Have you ever noticed those old and magnificent cathedrals when you travel around Europe? Well, those buildings are a sign of how important Christianity is in European history. Let's find out more!
Around 2,000 years ago, there was a man named Jesus who lived in a town ruled by the Roman Empire. Jesus followed the teachings of the Jewish faith but also shared new ideas. More and more people started to believe in him. At first, the Roman Empire didn't treat Christians very well, but in 313, they changed their minds and allowed Christianity to be practiced.
After some time, the Roman Empire split into two parts: the Eastern Roman Empire (also known as the Byzantine Empire) and the Western Roman Empire. The Eastern Roman Empire lasted for about 1,000 years, while the Western Roman Empire began to fall apart in 476. When this happened, a group called the Franks rose to power in what is now France, Belgium, and northern Italy. The Franks embraced Christianity and protected the churches from Islamic raiders who wanted to harm Christianity.
In 1054, a disagreement caused a split in Christianity. There were now two groups: the Roman Catholics, led by the Pope, and the Greek Orthodox, led by the Byzantine emperors. The Roman Catholics became very powerful and built many huge cathedrals.
In the 11th century, some people from Europe felt worried when the Islamic Seljuk Turks took control of Jerusalem. They wanted to regain control, so they joined together in a series of wars called the Crusades. Unfortunately, the Crusades didn't succeed, but they did change Europe. The Pope and the lords who supported the Crusades lost some of their power, and kings became more important. From that time on, European nations focused more on their own interests and fought against each other, like in the Hundred Years' War between England and France.