January 26, 2022
The 16th century began in the Julian calendar in the year 1501 and ended in the Julian and Gregorian calendars in the year 1600. This century is seen by historians as the period in which Western civilization developed and imposed itself. During the 16th century, Portugal and Spain explored the world's oceans and opened up a series of maritime trade routes. Large portions of the New World became Portuguese and Spanish colonies; and while the Portuguese became the masters of the Asian and African routes of maritime trade, the Spaniards opened up trade routes across the Pacific Ocean, linking the American continent with Asia. This era of colonialism established mercantilism as the main economic doctrine, where the economic system was seen on a scale in which someone's gain would always mean someone else's loss. The mercantilist doctrine encouraged the major European wars that would arise and to some extent gave impetus to the need for European expansion around the world, which would culminate in the world-scale imperialism of the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. In Europe, the Protestant Reformation dealt a major blow to the authority of the papacy and the Catholic Church. European policies were thus dominated by religious conflicts, laying some of the foundations for the Thirty Years' War, which would emerge at the end of the century. In Italy, Luca Pacioli publishes the first work on accounting; and Galileo Galilei invents the first thermometer. In England, the Italian Alberico Gentili writes the first book on public international law and divides secularism from canon law and Roman Catholic theology. In the Middle East, the Ottoman Empire continued to expand, with the Sultan assuming the title of Caliph, while dealing with a growing Persia (Iran). Persia and Mesopotamia (Iraq) were caught up in the popularity of the Shia sector of Islam under the Safavid Dynasty, thus laying the foundations for a Persia independent of the Sunni Muslim majority in the world. China evacuated coastal areas due to Japanese piracy. At this time, Japan was suffering from a severe civil war, known as the Sengoku period. In the Indian subcontinent, after the fall of the Delhi Sultanate, new powers emerged, the Suri Empire was founded by Sher Shah Suri and the Mughal Empire by Babur, a direct descendant of Tamerlane and Genghis Khan. His successors, Humaium and Achebar, expanded the empire to include most of southern Asia. The empire developed a strong and stable economy in the world, leading to commercial expansion and greater patronage of culture, which significantly influenced the course of Indian history. Copernicus proposed a heliocentric universe, an idea that was met with strong resistance by the European community, and Tycho Brahe refuted the celestial sphere theory by observing and measuring a supernova in 1572. These events directly challenged Ptolemy's ancient idea of an unchanging universe. and Aristotle, and led to great revolutions in astronomy and science.