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Periods of Economic and Social Recession in the Seventeenth Essay

Point out the various dimensions of the 17th century crisis. Explain why some countries were more seriously affected by this crisis than others. Intro: There was, for several decades in the seventeenth century, a period of major economic and social recession, crisis and secular readjustment, which contrasts strikingly with the periods of economic expansion which preceded and followed it.

Its effects were not confined to any single country, but, with a few marginal exceptions, can be traced throughout he entire range of the economic area dominated by and from, Western Europe, from the Americas to the China Seas; nor were they confined to the economic field. The simultaneous occurrence of revolutions or attempted revolutions in the middle of the seventeenth century, in England, France, the Spanish Empire and the Ukraine has been connected with the crisis. The crisis of the period saw cases of simultaneous state breakdowns around the globe than any previous or subsequent age: something historians have called “The General Crisis. In the sass, Mining China, the most populous state in the world, collapsed; the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the largest state in Europe, disintegrated; much of the Spanish monarchy, the first global empire in history, seceded; and the entire Stuart

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monarchy rebelled-Scotland, Ireland, England, and its American colonies. In addition, Just in the year 1648, a tide of urban rebellions began in Russia (the largest state in the world), and the Fronded Revolt paralyzed France (the most populous state in Europe); meanwhile, in Istanbul (Rupee’s largest city), irate subjects strangled Sultan Abraham, and in London, King

Charles I went on trial for war crimes (the first head of state to do so). In the sass, Sweden and Denmark came close to revolution; Scotland and Ireland disappeared as autonomous states; the Dutch Republic radically changed its form of government; and the McHugh Empire, then the richest state in the world, experienced two years of civil war following the arrest, deposition, and imprisonment of its ruler. This seems that some countries were more affected than others but it most of the world’s regions with equal force despite the regional variations.

Causes: According to Eric Hobbies the crisis cannot be put down to secular climatic hanged. The suggestion has been specifically investigated and rejected. Nor can it be ascribed to the effects of the Thirty Years’ War, though nobody would wish to underestimate these. It is indeed tempting to make the Thirty Years’ War responsible for the crisis, if only because its beginning coincides with the great collapse in the Baltic trade (the “slump of the sass’s”) which initiates the crisis, and its end with the acute period of European revolutions. However, a) at least one major component of the crisis, the collapse of the Spanish imperial economy in America, clearly begins mom time before the Thirty Years’ War and independently of it, and b) symptoms of the crisis are plainly visible in areas unaffected by the war. It is therefore legitimate to regard the wars as complicating factors in the crisis rather than as a cause; except epidemics, it may well be argued that their capacity to kill people, if not their actual occurrence, depended on the economic and social factors which determined people’s accessibility to infection and capacity to resist it.

Poor men almost invariably die more frequently in epidemics than rich ones. It is thus legitimate to regard the vehement century crisis as one generated by previous economic development. The problem facing us is how it fits into the economic evolution which, at the end of the eighteenth century, produced the industrial, agricultural and demographic revolutions which have ever since dominated the history of the world, or, in the current Jargon phrase, the “take-off into self-sustained growth. The “feudal crisis” of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and the seventeenth century crisis are examples of what happened then: recession, relapse, breakdown, and within this eating, shifts and readjustments which eventually allowed the tendencies of growth to resume. The importance of the seventeenth century crisis is this. The world economy, as it were, taxis along the runway of its aerodrome, to become airborne in the sass’s. Since then, broadly speaking, it has been flying. Its internal difficulties and contra- dictions have been of a different kind.

On the other hand we know that the actual process of the rise of industrial capitalism was a slow and tortuous process. It stretched over at least eight centuries- say from A. D. 1000 to A. D. 1800, and was interrupted by at least two major secular breakdowns, the fourteenth to fifteenth and the seventeenth century crises. That is to say, it included a number of demonstrably false starts. The crisis: The frequency of popular revolts around the world also peaked during the mid- seventeenth century.

In China, the number of major armed uprisings rose from under ten in the sass to more than seventy in the sass and more than eighty in the sass, affecting 160 counties and involving well over 1 million people. In Japan, some forty revolts (hook) and two hundred lesser rural uprisings housebreak) occurred between 1590 and 1642-a total unmatched for two centuries- and the largest up- rising, at Chimaeras on Shush Island in 1637-1638, involved some 25,000 insurgents.

