discovery of the americas

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pages: 547 words: 172,226

Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu, James Robinson

"Robert Solow", Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atahualpa, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, blood diamonds, BRICs, British Empire, central bank independence, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, creative destruction, crony capitalism, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, discovery of the americas, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial independence, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, invention of movable type, invisible hand, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jeff Bezos, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, land reform, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, minimum wage unemployment, Mohammed Bouazizi, Paul Samuelson, price stability, profit motive, Rosa Parks, Scramble for Africa, Simon Kuznets, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, trade liberalization, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, union organizing, upwardly mobile, Washington Consensus, working poor

In much of Africa the substantial profits to be had from slaving led not only to its intensification and even more insecure property rights for the people but also to intense warfare and the destruction of many existing institutions; within a few centuries, any process of state centralization was totally reversed, and many of the African states had largely collapsed. Though some new, and sometimes powerful, states did form to exploit the slave trade, they were based on warfare and plunder. The critical juncture of the discovery of the Americas may have helped England develop inclusive institutions but it made institutions in Africa even more extractive. Though the slave trade mostly ended after 1807, subsequent European colonialism not only threw into reverse nascent economic modernization in parts of southern and western Africa but also cut off any possibility of indigenous institutional reform. This meant that even outside of areas such as Congo, Madagascar, Namibia, and Tanzania, the areas where plunder, mass disruption, and even whole-scale murder were the rule, there was little chance for Africa to change its institutional path.

England continued to lag behind and to borrow from the Middle East and the rest of Europe up to and including the Roman period. Despite such an inauspicious history, it was in England that the first truly inclusive society emerged and where the Industrial Revolution got under way. We argued earlier (this page–this page) that this was the result of a series of interactions between small institutional differences and critical junctures—for example, the Black Death and the discovery of the Americas. English divergence had historical roots, but the view from Vindolanda suggests that these roots were not that deep and certainly not historically predetermined. They were not planted in the Neolithic Revolution, or even during the centuries of Roman hegemony. By AD 450, at the start of what historians used to call the Dark Ages, England had slipped back into poverty and political chaos.

Elsewhere, slavery was not replaced by serfdom; African slavery and the institutions that supported it were to continue for many more centuries. Even Ethiopia’s ultimate path would be very different. After the seventh century, Ethiopia remained isolated in the mountains of East Africa from the processes that subsequently influenced the institutional path of Europe, such as the emergence of independent cities, the nascent constraints on monarchs and the expansion of Atlantic trade after the discovery of the Americas. In consequence, its version of absolutist institutions remained largely unchallenged. The African continent would later interact in a very different capacity with Europe and Asia. East Africa became a major supplier of slaves to the Arab world, and West and Central Africa would be drawn into the world economy during the European expansion associated with the Atlantic trade as suppliers of slaves.


pages: 1,042 words: 273,092

The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan

access to a mobile phone, Admiral Zheng, anti-communist, Ayatollah Khomeini, banking crisis, Bartolomé de las Casas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, clean water, Columbian Exchange, credit crunch, cuban missile crisis, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, drone strike, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, financial innovation, Isaac Newton, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, Malacca Straits, mass immigration, Mikhail Gorbachev, Murano, Venice glass, New Urbanism, Ronald Reagan, sexual politics, South China Sea, spice trade, statistical model, Stuxnet, the built environment, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, trade route, transcontinental railway, uranium enrichment, wealth creators, WikiLeaks, yield management, Yom Kippur War

For one Spanish chronicler, this was nothing less than ‘the greatest event since the Creation – other than the incarnation and the death of the one who created it’.64 For another, it was clearly God himself who had revealed ‘the provinces of Peru, from which such a great treasure of gold and silver had been concealed’; future generations, opined Pedro Mexía, would not believe the quantities that had been found.65 The discovery of the Americas was soon followed by the import of slaves, bought in the markets of Portugal. As the Portuguese knew from their experiences in the Atlantic island groups and West Africa, European settlement was expensive, was not always economically rewarding and was easier said than done: persuading families to leave their loved ones behind was hard enough, but high death rates and testing local conditions made this even more difficult.

This was glossed over as artists, writers and architects went to work, borrowing themes, ideas and texts from antiquity to provide a narrative that chose selectively from the past to create a story which over time became not only increasingly plausible but standard. So although scholars have long called this period the Renaissance, this was no rebirth. Rather, it was a Naissance – a birth. For the first time in history, Europe lay at the heart of the world. 12 The Road of Silver Even before the discovery of the Americas, trading patterns had begun to pick up after the economic shocks of the fifteenth century. Some scholars argue that this was caused by improved access to gold markets in West Africa, combined with rising output in mines in the Balkans and elsewhere in Europe, perhaps made possible by technological advances that helped unlock new supplies of precious metals. It seems, for example, that silver production rose five-fold in the decades after 1460 in Saxony, Bohemia and Hungary, as well as in Sweden.1 Other scholars point to the fact that tax collection became more efficient in the second half of the fifteenth century.

In the words of one scholar, Russia meanwhile ‘entered the war to protect the empire [but] concluded with imperial destruction’.121 The collapse of the European powers opened up the world for others. To cover the shortfalls in agricultural production and to pay for weapons and munitions, the Allies took on huge commitments, commissioning institutions such as J. P. Morgan & Co. to ensure a constant supply of goods and materials.122 The supply of credit resulted in a redistribution of wealth every bit as dramatic as that which followed the discovery of the Americas four centuries earlier: money flowed out of Europe to the United States in a flood of bullion and promissory notes. The war bankrupted the Old World and enriched the New. The attempt to recoup losses from Germany (set at an eye-watering and impossibly high level equivalent to hundreds of billions of dollars at today’s prices) was a desperate and futile attempt to prevent the inevitable: the Great War saw the treasuries of the participants ransacked as they tried to destroy each other, destroying themselves in the process.123 As the two bullets left the chamber of Princip’s Browning revolver, Europe was a continent of empires.


Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen by James Suzman

access to a mobile phone, agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, clean water, discovery of the americas, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, full employment, invention of agriculture, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, means of production, Occupy movement, open borders, out of africa, post-work, quantitative easing, The Chicago School, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, trade route, trickle-down economics, unemployed young men, We are the 99%

Dias’s and da Gama’s beachside skirmishes are now mere footnotes to grander narratives of exploration and economic transformation. Their voyages were, after all, instrumental in reshaping the world. In tandem with Christopher Columbus’s accidental discovery of the Americas, da Gama’s voyage to the Indies would later be hailed as the “big bang” of economic globalization—the moment that catalyzed the transformation of the world from a series of often discrete economic communities into a single complex and multifaceted economic system. Articulating a view that would later be reaffirmed by many others, Adam Smith, the “father of economics,” declared da Gama’s voyage and Columbus’s “discovery” of the Americas to be “the two greatest and most important events recorded in the history of mankind.”2 Whether this particular moment was more important than any others in the emergence of a globalized economy is debatable.


pages: 424 words: 108,768

Origins: How Earth's History Shaped Human History by Lewis Dartnell

agricultural Revolution, back-to-the-land, bioinformatics, clean water, Columbian Exchange, decarbonisation, discovery of the americas, Donald Trump, Eratosthenes, financial innovation, Google Earth, Khyber Pass, Malacca Straits, megacity, meta analysis, meta-analysis, oil shale / tar sands, out of africa, Pax Mongolica, peak oil, phenotype, Rosa Parks, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, spice trade, supervolcano, trade route, transatlantic slave trade

It was for exactly the same reasons that the US annexed Hawaii in 1898, which served as a coaling station for American naval operations in the Pacific.22 * Further fracturing of the continental crust at the northern end of the Red Sea formed the narrow gulfs of Suez and Aqaba, the latter of these splits extending to form Lake Galilee, the Jordan valley and the Dead Sea, whose shores are, at 400 metres below sea level, the lowest-lying land on the Earth’s surface. † India’s black peppercorns are botanically very different from bell (sweet) peppers and chilli peppers, which are both fruits of Capsicum plants native to Central and South America. These New World species were unknown to the rest of the world until the great fifteenth-century transfer of domesticated plants and animals that occurred after the European discovery of the Americas, known as the Columbian Exchange. ‡ So much so that in the late seventeenth century, after the Second Anglo-Dutch War, it was agreed that the Dutch claim over Manhattan be ceded to the English in exchange for the spice island of Run, one of the smallest Banda islands. Run is just 3.5 kilometres long, but its acquisition allowed the Dutch to secure their nutmeg trading monopoly in the East Indies.

