Sea Travel, Trade, and Warfare in Early Modern Europe

Exploring the economic and political impacts of maritime enterprises of Europe in the Early Modern world. By McLain SidmoreJunior History MajorCarleton College Introduction The Hanseatic League (or Hansa) was a mercantile organization founded by traders and merchants from Northern Europe in the thirteenth century. It dominated trade in the region between the Netherlands and Poland[…]

Being ‘Mad’: Mental Illness in Early Modern England

The treatment of mental disorders in England during the Elizabethan and Jacobian periods. By Dr. Aleksandar DimitrijevicProfessor of PsychologyUniversity of Belgrade It has become almost a rule that the birth of scientific psychiatry and what we today term clinical psychology took place in the short period between the last decade of the XVIII century and[…]

The ‘Golden Age’ of Piracy in the Early Modern World

Colonial powers at the time constantly fought with pirates and engaged in several notable battles and other related events. Introduction The Golden Age of Piracy is a common designation for the period between the 1650s and the 1730s, when maritime piracy was a significant factor in the histories of the Caribbean, the United Kingdom, the[…]

English Coffeehouses in the 17th and 18th Centuries

Topics discussed included politics and political scandals, daily gossip, fashion, current events, philosophy, science, and more. Introduction English coffeehouses in the 17th and 18th centuries were public social places where men would meet for conversation and commerce. For the price of a penny, customers purchased a cup of coffee and admission. Travellers introduced coffee as a beverage to England during[…]

The Sick Child in Early Modern England, 1580-1720

Exploring some myths about childhood illness and treatment in the early modern period. Introduction One morning in 1630, fourteen-year-old Richard Wilmore from Stratford vomited ‘black Worms, about an inch and a half long, with six feet, and little red heads’. After vomiting, he ‘was almost dead, but a little time after he revived’. The next[…]

To Hold Nature in the Hand in an Early Modern Manuscript

A close look at the flowers, fruits, seedpods, insects, and other small creatures in a 16th-century manuscript. By Nancy Turner and Karen Trentelman Small enough to hold in the hand, the allure of the Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta (Wondrous Monuments of Calligraphy) in the Getty Museum’s collection of manuscripts is undeniable. Hold the book close enough, and the[…]

Witch Trial Hysteria in the Medieval and Early Modern Worlds

Natural events and pandemics contributed to the hysteria surrounding the witch trials of the 16th through 18th centuries. Introduction The witch trials in the early modern period were a series of witch hunts between the 15th and 18th centuries, when across early modern Europe, and to some extent in the European colonies in North America,[…]

Horse Armor in Europe from Antiquity to the Early Modern Era

What is probably the first man-made armor for any animal appeared as early as 2600–2500 BCE. Introduction Mankind has used animals such as onagers (wild donkeys), horses, camels, elephants, and dogs in conflicts for thousands of years, but no other animal has been employed so widely and continuously and was at times so comprehensively protected[…]

The Early Modern Bavarian Illuminati: What’s Real, and What Isn’t?

The society’s goals were to oppose superstition, obscurantism, religious influence over public life, and abuses of state power. Introduction The Illuminati[1] is a name given to several groups, both real and fictitious. Historically, the name usually refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on 1 May 1776 in Bavaria, today part of[…]

Augustin Barruel: Father of the Illuminati Conspiracy Theories

Barruel wrote that the French Revolution was planned and executed by the secret societies. Introduction Augustin Barruel (October 2, 1741 – October 5, 1820) was a French publicist and Jesuit priest. He is now mostly known for setting forth the conspiracy theory involving the Bavarian Illuminati and the Jacobins in his book Memoirs Illustrating the[…]

Treatments for Hoarseness since the Early Modern World

Syrups and electuaries were popular remedies for throat complaints from the 17th century onwards. Here are some herbal remedies from the past for sore throats. It seems that many plants offered some form of relief for a sore throat– once the curative ingredient had been extracted, distilled, emulsified, dissolved with wine and sugar and then[…]

Healing with Animals in the Medieval and Early Modern Levant

Since ancient times animals have been the source of medicinal substances used in various cultures. Abstract Animals and products derived from different organs of their bodies have constituted part of the inventory of medicinal substances used in various cultures since ancient times. The article reviews the history of healing with animals in the Levant (The[…]

Harnessing the Power of the Criminal Corpse in Early Modern England

A new theology that came to dominate British religion after the Reformation altering the relationship between the living and the dead. Introduction During the age of spectacular punishment, the bodies of those who threatened the State or social order were subject to highly visible symbolic justice. The executions and dead bodies of traitors in particular[…]

Exports for Precious Metals: Mercantilism in the Early Modern World

Mercantilism was a political movement and an economic theory, dominant in Europe between 1600 and 1800. Introduction Mercantilism is an economic system that dominated the major European trading nations during the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries. This “mercantile system” was based on the premise that national wealth and power were best served by increasing exports[…]

To the Plank with Ye, Davy Jones Awaits! Piracy in the Early Modern World

The occurrence of piracy was closely related to international trade, as those involved in piracy would have experience sailing trade routes. Introduction Piracy is a robbery committed at sea, or outside the normal jurisdiction of any state, by an agent without a commission from a sovereign nation. There have existed, throughout history, many famous and[…]

