Age of Voyages, 1350-1600

ISBN-10: 0195176723

ISBN-13: 9780195176728

Edition: 2005

Authors: Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks

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Cultural life flowered from the mid-fifteenth century in the Italian city-states, many of which profited from the new trading opportunities that growing world networks permitted. Contact among regions of the world expanded, bringing new ideas and prompting an appreciation of arts and letters-not only of the present but of the past. In Italy this cultural flowering was known at first as the renaissance of arts and letters, soon shortened to just "Renaissance" to accommodate cultural ingredients that came from beyond Europe. Italian and northern European cultural expansion benefited from similar retrieval of ancient knowledge in the Islamic world and East Asia. Like the Italians, the Chinese had grown even wealthier from the extensive links to global commerce provided by the Mongol Empire, but once thrown off, their cultural life flourished under the Ming. Cultural knowledge and the arts spread across Asia and into Europe. As part of state-building, the Ming nourished commerce but also rejected the cosmopolitan Buddhist legacy that arrived from central and south Asia. To strengthen dynastic Chinese rule, the Ming challenged Buddhism with a revival of age-old concern for the Confucian values that had languished under the Mongols. Foremost among these new Confucians was Wu Yube, so expert in his teachings that he attracted a wide coterie of disciples. In India, Nanak, an educated employee of an Afghan prince, sparked the founding of Sikhism. A similar search for reviving fundamental religious values occurred in Europe, where Martin Luther challenged the practices of the Catholic church, ushering in Protestantism. Religious reform and resistance to it were closely connected to the state-building efforts of enterprising monarchs such as Henry VIII of England. India likewise experienced a fervent movement to revive pure, ancient religious practices. Fourteenth and fifteenth century global trade and long-distance ventures such as those made by the Ming and then by the Portuguese further inspired and advanced these worldwide cultural and political developments. A brisk Indian Ocean trade flourished. Economic change ensued with the arrival of New World silver on the global market. The advance of printing not only furthered the cause of religious reform and state-building globally; it also helped globalize knowledge and intellectual experimentation. People of great power and those of more limited means came to live their lives differently because of this expanding web of shared knowledge and trade. Cities flourished, the enslavement of native Americans came to replace their use as human sacrifices, and diseases migrated at a more rapid pace and greater devastation than perhaps ever before.
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Book details

List price: $32.95
Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Oxford University Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 6/23/2005
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 192
Size: 7.50" wide x 9.25" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.628
Language: English

Merry Wiesner-Hanks (Chair, Department of History, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee) received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison in 1979. She has published WORKING WOMEN IN RENAISSANCE GERMANY (Rutgers, 1986) as well as numerous articles on women and the Reformation and urban social history. She is co-author of DISCOVERING THE GLOBAL PAST (2012), DISCOVERING THE WESTERN PAST (2008), DISCOVERING THE MEDIEVAL PAST (2003), DISCOVERING THE ANCIENT PAST (2005), DISCOVERING THE TWENTIETH-CENTURY WORLD (2005), and BECOMING VISIBLE: WOMEN IN EUROPEAN HISTORY (1998). She is also the General Editor of the PROBLEMS IN EUROPEAN CIVILIZATION series.

Cast of Characters
Map of an Age of Voyages, 1350-1600
Disease and Disaster: The Dreadful 14th Century
Fleas, Rats, and Catapulted Corpses
Poisoned Air, Poisoned Wells, or Poisoned Souls?
Giovanni Boccaccio, The Decameron, 1351
Renaissance Men and Renaissance Money: Learning and Art in Italy and Beyond
You're a Genius!
The Prince, a Spanish Gentleman, and The Greatest Playwright Who Ever Lived
Leonardo da Vinci, Notebooks, 1480-1510s
Ghosts, Monkeys, or Confucius: Learning as Power in Ming China
The Emperor's New Idea
Ming's Beautiful Things
Confucian elder, instruction manual for how to run a household, late 16th century
Black and White and Read all Over: The Printing Press
Saints' Lives and Printer's Devils
A Single Invention Changes the World
Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Wythe, January 16, 1796
Luther, Loyola, Mobs, and Massacres: The Protestant and Catholic Reformations
Reforms, Revolts, and Riots
One Good Reformation Deserves Another
Martin Luther, The Freedom of a Christian, 1520
"Astonishing," "Magnificent," "Great": Rulers and Religion in Europe and Asia
Jewish Scapegoats and Christian Soldiers
The Tiger and His Tolerant Grandson
Muhammad Akbar, speech delivered to the scholars of many religions at his court, 1580
Guts, Gain, and Glory: Powerful Monarchs in England and Africa
From the Tower of London to the Top of the World
Timbuktu and the Kongo, Too
Elizabeth I, speech before English troops, Tilbury, England, 1588
"Everything the World Has to Offer": City Life
My City is Greater Than Your City
This City Stinks!
Hernan Cortes, letter to King Charles V of Spain, 1520
Silk and Spices: Travel and Trade in the Mediterranean Sea and the Indian Ocean
A Sakk of Riches
The Navigator Prince Sends Ships Sailing
Ma Huan, journal about his voyages with Zheng He, 1451
"Columbia" or "America"? Names and Fame in a "New World"
The New World-No Gold, But Plenty of Fish
Finders, Keepers?
Christopher Columbus, letter to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand, 1493
Sailors, Sugar, and Slaves: How European Voyages Changed Asia and Africa
Like Fish Out of Water
Sugar's Bitter Story
Richard Ligon, True and Exact History of the Island of Barbadoes, 1673
Germs, Silver, and Blood: New World Conquests and Global Connections
An Empire in the Mountains with a Silver Lining
From Trade Triangle to World Wide Web
An Aztec account of Cortes's conquest of Mexico, 1528
Further Reading
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