martes, junio 24, 2008

El comienzo de una revolución

Algo así me enseñaron en el colegio. Que bueno reencontrarlo.

This sudden burst of maritime activity was produced by a combination of coincidences and events. To begin with, Europe after 1300 was no longer the narrow, inward-looking world of earlier times. The restoration of trade in the Mediterranean, the growing taste for the spices and luxury goods of Asia, and the written accounts of Polo and his fellow travelers contributed to a growing interest in distant lands. Meanwhile, the collapse of the Mongol Empire in the late fourteenth century, followed by the conquest of Constantinople by the Ottoman Turks in 1453, resulted not just in political instability and insecurity of travel that threatened to cut overland contacts with Asia. It led as well to rising prices and increased costs of trade with Muslim merchants of the Middle East, who dictated the terms of commerce and transacted business only with Italian middlemen from the city-states of Renaissance Venice and Genoa. At the same time, the Muslim victory over Byzantium intensified the old hostility between Christendom and Islam, which rekindled the crusading spirit in the minds of many Europeans. All these conditions provided more incentives to seek new routes to the sources of silk and spices in Asia, where new allies against Islam might be found, as well.
What appeared to be unrelated events also combined at this time to enable voyages of exploration. The recovery of ancient Greek and Latin texts on geography, mathematics, and astronomy—lost since the fall of Rome—provided important new sources of knowledge vital to the science of navigation. Advances in shipbuilding and design similarly helped, such as the development of the caravel in Portugal and Spain. This sturdy, seaworthy vessel, capable of sailing well both before and into the wind and of carrying large cargoes, was better suited for long voyages across dangerous seas out of sight of land for weeks at a time than any other ships of the day. Western Europe thus had the means, the motive, and the opportunity to open new routes to the fabulous east and to discover new continents to the west by the beginning of the fifteenth century.

Maritime exploration in the age of discovery, Ronald Love. pp 4/5.

2 comentarios:

hugo dijo...

por ello almirante de la mar océano marcus nelson carece de exactitud quienes cifran en 1492 y no en 1453 el paso de la edad media a la edad moderna, ya que el descubrimeinto de américa fue la consecuencia de la caída de constantinopla.

linda prosa, very polite!!!

MarcosKtulu dijo...

Es cierto Hugo, esta revolución no tiene un comienzo exacto en 1492, pero tampoco creo que nos ayude atrasarla 40 años. La toma de Constantinopla por parte de Mehmet II es más bien simbólica. Implica la conclusión de la destrucción final del imperio bizantino, sí, pero los turcos ya habían cerrado hace rato el paso por anatolia, y quedaba nomás la disputa por la ruta mediterránea con Génova y Venecia.
De todos modos, ya que te gusta su prosa, te pongo lo que en el prefacio dice el autor sobre las épocas:
Although still convenient for textbooks and examinations, the practice of dividing history into great chapters or ‘‘ages,’’ delineated by abrupt or arbitrary limits, has little relation to reality.2 Continuity and gradual evolution typify the story of the past, while the complexities of human society today were the result of gradual and continuous processes over time, not sudden cataclysmic change. The more
one examines these historical processes in detail, the more one recognizes that there are few, if any, abrupt or dramatic transitions in human history.3 Because the societies of the modern world have
centuries-old roots, and national institutions and cultural patterns are more meaningful when viewed from the long perspective of their heritage, it is nearly impossible to pinpoint a transformation with any degree of accuracy.
But to overemphasize that kind of continuity presents dangers
of its own, because it underestimates the subtle scheme of human relations, while obscuring irrefutable facts and discernable movements of signal importance. One such movement was the steady expansion of contacts among the many cultures of the habitable
world brought about by geographic discovery. In its wake, the center
of gravity in politics and economics was displaced steadily away from Asia and the Mediterranean sea; furthermore, the maritime kingdoms of western Europe were elevated to a new level of
significance, not just as a counterpoise to groupings of other cultures around the globe but also as a distinctive segment of humanity with a unique heritage, outlook, and identity in correlation to other societies
across the world.4 Consequently, much of the political, economic,
social, and even cultural history of modern times has been
concerned with the rivalry among different European states for
opportunities to exploit and develop new lands overseas during that period that historians have designated as the great Age of Discovery for good reason. Indeed, none of that competition for territorial empire would have been possible without those pioneering voyages of exploration that interlinked the world’s oceans and cultures, and which form the subject of this book.