The Maratha Empire of Early Modern India

As the British expanded their presence in India, the Marathas represented a major threat to their territorial ambitions. Introduction The Maratha Empire (also transliterated, Mahratta), or the Maratha Confederacy, was a Hindu state located in present-day India. It existed from 1674 to 1818. At its peak, the empire’s territories covered 250 million acres (1 million[…]

“Theire Soe Admirable Herbe”: How the English Found Cannabis

First encountered in the 17th century in the form of bhang, an intoxicating edible which had been getting Indians high for millennia. This article, “Theire Soe Admirable Herbe”: How the English Found Cannabis, was originally published in The Public Domain Review under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0. If you wish to reuse it please see: https://publicdomainreview.org/legal/ In[…]

A Flair for the Dramatic: Baroque Architecture in Early Modern Europe

The period was characterized by a fluidity of design accented by a sense of drama. Introduction The seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries marked the Baroque period in Europe and the Americas. The period was characterized by a fluidity of design accented by a sense of drama. The architecture of the period departed from the traditionalist[…]

Classical Economics in the Early Modern World

Economic theory today still rests in many areas upon the foundations laid by classical economists. Introduction Classical economics is widely regarded as the first modern school of economic thought. The term “classical” refers to work done by a group of economists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Its major developers include Adam Smith, David Ricardo,[…]

Illustrators of the New World: The Image in the Spanish Scientific Expeditions of the Enlightenment

In the 18th Century, most travelers and explorers had painters and illustrators at their sides who recorded their adventures. Abstract In the Eighteenth Century, with the boom in the exploration of the Earth, most travellers and explorers had painters and illustrators at their sides who recorded their adventures, even their deaths, the exotic locations they[…]

Slave Rebels and Resistance in the Early Modern Revolutionary Caribbean

The history of slave rebels and resistance in the Caribbean is a rich and complicated story. Marissa: On August 30, 1789, hundreds of enslaved people gathered along the waterfront in St. Pierre, Martinique. They had just received news that the King of France had abolished slavery but their masters denied that any declaration took place.[…]

The Safavid Empire of Early Modern Persia

The Safavid dynasty had its origins in a long established Sufi order, called the Safaviyeh. Introduction The Safavids were a native Iranian dynasty from Azarbaijan that ruled from 1501 to 1736, and which established Shi’a Islam as Iran’s official religion and united its provinces under a single Iranian sovereignty in the early modern period. This[…]

Medieval and Early Modern European Christianity and Slavery

The spread of Christianity in the Early Middle Ages (from the fifth to tenth centuries) marked the boundaries of slavery throughout Europe. Before New World expansion, concepts of race and racial hierarchies did not define who could and could not be enslaved in Western Europe. Instead, the spread of Christianity in the Early Middle Ages[…]

Stories of Gender and Sexuality from Early Modern Wonder Books

The category of ‘persons who have changed their sex’ in the wonder books cannot be exactly matched onto any modern term. By Lee RayeHistorian of Science In early modern England, the wonder book provided a vernacular genre that collected stories of monsters, marvels and prodigies. Although the books had a veneer of scholarly respectability, their[…]

Enlightenment and Enlightened Absolutism in Early Modern Eastern Europe

The Enlightenment directly involved only the educated spheres of society. After Pietism and the Moravian movement, the next spiritual trend to arrive in Estonia in the mid-18th century was the Enlightenment. Its ideas were propagated in the Baltic provinces by the German Enlightenment movement which sought support from absolutism and relied heavily on the Protestant[…]

The Safavid Empire of Late Medieval and Early Modern Persia

They cleverly allied themselves with European powers in order to protect themselves from the Ottomans. Introduction The Safavids were a native Iranian dynasty from Azarbaijan that ruled from 1501 to 1736, and which established Shi’a Islam as Iran’s official religion and united its provinces under a single Iranian sovereignty in the early modern period. This[…]

The Early Modern European Palaces of the Qianlong Emperor

These works represent an artistic encounter between East and West. A Controversial Auction In 2009, two eighteenth-century Chinese bronze sculptures — one representing a rat’s head and the other a rabbit’s — sold at a Christie’s auction in Paris for $40.4 million. Soon afterwards, the art world watched, stunned, as the winning bidder, Cai Mingchao,[…]

Crossing Borders Across Venetian, Habsburg and Ottoman Empires, 1500-1800

How the Ottoman, Habsburg, and Venetian empires interacted with each other and how their competition over southeastern Europe shaped these borderlands and their inhabitants? Originally published by Newberry Digital Collections for the Classroom, 02.12.2018, Newberry Library, republished with permission for educational, non-commercial purposes. Introduction Between 1500 and 1800, three empires—Ottoman, Habsburg, and Venetian—competed for the[…]

The “Souls” of Magnets in the 17th Century

Lodestones are dull, lumpy, and slate-gray, but their “magnetic intelligence” made them fabulously expensive. Magnets have souls. At least, that was the leading scientific explanation for magnetism circa 1600, as laid out in the highly influential De Magnete. Its author, William Gilbert, experimented with lodestones, lumps of magnetite that, after being struck by lightning, turn into natural magnets.[…]