Ch 06 The New Monarchy and the Bourgeoise

Ch.06-The New Monarchy And the Bourgeoisie

Hits: 1887

CHAPTER VI: NEW MONARCHY AND THE BOURGEOISIE

SECTION 2:
THE DISCOVERIES

 

IN 1492, COLOMBUS REACHED THE WEST INDIES.

SIX YEARS LATER, VASCO DA GAMA ARRIVED AT CALICUT AFTER ROUNDING THE CAPE OF GOOD HOPE.

THESE EVENTS TRANSFORMED RELATIONS BETWEEN EUROPE, THE EAST AND AMERICA.

THE HIGH COST OF LAND TRANSPORT MADE IT UNPROFITABLE TO CARRY ANYTHING BUT THE LEAST BULKY.

SILKS, SPICES, PRECIOUS STONES, AND, IN THE MAIN, TRADE FROM THE EAST WENT ONLY ONE WAY. EUROPE HAD NO COMMODITIES SMALL ENOUGH TO TRANSPORT IN BULK, SO EXCHANGE WAS IN GOLD AND SILVER.

ROUTES WERE THREATENED BY THE MONGOLS IN THE 15th CENTURY, WHO OVERRAN MUCH OF RUSSIA, AND BY THE TURKS, WHO DROVE THE ARABS OUT OF ASIA MINOR AND IN 1453 CAPTURED CONSTANTINOPLE.

OVERLAND ROUTES WERE NOT IMPOSSIBLE BUT WERE VERY RISKY, AND PROFITS DECLINED.

SHIP BUILDING ADVANCED AS DID NAVIGATION TECHNIQUES. IN ENGLAND, SHIPS BEFORE 1400 WERE LESS THAN 100 TONS, BUT BY 1439 SHIPS ORDERED BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR TROOP TRANSPORT INCLUDED 200 TO 360 TON SHIPS. BEFORE 1500, THERE WERE 2850 TON SHIPS USED BY MERCHANTS.

ADVANCES IN SEAWORTHYNESS BY THE SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE MEANT THAT THEY HAD REGULAR CARAVANS ACROSS THE ATLANTIC AND TO THE COAST OF AFRICA IN THE 15th CENTURY.

THE POWER OF THE ITALIAN MERCHANT TOWNS WAS DESTROYED AS POWER SHIFTED ACROSS THE ATLANTIC.

THE CAPE ROUTE BELONGED TO THE PORTUGUESE THROUGH MAGELLAN, BUT SPAIN AND PORTUGAL DID NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT RESOURCES. THEY THEREFORE DID’NT HAVE IT ALL THEIR OWN WAY.

ENTER FRANCE, ENGLAND AND HOLLAND.

NOT STRONG ENOUGH TO CHALLENGE THE SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE, ENGLISH SEAMEN WENT TO NEWFOUNDLAND AND TRIED UNSUCCESSFULLY TO DISCOVER THE NORTH WEST PASSAGE. THEY TURNED NORTH EAST AND REACHED ARCHANGEL.

A RUSSIAN TRADE COMPANY WAS SET UP. TRADE WITH ICELAND AND THE BALTICS FOLLOWED.
THE STRUGGLE FOR PROFITS THROUGH TRADE ROUTES CONTINUED WITH THE AIM OF CREATING A ROUTE MONOPOLY.

MERCANTILISM AIMED AT CONFINING TRADE TO ENGLISH SHIPPING. IT WAS THE DOMINANT THEORY.

BOUNTIES WERE PAID, HOME INDUSTRIES PROTECTED BY TARIFFS AND THIS THEORY WAS CONTINUED BY THE ENGLISH RIGHT UP TO THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION.

SO LONG AS MERCHANT CAPITAL WAS DOMINANT, IT WAS NATURAL TO REGARD MONEY AS THE MEASURE OF WEALTH AND NATIONAL PROSPERITY.

WITH THE RISE OF INDUSTRIAL CAPITAL BY THE 18th CENTURY, MONEY BECAME REGARDED AS A COMMODITY AMONG OTHER COMMODITIES,

AND THE WEALTH OF THE NATION WAS MEASURED BY THE VOLUME OF ITS PRODUCTION OF COMMODITIES OF ALL KINDS.

IN THE 16th CENTURY, ENGLAND’S MAIN EXPORT WAS CLOTH. THE QUEST FOR GOLD AND SILVER INVOLVED ENGLAND IN A GENERATION OF CONFLICT WITH SPAIN (NOT DEALT WITH HERE).

BULLION CERTAINLY POURED IN, BUT IT CAME FROM CONQUEST AND AS A NATURAL CONSEQUENCE OF INCREASING TRADE.

THERE REMAINED ANOTHER IMPORTANT EFFECT ON PEOPLE’S LIVES, HOWEVER - JUST AS IMPORTANT AS CLOTH AND DISCOVERIES. IT WAS THE REVOLUTION IN AGRICULTURE LEADING TO THE CREATION OF LARGE SCALE UNEMPLOYMENT AND THE BEGINNING OF THE MODERN PROLETARIAN CLASS.

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