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The First Imperial Age explores the origins of Europe's rise to world hegemony in the early modern period. After a slow start in the 1400s, the pace of European exploration and discovery quickened dramatically. By the end of the period, Europeans, in pursuit of Asia and the opportunities encountered en route, had determined the outlines of Africa, discovered and partly subjugated the Americans, opened a sea route to the Far East and established themselves in the great maritime economy of Asia. Scammell's detached and skeptical view highlights the ambiguities inherent in these triumphs.

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