Shortly after Martin Luther was born, the last Muslim stronghold in Spain, Grenada, fell, and the liberation of the Iberian Peninsula was complete. Then Christopher Columbus, sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean, discovered the Americas, the New World. While South Western Europe was celebrating its freedom after 8 centuries of oppression and occupation under Islam, South Eastern Europe was facing the relentless onslaughts of invasion by the Turks. Since the fall of the greatest city in the world at that time, Constantinople, to the Turks, in 1453,with the massacre of all the Christians in that city, the Turks had been an ever-present threat to Christendom, as Europe was then known.
Threatened from the East by a relentless Islamic Jihad, Europe was suffering from the internal corruption of the Renaissance. The Renaissance was a time of material advance and spiritual decline. It led to the rise of absolutism and the loss of the individual rights and representative governments which Christian principles had developed throughout the Middle Ages. Renaissance rulers, eptomised by Machiavelli, rationalized despotism. Machiavelli advised rulers to be careful to maintain public relations through patronage of the arts and conspicuous charities, in order to create popularity, and to mask their hold on power.