Drake arrives in California. An engraving published by Theodore de Brie in 1590.
Conquering the world
The basis of Western (European) civilization is parasitism.
In the Middle Ages, Europeans, who obeyed the "command post" in Rome, first suppressed the resistance of the pagan peoples, Celts, Germans and Slavs. Destroyed the Slavic civilization in Central Europe. In particular, today's Germany and Austria are the lands of the Slavic Russian tribes. All the old cities of Germany and a number of other countries were based on Slavic settlements.
When there was no one to enslave and plunder, except for their own serfs, the western feudal lords tried to conquer the eastern core of the Rus-Russians. However, they received a powerful rebuff. Drang nach Osten failed. An attempt to conquer the rich countries in the south (ride the eastern trade routes) also failed. The Muslim Saracens fought back.
Then Rome, with the help of Spain and Portugal, organized sea expeditions.
Obviously, Rome had ancient maps that told about other peoples and civilizations outside Europe. The era of the great geographical "discoveries" began.
Popes divided the world between the Spanish and the Portuguese. Italian cities monopolized the Mediterranean. The Spaniards broke through to America, began to destroy and plunder the ancient Indian civilizations. They entered the Pacific Ocean and established themselves in the Philippines.
The Portuguese occupied Brazil and captured strategic points on the shores of Africa. They entered the Indian Ocean, captured the ports and cities of East Africa, Arabia, Iran, India, Ceylon, Malacca, penetrated Indonesia, China and Japan.
Streams of wealth poured into impoverished Europe from all over the planet. Those treasures that have been accumulated by tribes, peoples, cultures and civilizations for centuries, if not millennia.
Decay of Christian civilization
Rome was triumphant. The popes dreamed of a world Catholic empire.
However, the flows of gold led to the rapid decay of the European nobility.
The Renaissance era began with its hedonism, revelry of luxury, excesses and debauchery.
Christian morality has been destroyed. Asceticism remained in the distant past. The "Holy See" had not previously been distinguished by holiness. Popes, cardinals, archbishops, bishops and abbots have previously been not only spiritual, but also secular rulers. Posts were sold. Spiritual hierarchs were not inferior, and often even surpassed the secular feudal lords in the wealth and luxury of the court. They did not disdain worldly pleasures. The temptations of modern times have dealt a powerful blow to the Roman church. The churchmen were all infected with money-grubbing and fornication.
The European nobility was already irritated by the Christian morality that oppressed them. As well as the wealth of the church (land fund). The Bible was replaced by philosophy, astrology and magic. The icons depict the figures of naked Venus and Apollo.
A "reset" of European civilization became necessary. Update.
Not surprisingly, teachers soon appeared who began to rethink Christianity. The Reformation began.
It is clear that the European elite, dissatisfied with the dictate of Rome, chose the reformist trends that were most beneficial to them. In particular, Martin Luther (1483-1546) rejected the rule of the papal throne, monasticism and church property. The new church had to be poor. This was very much liked by the impoverished German and Scandinavian nobles, who wanted to improve their financial situation at the expense of the church. The feudal lords who accepted Lutheranism gladly grabbed the church land holdings.
True, there were also radical preachers, in particular, Anabaptists. They spoke:
"If you do not recognize the domination of ecclesiastical authority, then why recognize the secular one?"
They demanded freedom of preaching, the abolition of serfdom, an honest division of the land, the abolition of the heaviest taxes and duties, the abolition of the privileges of the upper classes. This was carried away by the broad masses of the people, the peasants. What caused a series of bloody uprisings. The whole Peasant War of 1524-1526 began in Germany. The princes and feudal lords with difficulty suppressed the unrest of the people.
Rebel peasants with the "shoe flag". Engraving by master Petrarch. 1539
The Reformation in England was very interesting.
The womanizer king Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547) wanted only to divorce and marry at will. In Catholicism, marriage was sacred. And Pope Clement refused in 1529 to recognize the illegal marriage of the English monarch with Catherine of Aragon. And, accordingly, he did not want to annul him so that he could marry Anne Boleyn. In response, Henry cut ties with the papal see. Married without permission. And he created the Church of England (Anglicanism).
In 1534 Parliament declared the independence of the English Church from the Pope. The king was proclaimed the head of the church. A large-scale secularization of monastic lands was carried out in the country, all monasteries were closed, monks were deprived of goodness and expelled. All property of the Catholic Church has been confiscated.
The king did not even hesitate to order to open and rob the relics of the saints.
At the same time, Henry did not delve into religious wisdom. The Anglican Church has preserved almost all of the Catholic rites. But she obeyed not the pope, but the monarch.
On the continent, John Calvin (1509-1564) taught that every person, regardless of his earthly affairs, is knowingly determined by God for salvation or condemnation.
It was very simple to distinguish the “chosen” from the “unelected” in those years: those whom the Lord loved, he marked with wealth. The rest had to obey the "chosen ones", serve them. And the power should have belonged not to kings, but to the councils of the “elect”. Calvin's theories were very popular with the French nobility and the wealthy urban elite. They allowed not to subordinate to the king and raise rebellions "in the name of the Lord." Also, Calvinism came to the liking of usurers-bankers, merchants, merchants and shipowners. They received the status of "chosen ones" and practically new nobility.
Especially many “chosen ones” were in the cities of the Netherlands.
"Lowlands", located in the lower reaches of the Rhine, Meuse, Scheldt and along the coast of the North Sea, were then part of the Spanish Empire. While the Spanish nobles seized land overseas, died in battles, from hunger and tropical diseases, the Dutch merchants grew rich.
The fact was that in Spain the "noble" were forbidden to trade, engage in crafts and trades. As a result, the mined goods were transported on Dutch ships and sold in Dutch markets. The profits settled in the wallets of the local wealthy.
