Europe in the Middle Ages (500-1000)
Standard: 7.6.1
  • Study learn the geography of Europe and the Eurasian land mass, including their location, topography, waterways, education, and climate and the relationship to ways of life in medieval Europe.
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Europe in the Early Middle Ages

Key Terms and People

landmass: one very large, unbroken area of land

topography: an arrangement of physical features

Middle Ages: the period between the collapse of the Roman Empire, about A.D. 500, and the beginning of the Modern Age, about A.D. 1500

medieval: related to the Middle Ages

Charlemagne: Charles the great, was the first great ruler of the middle ages.

Section Notes

The Geography of Europe

  • Together Europe and Asia form the Eurasian landmass. Europe juts out from the western end of his landmass like a giant peninsula. Europe's topography includes the fertile north European plane and mountain ranges in the north and south westerly winds bring rain to most of Western Europe, creating a warm, moist climate. Mountains block these wins from reaching the Mediterranean countries, so these countries have hot, dry, Summers and rainfall in the winters.
  • Europe also has many waterways. Rivers serve as the highways for trade, bring honor to farmland, and form natural boundaries.
  • Over time, Europe has attracted many different peoples. In the late 300s, Germanic tribes began to migrate into the Roman Empire. These migrations marked the beginning of a new period of European history called the Middle Ages. The term medieval also describes this period.

New Kingdoms in Europe

  • During the Middle Ages, Germanic tribes divided Europe into many small kingdoms. By the 530s, the Franks controlled much of the land in present-day France and Germany. By 700, their kingdom had splintered, but in 717, a leader named Charles Martel reunited the Frankish lands. His son Pepin the Short became the first leader of a new dynasty called the Carolingian Dynasty. Pepin's son Charles became one of the most famous rulers of the early Middle Ages. History knows him as Charlemagne or Charles the Great.
  • Charlemagne became king in 768. During his long reign, he font to expand his brown and building Christian empire. By 800, his empire included most of central and western Europe. However the Empire did not have a strong government. Instead, Charlemagne ruled his empire personally. He also depended on the Pope and Roman Catholic Church to support his role. Charlemagne's power and personality were so great that his empire continued after his death in 814. Within 40 years, however, quarrels among his grandsons had divided the empire.


Summary: Europe has attracted many groups of people over time. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Germanic tribes establish kingdoms across Europe.

Study Guide Questions

Why were rivers important in European history?

What was Charlemagne's goal?

Why is Europe called "peninsula of peninsulas"?

Who were the first people to control much of central and western Europe after the Romans?

What was the main strength and the main weakness of Charlemagne's empire?

Practice Test

Homework: Choose one
  1. Workbook Chapter 14, section 1 (Page 171)
  2. Answer three of the study guide questions using complete sentences.
  3. Draw a picture of something important from this section and summarize this section of the text (three sentences minimum).