A revelatory history of Antwerp--from its rise to a world city to its fall in the Spanish Fury--by the New York Times Notable author of The Edge of the World.
As Europe emerged from decades of religious warfare, the Age of Exploration began to flower in the middle of the 16th century. It was then that Antwerp grew from a modest port town into a city where the trade of the whole world would converge. As the city entered its "Golden Age," Antwerp became a melting-pot of merchants and spies, pirates and philosophers, artists and intellectuals, all interacting in a heady mix of sweeping social change, urban development, and multi-lingual excitement that gave Antwerp the energery of a real-life Babylon.
The mighty Portugeuse and Spanish empires had made Antwerp one of their main shipping hubs for bringing in spices from Asia and trading them for textiles and metal goods. Antwerp's trade expanded to textiles, wine, salt, and wheat from England, Italy, Germany, France and the Baltic. The city's skilled workers processed soap, fish, sugar, and cloth. Banks emerged to help finance the trade, the merchants, and the manufacturers that made up this cosmopolitan milieu. But tension was brewing. . . .
In Europe's Babylon,
critically acclaimed author Michael Pye reveals the cultural transformation of Antwerp, and through it, an entire continent. He brings an entire era to vivid life, and brilliantly pieces together how it all exploded in the violent Spanish Fury--the bloodiest event in Belgium's history.
Drawing on an astounding breadth of original source material, Pye
illuminates this magnificent but little understood era of history and reveals how this fascinating city played an integral role in world history.