In Russia, a wave of rebellions in 1648-1649 shook the central government to its foundations; of the twenty-five major peasant revolts recorded in seventeenth- century Germany and Switzerland, more than half took place between 1626 and 1650; the total number of food riots in England rose from twelve between 1600 and 1620 to thirty-six between 1621 and 1631, with fourteen more in 1647-1649. 4 In France, finally, popular revolts peaked both absolutely and elatedly in the mid- seventeenth century.

The mid-seventeenth century also saw a third major anomaly: more wars took place around the world than in any other era until the sass. In the six decades between 1618 and 1678, Poland was at peace for only twenty-seven years, the Dutch Republic for only fourteen, France for only eleven, and Spain for only three. Jack S. Levy, a political scientist, found the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe to be “the most warlike in terms of the proportion of years of war under way (95 per cent), the frequency of war (nearly one every three ears), and the average yearly duration, extent, and magnitude of war. The historical record reveals at least one war in progress between the states of Europe in every year between 1611 and 1669. Beyond Europe, over the same period, the Chinese and McHugh empires fought wars continuously, while the Ottoman Empire enjoyed only another political scientist, shows that, on average, wars around the world lasted longer in the seventeenth century than at any time since 1400 (when his survey begins). War had become the norm for resolving both domestic and international problems.

In part, these catastrophic losses occurred because the General Crisis took place at a time when population densities in the Northern Hemisphere had reached unprecedented and sometimes unsustainable levels. In some cities, the concentration of people was even higher: population and building densities within the medieval walls of London, for example, had in the sass reached levels probably not “witnessed in Britain either before or since. ” In some parishes, each acre contained almost 400 people. Causes: Many historians attributed the revolutions, revolts, wars, and mortality that surrounded them to supernatural forces. To the Welsh historian James Howell, writing in 1649, the extent and suddenness of the catastrophe suggested that God Almighty has a quarrel lately with all mankind, and given the reins to the ill spirit to compass the whole earth; for within these twelve years there have the strangest revolutions and ensuing horrors happened, not only in Europe but all the world over.

Others still blamed the devil and his lieutenants on earth: the witches. They also linked the General Crisis with other extraterrestrial phenomena. A Spanish almanac published in 1640 reminded readers that Whenever eclipses, comets and earthquakes and other similar prodigies have occurred, great miseries have usually followed” and predicted that the eclipse of the sun observed on June 1, 1639, would produce “great upsets in war, political upheavals, and damage to ordinary people” between March 1640 and March 1642. 2 As late as 1649, a London newspaper still linked the comet of 1618 with the Thirty Years’ War because “the Blazing Star, in the year the war began, appeared over Europe for thirty days and no more. According to Eric Hobbies the crisis cannot be put down to secular climatic changes. The suggestion has been specifically investigated and rejected. Nor can it be ascribed to the effects of the Thirty Years’ War, though nobody would wish to underestimate these.

It is indeed tempting to make the Thirty Years’ War responsible for the crisis, if only because its beginning coincides with the great collapse in the Baltic trade (the “slump of the sass’s”) which initiates the crisis, and its end with the acute period of European revolutions. 3 However, a) at least one major component of the crisis, the collapse of the Spanish imperial economy in America, clearly begins some time before the Thirty Years’ War ND independently of it, and b) symptoms of the crisis are plainly visible in areas unaffected by the war.

It is therefore legitimate to regard the wars as complicating factors in the crisis rather than as a cause; except perhaps in its political aspect. If the seventeenth century is one of widespread epidemics, it may well be argued that their capacity to kill people, if not their actual occurrence, depended on the economic and social factors which determined people’s accessibility to infection and capacity to resist it. Poor men almost invariably die more frequently in epidemics than rich ones. It is thus legitimate to regard the seventeenth century crisis as one generated by previous economic development.

The problem facing us is how it fits into the economic evolution which, at the end of the eighteenth century, produced the industrial, agricultural and demographic revolutions which have ever since self-sustained growth. ” The “feudal crisis” of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries and the seventeenth century crisis are examples of what happened then: recession, relapse, breakdown, and within this setting, shifts and readjustments which eventually allowed the tendencies of growth to resume. The importance of the seventeenth century crisis is this.

