Period 4: Global Interactions, c. 1450 to c. 1750 Key Concept Globalizing Networks of Communication & Exchange



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Period 4: Global Interactions, c. 1450 to c. 1750
Key Concept 4.1. Globalizing Networks of Communication & Exchange

The interconnection of the Eastern & Western hemispheres made possible by transoceanic voyaging marked a key transformation of this period. Technological innovations helped to make transoceanic connections possible. Changing patterns of long-distance trade included the global circulation of some commodities & the formation of new regional markets & financial centers. Increased transregional & global trade networks facilitated the spread of religion & other elements of culture as well as the migration of large numbers of people. Germs carried to the Americas ravaged the indigenous peoples, while the global exchange of crops & animals altered agriculture, diets, & populations around the planet.


I. In the context of the new global circulation of goods, there was an intensification of all existing regional trade networks that brought

prosperity & economic disruption to the merchants & governments in the trading regions of the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Sahara, & overland Eurasia.


II. European technological developments in cartography & navigation built on previous knowledge developed in the classical, Islamic, & Asian

worlds, & included the production of new tools (astrolabe, revised maps), innovations in ship designs (caravels), & an improved understanding of global wind & currents patterns — all of which made transoceanic travel & trade possible.


III. Remarkable new transoceanic maritime reconnaissance occurred in this period.

A. Official Chinese maritime activity expanded into the Indian Ocean region with the naval voyages led by Ming Admiral Zheng He,

which enhanced Chinese prestige.

B. Portuguese development of a school for navigation led to increased travel to & trade with West Africa, & resulted in the

construction of a global trading-post empire.

C. Spanish sponsorship of the first Columbian & subsequent voyages across the Atlantic & Pacific dramatically increased

European interest in transoceanic travel & trade.

D. Northern Atlantic crossings for fishing & settlements continued & spurred European searches for multiple routes to Asia.

E. In Oceania & Polynesia, established exchange & communication networks were not dramatically affected because of infrequent

European reconnaissance in the Pacific Ocean.


IV. The new global circulation of goods was facilitated by royal chartered European monopoly companies that took silver from Spanish

colonies in the Americas to purchase Asian goods for the Atlantic markets, but regional markets continued to flourish in Afro-Eurasia by using established commercial practices & new transoceanic shipping services developed by European merchants.

A. European merchants’ role in Asian trade was characterized mostly by transporting goods from one Asian country to another

market in Asia or the Indian Ocean region.

B. Commercialization & the creation of a global economy were intimately connected to new global circulation of silver from the

Americas.

C. Influenced by mercantilism, joint-stock companies were new methods used by European rulers to control their domestic &

colonial economies & by European merchants to compete against one another in global trade.

D. The Atlantic system involved the movement of goods, wealth, & free & unfree laborers, & the mixing of African, American, &

European cultures & peoples.


V. The new connections between the Eastern & Western hemispheres resulted in the Columbian Exchange.

A. European colonization of the Americas led to the spread of diseases — including smallpox, measles, & influenza — that were

endemic in the Eastern Hemisphere among Amerindian populations & the unintentional transfer of vermin, including mosquitoes & rats.

B. American foods (potatoes, maize, manioc) became staple crops in various parts of Europe, Asia, & Africa. Cash crops (sugar, tobacco) were grown primarily on plantations with coerced labor & were exported mostly to Europe & the Middle East in

this period.

C. Afro-Eurasian fruit trees, grains, sugar, & domesticated animals (horses, pigs, cattle) were brought by Europeans to the

Americas, while other foods were brought by African slaves (okra, rice).

D. Populations in Afro-Eurasia benefited nutritionally from the increased diversity of American food crops.

E. European colonization & the introduction of European agriculture & settlements practices in the Americas often affected the

physical environment through deforestation & soil depletion.


VI. The increase in interactions between newly connected hemispheres & intensification of connections within hemispheres expanded the spread & reform of existing religions & created syncretic belief systems & practices.

A. As Islam spread to new settings in Afro-Eurasia, believers adapted it to local cultural practices. The split between the Sunni &

Shi’a traditions of Islam intensified, & Sufi practices became more widespread.

