Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Executive editor of the English version: Andrew Colin Gow

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The Encyclopedia of Early Modern History is the English edition of the German-language Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. This 15-volume reference work, published in print between 2005 and 2012 and here available online, offers a multi-faceted view on the decisive era in European history stretching from ca. 1450 to ca. 1850 ce. in over 4,000 entries.
The perspective of this work is European. This is not to say that the rest of the World is ignored – on the contrary, the interaction between European and other cultures receives extensive attention.

New articles will be added on a regular basis during the period of translation, for the complete German version see Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit Online.

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Habeas corpus

(961 words)

Author(s): Demmer, Margarete | Klippel, Diethelm
1. Concept and definitionThe Latin phrase habeas corpus (“you may/should have the body,” meaning “to secure the body”) is understood in a narrow sense as the constitutional protection from illegal imprisonment as a fundamental judicial right. In a broader sense, habeas corpus has evolved into protection from arbitrary prosecution, incarceration, and punishment. Even more comprehensive definitions may be given: habeas corpus thus is occasionally described as the “great writ of liberty” [3] or the “classic fundamental right of human dignity” and as such viewed as…
Date: 2019-10-14


(3 words)

See Privatdozent
Date: 2019-10-14


(2,176 words)

Author(s): Liehr, Reinhard
1. General For more than 400 years, from the mid-16th century until the beginning of agrarian reform, the term  hacienda (Spanish, originally “wealth,” from Lat.  facienda, “things to be done”) denoted a market-oriented estate farm that produced grain and/or cattle in the arable high valleys and plateaus of Spanish North, Central, and South America. The hacienda existed as an estate farm of Spanish farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs in the vicinity of Indian peasant communities whose origins went back to the era be…
Date: 2019-10-14


(941 words)

Author(s): Törpsch, Silke
1. The term The etymology of the word  Hagestolz is not clear; the elements  hag (OHG, MHG: “fenced parcel of land”) and staldan (Gothic: “possess”) can be reconstructed, but any further statement about the word’s meaning in a historical context is speculative.In the late Midde Ages and early modern period, unmarried men and women (but also children) in the German-speaking lands were called Hagestolz/ Hagestolzin if at death all or part of their estate was claimed by feudal, judicial, manorial, or territorial authorities. Here the term is part of the autho…
Date: 2019-10-14


(3 words)

See Theology, 5.
Date: 2019-10-14


(2,438 words)

Author(s): Bergengruen, Maximilian
1. Terminology Hagiography (from Greek  hágios, “holy,” and graphḗ, “writing”) is the conventional modern term for the representation of saints, usually in the form of a Christian biography meant to be edifying to the reader [19. 1]. In an extended sense, hagiography (or better: hagiology) can also mean academic engagement with the historiography of the saints. Both meanings first appeared in the 19th century. In late antiquity,  hagiographa was a term for the third division of the books of the Old Testament (Heb.  ketubim), occasionally also for the biblical books in ge…
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,235 words)

Author(s): Oberholzner, Frank
1. Introduction Hailstones are a form of precipitation generated in certain atmospheric conditions, and consist of mostly granular lumps of ice of an average diameter of 10-15 mm. Although the process by which they form has not been established in full, it involves processes of glaciation and strong convective winds within cumulonimbus or thunderclouds. Small bodies of ice form as water droplets freeze on to so-called nuclei (e.g. dust particles present in the cloud), and rising convection holds t…
Date: 2019-10-14


(926 words)

Author(s): Gareis, Iris
Through all ages and cultures, human hair - particularly that on the head - has played an important role in social and religious or cultic spheres. As a derivative of skin, threadlike and sensitive to touch, hair is attached to its owner but can be styled, dyed, or colored in many different ways. When separated from the body, hair survives for centuries, and can be worked into wigs or decorations. As an outwardly visible sign, hair can define its wearer through its cut, color, style, etcetera, as a member of a particular age group, social grouping, or religious or political affiliation.During…
Date: 2019-10-14

Haitian Revolution

(2,047 words)

Author(s): König, Hans-Joachim
1. Definition The term Haitian Revolution refers to the 1791 slave revolt in the French colony of Saint-Domingue and the events that followed it (Slavery). After the American Revolution of 1776, it was the second such uprising in the New World, and its outcome, in 1804, was the foundation of the first independent modern state in Latin America [6]. The constitution of this state, called Haiti, by former slaves had a fateful impact on the direction of the Latin American wars of independence.Hans-Joachim König 2. Racial conflicts Ever since the Treaty of Rijswijk (1697), whic…
Date: 2019-10-14


