Liberty and Property: The Levellers and Locke

The turmoil of the English Civil War in the 1640s and 1650s generated political and institutional upheaval, and stimulated radical thinking about politics. By Dr. Murray N. Rothbard Since the Civil War was fought over religion and politics, much of the new thinking was grounded in, or inspired by, religious principles and visions. Thus, as[…]

George Winstanley’s True Levellers, or Diggers, in Early Modern England

Their original name came from their belief in economic equality. Introduction The Diggers were a group of Protestant radicals in England, sometimes seen as forerunners of modern anarchism,[1] and also associated with agrarian socialism[2][3] and Georgism. Gerrard Winstanley’s followers were known as True Levellersin 1649 and later became known as Diggers, because of their attempts to farm on common land. Their original name came from their belief in[…]

Early Modern and Modern Jewish Networks of Communication

These networks formed as a result of the dispersal of Jewish society over great distances starting in antiquity. Abstract Jewish networks are the far-reaching transterritorial and transcultural channels of communication between Jews and Jewries. They formed as a result of the dispersal of Jewish society over great distances starting in antiquity and ran along the[…]

The Reivers: Raids along the Medieval and Early Modern Anglo-Scottish Border

Their heyday was in the last hundred years of their existence, during the time of the Stuart Kings in Scotland and the Tudor dynasty in England. Introduction Border reivers were raiders along the Anglo-Scottish border from the late 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century. Their ranks consisted of both Scottish and English[…]

Rich and Poor: Economic Thought from Thomas Aquinas to John Locke and Adam Smith

Starting with the medieval poor/rich-topics in the Aquinian tradition of the theological economy of charity, following a relatively unknown line of thought. Introduction In pre-classical economics, division of income was traditionally represented as an antithesis of rich and poor. Specific income classes were only defined in “classical” economics: landed property owners drew rents, capital investors[…]

Spectral Passages: John Knight and the Voyage of the ‘Hopewell’ in 1606

The vanishing of John Knight and his three companions. Introduction On June 19, 1606, John Knight ran out of options. Several days of jousting with contrary winds, waves and shifting ice floes in the Labrador Sea in his little ship, the Hopewell, had forced him onto the Labrador shore, somewhere north of present-day Nain. Anchored in an[…]

Border Theories in Early Modern Europe

The issue of inter-state relations illustrates the political relevance of changing concepts of borders in early modern Europe. Abstract This article discusses concepts and realities of “borders” in early modern Europe. It outlines the basic shifts in the relevant terminology with particular emphasis on juridical and political discourses. It focuses on the relative importance of[…]

Tempests and Teapots: Sexual Politics and Tea-Drinking in the Early Modern World

The Boston Tea Party, a foundational moment of political rebellion, was a protest against tea, and tea itself was freighted with sexual meanings. The American Revolution is impossible to understand without food and sex at its center. The Boston Tea Party, a foundational moment of political rebellion, was a protest against tea, and tea itself was[…]

The Tokugawa Shogunate: Autocratic Rule in Early Modern Japan

After the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, central authority fell to Tokugawa Ieyasu, and the Shogunate began. Introduction The Tokugawa Shogunate, also known as the Tokugawa Bakufu (徳川幕府) and the Edo Bakufu (江戸幕府), was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1603 and 1867.[3] The head of government was the shōgun,[4] and each was a member of the Tokugawa clan.[5] The Tokugawa shogunate ruled from Edo[…]

Safavid Trade during the 17th Century: Iran’s Transit Economy

Analyzing the role that the Safavid economy played within the rapidly developing global economic system. By Connor J. HamelCompetitive Intelligence AnalystAccenture Federal Services Introduction The seventeenth century ushered in a plethora of changes in global trade patterns. These fluctuating trade patterns began to generate nascent economic, political, and social trends the likes of which had[…]

The Safavid Empire, 1501-1736

The empire established Shi’a Islam as Iran’s official religion and united its provinces under a single Iranian sovereignty in the early modern period. Introduction The Safavids (Persian: صفویان) 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[…]

‘A Mixture of Minds Which Cannot Unite’: John Milton and Divorce in Early Modern United Kingdom

Actual divorce allowing remarriage could only be granted by parliament. The government’s current consultation (closing on 10 December) about making ‘no fault’ divorce quicker and easier might have drawn a robust contribution from the famous seventeenth-century poet and polemicist John Milton, if he were alive today. From 1643 to 1645, in the midst of the English Civil[…]

Mapping the British Caribbean in the Early Modern Atlantic World

Analyzing how three maps of Barbados promoted a flattering image of British colonialism in the Caribbean. To any nation pursuing the creation of a New World empire during the early modern period, maps indisputably held great importance. Together with other products of the geographic trade, they provided a fundamental means to construct and disseminate among[…]

A Pirate Surgeon in 17th-Century Panama

Almost everything we know about Dr. Lionel Wafer comes from his own pen. He enters the historical record as a teenage surgeon’s apprentice. The ship came to anchor on an August evening. Sea fireflies glowed around the moorings, their indigo light making specters of the sailors’ gaunt faces. There had already been two mutinies, and[…]

European Encounters in the Age of Expansion

A history of the expansion of Europe overseas and the multiple forms of encounters between Europeans and “other” peoples and cultures over the course of four centuries. Abstract This article reconstructs the expansion of Europe overseas and the multiple forms of encounters between European navigators, explorers, conquerors, colonizers, merchants and missionaries and “other” peoples and[…]

The Many Lives of Ned Coxere: Were British Sailors Really British?

