They looked for new ideas
August 20, 2012
“Between the years 1350 and 1500, a series of catastrophes struck Europe. The Black Death felled at least a fifth of the population of Europe. The Hundred Years War wreaked havoc when archers shot and cannons roared; it loosed armies of freebooters in both town and country during its interstices of peace. The Ottomans conquered Byzantium, took over the Balkans and threatened Austria and Hungary. The church splintered as first the Great Schism and then national churches tore at the loyalties of churchmen and laity alike.” (A Short History of the Middle Ages – Barbara H. Rosenwein)
Sounds like a post-apocalyptic world. Mad Max.
So how did Europe not only survive but prosper?
Confidence. Portugal and then Spain, England and France invested huge sums of money in exploration.
Invention. The printing press. A score of navigational devices.
Renaissance. People stopped being so afraid. They looked for new ideas.