A Passing of the Torch; Europe from 1500-1800
When you step back and observe history from afar you’re missing part of the story. Observing the rise of Europe, you cannot simply take into account it happened. To understand the past you need to look into past, in documents and first-hand accounts to observe the underlining issues. To best explain the major shift in energy from the Indian Ocean Basin to the North Atlantic in 1500 to 1800 you have to observe the world and the people in context. Europe is an underdog to rise to the top. Having just experiencing the worst of the Black Death wiping out a majority of its populations, a tragedy in all senses, turned into a blessing. It sparked the scientific revolution; inspiring the Europeans to shift their views towards knowledge and discovery (Reilly, 434) . Sprinting ahead, Europe took the world by surprise. With their footing in a ‘new world’ the opportunities were endless. Exhausting their colonies at its full potential, with the cash crop, sugar they were able to revolutionize commerce into a representative model of modern trade. The Europeans weren’t the only ones making radical changes in the era. The Confucian Scholars were forcing Chinese to push inward and were eliminating commerce (Kristof, 551). Shifting of energy from the Indian Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean; Europe gained power in the era through two main triggers, the scientific revolution and the developments of the sugar plantations in the new world. To better understand what’s happening with Europe in the 1500’s and later you need to also look back at the past and see where they have been and the events leading up to the beginning of a new era in European success and discovery. When you examine Europe today they are one of the world’s leaders, less than a thousand years ago the now prominent country was spiraling down, on the brink of demise. In the mid-fourteenth century the Bubonic Plague, also known as the Black Death, originated somewhere in Asia and progressively spread though out Europe, the Near East and North Africa. Without doubt it became the greatest health disaster to date; mass graves were being dug to compensate for the dead. The Plague spread like wildfire wiping out an estimated one-fourth to one-third of the population (Reilly, 436). With no known source of treatment available or why the disease was spreading the Europeans turned to what they knew best, Religion. The Christian consensus was that God had bestowed the plague as a devastating judgment with the meaning of punishing the inflicted for his sins. People tried anything to avoid their seeming inevitable deaths, from walking around with incense to mask the wreaking stench of death, fleeing from their homes to find unaffiliated areas, or most commonly turning to God. The priest with the duty of serving the people, considered holy and without sin, were the main care takers of the stricken. Unsurprisingly, they too needed to be cared for, for they as well, contracted the disease joining their following to the death beds. We know today that the Black Death was not a punishment from god, but at the time, they had only to believe what the church told them (Reilly, 460). As priest died alongside the commoners their belief system was shattered. It was common of the time to believe what the church had told them and take it as true. For instance the church stated that the earth was the center of the universe, and it was heresy to state otherwise. With the church being proven wrong, people began to look outward for new knowledge. “Without visiting a deep ravine, one cannot understand how deep the earth is… ,” just like Emperor Taizong said Europe began looking at the world to discover the truths; what is now known as the Scientific Revolution and the beginning of their restoration. Today, it is impossible to think about Modern Times and the way we live without thinking about science. We have pushed the scientific front to our limits, and now reap the...
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