chapter  5
24 Pages

Black Rainbows and Sinister Hailstorms

When Spain, Portugal, Britain, and France established global empires in the New World, they used the venerable example of Rome as their model. These fledgling empires, however, only remotely resembled their ancient prede­ cessor. New World colonies were far from Europe and established out of a need for gold, silver, and other valuable commodities. And unlike pagan Rome, they were based on the premise that worldwide empires could only be founded on Christianity-a universal faith that supposedly applied to all peoples and nations for all times. Renaissance humanists prided themselves on their supposed cosmopolitanism, but in reality their religious and cultural horizons extended no further than the Straits of Gibraltar.