It began to dawn on Europeans that perhaps the lands to the west were all one continuous coastline, that they had stumbled across not a series of new islands, but an entire continent–a whole New World. THE GLOBAL WIND MACHINE The Portuguese had spent the best part of a century inching their way down the coast of Africa before they finally found its southern tip and the gateway into the Indian Ocean. Now, within a generation of the discovery of the Americas in 1492, European sailors ventured across all the world’s oceans and completed the first circumnavigation of the Earth. This was a revolution that heralded the birth of today’s global economy. All this was only possible because mariners had come to understand the patterns of reliable winds and currents around the globe, which now determined the trade routes that brought great riches to Europe.


pages: 144 words: 43,356

Surviving AI: The Promise and Peril of Artificial Intelligence by Calum Chace

"Robert Solow", 3D printing, Ada Lovelace, AI winter, Airbnb, artificial general intelligence, augmented reality, barriers to entry, basic income, bitcoin, blockchain, brain emulation, Buckminster Fuller, cloud computing, computer age, computer vision, correlation does not imply causation, credit crunch, cryptocurrency, cuban missile crisis, dematerialisation, discovery of the americas, disintermediation, don't be evil, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, epigenetics, Erik Brynjolfsson, everywhere but in the productivity statistics, Flash crash, friendly AI, Google Glasses, hedonic treadmill, industrial robot, Internet of things, invention of agriculture, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, life extension, low skilled workers, Mahatma Gandhi, means of production, mutually assured destruction, Nicholas Carr, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, peer-to-peer model, Peter Thiel, Ray Kurzweil, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Skype, South Sea Bubble, speech recognition, Stanislav Petrov, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, strong AI, technological singularity, The Future of Employment, theory of mind, Turing machine, Turing test, universal basic income, Vernor Vinge, wage slave, Wall-E, zero-sum game

As Eliezer Yudkowsky put it, what if “the AI does not hate you, nor does it love you, but you are made out of atoms which it can use for something else.” Getting its retaliation in first A superintelligence with access to Wikipedia will not fail to realise that humans do not always play nicely together. Throughout history, meetings between two civilisations have usually ended badly for the one with the less well-developed technology. The discovery of the Americas by Europeans was an unmitigated disaster for the indigenous peoples of North and South America, and similarly tragic stories played out across much of Africa and Australasia. This is not the result of some uniquely pernicious characteristic of European or Western culture: the Central and South American empires brought down by the Spaniards had themselves been built with bloody wars of conquest.


pages: 222 words: 53,317

Overcomplicated: Technology at the Limits of Comprehension by Samuel Arbesman

algorithmic trading, Anton Chekhov, Apple II, Benoit Mandelbrot, citation needed, combinatorial explosion, Danny Hillis, David Brooks, digital map, discovery of the americas, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, Flash crash, friendly AI, game design, Google X / Alphabet X, Googley, HyperCard, Inbox Zero, Isaac Newton, iterative process, Kevin Kelly, Machine translation of "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." to Russian and back, mandelbrot fractal, Minecraft, Netflix Prize, Nicholas Carr, Parkinson's law, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman: Challenger O-ring, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, software studies, statistical model, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Therac-25, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, urban planning, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Whole Earth Catalog, Y2K

As the writer Philip Ball notes in his book Curiosity, “The ideal collection was comprehensive—not in that it contained an example of every object or substance in the world (although efforts were sometimes made towards such exhaustiveness), but in that it created its own complete microcosm: a representation of the world in miniature.” With a cabinet of curiosities, you could take in the entirety of the universe and all its complications at a glance. But not only did some of these cabinets appear to be little more than a miscellaneous hodgepodge; it was soon realized that they could never be big enough. Ball quotes a point made by the writer Patrick Mauries: that after the discovery of the Americas there was too much diversity to be contained within a single collection. The world was beginning to be recognized as too various and complex. Now, choices had to be made: What should make it into these rooms, and what could be ignored? Cabinets of curiosities persisted for a long time, in their own way. A couple of decades ago I visited the Niagara Falls Museum. Now closed, it was owned at the time by a friend’s father and was one of the last of the wunderkammers.


Guns, germs, and steel: the fates of human societies by Jared M. Diamond

affirmative action, Atahualpa, British Empire, California gold rush, correlation does not imply causation, cuban missile crisis, discovery of the americas, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, invention of movable type, invention of the wheel, invention of writing, James Watt: steam engine, Maui Hawaii, QWERTY keyboard, the scientific method, trade route

Within a few days of my setting up an isolated forest camp with Wiwor and Sauakari, they came close to fighting each other with axes. Tensions among the groups that Achmad, Wiwor, Sauakari, and Ping Wah represent dominate the politics of Indonesia, the world's fourth-most- populous nation. These modern tensions have roots going back thousands of years. When we think of major overseas population movements, we tend to focus on those since Columbus's discovery of the Americas, and on the resulting replacements of non-Europeans by Europeans within historic times. But there were also big overseas movements long before Columbus, and prehistoric replacements of non-European peoples by other non-Euro- pean peoples. Wiwor, Achmad, and Sauakari represent three prehistorical waves of people that moved overseas from the Asian mainland into the Pacific. Wiwor's highlanders are probably descended from an early wave that had colonized New Guinea from Asia by 40,000 years ago.

Atahuallpa's capture symbolizes the European conquest of the Americas, because the same mix of proxi- mate factors that caused it was also responsible for European conquests of other Native American societies. Let us now return to that collision of hemispheres, applying what we have learned since Chapter 3. The basic question to be answered is: why did Europeans reach and conquer the lands of Native Americans, instead of vice versa? Our starting point will be a comparison of Eurasian and Native American societies as of A.D. 1492, the year of Columbus's “discovery” of the Americas. OUR COMP ARISON BEGINS with food production, a major determi- nant of local population size and societal complexityhence an ultimate factor behind the conquest. The most glaring difference between American and Eurasian food production involved big domestic mammal species. In Chapter 9 we encountered Eurasia's 13 species, which became its chief source of animal protein (meat and milk), wool, and hides, its main mode of land transport of people and goods, its indispensable vehicles of war- fare, and (by drawing plows and providing manure) a big enhancer of crop production.


Lonely Planet Andalucia: Chapter From Spain Travel Guide by Lonely Planet

bike sharing scheme, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, credit crunch, discovery of the americas, Francisco Pizarro, haute cuisine, Kickstarter, Skype, trade route, urban renewal

They were replaced by the Almohads in the 12th century, and Caliph Yacub Yusuf made Seville capital of the Almohad realm and built a great mosque where Seville’s cathedral now stands. But as Almohad power dwindled after the disastrous defeat of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, Castile’s Fernando III (El Santo; the Saint) went on to capture Seville in 1248. Fernando brought 24,000 settlers to Seville and by the 14th century it was the most important Castilian city. Seville’s biggest break was Columbus’ discovery of the Americas in 1492. In 1503 the city was awarded an official monopoly on Spanish trade with the new-found continent. It rapidly became one of the biggest, richest and most cosmopolitan cities on earth. But it was not to last. A plague in 1649 caused the death of half the city’s population, and as the 17th century wore on, the Río Guadalquivir became more silted and less navigable. In 1717 the Casa de la Contratación (Contracting House; the government office controlling commerce with the Americas) was transferred to Cádiz.