How to get away with smuggling in the Early Modern world? Be someone else! By Alexis Harasemovitch-TruaxPhD Candidate in HistoryThe University of Texas at Austin The Spanish Man-of-War is bearing down on the English merchant ship and Ned is in the cabin, stuffing Barbary Ducats into his hat and shoes. After escaping from Spanish captivity,[…]

“Come hear this ditty”: 17th-Century Drinking Songs and the Challenges of Hearing the Past

Alcohol played a central role in early modern life, occupying much of the time of both law enforcement officers and guzzling “cupp companions.” In April, 1612, the constables of Calne, Wiltshire, made a desperate plea to their superiors—the county magistrates—to help them reverse a surge in the number of alehouses in their town. Their complaint[…]

Female Litigants and Customary Law in Northern Burgundy, 1560-1610

Early modern women were subjected to multiple realms of authority in both the private and public spheres. By Taryn McMillanFreelance WriterMcMaster University It was the spring of 1596 and Jehanne Petit, a young widow, ventured to the local bailliage (bailiwick) court to request a greater share of her first husband’s wealth. In the sleepy village of Châtillon-sur-Seine,[…]

Patronage, Politics, and the “Rule of Law” in Early Modern France

The law’s “brooding presence” was very real to political actors in early modern France. Old Regime France, David Bell has observed, was a “judicial society” where “the experiences of the law courts were central to the way in which political action was conceptualized.”[1] Theorists distinguished the king’s “absolute power” from the rule of a tyrant by[…]

Garden of Perfect Brightness: The Yuanmingyuan as Imperial Paradise, 1700-1860

The Kangxi emperor created a villa with gardens to the northwest of Beijing which was named the Garden of Joyful Spring. In order to create a private retreat near the Forbidden City but away from its formality, the Kangxi emperor created a villa with gardens to the northwest of Beijing which was named the Garden[…]

Economic Relations Between Europe and the World in the Medieval and Early Modern Eras

A vivid picture of the emergence of the global market and the beginnings of global competition. Introduction This article sketches the beginnings and central trends in the development of economic ties between Europe and regions outside Europe from 1450 to 1950. The focus is on the increasing diversity and volume of goods exchanged, and the[…]

Transport, Tourism, and Technology in Portugal in the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries

Examining historic economic links with Portugal and its relationships abroad. By Dr. Ana Cardoso de Matos (left), Dr. Maria Ana Bernardo (right), and Dr. Maria Luísa F.N. dos Santos (not pictured)Professors of HistoryUniversidade de Évora Tourism and Transport: Interconnected Journeys In recent years[1], tourism has experienced increasing interest from researchers in various areas, a fact[…]

Rethinking the Long Nineteenth Century, 1750-1950

We’re still far from being able to devise a truly world-centered historical framework for the nineteenth century. By Dr. Edmund Burke IIIProfessor Emeritus of HistoryUniversity of California Santa Cruz Abstract These days for a variety of reasons we are suspicious of large scale historical narratives and the uses to which they have been put. But[…]

Globalization’s Sixteenth-Century Origins

Globalization began when all heavily-populated land masses began interacting in a sustained manner with deep consequences for all interacting regions. By Dr. Dennis O. Flynn and Dr. Arturo GiráldezFlynn: Alexander R. Heron Distinguished Professor of EconomicsGiráldez: Professor of SpanishUniversity of the Pacific Abstract Globalization began when all heavily-populated land masses began interacting – both directly[…]

China’s Early Modern Commodities Trade

The search for a commodity that the Chinese wanted to buy led the British to develop opium plantations in Bengal. Luxury exports from Canton—fine porcelain, furniture, lacquer, paintings, and figurines—attracted the most attention as art objects but were not the primary goods of trade. The original China trade was a simple bulk exchange of commodities.[…]

China’s Trade with the West in the Early Modern World

From early times China engaged in extensive trade relations with other countries, From early times China engaged in extensive trade relations with other countries until the mid-19th century. Introduction From early times China engaged in extensive trade relations with other countries, and until the mid 19th century Chinese officials directed by the imperial court in[…]

Nature and Environment in Early Modern Europe

Analyzing the communication space and social construct of early modern Europe from the perspective of environmental history. Abstract This article approaches the communication space and social construct of Europe from the perspective of environmental history and traces the commonalities and differences in the interaction between humans and the environment. It is also a call for[…]