What Was the Renaissance AP World History?

The Renaissance was a period of cultural and intellectual rebirth that spanned roughly from the 14th to the 17th century in Europe. It is often considered a bridge between the Middle Ages and modern times, and is characterized by its focus on art, literature, science, and humanism. In this article, we will explore what the Renaissance was in more detail and its significance in AP World History.

The Origins of the Renaissance

The origins of the Renaissance can be traced back to Italy in the 14th century. At this time, Italy was a collection of city-states that were centers for trade and commerce. Wealthy merchants and bankers began to commission works of art that reflected their newfound prosperity, leading to a revival of classical art forms such as sculpture and painting.


One of the most significant aspects of the Renaissance was its emphasis on humanism. Humanism emphasized human potential and achievement, as opposed to focusing solely on religious doctrine. This led to a renewed interest in classical literature, philosophy, and science.

The Arts

The arts played a central role in the Renaissance. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael created works that are still celebrated today for their beauty and technical skill. Architecture also flourished during this period with many iconic buildings such as St. Peter’s Basilica being constructed.


The Renaissance also saw significant advancements in science. Scientists such as Galileo Galilei made groundbreaking discoveries about astronomy while others like William Harvey advanced our understanding of anatomy.

The Significance of the Renaissance in AP World History

The Renaissance had a profound impact on European society at the time and its effects can still be felt today. It marked a shift away from medieval ways of thinking towards more modern attitudes about individuality, reason, and progress. The Renaissance also played a role in the Age of Exploration, as European powers began to expand their territories and trade routes.

Impact on Art

The impact of the Renaissance on art cannot be overstated. The techniques developed during this period laid the foundation for much of the art that followed, including the Baroque and Rococo styles. Many of the works created during this time are still celebrated today as some of the greatest examples of artistic achievement.

Impact on Science

The advancements made during the Renaissance set the stage for modern science. The scientific method, which emphasizes observation and experimentation, was developed at this time and remains a cornerstone of scientific inquiry today.

Impact on Society

The Renaissance had a profound impact on European society at the time. It led to a renewed interest in classical learning and human potential, which in turn sparked advancements in art, science, and philosophy. It also paved the way for more modern attitudes towards individuality, reason, and progress.


In conclusion, the Renaissance was a period of cultural and intellectual rebirth that had a profound impact on European society. Its emphasis on humanism, art, science, and reason marked a significant departure from medieval ways of thinking and helped pave the way for modern attitudes towards individuality and progress. Understanding its significance is crucial to understanding AP World History as it laid many foundations for modern society.