Urban Europe 1500-1700

Cowan, Alexander
Date published: 
May 1998

The premise of this study is that not only was there a shared urban dimension to the history of the period, but that it was a dimension whose influence substantially outweighed the relatively small numbers of people who lived in the towns and cities. These centres had a powerful dynamism - loci of forces of attraction and repulsion that reached out far beyond the boundaries of urban settlement. A dominant theme in this book is the impact of change, which while also felt in a rural context was amplified many-fold in the urban context. This new account reveals not only the diversity of urban life in the period but also the ways in which existing government attempted, and often failed, to come to terms with new problems. While this new study attempts to convey a sense of the parameters and diversity of life in an urban environment during the period, it also provides an insight into the ways in which existing structures of gorvernment and institutional organization attempted and often failed, to come to terms with new problems.