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She had already swallowed a number of pills. This morning Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith read the single count of murder to Reid, from whom no plea was required for the indictable offense. He was remanded to prison, from where he will begin the routine shuttling back-and-forth to court for the next few years, until his case comes up in the Supreme Court, if there is enough evidence after a preliminary inquiry is completed at the lower court. He returns to court on July Hard-pay taxi customer arrested by Neighborhood Watch group in San Pedro A taxicab passenger who ran away without paying after using a taxi was caught by a Neighborhood Watch group and handed over to police.

The man, 22, has since been detained, pending charges. The incident occurred at The San Pedro Ambergris Caye Neighborhood Watch Patrol, which was on patrol in the area, sprang into action and found the hard-pay passenger hiding on the beach. The culprit was immediately seized and taken to the San Pedro Police Station by the patrol and handed over to police. Taxi driver ambushed and murdered Police told Amandala today that they still have no leads into the shooting death of taxi driver Norman Stanley Thompson, 57, of corner West Street and Kut Avenue, Belize City, who died at about 1: A woman told Amandala that she heard two gunshots, and then a loud bang, as a car slammed into a chain link fence, breaking it and damaging a cargo container that was parked in the yard next to the fence.

When neighbors rushed to the area, Thompson was seen in his car, slumped over his steering wheel, with gunshots in the upper back: He was taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival at about 3: He was charged along with a year-old minor, his alleged partner in crime, who is hospitalized and under police guard after sustaining a gunshot wound during the robbery. When Magistrate Hettie Mae Stewart asked Mason Patnett, 27, a construction worker of 72 Cemetery Road, if he understood the robbery charge she had read to him, Patnett replied: And Magistrate Stewart, after explaining to him that she could not offer him bail because the alleged robbery was committed with a firearm, remanded him into custody until his next court date on June 24, Santa Cruz villagers busted with almost 1 pound of weed Two persons, believed to be a mother and son, were arrested and charged for drug trafficking after police discovered Police said that while searching the residence at around 2: The incident occurred at about 5: In the office at the time were supervisor Ernest Hill, 46, his son, 13, and a security guard.

Hill told police that around 5: They were not wearing masks. One of the men was armed with a handgun, which he held to the neck of the security guard, whom he held in a chokehold. The gunman then ordered their victims not to move, or he would shoot them. Decomposing body found in Indianville Less than 24 hours after the decomposing body of Norris Tingling, 57, of Majestic Alley, was recovered from within his house, at about Police who went into the house to recover him reported that there were no signs of foul play on his body, and he was nude.

They have declared that he died of natural causes. Neighbors reported that Reyes was last seen on Friday, but throughout the weekend, he was not seen, and they became concerned. Aaron Elijah Juan, 33, remanded for carnal knowledge A businessman from the Cayo District — who, according to authorities, had been on the run for over five months — is now on remand at the Belize Central Prison after he turned himself in to San Ignacio police last Tuesday, May 20, at around midday, pending charges of carnal knowledge. Juan was wanted based on a December 18, carnal knowledge report involving a year-old female minor who had accused him of engaging in sexual intercourse with her.

Hit-and-run in Orange Walk leaves man dead The family of Santiago Cocom, 68, of Trial Farm, Orange Walk District, is mourning his death after he was killed by a hit-and-run driver at about Cocom was declared dead on the spot after suffering massive head and body injuries. Police said that Santiago Cocom was trying to cross to the other side of the road when he was knocked down by a vehicle, which dragged him about feet from where he was hit.

The driver, after knowing that he had hit a person, drove away. Cousins remanded for aggravated assault with a firearm Nuri Polanco, 27, an unemployed resident of Antelope Street Extension and his cousin, Kenroy Willoughby, 21, a carpenter of 75 Antelope Street, appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith this morning and were remanded to prison after she arraigned them on a charge of aggravated assault with a firearm upon Jason Lamb.

They pleaded not guilty and were remanded to prison until their next court date on July 14, The allegation against Polanco and Willoughby is that on Sunday, May 25, they committed an aggravated assault with a firearm upon Lamb, 23, a clerk and resident of Pelican Street Extension. Lamb reported to police that on Sunday, he was attending a family dinner at an address on Antelope Street Extension when he got into an argument with Kenroy Willoughby.

The NDACC carried out simultaneous educational fairs at all its district offices, including Belmopan and San Pedro, to engage students and the community about the dangers that tobacco poses to its users and those in their surroundings. Esner Vellos, director of the NDACC, explained that even though the celebration date should be May 31, the council wanted students to take part in the activity.

Argentine Vice President summoned in corruption case Argentine Vice-President, Amado Boudou must appear in court later this year on a charge of corruption. The case involving the Ciccone Calcografica printing company has been under investigation for more than three years. He is scheduled to appear in court on 15 July. Accused killer recaptured Edwin Paula, 30, the suspected mastermind behind a series of bold armed hold-ups, including one at the dorms at the University of Belize in , is back in custody after a two-month-long run for freedom.

Paula, who escaped while being transported from the prison to […] Lead investigator in Penner case speaks out Lead investigator in the Penner case, Assistant Commissioner of Police Russell Blackett, confirmed Thursday that he is in possession of the Penner case file. Blackett said that his office received the file about two weeks ago from the Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl-Lynn Vidal, with […] Police under investigation for shooting youth Police officers from the San Ignacio Police Formation may face criminal charges for allegedly shooting a year-old Unitedville youth with a gauge shotgun to his lower back.

Crime Investigation Branch is investigating the four officers who were on duty at the time in that […] Belize Port planning for bulk-cargo shipping The Belize Port Authority may soon see increased export activity due to a proposed development by a private company to facilitate bulk-cargo transportation using the facility. Citco still having problems with garbage payments The Belize City Council continues to have problems keeping up with its sanitation contracts, and is still several weeks in arrears. The Council continues to owe the sanitation company between two and four weeks, which is the limit that the contract allows for arrears, […] New Auditor General report on the way Auditor General Dorothy Bradley said that she has finally received the financial statements for the period and should have her audit of those statements ready within the next three months.

The decline was largely attributed to decreased output in three main sectors: Earlier this week Professor Harris announced that he would […] Adjourned! Saldivar will then act as PM until Mr. In making her ruling Justice Young stated that Instadollar, represented by Senior Counsel Lisa Shoman had not made a good and arguable case for continuing with the order made on May 5, mere hours after fellow judge Shona Griffith had rescinded it.

It essentially means that the Coyes can resume access as soon as the order is made available even as the civil matter continues. It all stems from an alleged agreement made between the Panamanian company and Belizean agents and subagents to open a Moneygram money exchange service in Belize. Blogs Ambergris Caye has high population of smart people For a small Island, I would say Ambergris Caye has a high population of smart people. There are many groups of smart people that meet up weekly with the shared interest of claiming bragging rights and a decent cash prize: Three times a week they have the opportunity to test their skills with the trivia hosts quizzing local and tourist teams with random interesting questions about the world we live in.