The Salón del Almirante (Admiral’s Hall) houses 19th- and 20th-century paintings showing historical events and personages associated with Seville. The room off its northern end has an international collection of beautiful, elaborate fans. The Sala de Audiencias (Audience Hall) is hung with tapestry representations of the shields of Spanish admirals and Alejo Fernández’ 1530s painting Virgen de los Mareantes (Virgin of the Sailors), the earliest known painting about the discovery of the Americas. Cuarto Real Alto The Alcázar is still a royal palace. In 1995 it staged the wedding feast of Infanta Elena, daughter of King Juan Carlos I, after her marriage in Seville’s cathedral. The Cuarto Real Alto (Upper Royal Quarters), the rooms used by the Spanish royal family on their visits to Seville, are open for (heavily subscribed) tours several times a day, some in Spanish, some in English.


pages: 238 words: 73,121

Does Capitalism Have a Future? by Immanuel Wallerstein, Randall Collins, Michael Mann, Georgi Derluguian, Craig Calhoun, Stephen Hoye, Audible Studios

affirmative action, blood diamonds, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, butterfly effect, creative destruction, deindustrialization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, distributed generation, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, full employment, Gini coefficient, global village, hydraulic fracturing, income inequality, Isaac Newton, job automation, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, land tenure, liberal capitalism, liquidationism / Banker’s doctrine / the Treasury view, loose coupling, low skilled workers, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, means of production, mega-rich, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, offshore financial centre, oil shale / tar sands, Ponzi scheme, postindustrial economy, reserve currency, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, sovereign wealth fund, too big to fail, transaction costs, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks

The first such point is found at the dawn of modern era, somewhere between 1500 or 1550. If we polled the contemporary political experts regarding the direction of their world, they would concur above all on the spectacular emergence of new empires across the vast landmass between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. These imagined experts might hardly mention the Protestant Reformation in the far northwestern extension of Eurasia, perhaps not even the recent discovery of the Americas. Ming China was surely the world’s manufacturing and demographic giant. Shortly after 1500 the Mughals imposed their imperial rule in the inherently fractitious India. At the very same time the Safavis were ascendant in Iran, the Ottoman Turks forcefully reclaimed the legacy of the Eastern Roman Empire, while the Spanish Hapsburgs appeared on their way to establishing a Catholic empire in the West.


pages: 312 words: 91,835

Global Inequality: A New Approach for the Age of Globalization by Branko Milanovic

"Robert Solow", Asian financial crisis, assortative mating, Berlin Wall, bitcoin, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, centre right, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deglobalization, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, Gini coefficient, Gunnar Myrdal, income inequality, income per capita, invisible hand, labor-force participation, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, Martin Wolf, means of production, mittelstand, moral hazard, Nash equilibrium, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open borders, Paul Samuelson, place-making, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post scarcity, post-industrial society, profit motive, purchasing power parity, Ralph Nader, Second Machine Age, seigniorage, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, special economic zone, stakhanovite, trade route, transfer pricing, very high income, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce

I shall argue that the modern historical era, the past five hundred years, is characterized by Kuznets waves of alternating increases and decreases in inequality. Before the Industrial Revolution, when mean income was stagnant, there was no relationship between mean income level and the level of inequality. Wages and inequality were driven up or down by idiosyncratic events such as epidemics, new discoveries (of the Americas or of new trade routes between Europe and Asia), invasions, and wars. If inequality decreased as mean income and wages went up and the poor became slightly better off, Malthusian checks would be triggered: the population would increase to unsustainable levels and would ultimately be driven down (as the average per capita income declined) by higher mortality rates among the poor. This would push the poor back to subsistence level and raise inequality to its previous (higher) level.


pages: 355 words: 92,571

Capitalism: Money, Morals and Markets by John Plender

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, Berlin Wall, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Black Swan, bonus culture, Bretton Woods, business climate, business cycle, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, central bank independence, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collective bargaining, computer age, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, diversification, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, fiat currency, financial innovation, financial intermediation, Fractional reserve banking, full employment, God and Mammon, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Hyman Minsky, income inequality, inflation targeting, information asymmetry, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Meriwether, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, London Interbank Offered Rate, London Whale, Long Term Capital Management, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market bubble, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, means of production, Menlo Park, money market fund, moral hazard, moveable type in China, Myron Scholes, Nick Leeson, Northern Rock, Occupy movement, offshore financial centre, paradox of thrift, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit motive, quantitative easing, railway mania, regulatory arbitrage, Richard Thaler, rising living standards, risk-adjusted returns, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, South Sea Bubble, spice trade, Steve Jobs, technology bubble, The Chicago School, The Great Moderation, the map is not the territory, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, time value of money, too big to fail, tulip mania, Upton Sinclair, Veblen good, We are the 99%, Wolfgang Streeck, zero-sum game

Since a successful alchemist would have been no more able to keep his formula secret than the first claimant in a gold rush, the prospect of infinite supply would have turned gold into a commodity about as valuable as sand. Yet even Sir Isaac Newton, father of modern physical science, devoted much of his career to alchemical research. Few were more immoderate in their blindness than sixteenth-century European adventurers, whom John Maynard Keynes regarded as the originators of capitalism. We owe the Europeans’ discovery of the Americas to gold, for gold was the probable motive that drove Christopher Columbus westward: his diary of a voyage that lasted less than a hundred days mentions gold sixty-five times. The Spanish conquistadores who followed – Cortés, Pizarro and their men – were not only brutal and rapacious in their imperialist incursions into Mexico and Peru; by bringing European diseases to the Americas, they also inadvertently wiped out much of the population of the areas they colonised.


pages: 809 words: 237,921

The Narrow Corridor: States, Societies, and the Fate of Liberty by Daron Acemoglu, James A. Robinson

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, AltaVista, Andrei Shleifer, bank run, Berlin Wall, British Empire, California gold rush, central bank independence, centre right, collateralized debt obligation, collective bargaining, colonial rule, Computer Numeric Control, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, crony capitalism, Dava Sobel, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, double entry bookkeeping, Edward Snowden, en.wikipedia.org, equal pay for equal work, European colonialism, Ferguson, Missouri, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, income inequality, income per capita, industrial robot, information asymmetry, interest rate swap, invention of movable type, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Kula ring, labor-force participation, land reform, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, mass incarceration, Maui Hawaii, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela, obamacare, openstreetmap, out of africa, PageRank, pattern recognition, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, Skype, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, the market place, transcontinental railway, War on Poverty, WikiLeaks

Many other industries, including machine tools and agriculture, were also revolutionized because of cheaper and higher-quality iron, made possible thanks to the replacement of charcoal by coke in iron smelting and the production of pig iron in blast furnaces and then steel with the Bessemer process. The conditions for the Industrial Revolution were prepared by the progress of British society in the corridor. After the end of the Middle Ages the center of gravity of economic activity in Europe had started moving north toward the Netherlands and England. This was intimately connected with the discovery of the Americas and the impact of the new economic opportunities this created on the race between state and society. Countries that were better poised to take advantage of these opportunities in ways that strengthened state and society were able to move ahead institutionally and then economically. In England, the existing balance of power favored society so that the Tudor state in the sixteenth century was unable to exert monopoly control over access to trade.

So while England, France, and the Netherlands moved up in the corridor, Poland, Hungary, and other parts of Eastern Europe launched deeper into the lands of the Despotic Leviathan. Potentially divergent influences on a nation’s political development come not only from military threats or demographic shocks but also from major economic opportunities. Such a change reconfiguring European trajectories arrived with the discovery of the Americas by Christopher Columbus and the rounding of the Cape of Good Hope by Bartolomeu Dias. Once again, the different balances between state and society produced divergent responses. In England, as we mentioned in Chapter 6, the tight limits on what the crown and its allies could do in terms of monopolizing overseas trade meant that it was new groups of merchants that benefited most from these economic opportunities.


Your Own Allotment : How to Find It, Cultivate It, and Enjoy Growing Your Own Food by Russell-Jones, Neil.

