Hernan Cortes: “We Spanish suffer from a sickness of the heart for which gold is the only cure.”
Below: A map of Equiano’s travels.
Equiano and the Rise of the Liberal (bourgeois, capitalist) Subject
The massive influx of wealth from the Americas during the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries created the economic conditions for the rise of a class of people who were neither aristocracy nor peasant. There had, of course, been merchants, craftsmen and traders for some time in Europe, but their numbers and influence were minor compared with the years following the opening of the western hemisphere to colonization. The rise of this class was above all dependent upon the surplus created by unpaid, unfree labor.