The Renaissance lasted about 250 years. It started in Italy, around 1350, and ended around 1600. The word "Renaissance" means rebirth. What was reborn was an interest in learning. For a long time, after the fall of the Roman Empire, there had been little to no interest or time to learn much of anything except how to stay alive in very violent times. Most people had not learned how to read or write. But slowly, people began to want to learn again. This new beginning was called the Renaissance.
Many scholars say the Renaissance began in earnest with the invention of the printing press. The printing press made books available. If you wanted to read them, you had to learn how to read. The new interest in literature began to include art and music. Then came an interest in science and exploration. All over Europe, people became fascinated with new discoveries, new inventions, new works of art and ways of thinking about things. Some of the famous people who lived during the Renaissance include William Shakespeare, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Copernicus, Michaelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci!
Of course, learning did not stop with the end of the Renaissance. Rather the reverse - learning continued and new discoveries and interests were added, like trade with people from around the world, and curiosity about a new place that Christopher Columbus was credited with discovering - a place called The New World! (The Americas.)
See Also: The Middle Ages
See Also: The Reformation