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By Huizinga Johan

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17 As she meandered her way back to the heartlands of European Chris­ tianity, our professor might have paused to review her slide collection of the dominant images of Christian art and artefacts she encountered on the non-European leg of her global perambulation. Possibly her largest collec­ tion would have been examples of the glories of Latin American baroque which by the eighteenth century was no longer an extension or transposi­ tion of European continental baroque. By then the emergence of indig­ enous architects and local Amerindian, mestizo, mulatto and African artisans, built and decorated structures that departed in significant ways from European models.

In terms of economics, Europe enjoyed a huge hinterland of underexploited resources including timber for ship construction, coal that provided fuel for what has been called ‘industri­ ous revolutions’, substantial food supplies including fish from the Atlantic Ocean and the produce from the slave plantation system, and better agri­ cultural techniques. As a result, in this period the cities of North West Europe grew much faster than those in China, India, the Middle East and Africa. To these economic factors was added the competitive advantage accruing from relatively independent banking and commercial institutions such as the Bank of England and the British and Dutch East India compa­ nies, the world’s first multinational corporations.

The relationship between religion and empire in the emerging Protes­ tant empires of Britain and the Netherlands in the seventeenth and eight­ eenth centuries was rather different from the Iberian pattern we have just discussed. Protestants, at least to begin with, did not so much conquer and rule as trade and settle, and generally speaking they did not have anything quite like the missionary religious orders of Roman Catholicism. A combi­ nation of a siege mentality in Protestant Europe in response to the gains of Counter Reformation Catholicism, a theology that emphasized divine sovereignty over human instrumentality, and the realities of naval and military power in the early modern period ensured that Protestantism was slower than Catholicism to expand outside Europe.

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A definition of the concept of history by Huizinga Johan


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