Test your knowledge weekly against fellow trivia buffs at the following local Bars: Coco Locos Tuesday night Trivia: The only trivia game north of the bridge. Start time is 7: Owner Sue walks around to each table and asks teams 18 — 20 questions at the end it is winner take all.

This one is done in rounds and Cindy will call out 5 rounds of 10 questions each with a short break in between each round and a bonus round at the end. Crazy Canucks Friday night Trivia: Owner Rob does 3 rounds and a bonus speed round at the end. The winning team of each round gets a free shot.

If there is a tie, the tiebreaker is usually a beer chug. This of course, helps keep the game at a level playing field. CLH , a leader in outsourced facilities services and staffing services announced today that their Chairman, Michael A. Ashcroft had recently agreed to purchase A twelve month option to purchase this additional BTL stake at cost plus financing was granted to Carlisle by Mr.

Ashcroft which would give Carlisle a controlling interest in the company. Carlisle Group is also a leading provider of outsourced facilities services, through LI Group and Capitol Security Services, and has a significant presence in the staffing services sector under a number of leading brands, including Recruit, Indigo Selection and Tate in over 70 locations servicing a diverse base of over 5, clients in the following markets: Check out their crowdfunding page, and help them if you can.

Help us raise money for a long-range radio communication system which will enable the team to quickly and effectively communicate in cases of medical emergencies and poacher activity in these remote areas. This radio system will include a base radio, car battery, extendable antenna, programming, and hand held units for the field crew. Learn more about your rights, and make more informed decisions.

What will this year's hurricane season bring? My top six questions for the coming season: We have a chance of all three of these events occurring in the Gulf of Mexico during the first week of hurricane season, though the models are currently hazy about this. An area of disturbed weather in the Eastern Pacific located a few hundred miles south of Southeast Mexico is forecast to move slowly northwards towards the Gulf of Mexico Sunday through Tuesday. The 06Z Friday run of the GFS model predicts that this disturbance will make landfall in Southeast Mexico on Tuesday, then spread moisture northwards over the Gulf of Mexico late in the week.

Eastern Pacific May Yield Gulf of Mexico Tropical Concerns Tropical troubles brewing in the eastern Pacific may lead to concerns in the Gulf and far northwestern Caribbean soon after the official start to the Atlantic hurricane season. It is possible that the system's energy could then slowly fuel tropical development in the Atlantic Basin in the days that follow.

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Hurricane season in the Atlantic Basin officially commences on June 1. Afterward, he wrote this in his travel journal: That was four years ago. During that time, he and Becca were mostly apart, he said in his video introduction. So he worked on a proposal video.

Santo Tomas De Castilla, Guatemala tourism

And, finally, it looks like the future Mr. Hyer will be honeymooning in Belize — for free. The Belize Tourism Board liked the video so much, it offered the couple a free honeymoon via Twitter: The CDB said that preliminary estimates indicate that the economic activity in the region grew by an average of 1. Not only does it help keep the air clean and healthy, but the 70 water sources in its river basin supply at least 70, families in nearby urban areas.

The forest protection scheme is part of the first phase of a national programme to restore ecosystems and natural landscapes, launched by the government in May Across Central America there are similar initiatives to preserve forests and coastal mangroves, which protect against storms, landslides, rising seas and soil erosion. Central American nations have been hammered by extreme weather and climate change impacts in recent years, including floods from heavy summer rains, strong winds, persistent drought and climate-sensitive plant diseases such as coffee rust.

According to Nelson Cuellar, an expert with the Salvadoran Research Program on Development and Environment PRISMA , this is because governments have differing development visions, with some focusing more on climate mitigation policies and others prioritising adaptation. This was their fourth day of work that week — my first — and we had all been up since 4: But nothing seemed to dampen the spirits of the group — not mosquitoes, thirst, mud or the fact that each bag carrying dirt and a inch mangrove plant weighed over 5 pounds [2.

Nor the fact that once our chain of hands moved all the plants feet [30 meters] or so, we would have to line up four more times to move the plants further into the more degraded areas of the forest. Belize Tripping - Snorkel Short , 11min. Jaguar, video captured during Lakeland College Belize trip , 10sec. Puma, video captured during Lakeland College Belize trip , 10sec. Ambergris Caye Belize , 2min. Diving with Sea Turtles Video: Zip lining, cave tubing, scuba diving, hanging out in Belize I recently took a weekend trip to Ambergris Caye, which is an island off the coast of Belize.

High on Belize in Isla Marisol Resort , 12min. Located 36 miles off the coast of beautiful Belize, Isla Marisol is a private island resort and one of the last true paradises in the Caribbean. From scuba diving and snorkeling, to deep sea fishing or beachcombing, your stay at Isla Marisol Resort will be nothing short of the experience of a lifetime.

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The private island resort offers the unique opportunity to enjoy one of the few remaining paradises in the world. Rosie and Kyle's Big Trip: Central America , 5min. The highlights of our amazing two months travelling through Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama - such a beautiful part of the world! Public Service Day is held celebrated worldwide on June 23rd, and in Belize, the Public Service Day Committee decided to celebrate Public Service Information Day on different dates throughout the various municipalities.

This was done to allow more participation from the schools, as well as to capitalize on favorable weather conditions. The main purpose of the event is to give the government departments the opportunity to showcase their work, network with other departments and receive public feedback on ways to further improve service delivery. Between and , over 1 million cases were reported annually, on average, with more than 33, severe cases and deaths.

By comparison, the number of cases reported regionwide in was , In the Americas, nearly million people are at risk of contracting the disease. When that desire has built up and you are ready to make a change, nothing can stop you. I hope my experience can help in pushing you the extra step that will land you at the starting gate. If anything, doing something this different is tons of fun!

Believe me, I did the jogging along the beach until I decided that my legs really hated running. What was I thinking?! Those people working out around me? They are trying hard to be better versions of themselves too! The mental hurdle is the hardest, and once I crossed that line, I have not looked back!! Tragic Death of Washington University Medical Student in San Pedro It saddens the administration, instructors, students, and staff of Washington University of Health and Science in announcing the sudden passing and loss of newly accepted medical student Suzanna Kaup on Tuesday.

As a new first semester student to the medical university, Ms. Kaup indicating concern of her well-being, requesting assistance from the university to check-in on her. Family members provided information which permitted authorities to enter her apartment. Upon entering the apartment, Ms. Kaup was located and immediate medical attention including CPR was administered by the physician in attendance.

We insist that it is extremely necessary to avoid personal attacks for the sole purpose of giving the many issues our community faces the light they deserve. We also acknowledge that it is not necessary to bring down our competitors in order to make us better candidates. We are under greatest confidence that our candidates have and will continue to be outstanding members of this community and that alone will lead this campaign trail to victory.

