The World in 1800
In the year 1800, almost everyone lived very much as their ancestors had, going back countless generations. In the countryside, illiterate peasants?the majority of the population?still scratched out a living from the soil, while in the cities, merchants hawked their wares in open-air market stalls and nobles led lives of opulent leisure. Yet, everywhere there were unmistakable signs that all of this would soon change forever. Spread by France?s seemingly invincible citizens? army, the seeds of republicanism had been planted throughout Europe. In the Americas, the United States had proved to the world the feasibility of a government of, by, and for the people, and Mexico was threatening to follow its lead. And while it still took up to four months for an official dispatch to travel from London to Calcutta, Europe?s leading nations, France and England, had established global empire-building strategies. In the year 1800, the world suddenly found itself enmeshed in a web of mercantilism, war, and political intrigue, out of which a new world?our world?was struggling to be born.
In this compelling narrative renown- ed historian Olivier Bernier provides us with a riveting chronicle of that time, so vastly different from our own yet so pregnant with meaning for us as we embark upon a new century. From Europe?s bloodstained landscape to the prosperous ports and homesteads of a nascent United States, from the Spanish dominions of Central and South America to the slave trading posts of Africa?s Gold Coast and the lavish interiors of China?s Forbidden City, Bernier takes us on a dizzying journey around the world, providing a finely textured portrait of civilization at the dawn of the modern era.