PART 4: THE WORLD SHRINKS 1450 – 1750
Pages 354 – 361
Many developments highlighted world history between 1450 and 1750, which marked a major new period – the early modern – in the global experience. The balance of power among major civilizations shifted; Western Europe became the most dramatic force worldwide. Contacts among the civilizations intensified. The world became smaller as trade affected diverse societies and the speed and size of ships increased. The growth of commerce affected all continents but its greatest impact was in western Europe. New empires based on technology and new forms of organization arose. Two types were land-based and maritime commercial empires.
B. On the Eve of the Early Modern Period: The World around 1450
When this period began, no one civilization predominated in world affairs; a power vacuum existed. A number of powerful societies arose during the post-classical period. A Russian empire expanded across the steppes and forests of Eurasia. Western European regional kingdoms, attempting to expand in Europe, turned to overseas colonial empires. Gunpowder empires with strong governments arose on the Sahel of Africa, across the Middle East and India, and in China, yet by the end of the period, all were powerless to oppose the growing political, economic, and military power of many European states.
C. The Rise of the West
Between 1450 and 1750, Western Europe - headed initially by Spain and Portugal, and then by Holland, France, and England - gained control of the key international trade routes and established colonies across the globe. At the same time, the West itself changed rapidly and by the end of the period had assumed a position similar to the role of Islam from 1000 to 1450.
The World Economy, Global Contacts, and Global Changes
Fed by new naval technologies, the world network intensified and took on new dimensions. The Europeans came to dominate international trade. The world network expanded to global proportions as all continents were brought into contacts. The new globalism led to many exchanges including flora and fauna, humans, diseases, goods, and ideas. Unequal relationships arose, as slavery and serfdom spread. For the first time, humans began to have an adverse effect on the environment as migrating settlers cleared forests; overworked the soil; and transplanted plants, animals, and foodstuffs across the globe. II. UNIT OVERVIEW
A. What does the unit’s title “The world shrinks” mean?
B. What developments signaled the end of the Post-Classical Era?
C. What characteristics, trends, and themes typified the Early Modern Period?
D. What new states arose and became important actors during this period?
E. How did Western Europe come to dominate the Early Modern Period?
F. How did the world economy change?
G. How would you describe labor systems during this period?
H. What global exchanges occurred and how did they affect the globe?
I. How did state structures change in this period?
A. Columbian Exchanges
B. Gunpowder Empires
D. Early Modern
IV. MAP EXERCISE: Changing World Boundaries, 1453 to 1700 C.E. (Page 358) A. What are the main changes on the map from 1453 to 1700?
B. What areas have had:
1. The most changes?
2. The fewest changes?
C. Where did the Europeans spread and settle?
D. Why do you think European colonial empires spread in some areas but not others?
V. TIMELINE CHRONOLOGY: 1450 – 1750 (Pages 356 – 357)
1. If we begin at 1453, what event(s) seem(s) to signal this era?
2. Why would that be a major transition from post-classical to this age?
3. What other major events between 1300 and 1500 seem to involve radical departures from the past?
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