Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Low Countries in the Sixteenth Century: Erasmus, Religion and Politics, Trade and Finance

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

The Low Countries in the Sixteenth Century: Erasmus, Religion and Politics, Trade and Finance

Article excerpt

The Low Countries in the Sixteenth Century: Erasmus, Religion and Politics, Trade and Finance. By James D.Tracy. [Variorum Collected Studies Series, 808] (Burlington, Vermont :Ashgate Publishing Company. 2005. Pp.xii, 346. $124.95.)

One of the most prolific, versatile, and creative historians of the sixteenthcentury Netherlands, and more generally of Renaissance and Reformation Europe, is undoubtedly James Tracy. Having begun his long career with a dissertation, and then a book, on The Politics of Erasmus (1978), he became interested in the history of the Habsburg Netherlands as the backdrop to the great humanist's thinking, which eventually resulted in a monograph on the political and religious history of the county of Holland before the Revolt, Holland under Habsburg Rule (1990). While working in the archives at The Hague, he became interested in Holland's public debt system, which apparently predated England's famous "Financial Revolution" of the l690's by at least one century and a half. This resulted in a long article (republished in the volume under review) and another book, A Financial Revolution in the Habsburg Netherlands (1985). Professor Tracy's interest in financial matters was broadened in a study of Emperor Charles V, Impresario of War (2002), which focuses on the ways the emperor paid for his wars in Europe and North Africa. As director of the University of Minnesota's Center for Early Modern History he also became involved with the history of long-distance trade, editing two volumes on the rise, and the political economy, of merchant empires in the early modern world (1990,1991). In the meantime he continued to publish on Erasmus (Erasmus of the Low Countries, 1996), and produced a textbook on Europe's Reformations 1450-1650 (1999). …

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