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Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume III: The fourteenth and fifteenth centuries

XVIII: The aftermath of the Crusades,   pp. [unnumbered]-666 PDF (24.0 MB)

Page 666

Their victorious career had reached a peak in the capture of Constan tinople
in 1453. The downfall of the Mamluks in Syria and Egypt in 15 17 had transferred
all Islamic authority in the Levant to Istanbul. Turkish aggrandizement in
the west was arrested only at Belgrade in 1456, outside the gates of Vienna
in 1529, and in the waters of Lepanto in 1571. It was only then that the
counter-crusade came to a standstill, and men's minds turned to the new "eastern
question" instead of the old cause of the crusade. 
 The ascendancy of Turkey on the one hand, and the downfall of Egypt on the
other, led to the deflection of the eastern trade from the great emporia
of the Mamluk empire. In fact, the exchange of trade between east and west,
which had received its greatest stimulus from the movement of the crusade,
suffered its severest blow from the Ottomanization of the Near East. The
immediate result of this position was a new burst of energy in search of
India and Cathay by way of the ocean rather than the Mediterranean. In 1486,
Barthol omew Diaz rounded the Cape of Good Hope; in 1492, Vasco da Gama reaped
the fruit of his predecessor's achievement by reaching the shores of India.
In 1492, also, Christopher Columbus discovered a whole new world in his attempt
to reach Cathay by the western sea route. Thus new vistas and immense possibilities
were opened up by the age of discoveries, and crusading ideas were all but
drowned out in the tumult of imminent changes and the dawn of a modern era.

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