The world economy, as it were, taxis along the runway of its aerodrome, to become airborne in the sass’s. Since then, broadly speaking, it has been flying. Its internal difficulties and contra- dictions have been of a different kind. On the other hand we know that the actual process of the rise of industrial capitalism was a slow and tortuous process. It stretched over at least eight centuries- say from A. D. 1000 to A. D. 1800, and was interrupted by at least two major secular breakdowns, the fourteenth to fifteenth and the seventeenth century crises.

That is to say, it included a number of demonstrably false starts. Weather as a plausible cause for crisis: There is a need to examine weather/climate as an explanation that helped trigger the crisis. Offering a fresh perspective Geoffrey Parker repeated examples of extreme weather, especially prolonged cold spells that had led some to suspect global cooling. In July 1675, the learned Parisian Madame De Savings complained that, instead of the normal summer heat wave, “We suffer horribly from the cold and have the fires lit” and speculated that “the behavior of the sun and of the seasons has completely changed.

Few historians have considered the impact of the climate as a cause that triggered the general crisis. Even the pioneering 1967 study Times of Feast, Times of Famine: A History of Climate since the Year 1000, by Emmanuel Lee Roy Ladies, a historian of early modern Europe, concluded that “In the present state of our knowledge it still seems as if the long ‘crisis,’ hypothetical or real, of the seventeenth century had some other explanation” than climate change.

For example, Lee Roy Ladies continued, “it would be quite absurd” to try and “explain’ the Fronded by the adverse meteorological conditions of the sass. Ice cores: the annual deposits on ice caps and glaciers around the world, captured in deep boreholes, provide evidence of changing levels of volcanic emissions, precipitation, air temperature, and atmospheric composition. Glaciology: the alternating advance and retreat of glaciers, together with an analysis of the debris left behind, sheds light on both precipitation and ablation.

Paleontology: changes in pollen and spores deposited in lakes, bogs, and estuaries reflect the natural vegetation at the time of pollen deposit. Ethnologically: the varying size of growth rings laid down by trees during each rowing season reflects local conditions in spring and summer. A thick ring corresponds with a year favorable to growth, while a narrow ring indicates a year of adversity. Combining the two “archives” has enabled climatologists to recreate detailed weather maps for western Europe back to 1659 by month, and back to 1500 by sea- son. 8 In 1999, the Journal Climatic Change devoted an entire issue to European weather during the sixteenth century, which was later published in book form. Since then, articles in the International Journal of Climatology and elsewhere have offered a detailed reconstruction of both the European climate between 1675 ND 171 5 and the entire global climate for certain decades of the early modern period. Unfortunately, no similar survey has yet appeared for the sass, the decade abundant, and they reveal both extreme cold and prolonged drought around the globe.

In America, New England’s colonists experienced the second-coldest winter in a century in 1641-1642. East Asia also experienced abnormal cold. In Japan, when Memento Houseman (a merchant and minor official living Just north of Tokyo) wrote his memoirs, he remembered the unique conditions on New Year’s Day 1641, when “ice lay in the fields one foot deep. A chronicler in Shanghai, writing in April 1642, recorded that “since the New Year [January 31], it has been cold and it has rained frequently.

The spring has almost come to an end, but the cold still persists. ” Europe, too, experienced winters of extreme severity-from Scandinavia (which suffered the coldest winter ever recorded in 1641-1642) to Macedonia (where that same year “there was so much rain and snow that many workers died through the great cold”). The sass also saw prolonged drought in many areas. The western United States lacked rain in 1640-1644, which, combined with unusually low temperatures.

In 1640, northern China experienced the single-driest year recorded during the last five centuries; while in 1641, central China experienced its second- driest year in two centuries, with a drought so severe in Sandhog Province that the Grand Canal dried up for the only time on record. In Egypt, the Nile fell to some of its lowest recorded levels between 1640 and 1643; much of West Africa suffered droughts of great intensity in 1639-1643; and prolonged drought reduced Lake Chad to the lowest level ever recorded.

In Europe, finally, Catalonia experienced a drought in spring 1640 so intense that the authorities declared a special holiday so that the entire population could make a pilgrimage to a local shrine to pray for water-one of only four such occasions recorded in five centuries. The crisis coincided with a major anomaly in the world’s climatic history; but what caused that anomaly? First, solar activity reached the lowest level in two millennia.

Fewer sunspots-those dark, cooler patches on the solar surface surrounded by “flares” that make the sun shine with greater intensity- appeared between 1645 and 171 5 than in a single year of the twentieth century. Whereas more than 100,000 sunspots now come and go in a sixty-year period, the last six decades of the seventeenth century saw scarcely 100. The aurora Borealis (the “northern lights,” caused when charged particles from the sun interact with the earth’s magnetic field) became rare for two generations after 1640.

