THE SEVENTEENTH-CENTURY EUROPEAN BACKGROUND
TO THE ACCOMMODATION OF CHINA
The seventeenth century was a time of European expansion. Although the Iberian states of Spain and Portugal were in decline and central Europe went through the process of being exhausted by a long war, the states of western Europe -- England, Holland and France -- were in vigorous ascent. This century saw the conclusions to a number of wars whose roots were in the Reformation, but the religious issues of these wars seemed increasingly to be absorbed by political concerns. The Thirty Years War ( 1618-1648) in central Europe thoroughly blurred sectarian lines, but was nonetheless economically and politically devastating to German territories. In England, the conflict between Puritans, Anglicans and Catholics evolved into a civil war ( 1642-1649), then Cromwell's Republic ( 1649-1660), followed by the Restoration ( 1660-1688) and ultimately the Glorious Revolution ( 1688). These events produced the death of a king and the historical triumph of Parliament.
If the elevated conception of the divine right of kings was not matched by the abilities of the Stuart kings in England, it certainly was matched across the Channel in the person of Louis XIV (r. 1661- 1715) of France. Louis the Great's talents were reinforced by the foundations laid by a succession of brilliant royal advisers -- Cardinal Armand-Jean du Plessis Richelieu ( 1585- 1642), Cardinal Jules Mazarin ( 1602-1661) and the arch mercantilist Jean Baptiste Colbert ( 1619- 1683). In carrying kingship to a high art, Louis XIV created a model both of a monarch and a palace ( Versailles) which would be imitated for many years throughout Europe1. Although the last years of the Sun King's reign were less successful than his earlier years, this time of turmoil is omitted from our study because it lies beyond 1700. Nevertheless, both the British and French experiences in the seventeenth century had produced two powerful historical models for the development of the modern nation-state.
Seventeenth-century European expansion had a significant religious dimension. Throughout the period of the discovery voyages in the sixteenth century, the kings of Spain and Portugal had taken the initiative in promoting Christian missions with financial aid as well as passage for missionaries aboard Spanish and Portuguese ships. During this time, the Jesuits played the leading role,____________________