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This volume deals with the bloody half-century that intervened between the final conflicts of the Lutheran Reformation and the first warnings of the Thirty Years War. It covers the economic consequences of the decline of Antwerp and the rise in prices; the social and political strains that produced the Revolt of the Netherlands and the French Civil Wars; the religious passions that eventually fused the local tensions of Western Europe into a general conflict between Spain and her English, French, and Dutch neighbours; and the intellectual conditions that made it difficult to find solutions for the deeper problems of government and society which the ferment of the previous century had bequeathed. It also deals with the growing struggle for Baltic supremacy, the waning menace of Turkish power, and the consolidation of European influence in other continents.
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