Berlin Wall, British Empire, carbon footprint, Corn Laws, David Attenborough, discovery of the americas, information retrieval, Kickstarter, mass immigration, spice trade

Many of them originate in far-off climes that are very much hotter than the UK and have names that are redolent of those lands – cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, saffron, vanilla (from Mexico). Zanzibar is a well-known producer of spices. I have been there and visited a spice farm, which was fascinating. The spice trade made many people very rich as people sought spices to improve the flavour of food, and also to help to preserve it. The expeditions to the west that resulted in the discovery of the Americas were attempts to find a route to the spice islands of Africa and the East Indies that would break the monopoly of the Arab traders. Popular herbs Below are some of the more popular herbs grown in gardens and allotments. Basil (ocimum basilicum) Basil likes the Mediterranean warmth of its original climate and thrives in a greenhouse or outside as an annual in sunny spots in UK gardens.


pages: 341 words: 111,525

Blood River: A Journey to Africa's Broken Heart by Tim Butcher

airport security, blood diamonds, clean water, colonial exploitation, colonial rule, discovery of the americas, European colonialism, failed state, Live Aid, Livingstone, I presume, Scramble for Africa, transatlantic slave trade

The Congo's output of the occasional shipment of ivory or raffia could not compete with the huge volume of silks and spices available in Asia and, in the face of commercial competition, the Portuguese soon found another asset they could take from the Congo - slaves. Slavery was a long-established practice among African tribes. Any raiding party that successfully attacked a neighbour would expect to return with slaves. But what made the Portuguese demand for slaves different was its scale. The simultaneous discovery of the Americas by European explorers created an apparently limitless demand for labour to work on the plantations of the New World, and in Europe's African toeholds slavery was turned overnight from a cottage industry into a major, global concern. The effect on the Congo was devastating. The plunder of people started out on a small scale in the early 1500s, with Portuguese traders paying Congolese warriors for the occasional slave they brought back with them from raids.


pages: 385 words: 111,807

A Pelican Introduction Economics: A User's Guide by Ha-Joon Chang

Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, borderless world, Bretton Woods, British Empire, call centre, capital controls, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, colonial rule, Corn Laws, corporate governance, corporate raider, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, deindustrialization, discovery of the americas, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, eurozone crisis, experimental economics, Fall of the Berlin Wall, falling living standards, financial deregulation, financial innovation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global value chain, Goldman Sachs: Vampire Squid, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, Haber-Bosch Process, happiness index / gross national happiness, high net worth, income inequality, income per capita, information asymmetry, intangible asset, interchangeable parts, interest rate swap, inventory management, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, knowledge economy, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, liberation theology, manufacturing employment, Mark Zuckerberg, market clearing, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, means of production, Mexican peso crisis / tequila crisis, Nelson Mandela, Northern Rock, obamacare, offshore financial centre, oil shock, open borders, Pareto efficiency, Paul Samuelson, post-industrial society, precariat, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, road to serfdom, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, sovereign wealth fund, spinning jenny, structural adjustment programs, The Great Moderation, The Market for Lemons, The Spirit Level, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, trade liberalization, transaction costs, transfer pricing, trickle-down economics, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, working-age population, World Values Survey

Snails: the World Economy before Capitalism Western Europe grew really slowly … Capitalism started in Western Europe, especially in Britain and the Low Countries (what are Belgium and the Netherlands today) around the sixteenth and the seventeenth centuries. Why it started there – rather than, say, China or India, which had been comparable to Western Europe in their levels of economic development until then – is a subject of intense and long-running debate. Everything from the Chinese elite’s disdain for practical pursuits (like commerce and industry), the discovery of the Americas and the pattern of Britain’s coal deposits has been identified as the explanation. This debate need not detain us here. The fact is that capitalism developed first in Western Europe. Before the rise of capitalism, the Western European societies, like all the other pre-capitalist societies, changed very slowly. The society was basically organized around farming, which used virtually the same technologies for centuries, with a limited degree of commerce and handicraft industries.


pages: 378 words: 110,518

Postcapitalism: A Guide to Our Future by Paul Mason

Alfred Russel Wallace, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, Basel III, basic income, Bernie Madoff, Bill Gates: Altair 8800, bitcoin, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, business process, butterfly effect, call centre, capital controls, Cesare Marchetti: Marchetti’s constant, Claude Shannon: information theory, collaborative economy, collective bargaining, Corn Laws, corporate social responsibility, creative destruction, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, currency peg, David Graeber, deglobalization, deindustrialization, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Downton Abbey, drone strike, en.wikipedia.org, energy security, eurozone crisis, factory automation, financial repression, Firefox, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, future of work, game design, income inequality, inflation targeting, informal economy, information asymmetry, intangible asset, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Internet of things, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, late capitalism, low skilled workers, market clearing, means of production, Metcalfe's law, microservices, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, mortgage debt, Network effects, new economy, Norbert Wiener, Occupy movement, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, payday loans, Pearl River Delta, post-industrial society, precariat, price mechanism, profit motive, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, RAND corporation, rent-seeking, reserve currency, RFID, Richard Stallman, Robert Gordon, Robert Metcalfe, secular stagnation, sharing economy, Stewart Brand, structural adjustment programs, supply-chain management, The Future of Employment, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Transnistria, union organizing, universal basic income, urban decay, urban planning, Vilfredo Pareto, wages for housework, WikiLeaks, women in the workforce

The former communist countries achieve about the same – albeit via twelve years of catastrophic decline and then a growth surge spurred by Euro entry for the satellites and oil money for Russia itself. But the most spectacular thing is what happens to the bottom line – the developing world. It grows by 404 per cent after 1989. It is this that prompted the British economist Douglas McWilliams, in his Gresham lectures, to nominate the last twenty-five years as the ‘greatest economic event in human history’. World GDP rose by 33 per cent in the 100 years after the discovery of the Americas, and GDP per person by 5 per cent. In the fifty years after 1820, with the Industrial Revolution underway in Europe and the Americas only, world GDP grew by 60 per cent, and GDP per person by 30 per cent. But between 1989 and 2012 world GDP grew from $20 trillion to $71 trillion – 272 per cent – and, as we’ve seen, GDP per person increased by 162 per cent. On both measures, the period after 1989 outpaces the long post-war boom.43 10.


Capitalism, Alone: The Future of the System That Rules the World by Branko Milanovic

"Robert Solow", affirmative action, Asian financial crisis, assortative mating, barriers to entry, basic income, Berlin Wall, bilateral investment treaty, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, capital controls, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carried interest, colonial rule, corporate governance, creative destruction, crony capitalism, deindustrialization, dematerialisation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, financial deregulation, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, full employment, ghettoisation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, high net worth, income inequality, income per capita, invention of the wheel, invisible hand, job automation, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, Joseph Schumpeter, labor-force participation, laissez-faire capitalism, land reform, liberal capitalism, low skilled workers, Lyft, means of production, new economy, offshore financial centre, Paul Samuelson, plutocrats, Plutocrats, post-materialism, purchasing power parity, remote working, rent-seeking, ride hailing / ride sharing, Silicon Valley, single-payer health, special economic zone, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thorstein Veblen, uber lyft, universal basic income, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, working-age population, Xiaogang Anhui farmers

Some Methodological Issues and Definitions Notes References Acknowledgments Index CHAPTER 1 THE CONTOURS OF THE POST–COLD WAR WORLD [The bourgeoisie] compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst, i.e., to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its own image. —Marx and Engels, The Communist Manifesto (1848) At the particular time when these discoveries [of the Americas and the East Indies] were made, the superiority of force happened to be so great on the side of the Europeans that they were enabled to commit with impunity every sort of injustice in those remote countries. Hereafter, perhaps, the natives of those countries may grow stronger, or those of Europe may grow weaker, and the inhabitants of all the different quarters of the world may arrive at that equality of courage and force which, by inspiring mutual fear, can alone overawe the injustice of independent nations into some sort of respect for the rights of one another.


