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17th Century Timelines Episode Seven: Century of the Telescope 16001700


But how could a merchant know the value of coin minted in Constantinople ... that would result in a fur trading empire extending from the Urals to Alaska. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: 17th Century Timelines Episode Seven: Century of the Telescope 16001700

17th Century TimelinesEpisode Seven Century of
the Telescope (1600-1700)
  • http//www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/1999/millennium/learni

17th Century World Context. Commerce boomed from
1450 to about 1640. More traveling merchants
arrived in local markets to trade. Traveling
merchants were often the junior members of
merchant families, with the older relatives
living permanently in market towns.
Large quantities of trade goods were bought and
stored in warehouses to be distributed to local
markets. Thus, local markets were linked to
regional systems, and regional markets in turn
became more connected to the larger, global
system as the volume of trade increased.
Money Between the 11th and 14th centuries,
Muslims borrowed the Hindu concepts of zero and
the decimal system, making double entry
bookkeeping possible. But how could a merchant
know the value of coin minted in Constantinople
compared to the value of one minted in Baghdad?
The circulation for foreign coins caused
problems. Money changers became a necessity. As
they traded local and foreign coins, money
changers set the value of various currencies.
Gradually money changers became established
bankers. They started issuing letters of credit,
the ancestors of modern credit cards.
Now merchants could travel with a letter
guaranteeing them credit at the next local bank.
This freed merchants from the need to barter and
the dangerous practice of lugging chests of coins
from market to market. In the 14th century, the
Italians had borrowed these practices-and added
some of their own.
Joint Stock Companies The joint stock company, an
invention of the 14th century and ancestor to the
modern corporation, enabled investors to buy
shares of ownership with limited liability.
Joint stock companies could raise larger sums of
money for business ventures investors were
protected from losing any more than their initial
investment should the scheme fail.
Italian commercial practices spread
north, where nation states became the
governing political organization. Speculation in
the buying and selling of stock offered another
possibility for getting rich. Wealthy European
merchants and early bankers formed uneasy
alliances with their rulers as commercial
interests and government decisions became
While the concept of capitalism developed out of
this economic transformation of southern Europe
in the 14th century, by the 17th century the
major seats of economic activity were in the
Speculation Metal production increased, with
Japan, Europe, Mexico, and Peru leading the way.
An increasing demand for goods forced an
inflationary spiral in Europe, where by the
1640's there was inflation, then speculation,
then something of an economic slump.
For example, tulips had arrived in Europe via the
Ottoman Empire as highly prized, exotics.
Speculation in tulip bulbs made tulip merchants
wealthy as the price of bulbs steadily climbed.
Markets were established for a regular tulip
exchange. Twelve acres of land were offered for a
single bulb.
Prices soared, wobbled, and finally crashed in
1636. Speculators were ruined. England, France,
Holland, and Russia joined the rush to establish
Cold weather in northern Europe and northeastern
Asia led to food shortages. European printing
increased in volume. New areas of the world were
subjected to deforestation as land was cleared
for commercial crops and timber, which was
eagerly sought for shipbuilding and other
Commercial Revolution and the Triangle Trade By
1600, the northern European extension of the
commercial revolution was in full swing.
Populations expanded. French, English, and
American fur traders traveled west.
Russians began a great eastward expansion that
would result in a fur trading empire extending
from the Urals to Alaska. The initial bonanza of
American gold and silver was replaced by European
investments in a mining and plantation economy in
the Americas.
As the popularity of sugar increased among
ordinary people, the idea of sugar plantations in
the Americas spread to new places-mainly the
islands of the Caribbean.
A three-way trade developed. Sugar, tobacco,
silver, fish, timber, and furs were shipped from
the Americas to Europe. Europeans manufactured
goods for export to Africa and the Americas. In
Africa they traded for slaves to work the
plantations and gold to be exported to Europe.
The Atlantic economy expanded. More European
colonies were established in the Americas. The
center of European trade shifted from the
Mediterranean to the Atlantic.
Trade Across the Indian Ocean In the Indian
Ocean, the Dutch joined the Portuguese in trying
to capitalize on the Far Eastern markets. But few
European products were of interest to Asian
buyers. Asian products already dominated the
