In the 16th century, the population of the Low Countries (modern Belgium and The Netherlands), the most urbanized and best educated in Transalpine Europe, provided not just a ready audience for ideas of religious reform, but a sophisticated political framework for the airing of the great debates of the age - not to mention ground-breaking innovations in trade and finance. The present volume reproduces fourteen essays in which James Tracy studies each of these different aspects of Low Countries culture. Part I focuses on the educational and religious reform proposals of a native son, Erasmus of Rotterdam; Part II looks at the conflicts of the Reformation era, mainly from the perspective of the province of Holland; and Part III examines economic and fiscal development in light of the ongoing tug-of-war between government centralization and the defense of local privilege.
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