Week 11: Wednesday, July 29, 2015
The Seventeenth Century
From Wikipedia on the Seventeenth Century:
The 17th century falls into the Early Modern period of Europe. This period was characterized by the Dutch Golden Age, the Baroque cultural movement, France in the age of Louis XIV, the Scientific Revolution, and The General Crisis. This last is characterised in Europe most notably by the Thirty Years’ War, the Great Turkish War, the end of the Dutch Revolt, and the English Civil War. It was during this period also that European colonization of the Americas began in earnest, including the exploitation of the fabulously wealthy silver deposits in Peru and Mexico which resulted in great bouts of inflation as wealth was drawn into Europe from the rest of the world. European politics during the seventeenth century were dominated by the France of Louis XIV, where royal power was solidified domestically in the civil war of the Fronde, in which the semi-feudal territorial French nobility was weakened and subjugated to the power of an absolute monarchy through the reinvention of the Palace of Versailles from a hunting lodge to a gilded prison in which a greatly expanded royal court could be more easily kept under surveillance. With domestic peace assured, Louis XIV caused the borders of France to be expanded to include, among other regions, Rousillon, Artois, Dunkirk, Franche-Comte, Strasbourg, Alsace and Lorraine. By the end of the century, Europeans were also aware of logarithms, electricity, the telescope and microscope, calculus, universal gravitation, Newton’s Laws of Motion, air pressure and calculating machines due to the work of the first scientists of the Scientific Revolution, including Isaac Newton, Gottfried Leibniz, Galileo Galilei, Rene Descartes, Pierre Fermat, Robert Hooke, Robert Boyle, Antonie van Leeuwenhoek and William Gilbert among other luminaries.
Mark Williams, The Story of Spain: The Dramatic History of Europe’s Most Fascinating Country
J. H. Elliott, Imperial Spain 1469-1716
J. R. Elliott book continues to be useful for the early part of this quarter. FOR AN EXCELLENT INTRODUCTION TO THE SUBJECT OF THESE FIRST FEW WEEKS, READ CHAPTER 8, “Splendor and Misery,” especially on the Crisis of the 1590’s.