Predominance jumble was particularly complex in a central band of territories extending from the United Provinces in the west, across south-central Germany, Austria, Bohemia, Hungary, and Transylvania. Here intricate juxtapositions and intermixtures of Catholics, Lutherans, Calvinists, various Protestant minorities, and Jews, jostled each other in a kind of continuing religious cold war. Further east and south the Catholic and Protestant populations blended into the sphere of the Eastern Orthodox churches, largely dominant in the Russian Empire and the Balkans. But the latter also contained a sizable Muslim minority of Europeans converted during the long occupation by the Ottoman Turks. This was in fact the one area of major religious warfare in Europe after 1648, with Christians and Turks locked in a struggle that continued intermittently to the end of the eighteenth century.
Although Europe remained the heartland of Christendom, home to by far the largest concentration of Christians, the previous period had also seen an unprecedented expansion ofEuropeans across much ofthe planet. By the middle of the seventeenth century, Christian missionaries and settlers - sometimes following in the train of warriors and explorers, sometimes advancing on their own - had made contact with all of the major world civilizations.
Throughout large areas of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, Spanish and Portuguese mendicants and Jesuits had permanently converted the indigenous populations to the faith. Christianity had also touched wide areas of North America above the Gulf of Mexico. But here in the mid-seventeenth century, European settlements were still relatively sparse, tenaciously clinging to coastlines and river valleys. Compared to the efforts of the Spanish and Portuguese, the Europeans in these areas had been far less successful in converting native peoples.
Much the same could be said for the great expanses of Sub-Saharan Africa. For the most part the European presence consisted of coastal trading stations and a small Dutch colony only just established at the Cape of Good Hope. Yet in two zones - the coasts of Congo and Angola and the lower Zambezi and coastal Mozambique - regulars from Portugal and other nations had succeeded in establishing tenuous Christian communities that survived into the nineteenth century.
In Asia, the small Portuguese province of Goa on the west coast of the Indian subcontinent served as a bridgehead for significant missionary activities throughout south India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), with a few intrepid Jesuits and Capuchins pushing north to the heart of the Mughal Empire and beyond into Nepal and Tibet. Further east, the situation appeared even more hopeful for the Christian mission. The Spanish had won spectacular success in the
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