B. The practice of Christianity continued to spread throughout the world & was increasingly diversified by the process of diffusion

& the Reformation.

C. Buddhism spread within Asia.

D. Syncretic & new forms of religion developed (Vodun, cult of saints in L. Am., Sikhism).
VII. As merchants’ profits increased & governments collected more taxes, funding for the visual & performing arts, even for popular

audiences, increased.



  1. Innovations in visual & performing arts (renaissance art, miniature paintings in the Middle east & S Asia, Japanese wood block prints) were seen all over the world.

  2. Literacy expanded & was accompanied by the proliferation of popular authors, literary forms, & works of literature in Afro-Eurasia (Shakespeare, Cervantes, Sundiata, Journey to the West, kabuki).


Key Concept 4.2. New Forms of Social Organization & Modes of Production

Although the world’s productive systems continued to be heavily centered on agricultural production throughout this period, major changes occurred in agricultural labor, the systems & locations of manufacturing, gender & social structures, & environmental processes. A surge in agricultural productivity resulted from new methods in crop & field rotation & the introduction of new crops. Economic growth also depended on new forms of manufacturing & new commercial patterns, especially in long-distance trade. Political & economic centers within regions shifted, & merchants’ social status tended to rise in various states. Demographic growth — even in areas such as the Americas, where disease had ravaged the population — was restored by the eighteenth century & surged in many regions, especially with the introduction of American food crops throughout the Eastern Hemisphere. The Columbian Exchange led to new ways of humans interacting with their environments. New forms of coerced & semi-coerced labor emerged in Europe, Africa, & the Americas, & affected ethnic & racial classifications & gender roles.


I. Traditional peasant agriculture increased & changed, plantations expanded, & demand for labor increased. These changes both fed &

responded to growing global demand for raw materials & finished products.

A. Peasant labor intensified in many regions (Siberia Russia, Indian cotton textiles, Chinese silk textiles).

B. Slavery in Africa continued both the traditional incorporation of slaves into households & the export of slaves to the Med & the

Indian Ocean.

C. The growth of the plantation economy increased the demand for slaves in the Americas.

D. Colonial economies in the Americas depended on a range of coerced labor (chattel slavery, indentured servitude, encomienda &

hacienda, Spanish adaptation of the mita).


II. As new social & political elites changed, they also restructured new ethnic, racial, & gender hierarchies.

A. Both imperial conquests & widening global economic opportunities contributed to the formation of new political & economic elites

(zamandars in Mughal India, European nobility, daimyo in Japan).

B. The power of existing political & economic elites fluctuated as they confronted new challenges to their ability to affect the

policies of the increasingly powerful monarchs & leaders.


  1. Some notable gender & family restructuring occurred (European men depending on S Asian women for trade, smaller size of

European families), including the demographic changes in Africa that resulted from the slave trades.

D. The massive demographic changes in the Americas resulted in new ethnic & racial classifications (mestizo, mulatto, creole).



Key Concept 4.3. State Consolidation & Imperial Expansion

Empires expanded & conquered new peoples around the world, but they often had difficulties incorporating culturally, ethnically, & religiously diverse subjects, & administrating widely dispersed territories. Agents of the European powers moved into existing trade networks around the world. In Africa & the greater Indian Ocean, nascent European empires consisted mainly of interconnected trading posts & enclaves. In the Americas, European empires moved more quickly to settlement & territorial control, responding to local demographic & commercial conditions. Moreover, the creation of European empires in the Americas quickly fostered a new Atlantic trade system that included the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Around the world, empires & states of varying sizes pursued strategies of centralization, including more efficient taxation systems that placed strains on peasant producers, sometimes prompting local rebellions. Rulers used public displays of art & architecture to legitimize state power. African states shared certain characteristics with larger Eurasian empires. Changes in African & global trading patterns strengthened some West & Central African states — especially on the coast; this led to the rise of new states & contributed to the decline of states on both the coast & in the interior.


I. Rulers used a variety of methods to legitimize & consolidate their power.

A. Rulers used the arts to display political power & to legitimize their rule (monumental architecture, urban design, courtly

literature, visual arts).

