The 16th century begins with the Julian year 1501 and ends with either the Julian or the Gregorian year 1600 (depending on the reckoning used; the Gregorian calendar introduced a lapse of 10 days in October 1582). The 16th century is regarded by historians as the century in which the rise of the West occurred. During the 16th century, Spain and Portugal explored the world's seas and opened worldwide oceanic trade routes. Large parts of the New World became Spanish and Portuguese colonies, and while the Portuguese became the masters of Asia's and Africa's Indian Ocean trade, the Spanish opened trade across the Pacific Ocean, linking the Americas with Asia. This era of colonialism established mercantilism as the leading school of economic thought, where the economic system was viewed as a zero-sum game in which any gain by one party required a loss by another. The mercantilist doctrine encouraged the many intra-European wars of the period and arguably fueled European expansion and imperialism throughout the world until the 19th century or early 20th century. In Europe, the Protestant Reformation gave a major blow to the authority of the papacy and the Roman Catholic Church. European politics became dominated by religious conflicts, with the groundwork for the epochal Thirty Years' War being laid towards the end of the century. In Italy, Luca Pacioli published the first work ever on accounting and Galileo Galilei made the first thermometer. In England, the Italian Alberico Gentili wrote the first book on public international law and divided secularism from canon law and Roman Catholic theology.
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