What Was the Renaissance?

What Was the Renaissance?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.02

     challenging words:    long-range, lifelike, legacy, influential, military, survival, warfare, wealthy, accomplishment, sponsor, history, literature, belief, education, meaning, individual
     content words:    Great Depression, Renaissance Europe, Medieval Era, Black Plague, Christopher Columbus

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What Was the Renaissance?
By Sharon Fabian

1     For much of history, humans have had to spend their time surviving. Prehistoric people probably spent nearly all of their time hunting for food and keeping themselves safe from predators. As recently as the 1930's, when the Great Depression struck, Americans went into survival mode, spending all of their efforts on getting the necessities of life. Today in many parts of the world, survival is still all that people can think about.
2     At certain times and places, however, people have been luckier. When the conditions were just right, people became free to spend their time and energy on something special. This is what happened in Europe during the Renaissance. Many factors combined to make Renaissance Europe a special, creative place.
3     The Medieval Era which had defined Europe for so long was beginning to come to an end in the 1300's. The Black Plague wiped out a large part of the population of Europe. It also weakened people's faith in the Christian church, which had exerted so much control over the lives of medieval people. Advances in military equipment, such as the invention of long-range cannons, brought an end to medieval warfare and, so, to the feudal system. Europe was ready for a change.

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