Through this medium we would like to extend an invitation to the general public to attend a meeting to be held Friday, May 30, , at 7: We will be presenting our candidates for the municipal elections, Mayoral Candidate Dr. Master of Ceremonies of the event, Mr. Jorge Aldana, welcomed everyone present to the event and invited Mr. Clive Welsh from the Lighthouse Christian Radio to offer the invocation.

Sining the National Anthem was pre-schooler Alfredo Gongora, which was quite impressive. Mayor Daniel Guerrero then offered the welcome address and thanked all the people working at the various departments for their hard work. Keynote speaker for the event was Hon.

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Before officially opening the event the participating departments were presented with a Certificate of Appreciation which was given by Ms. The participating departments were: Belize Agricultural Health Authority 3. Belize Tourist Board 4. Border Management Agency 5. Otto Rodriguez Clinic 2 7. General Sales Tax Department Hol Chan and Fisheries Department Income Tax Department San Pedro Transport Department Abel Guerrero, our new town foreman The San Pedro Town Council would like to extend a warm welcome and at the same time introduce you all to Mr.

Abel Guerrero, our new town foreman. With his managerial expertise, Mr. Guerrero will ensure that workers are organized and that our town is maintained clean and well-kept. Come out with the family and Enjoy! Helping people is its own reward For U. Nicholasa Partida, New Horizons surgical service technician, "helping people, in general, is its own reward," she said. As a surgical service technician, Partida finds herself in operating rooms assisting surgeons and specialists as they perform necessary, and sometimes life-saving, procedures.

In Belize, she is doing the same as part of New Horizons Belize , a multi-faceted exercise that provides valuable training experiences for Belizean and U. I'm here helping the urologists. Here, we're going back to the basics. By Abdulmajeed K Nunez. Don Hector suggested mergers and cutbacks To get the country back on track His suggestion was to you despots Who want to take the citizenry for idiots? Belizeans must mount a counterattack We the working poor are enduring the rise in tax There is talk about merging Excelsior, Sadie Vernon and Maud Williams High Teachers are of the opinion that their hands are tied These nonsensical moves must not be allowed to fly What so many people in this ministry so qualified?

The loan will fund upgrade of 9. This upgrade is expected to reduce congestion as well as improve safety on the highway, which passes through the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts. This area is of increasing importance for tourism and trade. The historic Haulover Bridge is a major thoroughfare providing the only access to and from Belize City, and from the airport.

She succeeds Councilor Joel Westby who held the post for period Guy is the only elected female in the Council, she is a successful entrepreneur and youth advocate. She is the founder and President of the Belmopan Active Youth BAY , a fast growing community youth group with over members, which aims to empower, educate and positively entertain youths of Belmopan.

She currently chairs the Belmopan Celebrations Committee and serves on several boards in relation to her duties as a council member. Preheat oven to degrees F. Grease and flour one loaf pan. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together. Add the mango puree and mix until incorporated. Sift the baking soda and flour together.

Add to the creamed mixture alternating with eggs, beating in each egg 1 at a time. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 40 minutes to 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. It was moved to the 31st from the 26th. Snacks will be provided for volunteers, so lend a hand if you can.

Lets all work for our community and build one where everyone can feel proud of what we are and what we make of it. Monday 26th a Fajina Project will be carried out. Let the community be a part of you, and not you be a part of the community. Snacks and refreshments will be provided. Support Belize and Vote for her.

Houston Caribbean Queen Pageant is a cultural, educational, and festive event that seeks to celebrate the talent and intellectual abilities of young Caribbean women. The HCQ pageant will be a distinguished public affair held in Houston, which will showcase feminine charisma, poise, congeniality and positive spirit among contestants. The pageant will present an opportunity of a life-time to aspiring young Caribbean women in Houston and surrounding areas.

The pageantry aims to bring out the best qualities such as talent, public speaking skills, commitment to public service, discipline and drive for success from young pageant hopefuls. It will offer the female ambassadors the opportunity for personal enhancement through an educational scholarship, as well as other cash prizes and gifts.

The HCQ winner will be a role model and an inspiration to young women both in Houston and the Caribbean. Read her bio here. But all through that time, COLA and its attorney Kareem Musa have not had any kind of success with the Auditor General, the Ombudsman and the Commissioner of Police to get evidence to substantiate their criminal case against Penner. So, today, they went back to court for the first adjournment of the case, and 7News was there. Here's how it went: Daniel Ortiz reporting Elvin Penner exited the courtroom today stoic and silent, not a hint of concern that he was being criminally prosecuted.

He ignored all questions from the press demanding a comment for this scandal, which he has yet to publicly address since his email to 7News. The fact is though, he got one step closer to walking away from this criminal case and walking away unscathed. The private prosecution just barely made it past this adjournment after heated arguments from both sides. It happened this afternoon at around 3: Robinson was driving a DMax pickup truck headed towards Belmopan. But, reports say that at the end of the Lord Ridge Cemetery, Robinson took an abrupt turn as if he was about to head back towards the city.

But, he didn't pay attention to the ten wheel dump truck behind him and that rammed into the side of the pickup. The impact was massive and Robinson was crushed inside. He had to be extracted by the jaws of life. Regrettably, he died as a result of his injuries. His passenger, a female who works at the Customs Department was seriously injured but is reported in a stable condition.

Those on the scene at the time tell us he was using his cellular telephone, and that's why he may not have realized the dump truck was right behind him. He remains on remand at the Belize Central Prison for firearm possession. The last we heard from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was that the Ecuadorians hadn't made any formal request for him to be handed over.

He told us that law enforcement from that country has made contact with him, and that they're seeking him for murder: Ebanks is a person of interest in Ecuador and I would say that it has to do with a murder that occurred in Ecuador some years ago. Linden Flowers "He is wanted as part of that investigation.

Linden Flowers "There is communication in that he would be a person on interest and they would like to have communication with him. He managed to pull a Houdini and escaped from a moving police van when it slowed down at a speed bump in Cotton Tree. Since then, he's been on the run, but that came to an end last night when police got intelligence that he was in the Salvapan area of Belmopan.

The Commanding officer from the Belmopan Police station explained his recapture to the media today: Edwin Paula was one of the persons who was pending to be recaptured. This morning shortly after 2 based on information we gathered we launched an operation in the Salvapan area where Mr. Edwin Paula, 30 years unemployed of San Martin area was found in a hotel the name I do not care to disclose, and he was in the company of one Martha Vasquez, nineteen-years-old. At this time, they don't know if it is murder, or if the man died of natural causes. The problem is that there was no evidence that was found that his death could have been caused by violence.

The only signs police found were several chop wounds all over his face and, left shoulder, and what's even more perplexing is that he got those in a fight 10 days ago. He was treated at the Western Regional Hospital, and he was released, so police are trying to determine if those wounds ended up claiming his life after such a long time later. As we've reported Arnold has complained to police internal affairs that the officer who shot him with a shotgun did so without any reason because he wasn't resisting arrest or assaulting the officer in any way.

