1492: The Year Our World Began

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Bloomsbury, 2009 - Church and state - 346 pages
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1492: The Year Our World Beganby Felipe Fernandez-Armesto traces modernity to its roots in the year 1492. It focuses on specific events of 1492 (including the Renaissance and voyages of Columbus) which Fernandez-Armesto views as crucial to the development of modern ways of thinking and the physical state of the world today. Exploring how the creation of the earliest surviving globe showed a world shrinking with advances in cartography as a result of exploration, Fernandez-Armesto shows how people, separated by millions of years of geographical change and evolution in terms culture and ecology, began to set out to chart the places they visited, shifting the balance of global power west and establishing a global trade which prefigured that of today, while China marked time. While civilizations were rediscovering one another, however, further divisions emerged as Granada, the last Muslim-ruled state in Western Europe, fell to Spanish Christians confining Islam to the southern shore of the Mediterranean and the Sahara. Meanwhile, Jews expelled from Spain were making their way to destinations around the Mediterranean and Russia was expanding North. With confessional, sovereign states on the rise and challenging the pluralistic empires of the past, ideological differences were more than ever becoming a pretext for war. Power and economic concerns were at the forefront in Florence and Rome, and science and secular clashed with the supernatural. 1492: The Year Our World Beganexplores a crucial, yet largely neglected point in history and demonstrates how events during this year and the surrounding period began the globalisation and hegemony of the West and the shaping of power relations which we see today.

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About the author (2009)

Felipe Fernández-Armesto was born in London in 1950. His books include The Times Atlas of World Exploration, Columbus, Edward Gibbon's Atlas of the World, Barcelona: a Thousand Years of the City's Past, Millennium and Truth. Translations of his work have appeared in twenty languages and he has been shortlisted for numerous prizes. Fernández-Armesto is Professor of Global Environmental History at Queen Mary, University of London, and has been a member of the Faculty of Modern History at Oxford University since 1983. From September 2005 he has been Principe de Asturias Chair in Spanish Culture and Civilization at Tufts University. He lives in Oxford

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