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How the Old World EndedThe Anglo-Dutch-American Revolution 1500-1800$
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Jonathan Scott

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300243598

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300243598.001.0001

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A Geography Of Invention, 1500–1600

A Geography Of Invention, 1500–1600

(p.44) Chapter Three A Geography Of Invention, 1500–1600
How the Old World Ended

Jonathan Scott

Yale University Press

This chapter describes the European political geography of invention, upon which the Anglo-Dutch-American process would draw. Much of the technology underpinning the rise of early modern Europe, including printing, navigation, and gunpowder, developed in China first. Yet in China, long-range voyaging was suppressed, as was printing in Constantinople. These were successful political attempts to control the movement of people and of ideas. In Europe, there was no central power capable of exercising such control, even had the will existed to do so. On the contrary, despite strenuous attempts to shield valuable information from rivals, in Europe new developments and discoveries tended to unleash a field of competitive response. As a result, the early modern acquisition of global empire was the work of many powers, rather than one. Political and (from 1517) religious competition were primary motors of the process, driving it faster and further than would otherwise have been the case.

Keywords:   invention, early modern Europe, Dutch Revolt, political competition, religious competition, European economy, Atlantic North-West

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