Likewise, the brilliant corona nowadays visible during every total solar eclipse also disappeared: descriptions by astronomers between the sass and the sass mention only a pale ring of dull light, reddish and narrow, around the moon. The energy of the sun appears to have diminished, a condition normally associated with reduced surface temperatures and extreme climatic events on earth. 55 Simultaneously, contemporaries regularly reported “dust veils” in the skies above the Northern Hemisphere that made the sun seem paler or redder than usual. 7 Both the dust and the reddened skies stemmed from a spate of major volcanic eruptions, each hurling sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere, where it deflected some of the sun’s radiation back into space and thus significantly reduced temperatures in all areas of the earth beneath the dust clouds. In particular, twelve major volcanic eruptions occurred around the Pacific between 1638 and 1644-apparently an all-time record and all of them occurred near the equator. Reduced solar energy received on earth- global temperature; it also changes the climate.

In normal summers, a column of rising heat over Central Asia attracts the monsoon system, which means that easterly winds blowing from equatorial America bring heavy rains to East and Southeast Asia. By contrast, reduced solar energy means that the snow lingers in Central Asia, reflecting the sun’s heat instead of absorbing and radiating it as dark land surfaces o; without the column of rising heat, westerly winds blowing from equatorial Asia to America take the monsoon rains eastward, a phenomenon called El Onion (or, properly, ONES: El Onion/Southern Oscillation).

This shift dramatically affects the world’s climate: whereas in nor- mall years heavy rains nurture the harvests of South and East Asia, in El Onion years they bring floods to Central and South America instead and create drought in Asia and Australia. The “global footprint” left by El Onion also includes three other regions: the Caribbean almost always suffers floods; Ethiopia ND northwest India usually experience droughts; and Europe frequently experiences harsh winters.

On average, these disruptive El Onion episodes occur only once every five years, but in the mid-seventeenth century they happened twice as often: in 1640, 1641, 1647, 1650, 1652, 1655, and 1661. Each time, the regions normally affected all experienced ABA- normal weather. Besides increasing the frequency of El Onion episodes, reduced solar energy affects the global climate in two other significant ways.

In the winter of 1620-1621, the Bosporus froze over so hard that people could cross on foot between Europe and Asia. These extreme climatic events remain unparalleled; each occurred in the Little Ice Age. We must not paint bull’s-eyes around bullet holes and argue that since climatic aberrations seem to be the only factor capable of causing simultaneous upheavals around the globe, therefore those aberrations “must” have caused the upheavals.

In several cases, however, the human and natural climatic archives show exactly how extreme weather anomalies triggered or fatally exacerbated major political upheavals. Thus much of southern Portugal rebelled in 1637 when drought forced the price of bread to unprecedented heights; popular revolts spread through- out Catalonia in spring 1640 as prolonged drought threatened catastrophic harvest failure; and the first urban riots of the Outgas era occurred in 1642 when rice ran short in Osaka, the “kitchen of Japan. 63 Three disastrous harvests preceded the Irish Rebellion in 1641; the catastrophic harvests of 1647 and 1648 helped to precipitate major revolts in Sicily, central Italy, Poland, and Russia; while the harvest of 1650 was the worst of the century in Sweden, creating the backdrop for near-revolution when the Estates of the kingdom met in Stockholm. However no convincing account of the General Crisis can now ignore the impact of the unique climatic conditions that prevailed.

Indeed, the wealth of data in both the human and natural “archives” encouraged Lee Roy Ladies to write the Comparative Human History of Climate that he had abandoned in 1967 for lack of evidence. The first volume, which appeared in 2005, proclaimed that The history of climate, which has made considerable progress since the publication of our History of the climate since the year 1000, has now won full legitimacy The days are gone when modish Astoria disparaged this new discipline with taunts such as “bogus science. The time for such irreverent barbs is past, and this book seeks to provide a human history of climate, dealing with the impact of climatic and meteorological fluctuations on Does this indifference simply reflect the unwillingness of Anglophone American academics to tackle large books written in foreign languages? Or does it also reveal a residual resistance to admitting that climate can exercise a decisive influence on human history?

