Bernardini - Chapter 24
The Jewish Moment and the Two Expansion Systems in the Atlantic, 1580â€“1650
WHY DID EUROPE EXPAND? Was it because the smallest of the continents
had developed so many dynamic and innovative elements
that it had to spill over? Or was it the other way around — that the process
of rapid innovation and competition pushed out those who could not
keep pace with the developments at home, and who by moving overseas
hoped to re-create the world they had lost in Europe?1
To my mind there are many reasons to support the view that the
European expansion contained both progressive and regressive elements.
In fact, it is possible to argue that there came to exist two expansion systems,
one dominated by the Iberians and one dominated by Northwest
Europeans, mainly the British, French, and Dutch. In the Iberian, or first,
expansion system, the conservative elements dominated the process,
while in the second expansion system, the innovative elements gained
the upper hand.