Brook compares the world of the 17th century to Indra’s net, along which moved not only people and goods, but also “a lot of other things.” What were some of those other things moving in the seventeenth-century world? What uses did Native Americans have for tobacco? What did the Cuban historian/scholar Fernando Ortiz mean by “transculturation”? How did tobacco farmers in North America find enough labor to make tobacco a commercial crop? What advice did Lu Yao have for smokers in his Smoking Manual of 1774? Why did English traders bring opium from India to China? How significant is opium to the relationship of China to the West (Europe)? (See also pages 159–160 for a description of China as “the tomb of European moneys” for an explanation of the European trade deficit in China that resulted in the Opium Wars.)
The book Vermeer’s Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World by the Canadian historian and sinologist Timothy Brook.
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