Lonely Planet Best of Spain by Lonely Planet

augmented reality, bike sharing scheme, centre right, discovery of the americas, Frank Gehry, G4S, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, market design, place-making, trade route, young professional

They were replaced by the Almohads in the 12th century; Caliph Yacub Yusuf made Seville capital of the Almohad realm and built a great mosque where Seville’s cathedral now stands. But Almohad power dwindled after the disastrous defeat of Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212, and Castilla’s Fernando III (El Santo; the Saint) went on to capture Seville in 1248. Fernando brought 24,000 settlers to Seville and by the 14th century it was the most important Castilian city. Seville’s biggest break was Columbus’ discovery of the Americas in 1492. In 1503 the city was awarded an official monopoly on Spanish trade with the new-found continent. It rapidly became one of the biggest, richest and most cosmopolitan cities on earth. 1 El Arenal & Triana Colonising caballeros made rich on New World gold once stalked the streets of El Arenal on the banks of the Río Guadalquivir, watched over by Spanish galleons offloading their American booty.


pages: 1,072 words: 297,437

Africa: A Biography of the Continent by John Reader

agricultural Revolution, British Empire, Cape to Cairo, clean water, colonial rule, discovery of the americas, illegal immigration, land reform, land tenure, Livingstone, I presume, Nelson Mandela, new economy, out of africa, Scramble for Africa, spice trade, surplus humans, the market place, Thomas Malthus, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, urban sprawl, women in the workforce

Lovejoy's estimates show that an average of about 2,500 slaves were exported each year between 1450 and 1600; but this figure rose to 18,680 per year for the period 1601 to 1700, and reached a peak of 61,330 per year during the following century (1701 to 1800); even at the end of the nineteenth century (ninety years after abolition) it was still running at an average of 33,300 slaves per year.10 The surge in numbers can be attributed to the discovery of the Americas and the European taste for sugar. Columbus discovered the Caribbean islands and North America for Spain in 1492; Pedro Alvares Cabral discovered Brazil for Portugal in 1500. Both the Caribbean islands and the Brazilian coastlands were ideally suited for the production of sugar; both regions were inhabited by people whom Pêro Vaz da Caminha (a chronicler who sailed with Cabral) described as ‘people of good and pure simplicity [with] fine bodies and good faces’.11 But their natural attributes were no defence against the disease and labour demands of the Portuguese settlers, who began to establish sugar plantations in Brazil during the 1540s.

Sailors were warned to be silent; facts about the discoveries were carefully garbled; maps and navigation charts were removed from contemporary books, and the making of globes, maps, and charts became the privilege of a single family, whose loyalty to the Portuguese crown was unquestioned.12 Direct action included standing orders which instructed Portuguese sea-captains to seize all foreign vessels encountered on the West African coast and cast their crews into the sea.13 But of course word did leak out, and vessels of other nations persistently defied the Portuguese monopoly. After 1492 the attention of an avaricious neighbour, Spain, was diverted from West Africa by the discovery of the Americas, but the French and the English, the Dutch and the Danish, would not be kept out. Often they not only traded in the territories that Portugal had claimed but took additional profit by seizing Portuguese vessels as well. Between 1500 and 1531, for example, French ships alone captured more than 300 Portuguese vessels in West African waters and along the coast of Brazil.14 During the sixteenth century the Portuguese expanded their empire to include territories spread around the globe from South America to the Spice Islands of the Far East.


pages: 449 words: 129,511

The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World by Simon Winchester

Albert Einstein, British Empire, business climate, Dava Sobel, discovery of the americas, Etonian, Fellow of the Royal Society, interchangeable parts, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, lateral thinking, lone genius, means of production, planetary scale, Richard Feynman, Ronald Reagan, Silicon Valley, Skype, trade route, William Shockley: the traitorous eight

The timetable became a biblically important volume in all libraries and some households; the concept of time zones and their application to cartography all stemmed from railways’ imprint of timekeeping on human society. Yet, before the chronological influence of railways, there was one other profession that above all others truly needed the most precise timekeeping. It was that which had been developing fast since the European discovery of the Americas in the fifteenth century and the subsequent consolidation of trade routes to the Orient: the shipping industry. Navigation across vast and trackless expanses of ocean was essential to maritime business. Getting lost at sea could be costly at best, fatal at worst. Also, because the exact determination of where a ship might be at any one moment was essential to the navigation of a route, and because one part of that determination depends, crucially, on knowing the exact time aboard the ship and, even more crucially, the exact time at some other stable reference point on the globe, maritime clockmakers were charged with making the most precise of clocks.* And none was more sedulously dedicated to achieving this degree of exactitude than the Yorkshire carpenter and joiner who later became England’s, perhaps the world’s, most revered horologist: John Harrison, the man who most famously gave mariners a sure means of determining a vessel’s longitude.


pages: 461 words: 128,421

The Myth of the Rational Market: A History of Risk, Reward, and Delusion on Wall Street by Justin Fox

activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, asset-backed security, bank run, beat the dealer, Benoit Mandelbrot, Black-Scholes formula, Bretton Woods, Brownian motion, business cycle, buy and hold, capital asset pricing model, card file, Cass Sunstein, collateralized debt obligation, complexity theory, corporate governance, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, discovery of the americas, diversification, diversified portfolio, Edward Glaeser, Edward Thorp, endowment effect, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, experimental economics, financial innovation, Financial Instability Hypothesis, fixed income, floating exchange rates, George Akerlof, Henri Poincaré, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, impulse control, index arbitrage, index card, index fund, information asymmetry, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Meriwether, John Nash: game theory, John von Neumann, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, libertarian paternalism, linear programming, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Bachelier, mandelbrot fractal, market bubble, market design, Myron Scholes, New Journalism, Nikolai Kondratiev, Paul Lévy, Paul Samuelson, pension reform, performance metric, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, pushing on a string, quantitative trading / quantitative finance, Ralph Nader, RAND corporation, random walk, Richard Thaler, risk/return, road to serfdom, Robert Bork, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Sharpe ratio, short selling, side project, Silicon Valley, Social Responsibility of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, South Sea Bubble, statistical model, stocks for the long run, The Chicago School, The Myth of the Rational Market, The Predators' Ball, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thorstein Veblen, Tobin tax, transaction costs, tulip mania, value at risk, Vanguard fund, Vilfredo Pareto, volatility smile, Yogi Berra

For that reason, the subject got short shrift from mathematical economists for decades. Now, by ditching the equilibrium while sticking with math, economists are finding better ways to describe the dynamics of growth and change. A key word in the new growth theory is “endogenous”—that is, arising from within. In an equilibrium, all disturbance must by definition come from outside. Explaining a spurt in economic growth requires a deus ex machina such as the discovery of the Americas or the invention of the electric motor. In new growth theory, the technological drivers of growth are depicted as the result of economic forces and decisions.31 Bringing this concept of endogenously generated change to the shorter-term fluctuations of the market is a more complex endeavor. In recent years a few economists and finance scholars have begun laboring on market models that do just that.


pages: 483 words: 134,377

The Tyranny of Experts: Economists, Dictators, and the Forgotten Rights of the Poor by William Easterly

"Robert Solow", air freight, Andrei Shleifer, battle of ideas, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business process, business process outsourcing, Carmen Reinhart, clean water, colonial rule, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, Deng Xiaoping, desegregation, discovery of the americas, Edward Glaeser, en.wikipedia.org, European colonialism, Francisco Pizarro, fundamental attribution error, germ theory of disease, greed is good, Gunnar Myrdal, income per capita, invisible hand, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Arrow, Kenneth Rogoff, M-Pesa, microcredit, Monroe Doctrine, oil shock, place-making, Ponzi scheme, risk/return, road to serfdom, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas L Friedman, urban planning, urban renewal, Washington Consensus, WikiLeaks, World Values Survey, young professional

Conversely, trust and respect between groups would facilitate mutual recognition of rights that would facilitate the emergence of freedom, in which there would be checks on the power of government to abuse individuals of whatever group. The emergence from autocracy toward freedom had happened in a few northern Italian cities. But freedom only had a future if it continued to spread. FREEDOM MOVES TO THE ATLANTIC The most famous son of Genoa, Christopher Columbus, would inadvertently make possible the spread of freedom. The boom in European trade after the discovery of the Americas gave freedom new strongholds 800 miles north of Genoa. Economists Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson of MIT and political scientist James Robinson of Harvard have been pioneers in reintroducing historical research into economics, with the aim of explaining economic development. In a prominent 2005 article,21 they tackled the question of why the frontiers of freedom had shifted from northern Italy to Western Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.


pages: 790 words: 150,875

Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson

Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, Hans Lippershey, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, land reform, land tenure, liberal capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, Pearl River Delta, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, the market place, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, undersea cable, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, wage slave, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, World Values Survey

