Detail from a late-19th century painting of a Viking ship off the coast of Greenland

Throughout history there have been numerous empires, none of which was built using peaceful means. All were built through the use of greater or lesser amounts of violence. During the 15th century CE, the era in which the first two great West-European transoceanic empires were first being built, there were…

A 20th-century mural of Afonso de Albuquerque by Jaime Martins Barata, located at a “Palace of Justice” in Lisbon

In the longform essay on the birth and early decades of the Portuguese empire that I published last week, I referred to the uses the Portuguese conquistadors made of “exemplary terror” as they built their trading-forts-based global empire in the 15th and early 16th centuries CE. Any history of this…

Helena Cobban

Veteran analyst of global affairs, with a focus on the Middle East. Senior Fellow, Ctr for International Policy. Fuller bio at my Wikipedia page.

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