After the Silk Roads: Asia, Europe, and the Discovery of the Americas
This year, the Annual Lecture of the International Institute for Asian Studies will be delivered by Dr Peter Frankopan, Oxford historian and author of the widely acclaimed book ‘The Silk Roads: A New History of the World’ (2015).
This year, the Annual Lecture of the International Institute for Asian Studies will be delivered by Peter Frankopan.
Dr Peter Frankopan is a historian at Oxford University, where he is Senior Research Fellow at Worcester College and Director of the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research. He works on the history of the Mediterranean, Russia, the Middle East, Persia, Central Asia and beyond, and on relations between Christianity and Islam. He also specializes in medieval Greek literature, and translated The Alexiad for Penguin Classics (2009). Following his much acclaimed book The First Crusade: The Call from the East (2012), he published in 2015 The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, which was The Daily Telegraph's History Book of the Year 2015, and in July 2016, the paperback topped the Sunday Times Non-Fiction charts. The British historian William Dalrymple described the book as an 'historical epic of dazzling range, ambition and achievement' (Observer).
About the lecture
In his lecture, Peter Frankopan will discuss the fascinating history of the relations between Europe and Asia after the demise of the Silk Roads and following the European discovery of the Americas. The discovery of the maritime routes between Western Europe and Asia has often been described as the main contributing factor to the end of the Silk Roads and the cause of a drastically changed relationship between Asia and Europe. However, at the time that the first Portuguese and Spanish sailors set foot in South and Southeast Asia, they also discovered the enormous mineral wealth of the Americas. This development not only had a disastrous influence on local societies and cultures in the Americas, but also enriched the colonial Spanish and Portuguese empires and enabled them to expand their influence and maritime trade across large swaths of Asia. It provided the wealth to buy local products much in demand in Europe, thereby also affecting the local economies of South, Southeast and East Asia.
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