The rise and fall of maritime empires

correlated to Uranus-Neptune cycles

In this post we follow the thread of the Uranus-Neptune conjunctions and oppositions to see how they reveal a cyclic pattern in the rise, zenith and decline of maritime empires since the 13th century: the Genoese, the Venetian, the Ottoman, the Portuguese, the Spanish, the Dutch, the British, the United States and possibly the Chinese.

We started by looking at some of the most significant empires in history, and found that some of them correlate very straightforwardly with Uranus-Neptune conjunctions and oppositions, while others don't. After stepping back and reflecting about the archetypal meaning of Uranus and Neptune combined, we realised that the key was to look more specifically at maritime empires, simply because Neptune is the Roman god of the sea. We came to understand that Uranus-Neptune cycles correlate very specifically with the expansion of maritime networks of trade and communications.

This led us to focus on the most significant thalassocracies of modern times, starting with Genoa and Venice, and then on the history of the Portuguese and Spanish empires from the point of view of their maritime expansion (which is different from their land expansion inside the American continents).

We ended up organising the content into the following parts:

Giovan Battista Tiepolo, Neptune offers the wealth of the sea to Venice, 1748-1750. (Source: Wikipedia)

Zeniths and falls of maritime empires from the 14th to the 20th century

The height of a state that lasted for many centuries, such as the Republic of Venice, or the Ottoman Empire, are not obvious to determine. Nevertheless, based of Fernand Braudel's research on the history of capitalism, we can suggest the following chronology correlated with Uranus-Neptune cycles.

Last but not least, in many cases the end of those states is well known. It is quite remarkable that the fall of a good number of those states correlates very clearly with Uranus-Neptune conjunctions or oppositions.

The Mediterranean: Genoa, Venice and the Ottoman Empire

Genoese world map from 1457 (Source: Wikipedia)

Certain important milestones in the history of the eastern mediterranean empires correlate with Uranus-Neptune cycles:

Battle of the Venetian fleet against the Turks at Phocaea (Focchies) in 1649 during the Cretan War. Painting by Abraham Beerstraten, 1656. (Source: Wikipedia)

Genoese (red) and Venetian (green) maritime trade routes in the Mediterranean (source: Wikipedia)

The Indian Ocean: the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British empires

A Portuguese map made in 1519 depicting Indian Ocean areas (Source: Wikipedia)

While the Portuguese, Dutch and English had important colonies in the Americas, the historical events correlated to Uranus-Neptune cycles are focused on the Indian Ocean, going through the following stages:

      • The Portuguese establish colonies in the Indian Ocean

      • The Dutch Empire expands in the Indian Ocean and takes over most of the Portuguese colonies

      • The English Empire takes over the Dutch dominion over the Indian Ocean

The capture of the Spanish port Cádiz by the English and the Dutch in 1596 (Source: Wikipedia)

The primary Dutch and Portuguese settlements in Asia, c. 1665. With the exception of Jakarta and Deshima, all had been captured by the Dutch East India Company from Portugal. (Source: Wikipedia)

A map of the world in 1886: areas under British control are highlighted in red. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Americas: from the Spanish Empire to American Imperialism

Tabula Rogeriana world map by Muhammad al-Idrisi in 1154. Note that north is to the bottom (Source: Wikipedia)

While the Spanish had the Philippines and Guam in Asia, the history of their empire is centred on the Americas and the westward route to India via the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. It goes through these stages:

    • Christian reconquest of the Iberian peninsula

    • the Spanish Empire conquers most of central and south America, except Brazil (see the Treaty of Tordesillas)

    • independence of most of the Latin American colonies from Spain

    • the United States take over the remaining Spanish colonies in the Americas and the Philippines

Before the age of the Spanish Empire, it's interesting to note that islamic Iberia or Al-Andalus began in 711 during the 706-710 opposition of Uranus and Neptune, when Umayyad forces crossed the Gibraltar strait to conquer the Iberian peninsula and set Córdoba as their regional capital. Also, the Almohad Caliphate (1121-1269) started during the 1136 conjunction.

Caverio Map circa 1506 (Source: Wikipedia)

Portuguese India Armadas and trade routes (blue) since Vasco da Gama's 1498 journey and the Spanish Manila-Acapulco galleons trade routes (white) established in 1568. (source: Wikipedia)

Closing remarks

Is China the next great maritime empire of the Indian Ocean?

The growth of China's maritime network from 2015 to 2017 and the project of a Maritime Silk Road suggests that China could be on its way for becoming the next great maritime empire, at least in the scope of the Indian Ocean.

The distinction between Uranus-Neptune and Uranus-Pluto cycles

One of astrology's greatest challenges is to be able to distinguish the appropriate planetary cycle for a given phenomena.

In his book Cosmos and Psyche (2006), Richard Tarnas correlates the first voyages of Christopher Columbus to America (1492), of Vasco da Gama to India (1498) and of Pedro Cabral to Brazil (1500) to the Uranus-Pluto square of 1496 to 1500. Another major milestone in the exploration of alternative sea routes to India and China was the discovery in 1566 of the eastward return route from Manila to Acapulco, which occurred during the Uranus-Neptune opposition of 1563-66, and also coincided with the Uranus-Pluto square of 1566-67. These major breakthroughs set the stage for the golden age of the Portuguese and Spanish Empires which lasted until the next Uranus-Neptune conjunction of 1650 and Uranus-Pluto opposition of 1648-49. Another important milestone for those empires was the loss of most of their colonies in the Americas between 1807 and 1830, around the Uranus-Neptune conjunction of 1820 which coincided with a Uranus-Pluto square in the same year.

How can we make the difference between the phenomena that express the Uranus-Neptune cycles, versus those that correspond to the Uranus-Pluto cycles? Richard Tarnas makes the following distinction between these two combinations of archetypes:

  • the Uranus-Pluto cycles are about "sudden radical change and revolutionary upheaval, widespread empowerment of creativity, and an intensified collective impulse towards progressive innovation and the striving for new horizons" (Cosmos and Psyche, page 416)

  • the Uranus-Neptune alignments correlate with "epochal shifts of cosmological vision and the subversion of established reality structures associated with Saturn" (Cosmos and Psyche, page 360)

The breakthroughs accomplished by Columbus, da Gama and Cabral clearly express both cycles: they represent a period of sudden radical change for Spain, Portugal and the indigenous people of the Americas, and an epochal shift into an entirely new worldview. Within only a few decades the world suddenly became much more interconnected via the new sea routes established by those great explorers.

General chronology from the 12th century to the 21st century

Additional resources

About Uranus-Neptune cycles

About the history of maritime empires