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Peter Frankopan: The events of 1498 changed our world

2016 has been a momentous year. BBC Radio 4's Today programme asked top historians whether there were parallels with years gone by.
For many, the world of 2016 has felt strange, unfamiliar and threatening. Brexit, the election of Donald Trump, the refugee crisis, the horror of Aleppo, and fear of religious and political fundamentalism have all been unsettling.
Set those alongside the attempted coup this summer in Turkey, the re-emergence of Iran, Putin's geopolitical chess-playing, and worries about the buoyancy of China's economy and its growing ambitions along the Silk Roads and it is not surprising that this year has felt like change is all around us.

One loud voice in Venice told all who would listen that the discovery of new routes across the seas meant nothing less than the end for that city.
Some rubbed their hands with glee, rejoicing that Venice would surely sink back into the swamp from which it had risen.
It was the beginning of the end for the old order. That gloomy prognosis was broadly right.
Venice never had it so good again.

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