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Detail of a painting of Mughal governor Munim Khan giving a robe of honor to Daud Khan

I’ll start with a couple of short items about the state of the world in 1575 CE, then move to the main action, which concerned the still-growing Mughal Empire. (Of course, in Europe meantime, numerous Catholic-Protestant battles, etc, were going on.)

Iberian conquistadores consolidate rule in Americas, West Africa

Venice suffers damaging plague outbreak


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Part of the interior of the dome of the Selimiye Mosque, Edirne

All the usual things were happening in the world of 1574 CE: Mughal Emperor Akbar consolidating his growing territories; Protestants and Catholics contending over broad areas of Europe; Portuguese and Spanish conquistadors doing their transnational thing, and so on. The main development of world-historical importance that year, however, was the Ottoman navy’s final conquest of Tunis, which marked the end of various efforts by Spanish and other Christian-European powers to effect a conquista of North Africa, thus leaving the whole of North Africa- with the exception of two tiny Spanish enclaves in Morocco- to be ruled by Muslim powers.

Then…


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Detail of anonymous, late 16th-century painting of Kenau S. Hasselaar; hangs in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam

Here they are:

Akbar takes Gujarat for the Mughals

Five years ago, the Mughal Emperor Akbar had captured Chittorgarh and the rest of the Rajput area. From there, he was determined to extend to the trade routes on both the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. First, Gujarat, on the Arabian Sea. English-WP tells us that in 1572 he had occupied the Gujarat capital of Ahmedabad, the capital, and other northern cities, and was proclaimed (or proclaimed himself?) the lawful sovereign of Gujarat. “By 1573, he had driven out the Mirzas who, after offering token resistance, fled for refuge in the Deccan. …


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Two silver medals cast by the Netherlandish “Beggars”. The one on the left has the interesting inscription “Better Turk than Papist”

Here were the main developments of world-historical impact that happened in 1572 CE:

Protestant “Sea Beggars” in Netherlands establish first land base in Brielle

Back in 1566, a group of Protestant nobles had petitioned the Habsburg (Catholic) regent of the Netherlands to be allowed some freedom of religion, organization, etc, but the regent, Margaret of Parma, derided them as “beggars.” Far from being humiliated, the nobles adopted the name with gusto, declaring themselves the “Beggars’ Party.”


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So yesterday, I hit the 50-year mark! Hurrah! Time for another communique (which I suppose you could describe as a sort of meta-narrative of what I’ve been doing with this project.

I think I’ll start out by describing the purview of the project thus far. Then, I’ll list some of the main things I’ve learned about human history by doing this project, thus far. Then, I’ll attempt a quick survey of the mechanics/logistics of the project.

Purview of the project

As I’ve explained all along, the central focus of the project is to gain an understanding of a group of European-origined nations came to…


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“The Battle of Lepanto”, National Maritime Museum, London

In 1571 CE, by far the major development- from the perspective of “Western” Christian powers- was the Battle of Lepanto, in which an alliance of Christian navies dealt a big defeat to the Ottoman navy in the Mediterranean. Most of this post will be about that. Scroll on down.


This is the 50th anniversary edition of the Project 500 Years daily bulletin. I have completed 10% of my self-assigned task! To mark the occasion I shall shortly- today or tomorrow- be issuing “Communique #2” for the project. But for now, this fascinating daily grind must continue. Readers: the main developments of 1570 CE:

Ottoman navy takes Cyprus from Venice

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1574 drawing of the Siege of Nicosia

Since 1489, the large and wealthy island of Cyprus, with its ethnic-Greek population of around 160,000, had been under the rule of the wealthy merchant republic of Venice. English-WP tells us: “Aside from its location, which allowed the control of the Levantine trade, the island possessed…


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A pre-Mercator map of the world, produced by Monachus in 1527

1568 was a pretty busy year. And I snuck a quick peek ahead at 1570, which is also action-packed. But 1569? Not so much. Setting aside the perennially fractious French, a little English-Scottish thing continuing, and all the items I usually do set aside anyway, today’s theme will be… geography!

But first, a newsflash, since 1569 CE was the year in which the Russians and the Ottoman Turks engaged in the first of no fewer that twelve wars their nations would fight between then and World War I. And indeed, over the past decade, the two powers have sparred against…


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Four pages from the Akbarnama depicting the taking of Chittorgarh

On a world-historical level, the major event of 1568 CE was something that happened in India. But other interesting things were happening concerning the post-Suleiman Ottoman state- and as usual, lots of quarreling among various powers in Europe, much of it cloaked in (or stemming from?) intra-religious differences. Here we go:

Mughal Emperor Akbar captures Chittorgarh


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Last year, 1566, one main big thing of world-historical importance happened. This year, 1567 CE, lots of things happened! I shall try to bring order out of a degree of global chaos:

In China, the Jiajing Emperor dies

Last year saw the death of Suleiman the Magnificent. Now, in early January 1567, the death of his Ming-Chinese counterpart the 60-year-old Jiajing Emperor is announced. (Though it turns out that, as with Suleiman, the death was kept secret for a while presumably to allow the courtiers to plan for an orderly succession. Thus, it seems the Jiajing E had actually died in December 1566. Oh well. )

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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