After all, “denial” is currently the commonest human reaction to environmental catastrophe: we know with absolute certainty that natural disasters have happened in the past, and that they will continue to happen in the future, but we convince ourselves that they will not happen Just yet-or, at least, not to us. The worsening droughts, desiccation, and desertification in equatorial Africa over the past forty years have caused massive migrations, famines, and wars that resemble those of the mid-seventeenth century; yet the rest of the world does virtually nothing.

In the West, even isolated extreme climatic events such as the European heat wave of 003 (which claimed the lives of at least 35,000 people) and Hurricane Strain (which ruined or rendered uninhabitable 300,000 homes in the southeastern United States) found the richest and most powerful governments in human history completely unprepared and incapable of taking appropriate action in time.

Yet even these tragedies remained local: how would those same governments-how would we-cope with a global catastrophe like that of the sass? The climatic impact on the General Crisis not only sheds new light on an old problem but also offers a rare opportunity or historians to engage with scholars in other disciplines who are concerned with the fate of our planet.

Studying causal mechanisms and coping strategies 350 years ago will not, of course, prevent the onset of further climatic catastrophes in the twenty-first century; but if historians can identify the structural, political, economic, and ideological characteristics in each afflicted society around the world that pre- vented (or facilitated) an appropriate response during the General Crisis, and consider how the outcomes could have been different, we may learn some valuable sees- sons for dealing with the climate challenges that undoubtedly await us and our children.

Geoffrey Parker. A brief look at the key historical works on the crisis & conclusions: The middle of the seventeenth century was a period of revolutions in Europe. These revolutions differed from place to place, and if studied separately, seem to rise out of particular, local causes; but if we look at them together they have so many common features that they appear almost as a general revolution. Some examples are the Puritan Revolution in England which fills the twenty years between 1640 and 1660, but whose crisis was between 1648 and 1653.

In those years of its crisis there was also the series of revolts known as the Fronded in France, and in 1650 there was a coup d’etat or palace revolution, which created a new form of government in the United Provinces of the Netherlands. In the Spanish empire there was the revolt of Catalonia, which failed, and the revolt of Portugal, which succeeded. To contemporary observers it seemed that society itself was in crisis, and that this crisis was general in Europe. The thirty years war: The Thirty Years War, in the countries affected by it, military oppression, or military defeat, precipitated the revolts in Catalonia, Portugal, ND Naples.

The dislocation of trade, which may have been caused by the Thirty Years War, led to unemployment and violence in many manufacturing or commercial countries. The destructive passage or billeting of soldiers led to regular peasant mutinies in Germany and France. For historian Tremor -Roper does not believe that the seventeenth-century revolutions can be explained merely by the background of war, which had also been the background of the previous, unreasoningly century. If we are to find an explanation, we must look elsewhere.

We must look past the background, into the Truckee of society. ” According to Marxist view the crisis of production was general in Europe, but it was only in England that the forces of “capitalism,” thanks to their greater development and their representation in Parliament, were able to triumph. Consequently, while other countries made no immediate advance towards modern capitalism, in England the old structure was shattered and a new form of economic organization was established.

Within that organization modern, industrial capitalism could achieve its astonishing results: it was no longer capitalist enterprise “adapted to a generally dual framework”: it was capitalist enterprise, from its newly won island base, “transforming the world. ” This Marxist thesis has been advanced by many able writers, but, in spite of their arguments, I do not believe that it has been proved or even that any solid evidence has been adduced to sustain it.

Maurice Dobb, whose Studies in the Development of Capitalism may be described as the classic textbook of Marxist history, consistently assumes that the English Puritan Revolution was the crucial “break-through” of modern capitalism. It bears, he says, “all the marks of the classic bourgeois revolution”: before it, capitalism is cramped and restated, never progressing beyond a certain stage, a parasite confined to the interstices of “feudal” society; in it, the “decisive period” of capitalism reaches its “apex’; after it, the bonds are broken and the parasite becomes the master.

If the crisis of the seventeenth century, then, though general in western Europe, is not a merely constitutional crisis, nor a crisis of economic production, what kind of a crisis was it? If we take a general view of the period from, say 1000 A. D. To 1800 A. D. , it is reasonable to suppose that the forces making for the disintegration of the feudal economy and the growth of a capitalist economy were powerful enough to secure a break-through sooner or later, somewhere; and it is equally reasonable to sup- pose, with Marx, that industrialization was the logical product of such a break-through.

