Atlas of Material Life

Northwestern Europe and East Asia, 15th to 19th century Peer Vries | Annelieke Vries

About this book

Large-scale comparative economic history of westernmost and easternmost Eurasia can be beneficial for the understanding of global history. This book provides a description of material life in North-western Europe and East Asia, for the period from the late fifteenth to the late nineteenth centuries, with a focus on developments in Great Britain and the Dutch Republic on the one hand and China and Japan on the other hand. With maps, tables, graphs and figures as a prominent and integral part of the book, it provides information, in an accessible format, on the main characteristics of the economic landscape of this period. It demonstrates the constraints to which all pre-industrial economies were subjected because of their dependence on organic natural resources but also the different ways in which the societies discussed dealt with those constraints. To provide a better understanding of this economy of limited possibilities, the final chapter of the book is devoted to the emergence of modern economic growth in Western Europe.

Peer Vries was professor of Global Economic History at the University of Vienna from 2007 to 2016. Since 2016, he is Honorary Research Fellow at the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam. He published widely on global economic history and on the Great Divergence.

Annelieke Vries-Baaijens studied Physical Geography with a major in Cartography at Utrecht University. She defended her PhD in Mathematics and Computer Science at Delft University. Since 2010, she makes digital maps of historical subjects.



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  1. ISBN: 9789087283544
  2. Published: December 2020
  3. Pages: 344
  4. Language: English
  5. Format: Paperback
  6. Price:



  • – John McNeill, University Professor, Georgetown University

    "The comparative data are very useful and sometimes on their own revealing. Having all this between two covers (or in one digital file) will be very handy for all those scholars who work in, or dabble in, macro-scale economic history. […] The subject matter – large-scale comparative economic history of westernmost and easternmost Eurasia – is of first-rate importance for world history."

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