It would be Europeans that reached out across the Atlantic Ocean to take possession of a vast landmass that, prior to Martin Waldseemüller’s Universalis cosmographia of 1507, simply did not appear on maps: America – named after the explorer Amerigo Vespucci.* It was Europe’s monarchies – above all Spain and England – who, vying for souls, gold and land, were willing to cross oceans and conquer whole continents. To many historians, the discovery of the Americas (broadly defined to include the Caribbean) is the paramount reason for the ascendancy of the West. Without the New World, it has been asserted, ‘Western Europe would have remained a small, backward region of Eurasia, dependent on the East for transfusions of technology, transmissions of culture, and transfers of wealth.’1 Without American ‘ghost acres’ and the African slaves who worked them, there could have been no ‘European Miracle’, no Industrial Revolution.2 In view of the advances already achieved in Western Europe both economically and scientifically prior to large-scale development of the New World, these claims seem overblown.


pages: 621 words: 157,263

How to Change the World: Reflections on Marx and Marxism by Eric Hobsbawm

anti-communist, banking crisis, battle of ideas, Berlin Wall, British Empire, continuation of politics by other means, creative destruction, currency manipulation / currency intervention, deindustrialization, discovery of the americas, experimental subject, Fall of the Berlin Wall, full employment, Gunnar Myrdal, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, market fundamentalism, mass immigration, means of production, new economy, Simon Kuznets, Thorstein Veblen, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile, Vilfredo Pareto, zero-sum game

The source of this labour was partly the former feudal retainers and armies, partly the population displaced by agricultural improvements and the substitution of pasture for tillage. With the rise of manufactures nations begin to compete as such, and mercantilism (with its trade wars, tariffs and prohibitions) arises on a national scale. Within the manufactures the relation of capitalist and labourer develops. The vast expansion of trade as the result of the discovery of the Americas and the conquest of the sea-route to India, and the mass import of overseas products, notably bullion, shook the position both of feudal landed property and of the labouring class. The consequent change in class relations, conquest, colonisation ‘and above all the extension of markets into a world market which now became possible and indeed increasingly took place’26 opened a new phase in historical development.


pages: 543 words: 147,357

Them And Us: Politics, Greed And Inequality - Why We Need A Fair Society by Will Hutton

Andrei Shleifer, asset-backed security, bank run, banking crisis, Benoit Mandelbrot, Berlin Wall, Bernie Madoff, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Blythe Masters, Boris Johnson, Bretton Woods, business cycle, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Cass Sunstein, centre right, choice architecture, cloud computing, collective bargaining, conceptual framework, Corn Laws, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, debt deflation, decarbonisation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of DNA, discovery of the americas, discrete time, diversification, double helix, Edward Glaeser, financial deregulation, financial innovation, financial intermediation, first-past-the-post, floating exchange rates, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, full employment, George Akerlof, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, Growth in a Time of Debt, Hyman Minsky, I think there is a world market for maybe five computers, income inequality, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Dyson, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, knowledge economy, knowledge worker, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, light touch regulation, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Pasteur, low cost airline, low-wage service sector, mandelbrot fractal, margin call, market fundamentalism, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, millennium bug, money market fund, moral hazard, moral panic, mortgage debt, Myron Scholes, Neil Kinnock, new economy, Northern Rock, offshore financial centre, open economy, plutocrats, Plutocrats, price discrimination, private sector deleveraging, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, race to the bottom, railway mania, random walk, rent-seeking, reserve currency, Richard Thaler, Right to Buy, rising living standards, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Reagan, Rory Sutherland, Satyajit Das, shareholder value, short selling, Silicon Valley, Skype, South Sea Bubble, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, the market place, The Myth of the Rational Market, the payments system, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, unpaid internship, value at risk, Vilfredo Pareto, Washington Consensus, wealth creators, working poor, zero-sum game, éminence grise

Without it, the growth of science would have been impossible as there could have been no codifying or dissemination of scientific discoveries. Then there is the three-masted sailing ship, which allowed large vessels to sail close to the wind, permitted the Portuguese and then their European imitators to sail around the world. Without this GPT, there would have been no circumnavigation of the globe; no discovery of the Americas, leading to new centres of power and productive capacity; no European colonisation; no long-distance sea trade; no rich European merchant class; no consequent financial innovations, such as joint stock companies and marine insurance, to deal with the risk and uncertainty of long voyages; and less possibility of the principles of magnetism being understood. Similarly, in the nineteenth century, the railway was much more than just a transport technology.


pages: 632 words: 159,454

War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures, and Debt by Kwasi Kwarteng

accounting loophole / creative accounting, anti-communist, Asian financial crisis, asset-backed security, Atahualpa, balance sheet recession, bank run, banking crisis, Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, California gold rush, capital controls, Carmen Reinhart, central bank independence, centre right, collapse of Lehman Brothers, collateralized debt obligation, credit crunch, currency manipulation / currency intervention, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Etonian, eurozone crisis, fiat currency, financial innovation, fixed income, floating exchange rates, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, German hyperinflation, hiring and firing, income inequality, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kenneth Rogoff, labour market flexibility, liberal capitalism, market bubble, money: store of value / unit of account / medium of exchange, moral hazard, new economy, oil shock, plutocrats, Plutocrats, Ponzi scheme, price mechanism, quantitative easing, rolodex, Ronald Reagan, South Sea Bubble, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, the market place, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, too big to fail, War on Poverty, Yom Kippur War

Smith made the further point that, after the discovery of Potosí, ‘the silver mines of Europe were, the greater part of them, abandoned’, since the value of silver ‘was so much reduced that their produce [of the European silver mines] could no longer pay the expence of working them . . . with a profit’. Turning to England, Smith observed that American silver did not seem ‘to have had any very sensible effect upon the price of things in England till after 1570; though even the mines of Potosi had been discovered more than twenty years before’.45 Yet, of the modern economists, it was John Maynard Keynes who most frequently returned to the theme of the discovery of the Americas and their effect on the modern world. In 1930 he wrote: ‘The modern age opened . . . with the accumulation of capital which began in the sixteenth century. I believe . . . that this was initially due to the rise of prices, and the profits to which that led, which resulted from the treasure of gold and silver which Spain brought from the New World into the Old.’46 The possibilities thrown up by the expansion of Spain into the Americas, with the flow of bullion and treasure which accompanied the discovery of new mines, fascinated Keynes.


pages: 501 words: 145,097

The Men Who United the States: America's Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible by Simon Winchester

British Empire, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, colonial rule, discovery of the americas, distributed generation, Donner party, estate planning, Etonian, full employment, Hernando de Soto, hive mind, invention of radio, invention of the telegraph, James Watt: steam engine, Joi Ito, Khyber Pass, Menlo Park, plutocrats, Plutocrats, transcontinental railway, Works Progress Administration

Measuring America: How an Untamed Wilderness Shaped the United States and Fulfilled the Promise of Democracy. New York: Walker, 2002. Louis-Philippe. Diary of My Travels in America, tr. Stephen Becker. New York: Delacorte Press, 1977. Lyell, Charles. A Second Visit to the United States of North America. New York: Harper & Brothers, 1855. ———. Travels in North America in the Years 1841–1842. New York: Charles E. Merrill, 1909. Mann, Charles C. 1493: How Europe’s Discovery of the Americas Revolutionized Trade, Ecology and Life on Earth. London: Granta, 2011. Marx, Leo. The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1964. Masters, Edgar Lee. Spoon River Anthology. New York: Macmillan, 1916; Signet Classics, 1992. McCague, James. Moguls and Iron Men: The Dramatic Story of the Dreamers and Doers Who Spanned the American Continent with the First Transcontinental Railroad.


