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University of Newcastle

European Empires: An Introduction, 1400–1522

University of Newcastle via FutureLearn


Learn about European empires and Europe’s history of expansion

It’s the encounters that occurred beyond European borders that shaped Europe itself.

You will become familiar with the origins and nature of European interactions with the lands and people beyond its borders. This includes investigating the discovery of a westward route to the Americas and the building of states, nations and empires.

This online course will focus on primary sources and introduce you to some of the key events, issues and themes of European history that still resonate today.

This course is for anyone looking to improve their knowledge of European history or their historical skills.


  • The Rise of Europe
    • Welcome to European Empires
    • The World on the Eve of 1400
    • 14th & 15th Century Transformations
    • Expansion and Contraction
  • Europe and its Overseas Empires
    • European Understandings of Geography in the Fifteenth Century
    • Portuguese Exploration and Empire
    • 'Discovering' the New World
  • The Conquest of Latin America
    • The New World
    • Conquest of the Aztecs
    • Why Was Cortés Able to Conquer the Aztecs?

Taught by

Michael Kilmister


4.0 rating, based on 1 Class Central review

4.5 rating at FutureLearn based on 221 ratings

Start your review of European Empires: An Introduction, 1400–1522

  • Millie B.
    This is definitely a course where you get out what you out in. I found it very rewarding. I knew very little history beforehand and found it easy to follow.

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