Today Inspector Reyes told us that police strongly suspect that one of 4 officers pulled the trigger, but they are using their knowledge as officers of the law to evade prosecution: Statements from the victim has been recorded as well as his companions who were along with him. Internal affairs has also come in and interviewed officers which we are also doing - statements and reports obtained from them.

We are still in the process of doing a re-interview with the officers and then submit all the information that we have to the office of DPP for directives. He tried to escape, and when the officer responded and cornered him, Obispo pulled out a machete and threatened him with it. As soon as he is released, he will be facing criminal charges, including robbery: Carla Barnett has officially resigned from her senior post at the Caribbean Development Bank.

Barnett was appointed to the post of Vice President Operations in March of On Monday the Bank posted a terse release announcing her resignation effective May 23rd, It quotes President Dr. Warren Smith and says, "We appreciate Dr. Barnett's service and contribution and wish her well in her future endeavors," Those future endeavors bring here right back to Belize where Barnett will take up the post as Chair of the Belize Tourism Board in mid June. Barnett was the Cabinet choice for new Chair of the BTB which has had a recent history of governance issues, resulting in the resignations of two Directors of Tourism and one Board Chairman in two years.

BEL Cashes In On Excess Liquidity The commercial banks are being stingier than ever with super-low interest rates on savings, and that allowed BEL to cash in big time with its latest debenture offering. That's 32 days before the advertised closing date - and a sign that there's a lot of money out there looking for a secure, higher interest yield. This series of debentures yield a fixed interest rate of 6. The company reports that it had to turn down 20 million dollars in surplus offers for the debentures.

The company has consistently paid interest on time to Debenture holders. Today, manatee expert Jamal Galvez went in to remove the corpse - which had floated over to the vicinity of the Dive Center, which is closer to the swing bridge. Galvez and his assistant had to drag it off to a nearby island off the coast of Belize City.

It is alarming news since it is the fourth report made of a dead manatee within the last 3 days - all as a result of watercraft collision. Jamal Galvez- Manatee Conservation Coordinator "Within the last 3 days we've had 4 dead manatees; 3 in the Haulover Creek and one in the Tourist Village area, all as a result f water craft collision mainly from huge boats from big propellers, not small propellers. All of the animals were found along the "No Wake" areas which is quite alarming because that's the last place you would want to see dead manatees in the area that you are supposed to be going slow.

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Brothers Charged For Rape 25 year-old Jeffrey Pott and his brother, 27 year-old Roger Pott are out on bail tonight after being accused of attacking 2 sisters, one of whom was allegedly raped. A 16 year-old girl reported to police that on May 2, she woke up and found Jeffrey Pott on top of her 17 year-old sister having intercourse with her against her will because the young woman was drunk and asleep.

She told police that when she saw this, she attacked Jeffrey Pott, and that's when his brother Roger intervened and pulled a hammer on her. Tillett Accused of Thievery 37 year-old Eugene Tillett, a construction worker of Western Avenue, was taken to court today for breaking into a woman's house and cleaning her out of all her belongings. The complainant, Edelma Ruiz, reported to the police that her house, located at Cemetery Road, was burglarized on Tuesday, and several household items including electronics and jewelry were stolen.

Quick police work led officers to Tillett that same day. He was caught with a bag which contained all the stolen items, so, he was charged with burglary and handling stolen goods. He was arraigned today before Senior Magistrate Sharon Fraser, where he pleaded not guilty to the charges. His case was adjourned until July The last one expired in , and now the World Bank has stepped up to provide funding and technical assistance.

Today, the DOE, conducted a National Stakeholder Consultation Workshop for industry, government and civil society stakeholders, as well as interested private individuals. Chief Environmental Officer Martin Allegria told us what it's about: Martin Allegria, Chief Environmental Officer "Because with time, things change, new priorities comes in, new issues arises that are of importance that take the headline and so we need to plan and execute actions needed. The paramount in every action plan - the past 4 that we have had since has always been environmental planning. Physical, environment and social planning - all those are part of and that's why the theme that World Bank set up has a social plan a part of it and we acknowledge it.

But the release wasn't quite clear about what roads would be repaired. He says the upgrade will include a new bridge to replace the Haulover Bridge. That's right, the decades old Haulover will be replaced by a new two lane bridge. But the old Haulover will be rehabilitated before it is removed, while the new one is being built beside it. The CEO says it can may be moved and used somewhere else after the new one is opened. Though they're all newcomers to the Cayo Northeast Constituency. And as we've told you, although Penner is still an elected area representative, the UDP have distanced themselves from him in the wake of the Citizen Kim passport scandal.

That's left a political vacuum that needs to be filled, and these men want the job. We asked Juan about his campaign today and how he intends to win the convention: House to house, deal with our people, find out what the problems in our villages are and the problem that we have with the residents. It's seen as a delicate environment, and it is an area of high use for many lobster fishermen.

Right now, the project is only at the proposal stage, and we asked the Chief Environmental Officer Martin Allegria what he had heard about it Martin Allegria, Chief Environmental Officer "What I can tell you is that project has been in the discussion not officially but out there for the past year and a half or so.

It has come back, revised and based on conversations we have had with the investment committee and other ministers and so on. But where we are at this stage in terms of the department of the environment I will have to find out and let you know Monday or next week. Today, the President of the Football Federation of Belize told us that though the losses were tough, he's happy that they're getting the experience: In the third game which was against Guatemala, we lost 5 goals This upgrade is budgeted at 1.

Ruperto Vicente, President - FFB "The work here began in the month of March with the electrical part of it doing the lights, doing the bleachers as well as the locker rooms and the field itself and so we are way ahead. We are a little behind of course with the pitch but we will catch up this week because the people who are working on the pitch are committed to complete all of this work this week. If you notice behind here the trucks are running the dirt and once it's leveled and rolled then the pipes are going to be laid for the drainage as well as the irrigation.

And so that is going to be done this weekend. With a longer stay, you will maximize your chances to see several whales, and you will enjoy a feeling of total escape in the great outdoors. Aside from whales, you will likely have the chance to see seals from up close. From very close actually, trust me on this.

He regularly escapes his daily life by going road biking, cycle touring or cyclocross racing, skiing in the mountains of Bas-Saint-Laurent or Western Canada, or sea kayaking on the St. He is constantly dreaming up new travel plans. He also blog s on an admittedly irregular basis about his cycle touring adventures. Whale watching from the shore Located in the picturesque village of Tadoussac where the Saguenay River flows into the St. Sea tours You have sea legs and are determined to go out to meet cetaceans?