pages: 524 words: 155,947

More: The 10,000-Year Rise of the World Economy by Philip Coggan

"Robert Solow", accounting loophole / creative accounting, Ada Lovelace, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, airline deregulation, Andrei Shleifer, anti-communist, assortative mating, autonomous vehicles, bank run, banking crisis, banks create money, basic income, Berlin Wall, Bob Noyce, Branko Milanovic, Bretton Woods, British Empire, business cycle, call centre, capital controls, carbon footprint, Carmen Reinhart, Celtic Tiger, central bank independence, Charles Lindbergh, clean water, collective bargaining, Columbian Exchange, Columbine, Corn Laws, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, currency peg, debt deflation, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Donald Trump, Erik Brynjolfsson, European colonialism, eurozone crisis, falling living standards, financial innovation, financial intermediation, floating exchange rates, Fractional reserve banking, Frederick Winslow Taylor, full employment, germ theory of disease, German hyperinflation, gig economy, Gini coefficient, global supply chain, global value chain, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, Haber-Bosch Process, Hans Rosling, Hernando de Soto, hydraulic fracturing, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, income inequality, income per capita, indoor plumbing, industrial robot, inflation targeting, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, job automation, John Snow's cholera map, joint-stock company, joint-stock limited liability company, Kenneth Arrow, Kula ring, labour market flexibility, land reform, land tenure, Lao Tzu, large denomination, liquidity trap, Long Term Capital Management, Louis Blériot, low cost airline, low skilled workers, lump of labour, M-Pesa, Malcom McLean invented shipping containers, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, McJob, means of production, Mikhail Gorbachev, mittelstand, moral hazard, Murano, Venice glass, Myron Scholes, Nelson Mandela, Network effects, Northern Rock, oil shale / tar sands, oil shock, Paul Samuelson, popular capitalism, popular electronics, price stability, principal–agent problem, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, railway mania, Ralph Nader, regulatory arbitrage, road to serfdom, Robert Gordon, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, Second Machine Age, secular stagnation, Silicon Valley, Simon Kuznets, South China Sea, South Sea Bubble, special drawing rights, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steven Pinker, TaskRabbit, Thales and the olive presses, Thales of Miletus, The Great Moderation, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, transcontinental railway, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, universal basic income, Unsafe at Any Speed, Upton Sinclair, V2 rocket, Veblen good, War on Poverty, Washington Consensus, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, women in the workforce, Yom Kippur War, zero-sum game

They also started to buy slaves from Africa, trading them for European goods such as textiles, glass from Venice, wine and sherry, and metal implements like knives and swords.15 And they established sugar plantations on the island of Madeira, worked by slaves from the Canary Islands and Africa. Madeira experienced a phenomenal boom and bust, with sugar production rising from 280 tons in 1472 to 2,500 tons in 1506, before falling 90% by 1530. In the process, Madeira, whose name means island of wood, was almost completely deforested, since sugar production required massive amounts of energy.16 After the discovery of the Americas, the Portuguese first planted sugar cane in Brazil in 1516, and started to produce a commercial crop after 1550. At first they relied on indigenous workers, but there was a huge death rate from disease. So they focused instead on slaves from West Africa, where there was a rivalry between the kings of Congo and Ndongo (modern Angola) over who should be their main supplier.17 For African leaders who handed over prisoners of war, or other unfortunates captured during raids, it was a highly lucrative business.


Spain by Lonely Planet Publications, Damien Simonis

Atahualpa, business process, call centre, centre right, Colonization of Mars, discovery of the americas, Francisco Pizarro, Frank Gehry, G4S, glass ceiling, Guggenheim Bilbao, haute couture, haute cuisine, illegal immigration, intermodal, Islamic Golden Age, land reform, large denomination, low cost airline, place-making, Skype, trade route, upwardly mobile, urban planning, urban renewal, urban sprawl, Winter of Discontent, young professional

One of the half-brothers, Don Fadrique, died in the Sala de la Justicia. The room gives on to the pretty Patio del Yeso, a 19th-century reconstruction of part of the 12th-century Almohad palace. PATIO DE LA MONTERÍA The rooms on the western side of this patio were part of the Casa de la Contratación, founded by the Catholic Monarchs in 1503 to control American trade. The Sala de Audiencias contains the earliest known painting on the discovery of the Americas (by Alejo Fernández, 1530s), in which Columbus, Fernando El Católico, Carlos I, Amerigo Vespucci and Native Americans can be seen sheltered beneath the Virgin in her role as protector of sailors. PALACIO DE DON PEDRO (MUDEJAR PALACE) He might have been ‘the Cruel’, but between 1360 and 1364 Pedro I humbly built his exquisite palace in ‘perishable’ ceramics, plaster and wood, obedient to the Quran’s prohibition against ‘eternal’ structures, reserved for the Creator.

Two (except Saturday, Sunday and holidays from October to May) head for Lagos (€13 to €14, four hours) in Portugal via Faro and Albufeira. From the train station ( 902 24 02 02) three daily trains head to Seville (€7.50, 1½ hours). Return to beginning of chapter LUGARES COLOMBINOS The Lugares Colombinos (Columbus Sites) are the three townships of La Rábida, Palos de la Frontera and Moguer, along the eastern bank of the Tinto estuary east of Huelva. All three played key roles in the discovery of the Americas and can be combined in a single day trip from Huelva, the Doñana area or the nearby coast. La Rabida pop 600 In this pretty and peaceful town, don’t miss the 14th-century Monasterio de La Rábida ( 959 35 04 11; admission €3; 10am-1pm & 4-7pm Tue-Sat Apr-Jul & Sep, 10am-1pm to 6.15pm Tue-Sat Oct-Mar, 10am-1pm & 4.45-8pm Tue-Sat Aug, 10.45am-1pm Sun year-round), visited several times by Columbus before his great voyage of discovery.

Posada Restaurante Dos Orillas (927 65 90 79; www.dosorillas.com; Calle de Cambrones 6; meals €25-30; lunch & dinner Tue-Sat, lunch Sun; ) Just as the hotel is a gem, so the restaurant is a place of quiet, refined eating, whether al fresco on the patio or in dining room with its soft-hued fabrics. Vegetarian dishes include pasta with broccoli and cheese and courgettes stuffed with oyster mushrooms; carnivores won’t go hungry. * * * EXTREMADURA & AMERICA Extremeños jumped at the opportunities opened up by Columbus’ discovery of the Americas in 1492. In 1501 Fray Nicolás de Ovando from Cáceres was named governor of all the Indies. He set up his capital, Santo Domingo, on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola. With him went 2500 followers, many of them from Extremadura, including Francisco Pizarro, the illegitimate son of a minor noble family from Trujillo. In 1504 Hernán Cortés, from a similar family in Medellín, arrived in Santo Domingo.


pages: 859 words: 204,092

When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Rise of the Middle Kingdom by Martin Jacques

Admiral Zheng, Asian financial crisis, Berlin Wall, Bob Geldof, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, credit crunch, Dava Sobel, deindustrialization, Deng Xiaoping, deskilling, discovery of the americas, Doha Development Round, energy security, European colonialism, failed state, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francis Fukuyama: the end of history, global reserve currency, global supply chain, illegal immigration, income per capita, invention of gunpowder, James Watt: steam engine, joint-stock company, Kenneth Rogoff, land reform, land tenure, lateral thinking, Malacca Straits, Martin Wolf, Naomi Klein, Nelson Mandela, new economy, New Urbanism, one-China policy, open economy, Pearl River Delta, pension reform, price stability, purchasing power parity, reserve currency, rising living standards, Ronald Reagan, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, special economic zone, spinning jenny, Spread Networks laid a new fibre optics cable between New York and Chicago, the scientific method, Thomas L Friedman, trade liberalization, urban planning, Washington Consensus, Westphalian system, Xiaogang Anhui farmers, zero-sum game

In the light of the economic transformation of so many former colonies after 1950, it is clear that the significance of decolonization and national liberation in the first two decades after the Second World War has been greatly underestimated in the West, especially Europe. Arguably it was, bar none, the most important event of the twentieth century, creating the conditions for the majority of the world’s population to become the dominant players of the twenty-first century. As Adam Smith wrote presciently of the European discovery of the Americas and the so-called East Indies: To the natives, however, both of the East and West Indies, all the commercial benefits which can have resulted from these events have been sunk and lost in the dreadful misfortunes which they have occasioned . . . At the particular time when these discoveries were made, the superiority of force happened to be so great on the side of the Europeans, that they were enabled to commit with impunity every sort of injustice in those remote countries.


