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Authors: Jerry Brotton

Tags: #History, #Middle East, #Turkey & Ottoman Empire, #Europe, #Great Britain, #Renaissance

The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam

BOOK: The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam
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The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam
Jerry Brotton
Viking (2016)
Tags: History, Middle East, Turkey & Ottoman Empire, Europe, Great Britain, Renaissance
Historyttt Middle Eastttt Turkey & Ottoman Empirettt Europettt Great Britainttt Renaissancettt

The gripping story of Queen Elizabeth’s bold alliance with the Ottoman sultan by
The New York Times
bestselling author of
A History of the World in Twelve Maps (
published in the UK as *This Orient Isle)
*

Long before Thomas Jefferson confronted the Barbary Pirates, Queen Elizabeth sent a secret message to the Ottoman Sultan Murad II, inviting him to open his markets to her merchants and to embark on a pathbreaking new alliance. Islam and the West crossed paths much earlier than we think—and originally the Muslims had the upper hand.

When Elizabeth was excommunicated by the pope in 1570, she found herself in an awkward predicament. England had always depended on trade. Now its key markets were suddenly closed to her Protestant merchants, while the staunchly Catholic king of Spain vowed to take her throne. In a bold decision with far-reaching consequences, she set her sights on the East. She sent an emissary to the shah of Iran, wooed the king of Morocco, and entered into an unprecedented alliance with the powerful Ottoman Sultan Murad III.

This marked the beginning of an extraordinary alignment with Muslim powers and of economic and political exchanges with the Islamic world of a depth not again experienced until the modern age. By the late 1580s, thousands of English merchants, diplomats, sailors, and privateers were plying their trade from Morocco to Persia. To finance these expeditions, they created the first ever joint stock company, a revolutionary new business model that balanced risk and reward.

Londoners were gripped with a passion for the Orient. Elizabeth became hooked on sugar as new words like 
candy

turquoise
, and 
tulip
entered the English language. Marlowe offered up 
Tamburlaine
 and Shakespeare wrote 
Othello
 six months after the first Moroccan ambassador’s visit. Jerry Brotton reveals that Elizabethan England’s relationship with the Muslim world was far more amicable—and far more extensive—than we have ever appreciated as he tells the riveting story of the traders and adventurers who first went East to seek their fortunes.

**

Review

"An illuminating account of a neglected aspect of Elizabethan England:  its rich, complex, and ambivalent relations with the Muslim world.
The Sultan and the Queen
 is a fascinating and timely book."
—Stephen Greenblatt, author of
The Swerve
“An exceptionally rich and brilliant book. In bringing to life Elizabethan England’s ambivalent engagement with Islam, Jerry Brotton shows how profoundly that encounter shaped English trade, diplomacy, and the Islam-obsessed drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The story he tells could not be more timely.”
—James Shapiro, author
The Year of Lear: 1606

“We are accustomed to seeing Elizabeth as a dazzling but essentially limited monarch, obsessed with defending her small corner of northwest Europe. . . But as Brotton shows, for the last quarter of Elizabeth’s reign, England was also deeply engaged with the three great powers of the Islamic world.
The Sultan and the Queen
is both a colorful narrative of that extraordinary time and a reminder that our own fortunes and those of the wider Islamic world have been intertwined for much longer than we might think.”
—Dan Jones, *The Times
*

“Jerry Brotton’s sparkling new book sets out just how extensive and complex England’s relationship with the Arab and Muslim world once was. . . It seems extraordinary that, in a time before mass travel, when most people died a stone’s throw from where they were born, there wer nevertheless those whose adventures led them to the edges of the known world – and to cultures so different from their own as to seem dreamlike. But Brotton’s book is full of them. . . At a time when many see Islam as a recent and strange intruder, Brotton’s excellent history is a reminder that a careful study of England’s “island story” shows just how wrong they are.” 
—The Guardian

“A marvelous achievement.”
—The Spectator

“Impressive and highly readable. . . Brotton emphasizes the extent to which Elizabethan England was shot through with influences, stories, individuals and products drawn from the Islamic world. The orient is not elsewhere but already here, both thrillingly and uncomfortably close to home. . . Brotton’s book crackles with an energy that illuminates and vivifies its larger claims.”
—Financial Times

“A little-known story that Brotton chronicles with scholarship, assurance, and not a little charm. . . Someone should get cracking on the screenplay now.”

