Zach Mann
September 29, 2016
Dr. Jeffery Stanley
Essay #1
World Changes
Vermeer's Hat, provides a window into the world during the seventeenth century. This was a crucial time in world history because of the culture and religion and economic changes that were occurring across Europe and Asia. Through his paintings, Vermeer gives us a glimpse just how much the world was effected by those changes.
One thing that effected the world greatly and was universal was trade. As different Europeans and Asians travelled, they discovered new and better trade routes. Newer and better trade routes meant more frequent trading and increased globalization. One of the ways we see this is through Vermeer's painting of Delft. One of the most important establishments of the 17th century was that of the Dutch East India Company. Now you might ask why is it important to have this company. Well, giving a centralized building that could hold tons of goods to trade and giving traders a place to trade helped them tremendously. Trade became more organized which increased the speed in which things were traded. You might think that goods were the only things that were traded. Fortunately, this is not the case. Ideas and culture and religion were also traded. Trade was kind of like a catalyst for culture change and economic change across Europe and Asia.
During the seventeenth century there were also more inventions that kick started the Scientific Revolution. Along with the culture and economic changes, inventions also helped increase change. One of the things that were invented help increase the expansion of the Dutch East India Company was the magnetic compass. It made travelling and navigation so much easier for traders and explorers. The world is not a small place. During that time there was no GPS to help when you got lost. Knowing which way you were going and to stay on that course increased the speed of travel and the ease of it as well. Paper was another item that became widely used among these traders. They were able to use paper to write down records of trades and to make maps of trade routes. When thinking about how people got around back then and how they knew where to go, it blows my mind. It must have taken endless days and weeks to figure out how to get around and what routes were faster. Having a map was a huge part of globalization. The faster people got around the more they were exposed to different cultures and ways of living. People used this to enhance their own lives and to take some of the hardships out of everyday living.
These changes effected many European and Asian worldviews. The last chapter in Vermeer's Hat discusses the end result of the change of worldviews and the importance of them. One quote that was continuously used and has incredible meaning is the quote from the English poet John Donne, and it said, "No Man is an Island, entire of itselfe" (Brook, 217). This is read with many interpretations. I think the gist of the meaning of it is that no country or group of people was entirely by itself. We are all connected and effected by each other. We see this through not only trade but the competition between countries to be the most efficient and the most powerful. Today, a nation's power or how dominant they are is determined by their economic status or their military power or technology innovations. I think this doesn't differ as much as we think compared to the 17th century. They focused on size and economic status as well. Their worldviews changed by how they compared to the surrounding countries. If the Great Britain had a monopoly on tobacco or fish, China or Spain or Portugal changed their view on the value of silk or spices.
Cultures changed as well as their worldviews. People were forced to change based on their status in life. One great example is that of the Africans during the 1600s. As the flow of the African people increased into European countries during that time, the increase of slavery also increased. Africans were forced to serve and work for traders and explorers. As the