Sea kayaking You would like to go out at sea and meet whales, but you would rather do it in a self-propelled craft? If you liked this article, you might also like Tags sea excursions sea kayaking whale watching wildlife observation. If you doubt it, ask the inhabitants of the former Yugoslavia. Competition is certainly a part of the story of Western ascendancy, as we shall see in Chapter 1 — but only a part. In this book I want to show that what distinguished the West from the Rest — the mainsprings of global power — were six identifiably novel complexes of institutions and associated ideas and behaviours.

For the sake of simplicity, I summarize them under six headings: The consumer society 6. Now, before you indignantly write to me objecting that I have missed out some crucial aspect of Western ascendancy, such as capitalism or freedom or democracy or for that matter guns, germs and steel , please read the following brief definitions: Competition — a decentralization of both political and economic life, which created the launch-pad for both nation-states and capitalism 2.

Science — a way of studying, understanding and ultimately changing the natural world, which gave the West among other things a major military advantage over the Rest 3. Property rights — the rule of law as a means of protecting private owners and peacefully resolving disputes between them, which formed the basis for the most stable form of representative government 4.

The consumer society — a mode of material living in which the production and purchase of clothing and other consumer goods play a central economic role, and without which the Industrial Revolution would have been unsustainable 6. The work ethic — a moral framework and mode of activity derivable from among other sources Protestant Christianity, which provides the glue for the dynamic and potentially unstable society created by apps 1 to 5 Make no mistake: In the s, for example, a combination of fiscal and monetary crisis, climate change and epidemic disease unleashed rebellion and the final crisis of the Ming dynasty.

This had nothing to do with the West. The critical point is that the differential between the West and the Rest was institutional. Western Europe overtook China partly because in the West there was more competition in both the political and the economic spheres. Austria, Prussia and latterly even Russia became more effective administratively and militarily because the network that produced the Scientific Revolution arose in the Christian but not in the Muslim world.

European empires were able to penetrate Africa not just because they had the Maxim gun; they also devised vaccines against tropical diseases to which Africans were just as vulnerable.

In the same way, the earlier industrialization of the West reflected institutional advantages: Even after industrial technology was almost universally available, the differential between the West and the Rest persisted; indeed, it grew wider. With wholly standardized cotton-spinning and weaving machinery, the European or North American worker was still able to work more productively, and his capitalist employer to accumulate wealth more 32 rapidly, than their Oriental counterparts.

Investment in public health and public education paid big dividends; where there was none, people stayed 33 poor. This book is about all these differences — why they existed and why they mattered so much. With the success of European integration in the s and s, the Western club grew larger. But what about the rest of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean, encompassing not just the Balkans north of the Peloponnese, but also North Africa and Anatolia? What about Egypt and Mesopotamia, the seedbeds of the very first civilizations? Is South America — colonized by Europeans as surely as was North America, and geographically in the same hemisphere — part of the West?

And what of Russia? But there is surely a case for saying that the Soviet Union was as much a product of Western civilization as the United States. And its geographical extent was no less the product of European expansion and colonization than the settlement of the Americas. In that sense, what happened in was simply the death of the last European empire. Yet the most influential recent definition of Western civilization, by Samuel Huntington, excludes not just Russia but all countries with a religious tradition of Orthodoxy.

Greece, Israel, Romania and Ukraine do not make the cut; nor do the Caribbean islands, despite the fact that many 34 are as Western as Florida. It is a set of norms, behaviours and institutions with borders that are blurred in the extreme. The implications of that are worth pondering.

But what if the whole world eventually ends up being Westernized, in appearance and lifestyle at least? How far is their adoption of Western modes of operation merely a superficial modernization without any cultural depth? These are questions that will be addressed below.

Another puzzle about Western civilization is that disunity appears to be one of its defining characteristics. During the First World War, the Germans claimed to be fighting the war for a higher Kultur and against tawdry, materialistic Anglo-French civilisation the distinction was drawn by Thomas Mann and Sigmund Freud, among others. But this distinction was hard to reconcile with the burning of the Leuven University and the summary executions of Belgian civilians in the first phase of the war. Finally, it is worth remembering that Western civilization has declined and fallen once before.

Key elements of our civilization today — not only democracy but also athletics, arithmetic, civil law, geometry, the classical style of architecture and a substantial proportion of the words in modern English — had their origins in the ancient West. In its heyday, the Roman Empire was a startlingly sophisticated system.

But that version of Western civilization declined and then fell with dramatic speed in the fifth century AD, undone by barbarian invasions and internal divisions. In the space of a generation, the vast imperial metropolis of Rome fell into disrepair, the aqueducts broken, the splendid market places deserted. Without their stewardship, the civilization of the West could not have been reborn as it was in the Italy of the Renaissance.

Is decline and fall the looming fate of Western Civilization 2. Once so dominant, the economies of the United States and Europe are now facing the real prospect of being overtaken by China within twenty or even ten years, with Brazil and India not so very far behind. The financial crisis that began in also seems to indicate a fundamental flaw at the heart of the consumer society, with its emphasis on debt-propelled retail therapy.

The Protestant ethic of thrift that once seemed so central to the Western project has all but vanished. Meanwhile, Western elites are beset by almost millenarian fears of a coming environmental apocalypse. In schools, too, the grand narrative of Western ascent has fallen out of fashion. A survey of first-year History undergraduates at one leading British university revealed that only 34 per cent knew who was the English monarch at the time of the Armada, 31 per cent knew the location of the Boer War, 16 per cent knew who commanded the British forces at Waterloo more than twice that proportion thought it was Nelson rather than Wellington and 11 per cent could name a single nineteenth-century 43 British prime minister.

In a similar poll of English children aged between eleven and eighteen, 17 per cent thought Oliver Cromwell fought at the Battle of Hastings and 25 per cent put the First World War in 44 the wrong century. Throughout the English- speaking world, moreover, the argument has gained ground that it is other cultures we should study, not our own. The musical sampler sent into outer space with the Voyager spacecraft in featured twenty-seven tracks, only ten of them from Western composers, including not only Bach, Mozart and Beethoven but also Louis Armstrong, Chuck Berry and Blind Willie Johnson.

The rise of the West is, quite simply, the pre-eminent historical phenomenon of the second half of the second millennium after Christ. It is the story at the very heart of modern history. It is perhaps the most challenging riddle historians have to solve.

And we should solve it not merely to satisfy our curiosity. For it is only by identifying the true causes of Western ascendancy that we can hope to estimate with any degree of accuracy the imminence of our decline and fall. Competition China seems to have been long stationary, and had probably long ago acquired that full complement of riches which is consistent with the nature of its laws and institutions. But this complement may be much inferior to what, with other laws and institutions, the nature of its soil, climate, and situation might admit of.

A country which neglects or despises foreign commerce, and which admits the vessels of foreign nations into one or two of its ports only, cannot transact the same quantity of business which it might do with different laws and institutions … A more extensive foreign trade … could scarce fail to increase very much the manufactures of China, and to improve very much the productive powers of its manufacturing industry. By a more extensive navigation, the Chinese would naturally learn the art of using and constructing themselves all the different machines made use of in other countries, as well as the other improvements of art and industry which are practised in all the different parts of the world.

