When Queen Elizabeth was excommunicated by the Pope in 1570, she found herself in an awkward predicament. Now England's key markets would be closed to her Protestant merchants. To complicate matters, the staunchly Catholic king of Spain was determined to destroy her, bolstered by the gold pouring in from the New World. In a bold decision with far-reaching consequences, Elizabeth set her sights on the East.
In this wide-ranging exploration of the Renaissance, Jerry Brotton shows the period as a time of unprecedented intellectual excitement, cultural experimentation, and interaction on a global scale, alongside a darker side of religion, intolerance, slavery, and massive inequality of wealth and status. Brotton skillfully guides us through the key issues that defined the Renaissance period, from its art, architecture, and literature, to advancements in the fields of science, trade, and travel.