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Tolerance and Intolerance (1550 - 1700 AD)

Neil MacGregor charts the relationships between faiths across the globe around 400 years ago, looking at objects from India and Central America, Europe and Indonesia.

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Reformation centenary broadsheet

5/5 Neil MacGregor with a souvenir of the 100th anniversary of the Protestant reformation.

Sat 2 Oct 2010 00:30 BBC Radio 4

See all previous episodes from A History of the World in 100 Objects

  • Where these objects were found

    Where these objects were found

    81 Shi'a religious parade standard
    82 Miniature of a Mughal prince
    83 Shadow puppet of Bima
    84 Mexican codex map
    85 Reformation centenary broadsheet

    Browse all British Museum objects
  • Tolerance and Intolerance AD (1550-1700)

    The Protestant Reformation split the western Church into two rival factions and triggered Europe’s final major religious war. The failure of either side to achieve victory in the Thirty Years War would lead to a period of religious tolerance in Europe. Three great Islamic powers dominated Eurasia: the Ottomans in Turkey, the Mughals in India and the Safavids in Iran. The Mughals promoted religious tolerance, allowing the Indian subcontinent’s largely non-Islamic population to continue to worship as they pleased. In Iran the Safavids created the world’s first major Shi’i state. Exploration and trade provided opportunities for religions to attract new followers. Catholicism in Central America and Islam in South East Asia both adapted to accommodate the existing rituals of their new converts.

Shakespeare's Restless World

Image for Shakespeare's Restless World

Neil MacGregor uncovers Shakespeare's world through twenty objects.

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