First Global Age

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The First Global Age (1415-1796AD) was a time for radical change. During this time, life changed dramatically for Europeans, Asians, Africans, and Native Americans. Open trade routes caused the development of cultural and economic ties between Europe, Africa, and Asia. Ships carried tons of goods between Europe and the Americas. These radical changes helped shape the diverse cultures the world has today.

European life changed radically during the First Global Age. In 1415, Portugal seized a city on the North African coast. Prince Henry the Navigator sparked the crusading drive and the new spirit of exploration. In 1497, Vasco de Gama led four ships around the Cape of Good Hope. Columbus’s explorations to reach East Asia make Europeans realize a route to continents unknown to them. England, Portugal, Netherlands, and Spanish were involved in sea trade with Asia and grew wealthy and powerful.

Asian life changed during the First Global Age as well. Indian and Chinese cultures influenced the region of Southeast Asia. Indian merchants and Hindu priests spread their culture into Southeast Asia. The Philippines became a key link in Spain’s overseas trading empire. New crops from the Americas boosted farm output in China. The Japanese welcomed Europeans and acquired firearms and designs.

African life changed radically during the First Global Age also. Enslaved Africans formed part of an international trade network. Europeans viewed slaves as the most important item of African trade. The Atlantic slave trade began to fill the need for labor in Spain’s American empire. It became a huge and profitable business.

Native American life changed during this period of radical modification. Most Native Americans died due to lack of immunity to diseases brought by the Spanish conquistadors. Native Americans were forced to live by European cultures. They learned to grow different foods such as corn and beans from the Indians. Native American ways of life combined with...
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