HIST 1010 Chapter 17: Science and Commerce in Early Modern Italy
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October 27th – 29th
Week 8: Science and Commerce in Early Modern Italy – Chapter 17 page #
The New Science:
The scientific revolution challenged prevailing assumptions about the natural
world. The new science was materialistic, mathematical, and a Europe-wide
movement. Nicolaus Copernicus developed a heliocentric model of the universe.
Johannes Kelper formulated laws on planetary motion. Galileo developed laws of
motion and popularized Copernican theory. Spiritual and mystical traditions
played an important role in the scientific revolution. Paracelsus transformed ideas
about chemistry and medicine. Robert Boyle helped establish the science of
chemistry. William Harvey demonstrated the circulation of blood. Sir Isaac
Newton discovered fundamental laws of motion. The state provided support for
scientific inquiry. Rene Descartes argued for the harmony of faith and reason.
Cartesianism rested on a division between mind and matter.
Empires of Goods:
The development of long-distance trade had a profound impact on lifestyles,
economic policy, and warfare. In the seventeenth century, commercial power
shifted from the Mediterranean countries to the northern European states.
Innovation, organization, and efficient management all played a role in producing
the commercial revolution. Consumer tastes came to exert a strong influence on
trade and commercial patterns. The demand for sugar was linked to the success
of tea. Sugar cultivation stimulated the African slave trade. The Dutch were the
preeminent commercial power in the first part of the seventeenth century.
Outside of the Dutch Republic, monarchs played a central role in trade.
According to the theory of mercantilism, trade was a zero-sum game in which the
object was to amass as much precious metal as possible. States granted
monopolies and regulated trade to further mercantilist goals.
The Wars of Commerce:
Economic competition developed into military conflict. After the Anglo-Ditch
commercial wars, England was the dominant commercial power in Europe. The
French pursued a policy of economic independence that included the use of
punitive tariffs against the Dutch. Louis XIV invaded the Netherlands but was
prevented from attaining an easy victory by a Dutch, Spanish, German, and
English coalition. Louis XIV aimed to restore the Burgundian territories to France
and to secure northern and eastern borders for his state. The claims of Louis XIV
and Leopold I to the Spanish throne threatened to destroy the balance of power
in Europe. The War of the Spanish Succession ended with France’s defeat by
the Grand Alliance. The Seven Years’ War was essentially a war for empire
between England and France. England’s triumph made it a global imperial