Change and Continuity During 1492-1750

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The period of 1492-1750 opened up new worlds and old worlds to a world of growing interdependence and connectivity. This era was home to the discovery and subsequent European colonization of the Americas and the African slave trade. Both being remarkable and profound on three regions: Western Europe, Africa, and the Americas. The communication expanded the economies of all three regions while damaging the social structures of Africa and forging new social structures in the Americas.

By 1492, Europe was on the verge of an economic explosion while Africa and America were relatively quiet in the global economy. Long before European contact in Africa slaves and trans-Saharan slave trade were in existence. Portuguese explorers came upon Africa to find this institution. An institution once belonging to Africa would become globalized. Europeans soon began to export slaves to their countries and eventually to the American economies. The slave trade put Africa on the map as a contending economic power. The slave workers fueled American economies seen thereafter. The Europeans had difficulty in finding and maintaning native-american labor. Slaves filtered into the Caribbean, Brazil, and the southern US to serve on plantations. The sugar industry was growing in Europe and the slaves satisfied the sweet-tooth of Portugal and other lands. By creating the triangular slave trade, the Americas entered the global economy and Europe morphed into a more powerful one.

The social effects and developments differed for each land. In Africa slave trade tore the social structure. There was more of a demand for male slaves and left many regions dominated by females. This broke up the traditional family of Africa. Differing tribes eventually found themselves at war only to obtain more slaves to fuel their growing economies. In the Americas social systems changed. In Brazil, social groups were created. This called a change in the social hierarchy- European born at...
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