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fions.

up the

Marco Paulo's travels. He re

The wily Mohammedans took care to keep the producer and consumer asunder; no Chriftian was allowed to pass through their countries to trade direct with the Indies ; (by the general term Indies, will be understood all the islands and countries east of the Persian Gulf).

By-and-by came the dreadful incursions of Tartar incur. the Tartars, under“ Jenghis Khan,” who broke power

of the Mohammedans. Through the thus scattered tribes an adventurous brave Venetian, Marco Paulo by name, in the thirteenth century reached Bengal, Gu

turned, A. D. zerat, China and Pekin ; visited Java, Ceylon, 1291, imand Malabar; to all of which he gave the

mensely rich. names they now bear; he mentions also, though

Ephemerides," he did not visit it, the Isle of Zipangri, most A. D. 1633. probably a part of Japan.

The discovery of these immense regions, hitherto unvisited, of mythical extent, the fabulous accounts of their wealth, furnished room for speculation and stimulated adventure.

The trade steadily increased for two centuries. Then came the irruption of the Saracens, and, finally, their capture of Constanti

nople. nople in 1453 A.D., which at once threw the

See Isaacson's “ Saturni

Saracens take
Conftanti.

IO

Life of Sebastian Cabot.

whole trade into the hands of the Venetians, through the foresight with which they had secured a road by a treaty with Egypt in 1425, A.D.

Their great rivals, the Genoese, had cultivated the trade with Greece and Constantinople, getting their supplies thence, and having large establishments there; but they were now driven from these possessions by the Turks, and so thoroughly humbled that they could no longer contend with the Queen of the Adriatic.

Genoa crippled, A. D. 1453

[graphic][merged small]

Venetian policy ; growth in riches; causes of her decay.

Reputed discovery of Brazil in A.D. 1460, by a citizen of Nuremberg. Columbus. John Cabot's advent in England; settlement at Bristol; probable site of his home; posibility of his having been an Englishman ; acquires his citizenship in Venice in A.D. 1476; Sebastian born in Bristol about 1472, A.D. Henry VII.'s first Charter to the family.

[graphic]

Venetian

HE crafty Venetians did not, like

their predecessors, drain Europe policy. of its gold and silver to pay for

the commodities they bought, but; purchasing of the merchants in Egypt and Syria, they paid them by barter ; taking to them the produce of Europe in exchange, and thus making a profit both ways.

Venice now became the emporium for Indian goods, and attained such power and splendour as never before, or feldom fince,

Splendour of
Venice.

belonged to any European state ; their magnificent houses, rich furniture, profusion of plate, and elegance of living, surpassed conception.

Nor was this mere oftentatious display, but the natural result of successful industry, which, having with ease acquired wealth, chose to enjoy it in splendour.

To carry on the trade the nobles and rich merchants lent their moneys, at a good rate of interest, in the eleventh century getting 20 per cent., and even down to the fifteenth they made regularly their 12 per cent. on such tranfactions.

In addition to the commerce thus opened up, and now monopolized by Venice, she, all but single-handed, withstood on the seaboard the advance of the encroaching, invading Saracens or Turks, not only repaying her expenses, but enriching herself with the spoils of the cities she captured.

Tapestries which Grecian dames, like Penelope, had woven, were ruthlessly torn from the walls; Damascene blades, richly inlaid yataghans, paintings, and sculpture, found

Turks successful.

their way to Venice, and the city laboured under a plethora of wealth.

At last, about A.D. 1470, the tide of victory seemed to turn; the Turks entered and overran Dalmatia and Austria, carrying away 5000 captives; laid waste Bosnia, Styria, Carinthia, took Capha, Taurica, Chersomresus, doing very great damage to the Venetian territories, so that in 1478 the Republic was glad to make peace,

Two years after this Venice joined the Florentines in a war against the Pope, in which, in two years, she spent 600,000

crowns.

Wars and rumours of war in quick succesfion follow, until we are not surprised to find the Turk again overrunning her territories, and taking 4000 of her people captive on one occasion.

Lepanto, Medona, Crotone, Pilas and Ciffeum fuccumbed before the invader; the Saracen found firm footing in Italy, and Venice was again glad to make peace with Bajazat.

Meanwhile two heavier blows than even

A. D. 1502.

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