Jane looked great. It was great to see her and you.
The "story" of the Ortelius maps is that a complete idiot (even dumber then George Bush II) was able to control the world with the mountains of silver in Peru and Mexico. These maps show the world of a King who OWNED Spain, the Netherlands, Mexico, Peru, Portugal, the Spice Islands of the Indies, much of Africa and was married to the daughter of the man (who was Philip's uncle!!!!!) who was the Holy Roman Emperor who controlled almost all of the rest of Europe.
These maps show the world of Philip II whose evangelical Catholicism ruined the second half of the 16th century. Jews, Huguenots, Calvinists, Lutherans, Muslims all suffered beyond belief because of this asshole who wanted desperately to be the "most Catholic" King in Europe. And that meant killing anyone who was not Catholic.
Meanwhile the advent of magnificent Renaissance Mannerist strap work design now prevalent made it possible for the most beautiful set of the continents ever to be published. But published in Antwerp NOT Madrid!
So while Spain (gagging under huge inflows of silver and gold just like the Arabs today) could NEVER have produced maps of this quality because the whole country was rotten, they WERE produced in a city that Philip II owned - Antwerp. Everyone in that city hated Philip but he had a viscous, brutal, effective army that subdued them and forced them to work as his slaves.
These maps are burning with stories that are as relevant today as they were 420 years ago!
I could go on for hours more.
Thank you for considering THIS story.