It has rather been my purpose to show that this replacement of feudalism by capitalism was not, and could not be, a simple linear evolution-that, even in purely economic terms it had to be discontinuous and catastrophic- and to sketch some of the mechanisms of this historic change, and to draw attention to the seventeenth feudal and the victory of the capitalist economy. For Hobbies and his successors, the seventeenth century represented a crucial moment in the larger transition from feudalism to capitalism; new social structures then emerged that allowed England and, to a lesser extent, other countries their eventual economic take-off.

For Gobbet and Lee Roy Ladies, in contrast, the seventeenth-century crisis was a revelatory moment within the history of traditional Europe. Crisis simply meant demographic and economic failure, and demonstrated the enduring limits of traditional society: the low ceiling on its productive capacities, its failure to provide adequately for its embers, its inability to control nature. For social historians, the crisis of the seventeenth century was thus no unitary concept, but rather a range of interpretive possibilities, which individual scholars might mix together in different ways.

New questions and new data complicated early generalizations, in numerous domains. But early modernists’ more basic views have also changed since the sass, and I argue here that this has been the fundamental reason for our current approaches to the seventeenth century. Historians’ increasing attention to the complexities of pre-industrial societies and to heir capacity for significant economic development makes it difficult to accept descriptions of the seventeenth century as an age of “immobile history,” or to see in it a unique turning point on the path to modernity.

Jonathan Israel has described mid-seventeenth-century culture providing the foundations of global modernity; even so resolute a critic of European exceptionalness as Gladstone has turned to seventeenth-century culture as a precondition for industrialization, for he sees seventeenth-century European science making the exploitation of fossil fuels possible.

The achievement of the seventeenth-century crisis,” wrote Hobbies in 1954, “is the creation of a new form of colonialism,” that is, the plantation economies; these territories, he wrote, gave Europe “several precious decades of dizzy economic expansion from which they drew inestimable benefits. ” Spain Catalonia: Spain was facing superficially problems. Philip Avis chief minister, the Count-Duke of Olivares(1 587-1645) (left) had ambitious plans for Spain’s economic recovery, but he made the mistake of renewing with war with the Netherlands in 1621 at a time when the Spanish crown was facing severe financial problems.

The Catalonia was a self-governing province, ruled by a viceroy, that had been part of the Crown of Argon since the Middle Ages. It was difficult to govern and in the reign of Philip II order had broken down almost completely. Catalan commerce depended increasingly on France, Spain’s long-standing enemy. During the winter of 1639-40 Olivares sent troops into Catalonia to protect the principality against French incursions. But the billeting of the soldiers on the civilian population aroused profound resentment.

In May 1640 insurgents began to attack royal officials. On 7 June the viceroy was murdered, and this led to five days of anarchy in Barcelona, forcing the reluctant king to dismiss Olivares. The revolt acquired overtimes of class warfare, becoming a struggle of the poor against the rich. In January 1641 the Catalan Court©s secured a complete transfer of the principality to French sovereignty. The Catalan revolt was ended by the weakness of France during the Fronded and by the extreme hardships suffered by the people during the plague epidemics of 1650-4.

In 1652 the province returned to Hapsburg rule and its traditional autonomy was confirmed. Jiao IV of Portugal Portugal: Portugal had been conquered by Philip II in 1581. It remained autonomous until the sass when Philip IV and Olivares tried to make it a Spanish province. In a coup on 1 December 1640 the duke of Brazing was proclaimed JoyҐo IV and a war of independence (the Portuguese Restoration War) was launched.

Portugal formed an alliance first with France then with England and finally gained its independence in 1668. Unlike the Catalan revolt this was a straightforward war of independence and was not accompanied by the social tensions found in Catalonia. Conclusion: Research on the disturbances of the mid-seventeenth century has shown that there was no ‘general crisis’. Instead, there were specific grievances that weak and incompetent governments were unable to satisfy.

Yet the Oromo©e, and, more importantly, the radical movements in England, posed for a while severe threats to the established order. These threats were decisive in producing a political reaction in favor of strong monarchy. From 1660 in much of Europe the state came to exercise an unchallenged monopoly of power. ENDS Reference & Readings: Jonathan Israel, Radical Enlightenment: philosophy and the making of modernity, 1650-1750 (oxford, 2001 J. H. Elliott,”The General Crisis in Retrospect: A Debate without End,” in Benedict and

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