B. Rulers continued to use religious ideas to legitimize their rule (divine right, Safavid use of Shiism, Mexica use of human

sacrifice, Songhai use of Islam, Chinese emperor’s public performance of Confucian rituals)

C. States treated different ethnic & religious groups in ways that utilized their economic contributions while limiting their ability

to challenge the authority of the state Ottoman treatment of non-Muslim subjects, Manchu policies toward Chinese, Spanish creation of a separate Republica de Indios).

D. Recruitment & use of bureaucratic elites, as well as the development of military professionals, became more common among

rulers who wanted to maintain centralized control over their populations & resources Ottoman devshirme, Chinese exam system, salaried samurai).

E. Rulers used tribute collection & tax farming to generate revenue for territorial expansion.


II. Imperial expansion relied on the increased use of gunpowder, cannons, & armed trade to establish large empires in both hemispheres.

A. Europeans established new trading-post empires in Africa & Asia, which proved profitable for the rulers & merchants involved

in new global trade networks, but these empires also affected the power of the states in interior West & Central Africa.

B. Land empires expanded dramatically in size: Manchus, Mughals, Ottomans, Russians

C. European states established new maritime empires in the Americas: Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French, British
III. Competition over trade routes, state rivalries, & local resistance all provided significant challenges to state consolidation & expansion.
Case Study #1: Europe 1450-1750
General comments:

-- Christian unity starts to decline

-- gov’t. powers expand as nation-states start to evolve

-- science became the centerpiece of Western intellectual life

-- society remains predominately agricultural





Chain of Events in Europe from 1450 to 1750

1450 – 1550 Renaissance leads into the Protestant Reformation; birth of the Church of England; Humanism over Scholasticism

Age of Exploration begins; birth of mercantilism; opening of 5th trading network: the Atlantic; feudalism & manoralism out
1550 – 1600 Birth of the Scientific Revolution; Catholic Counter-Reformation; Age of Colonization; decline of mercantilism

1600 – 1750 Enlightenment; mercantilism out & capitalism in; Rise of Absolutism & Divine Right


Background: power has been shifting from 600-1450

--WWW is starting to grow w/ more connections & faster changes

--reasons for change

--social: old feudal structure broke down except in Russia; urban areas grew; merchants started to appear; Jews moved

into cities; most women still held down by the man & were excluded from many professions



--political: feudal structure dissolves & monarchs gain more power; were in a better position to emerge from the

crisis of the 1300s than landlords who lost their source of power; 100 Years War between England & France strengthen the military



--religious: fragmentation within the Catholic Church opens the door to challenges both politically & religiously

--intellectual: Renaissance was a turning point in thinking that coincided w/ the decline of the power of the Church

--technological: Pax Mongolica had opened new trade routes to Asia bringing in new technology; printing press

changes the world



--economic: movement out of feudalism; the 4th Crusade changes the balance of power in the Med.; Bubonic Plague

& famines change everything; growth of cities as pull migration into cities took place; as trade took place between East & West, gold had to be sent to Asia to pay for goods; as trade expanded inward from the Med. & from the north (Hanseatic League of 70 cities) it moved into manufacturing cities, such as Flanders; creation of guilds


The Renaissance…(“rebirth”) (1300 – 1600s)


--challenged medieval intellectual values & styles

--was largely an artistic movement that began in Italy

--developed new ideas concerning political organization

--was built on a more commercialized economy

--had 2 phases: a northern & southern



The Renaissance impacted politics & commerce by…

--allowing merchants to improve banking techniques & become more capitalist

--allowing city-states to introduce the regular exchange of ambassadors & the exercise of diplomacy

--experimenting w/ new political forms that did not stress heredity or divine guidance

--allowing leaders to justify their power based on what they could do to advance the general well-being


  1. Started in northern Italian city-states (Florence, Milan, Genoa, Venice)—in 14-15th c. due to trade connections established after the Crusades which brought in excess wealth; overtime it would spread northward




  1. This new wealth funded efforts to challenge the old ways--rediscovery of Greek & Roman civilizations that had been repressed by the Church shifting attention from religion (scholastism) to everyday issues (humanism) & inspired people to great achievements in lit., arts, & sciences; scholasticism was an academic journey into the writings of others & points of interest or disagreement would be written down; started first in finding truths within Christianity then branched out from there

