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p. 654. Pagans across the oceanslocked

  • Owen Davies


The age of exploration from the late 15th century onwards brought Christians into contact with new peoples and new religions. ‘Pagans across the oceans’ points out that missionary activity was a fundamental part of European trade and colonization. The stereotypical pagan was fatalistic, indolent, superstitious, puerile, and born to be subjugated. Being a Christian was not only a matter of accepting the faith but of adopting European cultural and social values. However, people did not necessarily reject their ‘paganism’ because Christianity was revealed to be any more coherent or ‘true’. Local politics, trade, kin relations, access to medicine, opportunities for education and work were all important pragmatic factors for conversion.

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