Why are we large and yet weak? With nearly a thousand buildings arranged, constructed and decorated to symbolize the might of the Ming dynasty, the Forbidden City is not only a relic of what was once the greatest civilization in the world; it is also a reminder that no civilization lasts for ever. In this he was surely right. The great empires of the Orient meanwhile stagnated and latterly succumbed to Western dominance. Why did China founder while Europe forged ahead? But other explanations were possible. Asia has properly no temperate zone, as the places situated in a very cold climate immediately touch upon those which are exceedingly hot, that is, Turkey, Persia, India, China, Korea, and Japan.

In Europe, on the contrary, strong nations are opposed to the strong; and those who join each other have nearly the same courage.

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This is the grand reason of the weakness of Asia, and of the strength of Europe; of the liberty of Europe, and of the slavery of Asia: Later European writers believed that it was Western technology that trumped the East — in particular, the technology that went on to produce the Industrial Revolution. That was certainly how it appeared to the Earl Macartney after his distinctly disappointing mission to the Chinese imperial court in see below.

Another argument, popular in the twentieth century, was that Confucian philosophy inhibited innovation. Yet these contemporary explanations for Oriental underachievement were mistaken. It was, as Smith discerned, above all institutional. If, in the year , you had taken two trips along two rivers — the Thames and the Yangzi — you would have been struck by the contrast. The Yangzi was part of a vast waterway complex that linked Nanjing to Beijing, more than miles to the north, and Hangzhou to the south. At the core of this system was the Grand Canal, which at its maximum extent stretched for more than a thousand miles.

Dating back as far as the seventh century BC, with pound locks introduced as early as the tenth century AD and exquisite bridges like the multi- arched Precious Belt, the Canal was substantially restored and improved in the reign of the Ming Emperor Yongle — By the time his chief engineer Bai Ying had finished damming and diverting the flow of the Yellow River, it was possible for nearly 12, grain barges to sail up and down 3 the Canal every year. Nearly 50, men were employed in maintaining it. But when the intrepid Venetian traveller Marco Polo had visited China in the s, even he had been impressed by the volume of traffic on the Yangzi: The multitude of vessels that invest this great river is so great that no one who should read or hear would believe it.

The quantity of merchandise carried up and down is past all belief. In fact it is so big, that it seems to be a sea rather than a river. It also enabled the imperial government to smooth the price of grain through the five state granaries, which bought when grain was 4 cheap and sold when it was dear. Nanjing was probably the largest city in the world in , with a population of between half a million and a million. For centuries it had been a thriving centre of the silk and cotton industries. Under the Yongle Emperor it also became a centre of learning. The greatest of the Ming emperors did nothing by halves.

The compendium of Chinese learning he commissioned took the labour of more than 2, scholars to complete and filled more than 11, volumes. But Yongle was not content with Nanjing. Shortly after his accession, he had resolved to build a new and more spectacular capital to the north: By , when the Forbidden City was completed, Ming China had an incontrovertible claim to be the most advanced civilization in the world.

By comparison with the Yangzi, the Thames in the early fifteenth century was a veritable backwater. In Shadwell and Ratcliffe, the ships could be hauled up on to mud berths to be refitted. And there was, of course, the Tower of London, more forbidding than forbidden. But a visitor from China would scarcely have been impressed by all this.

The Tower itself was a crude construction compared with the multiple halls of the Forbidden City. London Bridge was an ungainly bazaar on stilts compared with the Precious Belt Bridge. And primitive navigation techniques confined English sailors to narrow stretches of water — the Thames and the Channel — where they could remain within sight of familiar banks and coastlines.

Nothing could have been more unimaginable, to Englishmen and Chinese alike, than the idea of ships from London sailing up the Yangzi. By comparison with Nanjing, the London to which Henry V returned in after his triumphs over the French — the most famous of them at Agincourt — was barely a town.

It had taken the founder of the Ming dynasty more than twenty years to build the wall around his capital and it extended for as many miles, with gates so large that a single one could house 3, soldiers. And it was built to last. By fifteenth-century standards, Ming China was a relatively pleasant place to live. The rigidly feudal order established at the start of the Ming era was 5 being loosened by burgeoning internal trade.

The visitor to Suzhou today can still see the architectural fruits of that prosperity in the shady canals and elegant walkways of the old town centre. Urban life in England was very different. Besides the plague, typhus, dysentery and smallpox were also rife. Without any kind of sewage system, the streets stank to high heaven, whereas human excrement was systematically collected in Chinese cities and used as fertilizer in outlying paddy fields. In the days when Dick Whittington was lord mayor — four times between and his death in — the streets of London were paved with something altogether less appealing than gold.

Schoolchildren used to be brought up to think of Henry V as one of the heroic figures of English history, the antithesis of his predecessor but one, the effete Richard II. Henry V himself became king at the age of twenty-six and was dead from dysentery at the age of thirty-five — a reminder that most history until relatively recently was made by quite young, short-lived people.

War with France was almost a permanent condition. When not fighting the Celts, they fought one another in a succession of wars for control of the crown. Between and a quarter of deaths in the English aristocracy were violent. And ordinary homicide was commonplace. Data from the fourteenth century suggest an annual homicide rate in Oxford of above a hundred per , inhabitants. London was somewhat safer with a rate of around fifty per , Even Detroit at its worst in the s had a rate of just 6 forty-five per , Even for a prosperous Norfolk family like the Pastons, there could be little security.

And England was among the more prosperous and less violent countries in Europe. Life was even nastier, more brutal and shorter in France — and it got steadily worse the further east you went in Europe. And in all the continental countries for which we have data for the medieval period, homicide rates were higher than in England, with Italy — a land as famous for its assassins as for its artists — consistently the worst. Because high mortality rates were especially common among the poor, perhaps they somehow helped the rich to get richer.

Certainly, one consequence of the Black Death was to give European per-capita income a boost; those who survived could earn higher wages because labour was so scarce. It is also true that the children of the rich in England were a good deal more likely to 9 survive into adulthood than those of the poor. There are countries in the world today where life is almost as wretched as it was in medieval England, where pestilence, hunger, war and murder ensure average life expectancy stays pitifully low, where only the rich live long. Afghanistan, Haiti and Somalia show little sign of benefiting from these conditions.

As we shall see, Europe leapt forward to prosperity and power despite death, not because of it. Modern scholars and readers need to be reminded what death used to be like. In a land ruled by an army of skeletons, a king lies dying, his treasure of no avail, while a dog gnaws on a nearby corpse. In the background we see two hanged men on gibbets, four men broken on wheels and another about to be beheaded. Armies clash, houses burn, ships sink. No one is spared. Even the troubadour singing to his mistress is surely doomed. The artist himself died in his early forties, a younger man than this author.

