Below is part of a Twitter thread, in which medieval scholars discuss the end of the Middle Ages in different areas. The examples included show that this is a difficult question to answer and that geography plays an important role.
Prepping my first class of the summer and I'd like to know: If you are medievalist or a Renaissance scholar (or has done work on these periods), could you share what you consider to be the end of the Middle Ages?— Juliana 👑 is dissertating from home (@medievaljuliana) May 21, 2021
(Yes, I know it is complicated and that's the point.)
In a committee meeting reviewing job descriptions - One wanted someone to teach ‘early modern’ but didn’t specify a period. Chair: Historians, when does the early modern period start? 2 voices simultaneously: The late 15th c./the early 17th c. Chair: 16th century it is then.— Dr Frances Clemson 🇪🇺🇬🇧🇩🇪 (@FrancesVClemson) May 21, 2021
in Hungarian historiography, the Middle Ages end in the afternoon of 29 August 1526 (with us losing the battle of Mohács against the Ottoman army)— orsi 🌩 (@aylosro1) May 21, 2021
I love those questions! There is a strong case for 1520s between the Pyrenees and the Dniepr. It also works for the Indian subcontinent re: Mughals. 1540s for large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa with the waning of the Mali Empire.— Mateusz Fafinski (@Calthalas) May 21, 2021
I like a one-two punch of Columbus and the Reformation; the end of "Christendom" as an imagined community and the near-simultaneous emergence of an Atlantic-focused political-economic order generally bring a pretty neat end to the various threads of my medieval master narrative— Peter Raleigh (@PetreRaleigh) May 21, 2021
The very first place the Middle Ages were over was in Florence, Italy.— The High Philosopher (@thcphilosopher) May 21, 2021
I'm not sure the exact second Modernity began, but sometime shortly after the ascension of the Albizzi in 1382.
Tang-Song Transition (9th/10th c.) in China, according to Naito Konan who deemed the Song (960-1279) early modern. There is a long debate among historians of China. Lately, a new framework called the 'Middle Period' instead of Middle Ages has taken hold in American scholarship.— Michael Höckelmann 何彌夏 a.k.a. 'eunuch guy' (@MedievalChina) May 21, 2021
It is difficult to define "Global Middle Ages" when scholars are arguing about the term on two fronts: 1) whether or not the term is even acceptable to use and 2) if it is used, what it means and what it includes. We do believe that the term, even with its issues, is useful. The main goal of "Global Middle Ages" is to include a broader and more robust study of the medieval period beyond the borders of western Europe. While the world was not globalized in the sense it is today, there were many connections across the oceans and continents.
The efforts to define the "Global Middle Ages" so far focus on incorporating Africa, Eurasia, Asia, the Middle East and Levant, and the Americas within the existing field of medieval western Europe. Doing so requires interdisciplinary studies about the various interconnections that existed, including, but not limited to, topics such as: networks, trade, travel, religions, global cities, languages, pandemics, climate, and wars. One of the most difficult parts about defining the "Global Middle Ages" is that the "Middle Ages" are not clearly defined themselves. As the Twitter feed to the left shows, the Middle Ages ended at different times in different places; some say it ended at early as the mid-14th century, while others claim it did not end until the 17th century. For the sake of establishing a definition, we are going to say that the Middle Ages were from c.500 to c.1500.