Lonely Planet London by Lonely Planet

Boris Johnson, British Empire, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, congestion charging, discovery of the americas, East Village, Etonian, financial independence, haute couture, haute cuisine, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, low cost airline, Mahatma Gandhi, market design, place-making, post-work, Skype, trade route, transatlantic slave trade, urban renewal, Winter of Discontent

(In 1674 workers found a chest containing the skeletons of two children near the White Tower, which were assumed to be the princes’ remains and were reburied in Innocents’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.) Richard III didn’t have long to enjoy the hot seat: he was killed in 1485 at the Battle of Bosworth Field by Henry Tudor, first monarch of the eponymous dynasty. Tudor London London became one of the largest and most important cities in Europe during the Tudor reign, which coincided with the discovery of the Americas and thriving world trade. Henry’s son and successor, Henry VIII, was the most ostentatious of the clan, instructing new palaces to be built at Whitehall and St James’s, and bullying his lord chancellor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, into gifting him Hampton Court. Begging was treated very harshly in 16th century London. Henry VIII instructed that able-bodied beggars and vagabonds be whipped, beaten or even imprisoned, but such policies failed to stem the tide of vagrants.


Migrant City: A New History of London by Panikos Panayi

Big bang: deregulation of the City of London, British Empire, Brixton riot, call centre, discovery of the americas, en.wikipedia.org, financial intermediation, ghettoisation, gig economy, glass ceiling, haute cuisine, immigration reform, income inequality, Mahatma Gandhi, manufacturing employment, mass immigration, multicultural london english, New Urbanism, offshore financial centre, plutocrats, Plutocrats, transatlantic slave trade, upwardly mobile, urban sprawl, white flight

These new global cities, epitomized by London, therefore appear to share several characteristics, above all: the internationalization of their economy through the entry of firms from other parts of the world; the increasing ethnic diversity of their workforce and population; and, as a consequence of the first two, increasing inequality.6 Such assumptions lack historical perspective, viewing the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in particular against the background of the relative equality of the post-war consensus years; failing to take account of the history of globalization, which has impacted upon everyday life since the European ‘discovery’ of the Americas; as well as ignoring the role of local, national, continental and international migration in the evolution of many of the major metropolises which exist in the world today over decades if not centuries. While London has much in common with many of the other global cities which exist today, it has, purely from the point of view of migration, five characteristics that help to make it unique.


Lonely Planet London City Guide by Tom Masters, Steve Fallon, Vesna Maric

Boris Johnson, British Empire, centre right, Clapham omnibus, congestion charging, dark matter, discovery of the americas, double helix, East Village, financial independence, first-past-the-post, ghettoisation, haute cuisine, Isaac Newton, John Snow's cholera map, Mahatma Gandhi, market design, Nelson Mandela, place-making, South of Market, San Francisco, Stephen Hawking, transatlantic slave trade, urban planning, urban renewal, Winter of Discontent, young professional

(In 1674 workers found a chest containing the skeletons of two children near the White Tower, which were assumed to be the princes’ remains and were reburied in Innocents’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.) Richard III didn’t have long to enjoy the hot seat, however, as he was deposed within a couple of years by Henry Tudor, the first monarch of the dynasty of that name. Return to beginning of chapter TUDOR LONDON London became one of the largest and most important cities in Europe during the reign of the Tudors, which coincided with the discovery of the Americas and thriving world trade. Henry’s son and successor, Henry VIII, was the most ostentatious of the clan. Terribly fond of palaces, he had new ones built at Whitehall and St James’s, and bullied his lord chancellor, Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, into gifting him Hampton Court. His most significant contribution, however, was the split with the Catholic Church in 1534 after the Pope refused to annul his marriage to the non-heir-producing Catherine of Aragon.


pages: 1,152 words: 266,246

Why the West Rules--For Now: The Patterns of History, and What They Reveal About the Future by Ian Morris

addicted to oil, Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, anti-communist, Arthur Eddington, Atahualpa, Berlin Wall, British Empire, Columbian Exchange, conceptual framework, cuban missile crisis, defense in depth, demographic transition, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Doomsday Clock, en.wikipedia.org, falling living standards, Flynn Effect, Francisco Pizarro, global village, God and Mammon, hiring and firing, indoor plumbing, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), invention of agriculture, Isaac Newton, James Watt: steam engine, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, knowledge economy, market bubble, mass immigration, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, mutually assured destruction, New Journalism, out of africa, Peter Thiel, phenotype, pink-collar, place-making, purchasing power parity, RAND corporation, Ray Kurzweil, Ronald Reagan, Scientific racism, sexual politics, Silicon Valley, Sinatra Doctrine, South China Sea, special economic zone, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, strong AI, The inhabitant of London could order by telephone, sipping his morning tea in bed, the various products of the whole earth, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas L Friedman, Thomas Malthus, trade route, upwardly mobile, wage slave, washing machines reduced drudgery

They were about to hit the limits of what was possible with their technology, and there was every reason to expect global recession and declining population in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Yet the last two hundred years have seen more economic growth than all earlier history put together. The reason, Pomeranz explains in his important book The Great Divergence, is that western Europe, and above all Britain, just got lucky. Like Frank, Pomeranz sees the West’s luck beginning with the accidental discovery of the Americas, creating a trading system that provided incentives to industrialize production; but unlike Frank, he suggests that as late as 1800 Europe’s luck could still have failed. It would have taken a lot of space, Pomeranz points out, to grow enough trees to feed Britain’s crude early steam engines with wood—more space, in fact, than crowded western Europe had. But a second stroke of luck intervened: Britain, alone in all the world, had conveniently located coalfields as well as rapidly mechanizing industries.


Caribbean Islands by Lonely Planet

Bartolomé de las Casas, big-box store, British Empire, buttonwood tree, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, clean water, colonial rule, cuban missile crisis, discovery of the americas, Donald Trump, glass ceiling, haute cuisine, income inequality, intermodal, jitney, Kickstarter, microcredit, offshore financial centre, place-making, Ronald Reagan, Rubik’s Cube, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, sustainable-tourism, urban planning, urban sprawl, white picket fence

He agreed to cut his last term short, hold elections and, most importantly, not run as a candidate. But it wouldn’t be his last campaign – he would run once more at the age of 92, winning 23% of the vote in the 2000 presidential election. Thousands would mourn his death two years later, despite that he had prolonged the Trujillo-style dictatorship for decades. His most lasting legacy may be the Faro a Colón, an enormously expensive monument to the discovery of the Americas that drained Santo Domingo of electricity whenever the lighthouse was turned on. Breaking with the Past The Dominican people signaled their desire for change in electing Leonel Fernández, a 42-year-old lawyer who grew up in New York City, as president in the 1996 presidential election; he edged out three-time candidate José Francisco Peña Gómez in a runoff. But would too much change come too quickly?


Italy by Damien Simonis

active transport: walking or cycling, airport security, bike sharing scheme, Bonfire of the Vanities, call centre, car-free, carbon footprint, centre right, clean water, congestion charging, discovery of the americas, Frank Gehry, haute couture, illegal immigration, Kickstarter, large denomination, low cost airline, low cost carrier, Murano, Venice glass, pension reform, period drama, Peter Eisenman, Skype, spice trade, starchitect, sustainable-tourism, trade route, urban planning, urban sprawl, women in the workforce

By the mid-15th century, Venice was swathed in golden mo­saics, imported silks and clouds of incense to cover the belching, sulphuric smells that were the downsides of a lagoon empire. But events beyond Venice’s control took their toll. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the Venetian territory of Morea (in Greece) in 1499 gave the Turks control over Adriatic Sea access. The Genovese gained the upper hand with Columbus’ discovery of the Americas in 1492, calling dibs on New World trade routes. Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama rounded Africa’s Cape of Good Hope in 1498, opening up new trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean – and Venetian taxes and duties. As it lost its dominion over the seas, Venice changed tack and began conquering Europe by charm. Venetian art was incredibly daring, bringing sensuous colour and sly social commentary even to religious subjects.