It was inspired by the plague that had swept his native Naples in , claiming the life of his infant son, Rosalvo, as well as carrying off his brother, his sister, her husband and five of their children. The mood of the heartbroken artist is immortally summed up in just eight Latin words inscribed on the canvas: For a start, Asian agriculture was considerably more productive than European. In East Asia an acre of land was enough to support a family, such was the efficiency of rice cultivation, whereas in England the average figure was closer to 20 acres.

This helps explain why East Asia was already more populous than Western Europe. The more sophisticated Oriental system of rice cultivation could feed many more mouths. No doubt the Ming poet Zhou Shixiu saw the countryside through rose-tinted spectacles; still, the picture here is of a contented rural populace: Humble doorways loom by the dark path, a crooked lane goes way down to the inlet. Here ten families … have been living side by side for generations. The smoke from their fires intermingles wherever you look; so too, in their routines, the people are cooperative.

Later generations of Westerners tended to think of imperial China as a static society, allergic to innovation. Such cultural explanations — always attractive to those, like Feng and Needham, who sympathized with the Maoist regime after — are hard to square with the evidence that, long before the Ming era, Chinese civilization had consistently sought to master the world through technological innovation. We do not know for certain who designed the first water clock. It may have been the Egyptians, the Babylonians or the Chinese. The printing press with movable type is traditionally credited to fifteenth-century Germany.

In reality it was invented in eleventh-century China. Paper too originated in China long before it was introduced in the West. So did paper money, 11 wallpaper and toilet paper. It is often asserted that the English agricultural pioneer Jethro Tull discovered the seed drill in In fact it was invented in China 2, years before his time.

The Rotherham plough which, with its curved iron mouldboard, was a key tool in the eighteenth-century English Agricultural Revolution, was another innovation anticipated by the 12 Chinese. The Industrial Revolution was also prefigured in China. The first blast furnace for smelting iron ore was not built in Coalbrookdale in but in China before BC. The oldest iron suspension bridge in the world is not British but Chinese; dating from as early as AD 65, remains of it can still be seen near Ching-tung in Yunnan 14 province.

Even as late as British iron- production levels were still lower than those achieved in China in And it is far from true that the Chinese used their most famous invention, gunpowder, solely for fireworks. Other Chinese innovations include chemical insecticide, the fishing reel, matches, the magnetic compass, playing cards, the toothbrush and the wheelbarrow. Everyone knows that golf was invented in Scotland. Yet the Dongxuan Records from the Song dynasty — describe a game called chuiwan.

It was played with ten clubs, including a cuanbang, pubang and shaobang, which are roughly analogous to our driver, two-wood and three- wood. The clubs were inlaid with jade and gold, suggesting that golf, then as now, was a game for the well-off. And that was not all. In Nanjing today you can see a full-size replica of the treasure ship of Admiral Zheng He, the most famous sailor in Chinese history. And this was only part of a fleet of more than huge ocean-going junks.

With multiple masts and separate buoyancy chambers to prevent them from sinking in the event of a hole below the waterline, these ships were far larger than anything being built in fifteenth-century Europe. Their master and commander was an extraordinary man. At the age of eleven, he had been captured on the field of battle by the founder of the Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhang.

As was customary, the captive was castrated. Was Yongle trying to atone for killing his way to the throne, or to cover up for the fact that he had done so? But to find the lost emperor was not their real motive. This might seem to suggest a commercial rationale, and certainly the Chinese had goods coveted by Indian Ocean merchants porcelain, silk and musk , as well as commodities they wished to bring back to China peppers, pearls, precious stones, ivory and supposedly medicinal rhinoceros 18 horns.

In reality, however, the Emperor was not primarily concerned with trade as Adam Smith later understood it.

And who could refuse to kowtow to an emperor possessed of so mighty a 19 fleet? They did not stay long. The Sultan of Malindi in present-day Kenya sent a delegation with exotic gifts, among them a giraffe. Yongle personally received the animal at the gateway of the imperial palace in Nanjing. But then, in , this harmony was shattered. The haijin decree definitively banned oceanic voyages. From , anyone in China found building a ship with more than two masts was liable to the death penalty; in it became a crime even to go to sea 21 in such a ship.

Zheng He himself died and was almost certainly buried at sea. What lay behind this momentous decision? Was it the result of fiscal problems and political wrangles at the imperial court? Was it because the costs of war in Annam modern-day Vietnam were proving 22 unexpectedly high? We may never be sure. Landing a Chinese eunuch on the East African coast in was in many ways an achievement comparable with landing an American astronaut on the moon in The same could not be said for the voyages that were about to be undertaken by a very different sailor from a diminutive European kingdom at the other end of the Eurasian landmass.

Their combined crews were just men. The spices in question were the cinnamon, cloves, mace and nutmeg which Europeans could not grow for themselves but which they craved to enhance the taste of their food. The Portuguese realized that if they could find an alternative route, down the west coast of Africa and round the Cape of Good Hope to the Indian Ocean, then this business could be theirs. Another Portuguese mariner, Bartolomeu Dias, had rounded the Cape in , but had been forced by his crew to turn back.

Nine years later, it was up to da Gama to go all the way. As we shall see, the West had more than one advantage over the Rest. But the one that really started the ball rolling was surely the fierce competition that drove the Age of Exploration. For Europeans, sailing round Africa was not about exacting symbolic tribute for some high and mighty potentate back home. It was about getting ahead of their rivals, both economically and politically. If da Gama succeeded, then Lisbon trumped Venice.

Or, rather, its spice race. Da Gama set sail on 8 July They wanted to know if they had finally succeeded where others had failed — in finding a new spice route. They wanted trade, not tribute. In February , fully eighty-two years after Zheng He had landed there, da Gama arrived at Malindi. The Chinese had left little behind aside from some porcelain and DNA — that of twenty Chinese sailors who are said to have been shipwrecked near the island of Pate, to have swum ashore and stayed, marrying African wives and introducing the locals to Chinese styles of basket-weaving and silk 23 production.

Da Gama was especially excited to encounter Indian merchants there and it was almost certainly with assistance from one of them that he was able to catch the monsoon winds to Calicut. There was a streak of ruthlessness — indeed, of downright brutality — about the men from Lisbon that Zheng He only rarely evinced.

When the King of Calicut looked askance at the goods the Portuguese had brought with them from Lisbon, da Gama seized sixteen fishermen as hostages. On his second voyage to India, at the head of fifteen ships, he bombarded Calicut and horribly mutilated the crews of captured vessels. On another occasion, he is said to have locked up the passengers aboard a ship bound for Mecca and set it ablaze.

