This is the transcript of episode 2 of my series on, and leading up to, Thomas Dallam, the Elizabethan organ builder who sailed to Constantinople with a gift for the Sultan. You can listen to the episode here or through the usual podcast services.
Welcome back to our thus-far effectively Dallamless series on the life and times of Thomas Dallam, one of the most successful organ-men of the 17th century, and also, for a few months in Constantinople, the fulcrum on which Anglo-Ottoman relations pivoted. But we should recap.
As we saw last episode, Elizabethan England was some distance removed from global empire status. In fact, its merchants were casting about for overseas markets, constrained as they were by the successes of the hostile Spanish and Portuguese dominating the ways west and south respectively, to the Americas and Africa, by turmoil in the Spanish Habsburg ruled Low Countries, and by the Ottoman Empire’s stranglehold on overland trade with the east. This was not quite the England of sugar and slaves and the sun never setting. That was on the way though, and both sugar and slaves were becoming important.