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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(1,717 words)

Author(s): Klein, Ursula
1. GeneralToday laboratories are privileged places for experimentation in all the natural sciences. In the early modern period, by contrast, experiments were carried out in a variety of places: public assembly rooms, coffee houses, private salons, kitchens, and only in one specific area in laboratories as well.In the late 17th century, one of the most famous early modern experimentalists, Robert Hooke, did not work in a laboratory but in his private residence and in the assembly rooms of the Royal Society, which did not have its own labo…
Date: 2019-10-14

Labor, division of

(7 words)

See Work | Market
Date: 2019-10-14

Laborer, rural

(926 words)

Author(s): Ehmer, Josef
The term rural laborer (or  agricultural laborer; French  ouvrier agricole, German Landarbeiter, Italian  lavoratore agricolo) emerged as a specific social category in the socio-political and social-scientific debates of the late 19th century [3]; [6]. It denotes members of a social group who earned their living exclusively or primarily by wage labor in agriculture, often throughout the year and their entire working life. Rural laborers were employed at short notice as day laborers or with weekly or monthly labor contracts; …
Date: 2019-10-14

Laborer, unlanded

(1,017 words)

Author(s): Grüne, Niels
1. Basic characteristics and variant terminologyIn the sub-peasant spectrum of rural society, the unlanded laborers (German Einlieger) comprised those persons who, though they had no real assets, unlike the servants in husbandry rented living quarters (and sometimes commercial space) and were able establish an independent household and live in wedlock (Marriage; Family). In the social fabric, the fact that they did not own any buildings distinguished unlanded laborers from cottagers. In the sources, the term  Einlieger appears throughout the territory of northwes…
Date: 2019-10-14

Labor market

(4 words)

See Market
Date: 2019-10-14

Labor movement

(1,411 words)

Author(s): Sokoll, Thomas
1. Concept and terminologyThe term labor movement refers to the organised representation of the interests of workers in an industrial society by trade unions and by one or more political parties of their own. After emerging as a social mass movement in the second half of the 19th century the labor movement reached its political zenith in the 20th century, based on universal suffrage. In all the European countries (but not in the United States of America) workers’ parties repeatedly participated in …
Date: 2019-10-14

Labor unrest

(6 words)

See Strike | Protest
Date: 2019-10-14

Labor, withdrawal of

(10 words)

See Organized labor, prohibition of | Strike
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,022 words)

Author(s): Reith, Reinhold
1. Definition and manufactureLace (French  dentelles, Dutch kant, German  Spitze, Italian  merletto) is a collective term for decorative elements made of thread or thread and fabric (Textiles). In all its forms it is openwork: spaces of various sizes between the threads constitute a pattern. Lace must not be confused with embroidery (Textile technology). Its origins probably go back to the decorative treatment of hems by the darning, knotting, or braiding of warp threads.Technically there are two kinds of lace: needle lace and bobbin lace. In the former, threads a…
Date: 2019-10-14

Ladies’ court

(940 words)

Author(s): Kolk, Caroline zum
1. Definition and functionIn highly developed societies, women belonging to the elite were entitled to their own staff and attendants who saw to their physical and mental needs. The term ladies’ court denotes the group of ladies-in-waiting, dignitaries, and domestics (Servant) that were in service to a princess.The functions of the early modern ladies’ court were multifaceted and closely associated with the status of its mistress. Besides supplying material provisions to the princess and her retinue, especially in periods of medieval itine…
Date: 2019-10-14

Ladies’ foundation

(1,149 words)

Author(s): Koch, Lucia
1. Definition and organization In a broad sense, the term ladies’ foundation (also  house of canonesseswomen's conventsecular foundation) denotes a community of women who led a religious life without being tied to a monastic community [10] (Monasticism; Monastery). The question whether such foundations were reserved exclusively to the (high) nobility or included women from different estates (Estates, society of) is a matter of scholarly debate. Ladies’ foundations existed since the early Middle Ages, especially in Saxony, …
Date: 2019-10-14


(4 words)

See Jewish languages
Date: 2019-10-14


(7 words)

See Dame | Gender roles
Date: 2019-10-14


(7 words)

See Court | Ladies’ court
Date: 2019-10-14

Laesio enormis

(4 words)

See Usury
Date: 2019-10-14


(772 words)

Author(s): Köster, Roman
1. DefinitionThe maxim laissez-faire probably goes back to a French businessman named Legendre. Asked by Jean-Baptiste Colbert, the finance minister of Louis XIV, what would be the best economic policy for the state to follow, he is said to have replied “Laissez-nous faire” (“Leave it to us”) [3. 211]. In 1734 the French writer René d’Argenson used the same formula in his unpublished memoirs and repeated it in 1751 in a contribution to the  Journal œconomique. But the maxim became popular primarily among the physiocrats (Physiocracy) in the form  laissez faire et laissez passer (“L…
Date: 2019-10-14


(1,337 words)

Author(s): Wolff, Jens
1. TerminologyThe early modern terms laicism and  laicity, like laity itself, go back to Greek  laós (“people”), but belong to the context of the specifically early modern process of secularization. The English words translated the 19th-century French neologism laïcité and its negative variant  laïcisme [1]. In Romance countries,  laicity is synonymous with “secularization,” but in the English-, Scandinavian-, and German-speaking world it generally denotes its political aspect, namely the distinction between the secular and religious sp…
Date: 2019-10-14


(733 words)

Author(s): Theobald, Ulrich
Lamaism is a blend of original Buddhist ideals with rituals from Tantrism and practices of the ancient Tibetan Bön religion. Alongside the Mahayana (the “Great Vehicle”) and Theravada (Hinayana, the “Smaller Vehicle”), it is considered the third “vehicle” of Buddhism. The term  Lamaism derives from the outstanding status of the monastic abbot or teacher, the lama. Besides its homeland Tibet, Lamaism is also found today in the southern and western mountain valleys of the Himalaya, in Mongolia, and from there into eastern Siberia. Thro…
Date: 2019-10-14


(3 words)

See Lighting
Date: 2019-10-14

Land charge

(5 words)

See Land rights
Date: 2019-10-14
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