Boyd Tonkin,* The Independent
*

“An exceptionally rich and brilliant book. In bringing to life Elizabethan England’s ambivalent engagement with Islam, Jerry Brotton shows how profoundly that encounter shaped English trade, diplomacy, and the Islam-obsessed drama of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The story he tells could not be more timely.”
—James Shapiro, author of
The Year of Lear and* A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare

“This fascinating account uncovers the lively exchange between Elizabeth’s England, the Ottoman Empire, and Morocco. Christianity and Islam were still at odds, but Elizabeth gladly sought alliance with Muslim lands against the shared threat of Catholic Europe.” 
—Natalie Zemon Davis, author of *The Return of Martin Guerre 
*

About the Author

Jerry Brotton
is a professor of Renaissance studies at Queen Mary University of London. A renowned broadcaster and critic, he is the author of 
Global Interests: Renaissance Art Between East and West 
(with Lisa Jardine), 
The Renaissance Bazaar

The Sale of the Late King’s Goods
 (short-listed for the Samuel Johnson Prize and the Hessell-Tiltman Prize), 
Great Maps
, and 
The
 
New York Times
 bestselling, award-winning 
A History of the World in Twelve Maps
, which has been translated into eleven languages. 

Also by Jerry Brotton

Great Maps

A History of the World in 12 Maps

The Renaissance: A Very Short Introduction

The Sale of the Late King’s Goods: Charles I and His Art Collection

The Renaissance Bazaar: From the Silk Road to Michelangelo

Global Interests: Renaissance Art Between East and West
(with Lisa Jardine)

Trading Territories: Mapping the Early Modern World

VIKING

An imprint of Penguin Random House LLC

375 Hudson Street

New York, New York 10014

penguin.com

Copyright © 2016 by Jerry Brotton

Penguin supports copyright. Copyright fuels creativity, encourages diverse voices, promotes free speech, and creates a vibrant culture. Thank you for buying an authorized edition of this book and for complying with copyright laws by not reproducing, scanning, or distributing any part of it in any form without permission. You are supporting writers and allowing Penguin to continue to publish books for every reader.

First published in Great Britain as
This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World
by Allen Lane, an imprint of Penguin Random House UK

Library of Congress cataloging-in-Publication Data

Names: Brotton, Jerry.

Title: The Sultan and the queen: the untold story of Elizabeth and Islam/Jerry Brotton.

Description: New York: Viking, 2016. | Includes bibliographical references and index.

Identifiers: LCCN 2016029495 (print) | LCCN 2016031895 (ebook) | ISBN 9780525428824 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780698191631 (ebook)

Subjects: LCSH: Great Britain—History—Elizabeth, 1558–1603. | Turkey—History—Murad III, 1574–1595. | Great Britain—Foreign relations—Turkey. | Turkey—Foreign relations—Great Britain.

Classification: LCC DA355 .B69 2016 (print) | LCC DA355 (ebook) | DDC 327.4205609/031—dc23

LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2016029495

Version_1

To my wife, Charlotte

Contents

Also by Jerry Brotton
Title Page
Copyright
Dedication
Map
 
Introduction
1
Conquering Tunis
2
The Sultan, the Tsar and the Shah
3
The Battle for Barbary
4
An Apt Man in Constantinople
5
Unholy Alliances
6
Sultana Isabel
7
London Turns Turk
8
Mahomet’s Dove
9
Escape from the Seraglio
10
Sherley Fever
11
More Than a Moor
Epilogue
Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Notes
Illustration Credits
Index

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