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Manel Ollé

Islands of Silver, Empires of Silk

Junks and Galleons in the South Seas

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Acantilado

October 2022

528 pages

Essay, Travel Literature

Original Title: Islas de plata, imperios de seda

Western historiography has frequently relegated the Pacific Ocean to the edges of the political and economic sphere of action of the Modern Age, even though it was the seedbed of today’s globalised market. In that period, between the shores of South America and Asia, there existed a vast, sophisticated trading network led by China, which surpassed intra-European commercial activity prior to 1800. Manel Ollé speaks of this East Asian colonial setting in the decades from 1570 to 1680 as a dynamic space where the interests of empires, sultanates, port cities, migrant flows, cultures, and creeds converged. This fascinating essay offers a lively fresco of a trans-Pacific community consisting of merchants, sailors, emigrants, missionaries, corsairs, and European and Asian rulers, thus debunking cliches about the role played by Asian states in proto-globalisation, while also situating historically certain aspects of today’s geopolitics.

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Acantilado

October 2022

1 pages

Essay, Travel Literature