(904 words)

Author(s): Münch, Ernst
In medieval and early modern Germany, the term “ Haken” could refer to one of three things: a plowing implement (the digging-stick plow), a subunit of a hide (Hufe [hide]), or a peasant taxation district.The division between digging-stick and sod-turning/plowing technologies in Europe went back to the 3rd century BCE if not earlier [2. 157]. The symmetrical, usually wooden digging-stick plow cut and disturbed the soil evenly, no deeper or more broadly in any one place (and so was also called the rake plow); this was initially in more widespread …
Date: 2019-10-14


(4 words)

See Judaic law
Date: 2019-10-14


(672 words)

Author(s): Kesper-Biermann, Sylvia
Halsgerichtsordnung [German, literally, “neck court order”; plural:  Halsgerichtsordnungen ] designates compilations of legal rules for criminal procedure that emerged in the late Middle Ages at courts of law that passed judgment on serious criminal acts and could impose punishment on “neck and hand,” that is, the death penalty and corporal punishment. In some cases, such criminal orders also contained measures concerning substantive criminal law, that is, they listed individual crimes (Criminal offense)…
Date: 2019-10-14

Hambach Festival

(871 words)

Author(s): Brandt, Hartwig
The Hambach Festival of 1832 was the first major political demonstration in German history. It also marked the zenith of political protest in the wake of the 1830 July Revolution in France (the  Trois Glorieuses; French Revolution [1830]). After the quiet 1820s, a new phase of political activity was now underway in Germany. The provincial assemblies ( Landtage) of the medium-sized states of the Confederation were taking the liberal substance of the constitution literally. The press, assemblies, and societies were creating an unprecedented form of po…
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,087 words)

Author(s): Pichol, Karl
1. Terminology The word  hammer is primarily associated with the hand hammer, consisting of a head with a bell and face (flat end) and a peen (narrow end) along with an eye (hole of the handle) and a handle; it evolved from prehistoric hammer-like tools (some 350,000 years ago). The hammer was both an effective tool and a potent weapon, with ritual and mythological significance. As a gavel, it is used to call for order in a courtroom and in auctions; it serves as a sacred implement at consecrations …
Date: 2019-10-14

Hammer mill

(4 words)

See Hammer 
Date: 2019-10-14


(4 words)

See Executioner
Date: 2019-10-14

Hanseatic League

(1,748 words)

Author(s): Hammel-Kiesow, Rolf
1. Late Middle AgesThe Hanseatic League was a coalition of Low German merchants and towns to form a trading company, which carried on long-distance trade (Trade, Long-distance ) in northern Europe from the mid-12th century (the so-called early Hanseatic period) to the end of the 17th, dominating it between roughly 1300 and 1500.In the 15th century, the Hanseatic League included some 70 cities that participated actively in its enterprise and about 130 additional smaller towns represented by them, located between Zaltbommel at the mouth of the R…
Date: 2019-10-14

Hanseatic port

(5 words)

See Hanseatic League
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,830 words)

Author(s): Newmark, Catherine
1. Philosophical happiness: early theoriesSince classical antiquity, the assumption that all human beings want to be happy has been one of the undisputed premises of philosophical ethics. Since Aristotle (4th century BCE), happiness or felicity has been understood as the highest good, pursued for its own sake, and ultimate goal of all human actions; it is therefore one of the central concepts of so-called eudaemonistic moral philosophy (from Greek eudaimonía, “[inward] happiness”; cf. Lat. beatitudo – in contrast to Greek  eutychía and Lat. fortuna, a happy fortune [Fate, …
Date: 2019-10-14


(3,754 words)

Author(s): Ellmers, Detlev
1. State of researchIn the early modern period, there were so many different types of harbor, with the larger ones fulfilling such a wealth of diverse functions, that no scholarly presentation covers all relevant aspects (for an initial survey, see [13]). To date there has been no synoptic overview of the development of harbors in Europe and overseas, even rudimentarily. Numerous studies are limited to the development of individual harbors or groups of harbors, particular aspects, or the archaeological record [1]. Even titles that sound quite promising [19] fail to convey a coh…
Date: 2019-10-14
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