In this work, Charles Tilly challenges all previous formulations of state development in Europe, including his own Formation of National States in Western Europe. Specifically, Tilly argues that most available explanations fail because they do not account for the great variety of kinds of states which were viable at different stages of European history, and because they assume a unilinear path of state development resolving in today's national state. Thus, the central question for Tilly is this: what accounts for the great variation over time and space in the kinds of state that have prevailed in Europe since AD 990? . Tilly aims to demonstrate how various interactions between the wielders of coercion and the manipulators of capital produced three major types of states which prevailed during long periods of European history: tribute-making empires, systems of fragmented sovereignty and national states. Drawing on the contributions of Barrington Moore, Stein Rokkan and Lewis Mumford, Tilly aims to put to rest the conception of European state development as a single, unilinear process and, in so doing, places relations among states at the centre of the analysis of the process of state formation.