--St. Thomas Aquinas was one of the famous scholastics & perhaps one of the Catholic Church’s greatest theologians
3. After French & Spanish monarchs invaded the Italian peninsula, the Renaissance moved northward; As it spread north the

character of the Ren. changed—while it focused more on religion than the Italian Ren., it challenged the Cath. Church more leading to a challenge on the part of the monarchs to the pope which leads into the Reformation

--funded by patrons of which the de Medici were the foremost

--Church also funded projects including St. Peter’s Basilica

--located in modern-day Vatican City; can hold 60,000 people; tradition is that Peter was buried here; 91

popes are buried here as well as many others; marble came from the coliseum which had been partly financed w/ treasure from Jerusalem


4. Philosophy & Literature– rise of the Renaissance Man (someone who had talent, curiosity, & engaged in study of many areas)

a. Language changed from Latin to the vernacular; devoted to studying Greek & Roman writers changing focus of education

b. Humanism: 14th century Petrarch (1304-74) started Humanism which drew on the

Greeks/Romans focusing on humankind as the center of intellectual & artistic endeavor:

--Dante, The Divine Comedy (1321)—journey into Paradise, Purgatory, & Hell

--Petrarch,(1304-74), best known for his poetry

--Boccacio, Decameron—series of stories set during the Black Death

c. Gutenburg Press (1450) permitted the vernacular movement—developed by Chinese 400 years earlier; had movable type &

new inks allowed writing on paper

d. writers began to emphasize the vernacular

--Machiavelli, The Prince, 1513--wanted a strong dictator to control people; end justifies the means; fear over love

--William Shakespeare, emphasized the common man side to humans

--Cervantes, Don Quixote


5. Art & architecture

a. Previous art periods were Romanesque (Roman-like; bigger w/ sculptural decorations) & the Gothic period (1100-1300)—

cathedrals in the “Gothic Style” (came from Goth-like meaning crude. barbaric—high cathedrals pointed arches, ribbed vaults, flying buttresses (Notre Dame in Paris built between 1163-1250)

b. Realism & Naturalism—new paints & colors changed art



—Giotti (1266-1337) first to start painting 3-D

figures & more natural

--Brunelleschi (1377-1446)--domes

--Alberti (1404-1472)—cathedrals

--Donatello (1386-1466) sculptor David

--Bottecelli (1444-1510) painter Birth of Venus

--Da Vinci (1452-1519) Last Supper, Mona Lisa

--Ghiberti (1378-1455) sculpted cathedral doors

--Raphael, School of Athens



--Michelangelo, David, Sistine Chapel


c. Northern Ren: Jan Van Eyck; Albrecht Durer—painters;

d. Ren. art was followed by the Baroque (“degenerate”)

--Carravaggio, Rubens, Rembrandt

6. Science & Philosophy

a. Pre-Ren. – St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-74)—only through reason can we know the nature of God, moral laws, & the natural order

7. Gender/Social issues

a. Women—divorce available in certain conditions, more prostitution, marriages based more on romance, while legal age for

women to marry was 12 & men was 14; “spinster” (spinning wheel duty in England) labeling took place if a woman was not married by 21; legal status declined, not really affected by the Ren.; increased infanticide; status of upper-class women will actually decline in Renaissance, while most women in Europe would not be affected

b. General—life expectancy was at 25 years old; bread is the main food, famines & disease still a regular part of life

c. 2 Hierarchies will develop:

--urban w/ rise of merchants & artisans

--rural stays the same based on feudal structure

--advancement up social ladder through education; only upper classes could afford

d. in many ways this period was still the “Dark Ages” (ex. Pied Piper of Hamelin, 1484)

e. by 16th century socially, families were nuclear w/ the average age of marriage being 28-29; marriage was determined for most

people by the access to real property


Exploration & the Commercial Age were hand in hand with Renaissance (for more details go to Exploration Notes)

