Reformation in Europe

Information / Instructions
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Explanatory Factors and the spread of Protestantism

NOTE: This map has several points that overlap and you need to zoom right down to city level to see them! (Ex. Wittenberg, London)

Historical Context: 

Reformation is the religious revolution that took place in the Western church in the 16th century. Its greatest leaders were Martin Luther and John Calvin, with figures such as King Henry VIII featuring prominently in its spread. It had far-reaching political, economic, and social effects, and became the basis for the founding of Protestantism, one of the three major branches of Christianity.
Source: http://britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/495422/Reformation

IO 1 Situatetimespace
Step 1: Situate in space and time... the spread of Christianity

Students view the animation on Religion by Maps of War website.
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAyuyf3wRY0
Source: http://www.mapsofwar.com/ind/history-of-religion.html
Alternative map animation at http://westernconservatory.com/products/spread-gospel-map

a) As a class, pause film to identify key historical events and contexts (ex. Jesus in Roman Empire, Crusades in Medieval times)

b) In groups, identify the chronology of 3 more specific events (wars, migrations, religion foundings, etc.)

c) As a class, on a master timeline, mark and verify each group's events' chronologies. Note together the approximate beginnings of Christianity and then Protestantism in terms of other world events.

IO 1 Examinephenomenon IO 2 Establishfacts
Step 2: Examine the phenomena of... Protestant Religions
Watch overview video entitled "AP World History - What was the Reformation?". It describes some of the history surrounding the period, and refers briefly to the three main splits from the Catholic Church: Lutheranism, Calvinism, and Anglicanism. Take notes and discuss chronology, locations, and general similarities and differences of the different people, countries, religions.

Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDXwsuRxzo4
Alternatively, LEARN users can view "Just the Facts: World History: The Reformation" on Discovery Streaming.

IO 6 Explanatory Factors
Step 3: Determine and Interpret the factors... that ignited the various Reform Movements
In groups divide up the task of closely examining the "Key Factor" markers and shapes already on this map. Your goal is to determine the different causes of the reformation, and to interpret the documents and texts provided.

Either work together on one main map using one account, or create a common share code so you can each see each other's map work on different accounts. (The second option may require others to delete points they aren't working on themselves.)


  • Before opening each marker, use the ZOOM tools to slowly zoom right down to each point at street level. (Hint: Use the Shift key to select area to zoom.) Alter map technologies at bottom, from street views to satellite views to better understand that location today. Use the panorama icon at top to see the sites now.
  • Open, and carefully read and view the "Key Factor" marker description, and view any attached documents or videos. These markers present factors that caused people to challenge the authority of the Pope and of the Catholic Church, and to ultimately “reform” it into new religions.
Your task:
    • Explain the factor: Edit the marker’s description to add your own explanation of why people or groups challenged the Catholic Church .
    • Identify the specific factors (causes for challenge to church) represented in the document by analyzing the image using the SVG editor. Do this by circling, labelling or highlighting parts of the document that relate to, or are key, to your explanation!

Step 4: Culminating Task: Explain the Protestant Religions

Use the general resources below and those provided as links within the various place marks and zones on the map!

a) Research further the 3 main branches of Protestantism at this time.

b) Use the zone/line tools to indicate the spread and influence of the 3 different churches. (You can even draw arrow shapes using the shape tool!)
  • Give your shapes the title of the religions they describe.
  • Use the Select Tool (arrow) to give each shape a different colour.
  • Add a legend item for those colours, to denote the religion that colour stands for and the time period for the start and early spread of that religion.

c) Explanations, Locations, Characteristics:
Return to the Pan/Zoom tool (hand) to choose and open your shapes to edit the description. In the description:
  • Write one paragraph summarizing how that particular branch of Protestantism started.
  • Add another paragraph describing to which countries it spread, and the approximate time period of that spread.
  • Finally, write one paragraph describing characteristics of that branch of Protestantism that differentiated it from the other branches.

Resource to get you started in your research:

List of seven causes

BBC History: English Reformation http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/tudors/english_reformation_01.shtml

HIstory.com The Reformation articles and videos

Calvinism http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/calvinism/

Khan Academy lectures: The Protestant Reformation http://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/art-history/art-history-1500-1600-end-of-the-renaissance-and-the-reformation/new-topic/a/the-protestant-reformation

Protestant Reformation through maps (teacher PPT)

Protestant Reformation and Printing (teacher PPT)

Religious Situation in Europe, c.1560 www.wwnorton.com/college/history/ralph/resource/religion.htm

Extra Resources and overview videos

Crash course