The Portuguese engaged in exemplary violence because they knew that their opening of a new spice route round the Cape would meet resistance. They evidently believed in getting their retaliation in first. As Afonso de Albuquerque, the second Governor of Portuguese India, proudly reported to his royal master in Only two of the original four ships made it back to Lisbon. Da Gama himself died of malaria during a third trip to India in ; his remains were returned to Europe and are now housed in a fine tomb in the monastery of St Jerome in Lisbon.

But other Portuguese explorers sailed on, past India, all the way to China. Once, the Chinese had been able to regard the distant barbarians of Europe with indifference, if not contempt. But now the spice race had brought the barbarians to the gates of the Middle Kingdom itself. And it must be remembered that, though the Portuguese had precious few goods the Chinese wanted, they did bring silver, for which Ming China had an immense demand as coins took the place of paper money and labour service as the principal means of payment.

In the Portuguese reached Macau, a peninsula on the Pearl River delta. It was the first of many such European commercial enclaves in China. And yet on his countrymen sailed, establishing an amazing network of trading posts that stretched like a global necklace from Lisbon, round the coast of Africa, Arabia and India, through the Straits of Malacca, to the spice islands themselves and then on still further, beyond even Macau. Along with Portugal, Spain had been first off the mark, seizing the initiative in the New World see Chapter 3 and also establishing an Asian outpost in the Philippines, whence the Spaniards were able to ship immense 25 quantities of Mexican silver to China.

For decades after the Treaty of Tordesillas had split the world between them, the two Iberian powers could regard their imperial achievements with sublime self-confidence. The French also entered the lists. How could they possibly sit on the sidelines with news coming in that their arch-foes the Spaniards and French were making their fortunes overseas?

Sure enough, it was not long before the English joined in the race for overseas commerce. In John Cabot made his first attempt to cross the Atlantic from Bristol. Willoughby froze to death in the attempt, but Chancellor managed to get to Archangel and then made his way overland to the court of Ivan the Terrible in Moscow.

Similar projects proliferated with enthusiastic royal support, not only across the Atlantic but also along the spice route. The world was being carved up in a frenzy of cut- throat competition. But the question still remains: Why was Vasco da Gama so clearly hungry for money — hungry enough to kill for it? There were roughly a thousand polities in fourteenth-century Europe; and still around more or less independent units years later. The simplest answer is geography.

China had three great rivers, the Yellow, the Yangzi and the 26 Pearl, all flowing from west to east. Europe had multiple rivers flowing in multiple directions, not to mention a host of mountain ranges like the Alps and the Pyrenees, to say nothing of the dense forests and marshes of Germany and Poland. We cannot be sure exactly why the Central Asian threat receded from Europe after Timur.

Perhaps Russian defences just got better. Perhaps the Mongol horses preferred steppe grass. Woe betide those who lived at the frontiers between the dozen or so bigger European states, which were at war on average more than two- thirds of the time between and In all the years from to , Spain was at war with foreign enemies 81 per cent of the time, England 53 per cent and France 52 per cent.

But this constant fighting had three unintended benefits. First, it encouraged innovation in military technology. On land, fortifications had to grow stronger as cannon grew more powerful and manoeuvrable. At sea, meanwhile, ships stayed small for good reasons. Compared with the Mediterranean galley, the design of which had scarcely changed since Roman times, the late fifteenth-century Portuguese caravel, with its square-rig sails and two masts, struck an ideal balance between speed and firepower. If it could somehow have come to a naval encounter between Zheng He and Vasco da Gama, it is possible that the Portuguese would have sent the lumbering Chinese hulks to the bottom, just as they made short work of the smaller but nimbler Arab dhows in the Indian Ocean — though at Tamao in a Ming fleet did sink a Portuguese caravel.

Measured in terms of grams of silver per head, the rulers of England and France were able to collect far more in taxation than their Chinese counterpart throughout the period from 28 to Beginning in thirteenth-century Italy, Europeans also began to experiment with unprecedented methods of government borrowing, planting the seeds of modern bond markets. Public debt was an institution wholly unknown in Ming China and only introduced under European influence in the late nineteenth century.

Another fiscal innovation of world-changing significance was the Dutch idea of granting monopoly trading rights to joint-stock companies in return for a share of their profits and an understanding that the companies would act as naval subcontractors against rival powers. The Dutch East India Company, founded in , and its eponymous English imitator were the first true capitalist corporations, with their equity capital divided into tradable shares paying cash dividends at the discretion of their directors. And, though they increased royal revenue, they also diminished royal prerogatives by creating new and enduring stakeholders in the early-modern state: Above all, generations of internecine conflict ensured that no one European monarch ever grew strong enough to be able to prohibit overseas exploration.

Even when the Turks advanced into Eastern Europe, as they did repeatedly in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, there was no pan-European emperor to order the Portuguese to suspend their maritime explorations and focus on 29 the enemy to the east. On the contrary, the European monarchs all encouraged commerce, conquest and colonization as part of their competition with one another.

Religious war was the bane of European life for more than a century after the Lutheran Reformation swept through Germany see Chapter 2. In the Jews were expelled from Castile and Aragon as religious heretics. Initially, many of them sought refuge in the Ottoman Empire, but a Jewish community was established in Venice after In , with the revolt of the Dutch against Spanish rule and the establishment of the United Provinces as a Protestant republic, Amsterdam became another haven of tolerance.

When the Protestant Huguenots were expelled from France in , they were able to resettle in England, Holland 30 and Switzerland. And, of course, religious fervour provided another incentive to expand overseas. The Portuguese Prince Henrique the Navigator encouraged his sailors to explore the African coast partly in the hope that they might find the mythical kingdom of the lost Christian saint Prester John, and that he might then lend Europe a hand against the Turks.

In short, the political fragmentation that characterized Europe precluded the creation of anything remotely resembling the Chinese Empire. It also propelled Europeans to seek opportunities — economic, geopolitical and religious — in distant lands. You might say it was a case of divide and rule — except that, paradoxically, it was by being divided themselves that Europeans were able to rule the world. In Europe small was beautiful because it meant competition — and competition not just between states, but also within states. But on the ground in rural England real power was in the hands of the great nobility, the descendants of the men who had imposed Magna Carta on King John, as well as thousands of gentry landowners and innumerable corporate bodies, clerical and lay.

Towns were often self-governing. Europe was not only made up of states; it was also made up of estates: The City of London Corporation can trace its origin and structure back as far as the twelfth century. Remarkably, in other words, the Lord Mayor, the sheriffs, the aldermen, Common Council, liverymen and freemen have all been around for more than years.

The Corporation is one of the earliest examples of an autonomous commercial institution — in some ways the forerunner of the corporations we know today, in other ways the forerunner of democracy itself. As a result, the City was never in awe of the Crown. In it was the turn of Edward II to confront the City as the mercers cloth dealers sought to reduce the privileges of foreign merchants. The wealthier the City became, the more such leverage it had. Not only did the City compete with the Crown for power. There was competition even within the City.

The livery companies can all trace their origins back to the medieval period: