500 years ago, Martin Luther, one of the most iconic figures of the Reformation, joins the theological faculty of the University of Wittenberg in the position of Doctor in Bible, two days after he was awarded his Doctor of Theology.
492 years ago today, less than 7 years after Juan Ponce de Leon landed on the Florida coast, Ferdinand Magellan discovered the Strait of Magellan which is the most important natural passage south of mainland South America and north of Tierra del Fuego.
How are these events connected? They’re not, but they serve to show how recent a phenomena global trade really is. 500 years ago, the reformation had not yet gotten under way, and 492 years ago we were still discovering important trade routes, which would soon pass into history as the difficulty of navigation and the efficiency of modern ocean vessels makes it easier to just go around the tip of South America.