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Henry VIII
(1491-1547)
Henry VIII was born on June 28, 1491, in Greenwich Place, England. He died on January 28, 1547, in Whitehall, England.

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A Shift in European Power
Before the 1400's, Europe had been centered around the Mediterranean Sea. There had been strong governments in Greece and Rome.

During the 1400's, Europe was seeing a shift in power from the Mediterranean nations to the nations in Northern and Western Europe.

Christopher Columbus sailed for Spain. In 1492, Columbus crossed the Atlantic Ocean and discovered the New World. He was the first European to cross the Atlantic Ocean.

Vasco da Gama sailed for Portugal. In 1499, da Gama discovered a trade route around the tip of Africa to the Indies. The tip of Africa is called the Cape of Good Hope.

These explorations led to an expansion of both Spain's and Portugal's economic power.

Europe was also experiencing a change in political power. In France, Louis XII replaced Francis I. In Spain, Charles of Ghent succeeded Ferdinand.

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The Renaissance
The Renaissance swept through Europe from the 1400's to the 1600's.

Renaissance is a French word meaning "rebirth." During this time, Europe was experiencing a "rebirth" of painting, sculpting, literature, architecture, and science. Europe was relearning the lessons of ancient Greece and Rome. Florence, Italy was the center of the Renaissance movement.

Two famous Renaissance artists are Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

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The Reformation
People did not have religious freedom. Each country decided which religion to follow. The people had no choice and had to follow the religion of their country.

During this time, however, people began to question the authority of the Church. One of these people was Martin Luther.

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Martin Luther (1483-1546)
Martin Luther was a German theologian. He thought the Catholic Church abused their power.

In 1517, Luther posted his 95 theses to the door of the Wittenberg Castle in Germany. Luther then formed the first Protestant congregation which broke off from the Catholic Church in protest. This began the Protestant Reformation.

The Protestant Reformation was a religious movement which divided Christians into Catholics and Protestants. Catholics followed the Pope who was the head of the Church in Rome. Protestants left the Catholic Church.

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University of Cambridge & Trinity College
The University of Cambridge was founded in 1209, in Cambridge, England. It has evolved over the years to become the popular and well respected University that exists today. In addition, the University of Cambridge is one of the oldest universities in the world and one of the largest in the United Kingdom.

In the beginning (early 1200s), scholars migrated and settled in Cambridge. By 1226, there were enough scholars in Cambridge to set up an organization represented by a Chancellor and arrange a regular course study taught by its own members.

It soon became necessary to distinguish the scholars who had been granted a degree. This was marked with a ceremony of admission to the different grades (known as a graduation). The grades of the scholars were differentiated by variations on the cap, gown, and hoods. Many of these practices are prominent today.

The University of Cambridge was made up of different Colleges. The first College, St. Peter's or Peterhouse, was founded in 1284. King's Hall was founded in 1317. In the 1400s, the following Colleges were founded: Michaelhouse, Clare, Pembroke, Gonville Hall, Trinity Hall (not the same as Trinity College), Corpus Christi, King's, Queens', and St. Catharine's.

In 1546, Henry VIII founded Trinity College from the existing Colleges of King's Hall and Michaelhouse. Henry wanted this College to produce future leaders of the reformed Church of England. Henry chose King's Hall because of its connection with the Royal Court and public service. This royal connection remains today, and several members of the royal family have been members of Trinity College.

During the first 100 years, Trinity College grew in size and importance. Today, it is the largest of the thirty-one Colleges which make up the University of Cambridge. Also, its alumni consists of brilliant people, including Sir Isaac Newton and 31 Nobel Prize winners.

Did you know the city of Cambridge took its name from the bridge across the River Cam?

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