The Maritime Revolution to 1550
I. Global Maritime Expansion Before 1450
A. The Pacific Ocean
-Historians have debated for years about Polynesian people and their sailing.Despite traveling over the vast Pacific Ocean and not being able to navigateusing the land (because of their distance from it, they could not follow the shoreline) The Polynesians left no written records on how they navigated, andhistorians debate over whether they were actually able to navigate or whetherthey just got lost and found their way through the chain of Hawaiian islands, eventhough some were over 2000 miles away from their home ports. Others say thatpeoples from the Americas settled there instead of the Polynesians, however thenative language has ties to Malaysia, the Pacific west, and the Asian continent,disproving this theory. -In 1976, a Polynesian crew proved that it was possible to navigate the Pacificwaters using only observations of stars, currents, and land. B. The Indian Ocean
-The Indian Ocean has long been a vital area for developing civilizations in theMiddle East and Asia. It served as a highway for goods and people, with itscoves and large landmass proximity sheltering the seafarers. The monsoonwinds were very predictable and helped to transport goods very easily, and largeships filled with goods were easily transported -The traders and merchants who operated in the Indian Ocean trading systemwere for the most part not loyal to their homeport. They were independent andtraded without influence from their homeland. -During the period of 1368, the Chinese government began to show interest inthe trading going on in their ports, because of the large amount of revenue it wasgenerating. The ruler’s Ming dynasty overthrew the Mongols at this point andbegan to establish connections and implement policies in order to nurse China’ssuffering economy and prestige back to what it was before the Mongolconquests. Once establishing control over the East Asian continent, the Mingsent out expeditions on an enormous scale. Under the command of Zheng He,these expeditions sent large treasure ships for trade and documented the localcustoms and cultures of the places visited. After 1433 though, the Mingdiscontinued the expeditions due to the fact that it faced growing internal issuesand lacked the finances to continue sending out ships. C. The Atlantic Ocean
-The Vikings were the main group of mariners in the Atlantic Ocean during themiddle ages. Much like the Polynesians, they navigated without maps andnavigation tools. They used their small nimble ships to attack towns throughout the Atlantic.
-During this time, the Europeans and the Africans sent out exploratoryexpeditions in the Atlantic. The Amerindian peoples voyaged up and colonizedthe West Indies, and by 1000 AD, the Arawak (Group of Amerindian peoples) hadmoved and settled into the Greater Antilles, consisting of Cuba, Jamaica, PuertoRico, and Hispania. II. European Expansion 1400-1550
A. Motives for Exploration
-There were many motives for the rulers of Europe to send out these explorers,one reason even being that the rulers had an adventurous personality. Otherreasons include economy, and wanting to expand the trade and wealth. Somecountries like Spain and Portugal did it because of religion and their militantviews of Christianity, as well as the growing dominance of Islam. Also the growingcuriosity about the world around them sparked these exploratory trips. -Some countries like Italy however, who was a leader in Europe, did not send outexpeditions because they were comfortable with the trade that they had alreadyestablished with the Muslims and Islamic states. -These new expeditions also helped to stimulate new technologies, as the smalland brittle ships of the Mediterranean could not withstand the heavy winds andcurrent of the Atlantic. This led to new shipbuilding techniques, as well asadvances in gunpowder...