In Nanking, for example, workshops produced a
million pieces of china for annual
export. A textile center in Bengal
produced two million pounds of raw silk annually
during the 1680s.
Cotton weavers in the Indian city of Gujarat
produced three million pieces of cotton a year
for export alone. By comparison, Leiden, the
largest single textile center in Europe, produced
less than 100,000 pieces of cloth yearly.
Cultural Expression Economic prosperity financed
new forms of cultural expression during this long
period from 1450 to 1640. This was an age of
stunning architecture that saw the construction
of Moscow's St. Basil's Cathedral, the Taj Mahal,
Saint Peter's in Rome, the Hindu temple complex
at Madurai.
Renaissance paintings, Persian carpets from
Tabriz, Benin bronzes, blue and white Ming
porcelain, and Japanese lacquerware illustrated
the artistic achievements of this period. With
commercial expansion came a new European interest
in exact measurements, the accurate accounting of
time, and the beginnings of systematic
scientific research.
Important Dates and Developments from the 17th
Century 1601 First Welfare program 1603
Shakespeares Hamlet 1605 Cervantess Don
Quixote 1609 First Regularly printed newspaper
1610 Galileo proves that the Earth revolves
around the sun 1610 Tea imported to Europe 1628
Harvey explains circulatory system 1633 First
child-rearing book 1656 First pendulum clock
1666 Newtons Law of gravity 1674
Microorganisms observed 1683 First public
17th CenturyRene Descarte 1596 1650René
Descartes introduced groundbreaking concepts in
mathematics, science and philosophy. Called the
inventor of analytic geometry and a founder of
modern philosophy, the Frenchman also made
advances in optics and physiology.  
He introduced what came to be called the
Cartesian method beginning inquiry with
universal doubt, as opposed to medieval
philosophy, in which faith played a prominent
role. He also identified a split between mind and
body, a dualism that remains an issue in
philosophy today. But he is best remembered for
one simple statement "I think, therefore I am."
Galileo Gaililei 1564 1642 By challenging
views of the natural world that had prevailed for
1,500 years, Italian astronomer, physicist and
mathematician Galileo Galilei changed the way we
think. By inventing a mathematical approach to
everyday experience, he discovered the laws of
inertia, falling bodies and the pendulum.
With a telescope he built, he also made
astronomical discoveries that convinced him of
the heliocentric view of the universe, which
Copernicus had formulated earlier but had been
hesitant to publish. Galileo took the chance but
was forced to recant his findings before a
Catholic Church tribunal in 1633.
Nonetheless, his beliefs and discoveries lived
on, opening the door for modern physics and a new
approach to scientific thought.
Louis XIV 1638 1715In 1643, a few months shy
of his fifth birthday, he was crowned king of
France. He survived a revolt by the nobility and
emerged to declare himself a divine monarch --
the Sun King. Louis XIV was an absolutist A
passport could not be issued without his
He raised a mighty army, fought wars against
England, Holland and the Holy Roman Empire -- and
France's own Protestants and constructed the
sprawling palace of Versailles, to which he moved
the royal court from Paris.  
There he lived and ruled, surrounded by
indulgence, spectacle and sycophancy. Louis is
credited with making France a leading power --
and blamed for precipitating its decline.  
John Locke 1632- 1704 Enlightenment philosopher
John Locke was noted for his writing on
education, science and religious freedom. His
ideas about politics -- that people by nature
have certain rights, including life, liberty and
property, and that their consent is the only
legitimate basis of government -- had a more
profound effect.  
His proposals for legislative representation and
free speech influenced the U.S. Constitution and
democratic movements around the world.  
Claudio Monteverdi 1567 1643 Claudio
Monteverdi was already known outside Italy for
his madrigals and church works when he became
interested in opera, an experimental form joining
storytelling and dialogue with music.
Isaac Newton 1642 1727 A passionately
religious man in a time of great scientific
discovery, Isaac Newton wanted to know how God's
universe worked. His quest for answers gave us
the law of universal gravitation, calculus, a new
theory of color and light, and the three laws of
motion that form the basis of modern mechanics.
Brilliant and creative, the English physicist and
mathematician synthesized the discoveries of
Galileo, Kepler and others, formalizing and
transforming physical science.
William Shakespeare 1564 1616 His masterly use
of language has captivated audiences for 400
years. He penned 38 plays and 154 sonnets that
explored the complexities of the human soul with
unprecedented emotional range. But what all his
work demonstrates is a facility for wordplay
unrivaled by any writer before or since.
17th Century Segments England and Isaac
NewtonUSA Virginia Brazil Slaves Holland
Commerce China Jesuits and Science
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