It is difficult to envision the sheer quantity of pearls dredged up from the New World by sixteenth-century colonists. An average of a 1,000 pounds of pearl per year in tax revenue alone. The social, political, and ecological challenges of producing such richness is the subject of a fascinating book by historian Molly Warsh reviewed here.
Offering a provocative critique of the unspoken liberal underpinning of historiography on slavery, Herman Bennett's new study is addressed to Europeanists who have ignored the centrality of slavery to early modern political theory.
Religious reformers like Martin Luther laid the groundwork for the later emergence of Liberal political economy by purging late-medieval conceptions of the monetary instrument as a potentially boundless public utility from the collective imagination.
Rather than marking the advent of "modernity," the year 1610 commemorates a wave of permanent human-induced changes to the Earth system.