“The West and the Rest” debate



Many historians argue that long-term social, political and cultural developments gave Europeans a competitive
advantage over rivals in Asia and the Islamic world after around 1500. Some point to the lucky “accident” of
timing and technological advancements. What caused Europe to diverge from established models of stable
empire? In discussing the idea of Western European divergence before 1650, you should include geographical,
political, social, cultural and technological factors. Cite specific examples to illustrate your general points.
Refer to this link for a summary and example:

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Include explanations and examples. For political factors you could list the following: 1) political fragmentation in
Europe vs empire; 2) rival kingdoms and interdependency of kings, nobles, commoners; 3) separation of
secular and religious authority; etc. Provide examples for each of these conditions and do the same for all of
the categories underlined in the question.


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