While Spain was in the past, the Netherlands was rapidly enriching itself. And when the Dutch moneybags got fat enough, they wondered whether it was necessary to obey the Spanish king, pay church tithes and other taxes?
Isn't it better to rule yourself and get all the profits? Then the Reformation arrived.
The preachers angered the people. The Spaniards, who were tough on the positions of Catholicism, responded with repression and terror. The Netherlands rebelled under the banner of Calvinism.
The bloody massacre, intermittently, went on from 1566 to 1648. The northern provinces were able to achieve independence, the Dutch Republic was created, where power belonged to the "elected".
Meeting of Henry VIII with Anne Boleyn. Hood. Daniel MacLise (1836)
The Roman throne, which, despite its decline, still retained its spiritual and volitional power, energy and possessed enormous resources, actively resisted the Reformation.
And even launched a counteroffensive. In the first half of the XNUMXth century, the Counter-Reformation began.
On the one hand, the leadership was engaged in “healing” the church, correcting morals and strengthening the discipline of the clergy. In Spain, which became a stronghold of Catholicism, Rome shared powers with the royal government. Nominations for high church posts were agreed with the kings, the royal court was supposed to hear complaints against clergy, etc. And the royal power protected the church from heretics.
The Roman throne developed large-scale propaganda and educational programs, trained qualified preachers. The corresponding impact was exerted on the education system, literature and art. New monastic orders appeared (Teatinians, Capuchins, Barnabis, "Merciful Brothers", St. Urusula), which tried to restore the ascetic values of early Christianity, to help the poor and sick.
On the other hand, the punishment system has been improved. The Inquisition was reorganized, the most severe censorship was introduced.
In 1534-1540. the Jesuit Order (Society of Jesus) was created. The founder of the order was Ignatius Loyola. First, the Jesuits had to engage in missionary work among Muslims. Then the order received a military function - at this time the possibility of a crusade against Turkey was considered.
As a result, this Jesuit order became the first world secret service to spread its tentacles all over the world. By 1554, the order had its people in Brazil and Japan. The Jesuits not only conducted active propaganda, educational activities (trained personnel), collected information, but influenced the policies of countries, up to the elimination of their rulers. Military operations were supplemented by secret ones.
In Protestant countries, the Jesuits carried out subversive, sabotage activities, organized conspiracies and coups. Troops of missionaries went to Africa and Asia, which, together with religion and the foundations of culture (European), inspired admiration for the white "masters", prepared the ground for further expansion.
Dissenters were dragged on a rack and burned at the stake.
Religious wars flared up across Europe.
The north ended up in the Protestant camp - Sweden, Denmark, England, Holland, Hungary, the Swiss cantons. Germany was divided into Lutheran (Protestant) and Catholic principalities.
The main defenders of the Catholic Church were the two branches of the House of Habsburgs, the Spanish kings and the Germanic emperors (Holy Roman Empire). True, in the political arena, religious confrontation was often only a pretext for the traditional rivalry of powers.
For example, France, in which the Catholics took over the Protestant Huguenots, was the traditional opponent of the Habsburgs. Therefore, in these wars France fought against the Catholic world.
Continuing to fight for supremacy in the metropolis, the Europeans did not forget to plunder the colonies and seize new lands.
If the Spaniards and Portuguese were conquering under the slogan of Christianization, then the Protestants did without any formalities. What does Christianity have to do with it, if there is an opportunity to get rich?
The British infiltrated North America. In 1600, the East India Company was created, which began the conquest of Southeast Asia. The British began to help the Persians and Hindus to fight the Portuguese. In return, they received the right to open trading posts and build fortresses. The construction of the world British Empire began.
The Netherlands was still fighting a war of liberation with Spain. And at the same time they gathered troops and built ships to plunder new lands. The Dutch wealthy also created the East India Company in 1602 and gave it unprecedented powers. She received the right to have her own army, navy, her own court, as well as the ability to declare and wage war, to occupy territories and conduct duty-free trade. It was a state within a state.
As a result, Holland itself temporarily became an appendage of the company. Its directors were part of the government, used the resources of the entire country for the needs of the corporation, and no one could interfere in its affairs. The Dutch set up trading posts in Africa, India, Malacca, Siam, China and Formosa. They actively seize lands in Indonesia, establish a network of ports and bases in Java, Sumatra and Borneo.
The capital of the Dutch colonial possessions in Asia becomes Batavia (now Jakarta) in Java. The Dutch are pushing the Portuguese in the East. And for a while they take the position of the foremost maritime and colonial power of Europe. The trade in spices and other treasures enriched the merchant elite of Holland.
The subsidiary department of the East India Company was the West India Company. Taking advantage of the weakness of Portugal, the Dutch temporarily captured the northern part of Brazil, Suriname, and a number of islands in the Caribbean. The main base of the Dutch in the West Indies was New Amsterdam (future New York). The Dutch lands in North America were called New Holland. The company's prosperity was based on the slave trade, piracy (attacks on Spanish ships), trade in gold, silver, sugar and furs.
France at the beginning of the 1608th century begins the colonization of Canada - New France. Quebec was founded in 1718 as the capital of French Canada. Then the French sailed along the entire course of the Mississippi and declared it the possession of the French roots. In XNUMX New Orleans was founded - the capital of Louisiana (in honor of King Louis).
In the XNUMXth century, the French tried to stake out a part of India for themselves.
Sweden also tried to become a colonial power. In America, New Sweden was created on the banks of the Delaware River (time of existence 1638-1655).
Formal seizures were mixed with outright piracy. Dutch, English and French "gentlemen of fortune" walked on the sea, building their bases and strong points.
To be continued ...