In 1521, Suleiman the Magnificent, Muslim ruler of the Ottoman Empire at the height of its power, dispatched an invasion fleet to the Christian island of Rhodes. This would prove to be the opening shot in an epic struggle between rival empires and faiths for control of the Mediterranean and the center of the world. In Empires of the Sea, acclaimed historian Roger Crowley has written his most mesmerizing work to date–a thrilling account of this brutal decades-long battle between Christendom and Islam for the soul of Europe, a fast-paced tale of spiraling intensity that ranges from Istanbul to the Gates of Gibraltar and features a cast of extraordinary characters: Barbarossa, “The King of Evil,” the pirate who terrified Europe; the risk-taking Emperor Charles V; the Knights of St. John, the last crusading order after the passing of the Templars; the messianic Pope Pius V; and the brilliant Christian admiral Don Juan of Austria. This struggle’s brutal climax came between 1565 and 1571, seven years that witnessed a fight to the finish decided in a series of bloody set pieces: the epic siege of Malta, in which a tiny band of Christian defenders defied the might of the Ottoman army; the savage battle for Cyprus; and the apocalyptic last-ditch defense of southern Europe at Lepanto–one of the single most shocking days in world history. At the close of this cataclysmic naval encounter, the carnage was so great that the victors could barely sail away “because of the countless corpses floating in the sea.” Lepanto fixed the frontiers of the Mediterranean world that we know today. Roger Crowley conjures up a wild cast of pirates, crusaders, and religious warriors struggling for supremacy and survival in a tale of slavery and galley warfare, desperate bravery and utter brutality, technology and Inca gold. Empires of the Sea is page-turning narrative history at its best–a story of extraordinary color and incident, rich in detail, full of surprises, and backed by a wealth of eyewitness accounts. It provides a crucial context for our own clash of civilizations.
empires of the sea
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Banks defines and applies the concept of communications in a far broader context than previous historical studies of communication, encompassing a range of human activity from sailing routes, to mapping, to presses, to building roads and bridges. He employs a comparative analysis of early modern French imperialism, integrating three types of overseas possessions usually considered separately - the settlement colony (New France), the tropical monoculture colony (the French Windward Islands), and the early Enlightenment planned colony (Louisiana) - offering a work of synthesis that unites the historiographies and insights from three formerly separate historical literatures. Banks challenges the very notion that a concrete "empire" emerged by the first half of the eighteenth century; in fact, French colonies remained largely isolated arenas of action and development. Only with the contraction and concentration of overseas possessions after 1763 on the Plantation Complex did a more cohesive, if fleeting, French empire first emerge.
“The rise and fall of Venice’s empire is an irresistible story and [Roger] Crowley, with his rousing descriptive gifts and scholarly attention to detail, is its perfect chronicler.”—The Financial Times The New York Times bestselling author of Empires of the Sea charts Venice’s astounding five-hundred-year voyage to the pinnacle of power in an epic story that stands unrivaled for drama, intrigue, and sheer opulent majesty. City of Fortune traces the full arc of the Venetian imperial saga, from the ill-fated Fourth Crusade, which culminates in the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, to the Ottoman-Venetian War of 1499–1503, which sees the Ottoman Turks supplant the Venetians as the preeminent naval power in the Mediterranean. In between are three centuries of Venetian maritime dominance, during which a tiny city of “lagoon dwellers” grow into the richest place on earth. Drawing on firsthand accounts of pitched sea battles, skillful negotiations, and diplomatic maneuvers, Crowley paints a vivid picture of this avaricious, enterprising people and the bountiful lands that came under their dominion. From the opening of the spice routes to the clash between Christianity and Islam, Venice played a leading role in the defining conflicts of its time—the reverberations of which are still being felt today. “[Crowley] writes with a racy briskness that lifts sea battles and sieges off the page.”—The New York Times “Crowley chronicles the peak of Venice’s past glory with Wordsworthian sympathy, supplemented by impressive learning and infectious enthusiasm.”—The Wall Street Journal
Two unlikely English heroes are swept up in an epic and bloody sea battle that will change history. 1571. Chained to a slave galley in the heart of the Mediterranean, it seems that English adventurers Ingoldsby and Hodge might have finally run out of luck. But they've survived worse, and as the men around them drop dead at their oars, they're determined to escape. By a miracle of fate, they find their way back to dry land and freedom - but unable to return home. With the Ottoman Empire set on strangling the crusading Christian power before it can take root, hostilities between East and West - Muslim and Christian - are vicious and deadly. And as the sun rises on one day in October, five hours of bloodshed will change the course of history. Once again, the two Englishmen find themselves living on borrowed time...
In the second half of the eighteenth century, the Russian Empire-already the largest on earth-expanded its dominion onto the ocean. Through a series of government-sponsored voyages of discovery and the establishment of a private fur trade, Russians crossed and re-crossed the Bering Strait and the North Pacific Ocean, establishing colonies in Kamchatka and Alaska and exporting marine mammal furs to Europe and China. In the process they radically transformed the North Pacific, causing environmental catastrophe. In one of the most hotly-contested imperial arenas of the day, the Russian empire organized a host of Siberian and Alaskan native peoples to rapaciously hunt for fur seals, sea otters, and other fur-bearing animals. The animals declined precipitously, and Steller's sea cow went extinct. This destruction captured the attention of natural historians who for the first time began to recognize the threat of species extinction. These experts drew upon Enlightenment and Romantic-era ideas about nature and imperialism but their ideas were refracted through Russian scientific culture and influenced by the region's unique ecology. Cosmopolitan scientific networks ensured the spread of their ideas throughout Europe. Heeding the advice of these scientific experts, Russian colonial governors began long-term management of marine mammal stocks and instituted some of the colonial world's most forward-thinking conservationist policies. Highlighting the importance of the North Pacific in Russian imperial and global environmental history, Empire of Extinction focuses on the development of ideas about the natural world in a crucial location far from what has been considered the center of progressive environmental attitudes.
For six centuries the Republic of Venice was a maritime empire, its sovereign power extending throughout much of the eastern Mediterranean – an empire of coasts, islands and isolated fortresses by which, as Wordsworth wrote, the mercantile Venetians 'held the gorgeous east in fee'. Jan Morris reconstructs the whole of this glittering dominion in the form of a sea-voyage, travelling along the historic Venetian trade routes from Venice itself to Greece, Crete and Cyprus. It is a traveller's book, geographically arranged but wandering at will from the past to the present, evoking not only contemporary landscapes and sensations but also the characters, the emotions and the tumultuous events of the past. The first such work ever written about the Venetian ‘Stato da Mar’, it is an invaluable historical companion for visitors to Venice itself and for travellers through the lands the Doges once ruled.
Do the politicians in Washington dictate the rules that the rest of the world must follow? Or do empires have a logic of their own? This book analyses the characteristics of empires and traces the rise and fall of imperial powers. It also shows how empires provide stability, and examines the dangers they face when their powers are overstretched.
A pioneering study of the role Britain's empire played in fighting the Second World War.
By examining Mauritius and the Indian Ocean, this unique synthesis of imperial and naval/military history, reveals the depths of colonial involvement in the Second World War and the role of colonies in British strategic planning from the eighteenth century. In the century of total war, the British Empire was fully mobilized. The Mauritian home front became regimented, troops were recruited for service overseas, the Eastern fleet guarded the Indian Ocean, and Mauritius became a base for SOE operations and intelligence-gathering for Bletchley.