The Eagle and the DragonGlobalization and European Dreams of Conquest in China and America in the Sixteenth Century
The Eagle and the Dragon
Globalization and European Dreams of Conquest in China and America in the Sixteenth Century
In this important new book the renowned historian Serge Gruzinski returns to two episodes in the sixteenth century which mark a decisive stage in global history and show how China and Mexico experienced the expansion of Europe.

In the early 1520s, Magellan set sail for Asia by the Western route, Cortes seized Mexico and some Portuguese based in Malacca dreamed of colonizing China. The Aztec Eagle was destroyed but the Chinese Dragon held strong and repelled the invaders - after first seizing their cannon. For the first time, people from three continents encountered one other, confronted one other and their lives became entangled. These events were of great interest to contemporaries and many people at the time grasped the magnitude of what was going on around them. The Iberians succeeded in America and failed in China. The New World became inseparable from the Europeans who were to conquer it, while the Celestial Empire became, for a long time to come, an unattainable goal.

Gruzinski explores this encounter between civilizations that were different from one another but that already fascinated contemporaries, and he shows that our world today bears the mark of this distant age. For it was in the sixteenth century that human history began to be played out on a global stage. It was then that connections between different parts of the world began to accelerate, not only between Europe and the Americas but also between Europe and China. This is what is revealed by a global history of the sixteenth century, conceived as another way of reading the Renaissance, less Eurocentric and more in tune with our age.
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  • December 2014
  • 312 pages
  • 160 x 235 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $78.00
  • 9780745667119
  • Paperback $30.00
  • 9780745667126
  • Open eBook $24.00
  • 9780745681344
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 - Two tranquil worlds
Chapter 2 - Openness to the world
Chapter 3 - Because the world is round
Chapter 4 - A leap into the unknown?
Chapter 5 - Books and letters from the other end of the world
Chapter 6 - Embassy or conquest?
Chapter 7 - The clash of civilizations
Chapter 8 - Naming the other
Chapter 9 - A story of cannon
Chapter 10 - Opacity or transparency?
Chapter 11 - The greatest cities in the world
Chapter 12 - The Hour of the crime
Chapter 13 - The Place of the Whites
Chapter 14 - To everyone their own post-war
Chapter 15 - The secrets of the South Sea
Chapter 16 - China on the horizon
Chapter 17 - When China awakes
Conclusion - Towards a global history of the Renaissance
About the Author
Serge Gruzinski is Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and Director of Studies at the École des hautes études en sciences sociales in Paris.
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""A groundbreaking study… a feat of scholarship with striking and far reaching interpretations."
Asian Review of Books

"Serge Gruzinski has made a brilliant contribution to the new genre of “connected” history in this study, which contrasts the successful conquest of Mexico by the Spaniards with the failure of Portuguese attempts to colonize China."
Peter Burke
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