Political Changes in the High Middle Ages
The period of the High Middle Ages saw the emergence of the states and kingdoms which evolved into the leading European powers over following centuries: Germany, France, England, and the Spanish and Scandinavian kingdoms. The mentioned states managed to achieve the stability required for economic growth and to consolidate their power which resulted in the territorial expansion.
The Spanish kingdoms were established on the ruins of the declining power of the Moors, while the German kings and dukes constantly carried out pressure on territories eastern from the rivers Oder and Elbe. The Scandinavians extended their rule over Iceland and established their settlement in Greenland and North America. England which was invaded by Normans eventually subdued Wales, Ireland and Scotland. However, European expansion in the High Middle Ages was mostly directed to the south – the Mediterranean. Rome was considered the center of Christianity, while the Italian coast cities provided a great opportunity for profit from the trade with luxurious products from the East. For that reason German kings and Holy Roman Emperors launched several military campaigns to gain control over Italy, while the Normans founded their kingdom in Sicily and Southern Italy.
The High Middle Ages also saw the first European expansions out of Europe. One century after the voyage of Leif Ericson in North America, the French and Norman knights founded their kingdoms in Antioch, Syria and Palestine.