of these ancient people were not sufficiently different from modern man to warranty a separate term, and therefore, they could be referred to as ‘AMH’s’, or ‘Anatomically Modern Humans’. Life for the common Cro-Magnon would not have been too simple; he had to hunt for his food with crudely made implements like the Aurignacian blades, as archaeologists refer to them.
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These were long slivers of stones sharpened to a knife like point, which would then be converted into all types of hunting tools. The Atlatl, a sophisticated hunting tool with a short dart and a pocket into which the dart would be fitted, was also used by these people, The Cro-Magnons lived civilized lives, and this is a fact that can be exemplified by the discovery of a child’s body before it was interred in a sophisticated burial ritual, about 24,000 years before today. (Hirst, Kris, K n. ) They used sophisticated shelters as well, and wore refined tailored clothing made out of animal skins, and jewelry carved out of stone and animal bone and teeth. Historians often state that this was a period of cultural florescence in the history of man. (Stone, Linda 2007) However, historians also state that one of the most far reaching and transformational influences of human culture that have ever taken place in the history of man is the Industrial Revolution that took place in eighteenth century Europe.
The direct consequences of this revolution would have such an impact on human labor, consumption, social structure and even on the thoughts of man that it could be stated that the world would have been a different place today if the Industrial Revolution had never taken place when it did. It is important to remember that this revolution did not just happen overnight; it took place gradually over a period of time, with changes taking place all over the world in small doses, these changes influencing the basic social structure of man at the time.
With the coming of the Industrial Revolution, however, Europe, as well as other parts of the world, was able to move from being a primarily agricultural economy to an industry based urban economy. The structure of the family, the social obligations that had to be fulfilled and so on brought about such great change to man that even today, one has not been able to come to terms with them fully. The European economy at the time of the Industrial Revolution had become a sort of global economy, with European trade and manufacture extending to several continents close to home, except Antarctica.
The demand for European goods grew as Europeans started selling in foreign markets, and this made the conversion of Europe from an agricultural economy to an industrial manufacturing economy complete. Europe became one of the top world players in international markets. Life for the common man was however an entirely different issue. The social system was not adequate enough to provide for the rapid changes taking place, and as a result, the fast increasing population was growing increasingly confused. Business was based on exclusive monopoly, and as a consequence, many people were out of jobs. “The Industrial Revolution” n. d) Furthermore, the new factory system reduced free man to virtual slavery, and he became poorer than ever before; he could barely subsist on his wages. It even destroyed family life, and health and well being of the people. (Mises von Ludwig 1993) To conclude, it could be said that the life of common man is always at risk of being exposed to and influenced by the changes taking place in society; neither do they possess the wealth nor do they have the expertise with which to deal with the situation in an effective manner.
It is the life of common man that is subjected to the greatest changes in a country, and as exemplified by the life of the Cro-Magnon as well as the common man during the Industrial Revolution, he was forced to undergo several changes, and bear the consequences on himself, his wealth, his welfare, and his relationships. This is the way of the world, and one cannot avoid these changes as they occur; one must learn to accept them and deal with them as one sees fit, or else, suffer the dire consequences.
- Leonard R Cedric “An Atlantean Outpost” (2006) Retrieved on December 15 2008 from: <http://www.atlantisquest.com/Outpost.html>
- Hirst, Kris, K “Why don’t we call them Cro-Magnons any more?” (n.d) Retrieved on December 15 2008 from: <http://archaeology.about.com/od/earlymansites/a/cro_magnon.htm >
- Stone, Linda “Genes, Culture and Human Evolution” (2007) Google Book Search Retrieved on December 15 2008 from: < http://books.google.co.in/books?id=zdeWdF_NQhEC&pg=PA43&lpg=PA43&dq=Cro-Magnons+in+Paleolithic+Europe&source=bl&ots=wbEgEGkAGQ&sig=2HL9EByPHFl_J804fGJ5SnGxk78&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result >
- Mises von Ludwig “Facts about the Industrial Revolution” (1993) Retrieved on December 15 2008 from: <http://www.fff.org/freedom/0993e.asp >
- “The Industrial Revolution” The European Enlightenment (n.d) Retrieved on December 15 2008 from: <http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/ENLIGHT/INDUSTRY.HTM>
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