Causes: Crusades; growth of European merchants; Hanseatic League; desire to cut out the Arab middleman; Pax Mongolica;

technological advances & the diffusion of technology; rise of nation-states encouraging economic rivalry; the Renaissance
Results: Europe filled the vacuum in the Indian Ocean; Europe started to make in-roads in China & India; establishment of regular

trade routes; decline of land routes; rise of the Spanish & Portuguese then their decline; spread of disease; Columbian Exchange; influx of gold & silver into Europe then to Asia; rise of the merchant class; rise in inflation; birth of capitalism; rise of absolute monarchies; growth of slavery; vast demographic changes (pushes & pulls)


Age of Exploration led to an agricultural revolution w/ the Columbian Exchange

--To New: disease; rice, bananas, wheat, olives, grapes, coconuts, sugar cane, tobacco, bluegrass, dandelions, spinach,

lettuce, carrots, onions, cattle, pigs, horses, goats, sheep, rats, rabbits, chives

--To Old: maize, potato, tomato, cassava, beans, squash, sweet potato, cocoa



Case Study #2: Europe 1450-1750
The Protestant Reformation

  1. Background & Causes:

--Individualism & nationalism

--rise of national monarchies

--decline of morals within the Catholic hierarchy

--capitalists concerns & power

--desire of local rulers in Germany to assert their power against Charles V of France, Spain, & the Holy Roman Empire

--distance from Rome--the farther from Rome, the more open dissatisfaction

--many common people supported the Prot. Reformation because it allowed money-making & other earthly pursuits, while

the elite wanted more power against the emperor, to seize church land, & to t=control the church in their areas


2. Early threat to Catholicism: Avignon Papacy or the “Babylonian Captivity” (1309-77)

--in 1303 Pope Boniface VIII had asserted power over French King Philip IV when the king attempted to tax the church

--in return, the pope was imprisoned, released, but died shortly thereafter

--the new pope (Clement V) takes over & moves seat of papacy to Avignon

--led to different popes claiming supremacy & disagreement on where papacy should be located; discredits the Church

--in 1278 Pope Gregory XI decides to return to Rome leading to the Great Schism w/ different popes being selected

--finally settled in 1414 w/ the Council of Constance
3. Abuses:

--simony (sale of church offices)

--dispensations (permission to do something against church law)

--indulgence (remission from punishment for a sin & less time in Purgatory for venal sins; extended this to those living

to pay for a way out for those who had died)

-- sale of relics—helped finance the building of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome


4. Early Reformers

a. John Wycliffe (1320-1384)—denied the supremacy of the pope & condemned Church practices; believed in

predestination; translated the Vulgate into English; followers known as Lollards—they were driven underground—who believed that anyone who was righteous could perform the sacraments, not just priests
b. Jan Huss (1369-1415)—follower of Wycliffe; called in for safe questioning; condemned & burned at the stake;

supporters started the Hussite Wars (1419-34) which were a series of rebellions suppressed by the Holy Roman Empire


5. The Big Reformer

a. Martin Luther (1483-1546)—Catholic monk who rebelled against indulgences, etc…; came to believe that sinners could

not earn salvation through good works but through grace/faith; 95 Thesis challenged the pope’s authority; believed in the supremacy of the Bible over the Church; excommunicated by Pope Leo X in 1520; appeared before the Diet of Worms w/ 300 German princes (anti-pope) & the king of the Holy Roman Empire, Charles V (pro-pope); Luther was banned & went into hiding for a year, the prince’s helped spread his ideas; peasants created the Protestant Church & the Peasant’s Rebellion started; Peace of Augsburg (1555) stated that the princes could decide their religion
6. Other movements:

a. Zwingli (1448-1531)—rejected baptism & the Eucharist (transubstantiation) & advocated revolution; executed

b. John Calvin (1509-1564)—HQ at Geneva; believed in predestination; one could find out if he were predestined by living

a moral, religious life & of good things happened, then they were predestined; very authoritarian; Geneva became a theocratic dictatorship where 58 heretics were executed in 5 yrs); wrote Institutes of the Christian Religion (1536)


c. Anabaptists—rejected child baptism & said people had to be baptized again; defeated by Catholic & protestants in

1535; adopted pacifism & isolationism; led to Mennonites (founded by Menno Simmons), the Amish, & Unitarians—(Quakers are an offshoot of Puritans & Shakers are an offshoot of Quakers)





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