Period 4
Global Interactions
c. 1450 to c. 1750
Scroll to the bottom of the page for the corresponding Crash Course videos for this Unit!

To go through a quick review about the Age of Discovery and Colonization click here:

To go through a PowerPoint on Absolute Monarchs in Eurasia - click here:

Politics of Eurasia during this time period:
Key Concept 4.1. Globalizing Networks of Communication and Exchange

I. In the context of the new global circulation of goods, there was an intensification of all existing regional trade networks that brought prosperity and economic disruption to the merchants and governments in the trading regions of the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Sahara and overland Eurasia.
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II. European technological developments in cartography and navigation built on previous knowledge developed in the classical, Islamic and Asian worlds, and included the production of new tools
(such as the astrolabe
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innovations in ship designs (such as caravels)
and an improved understanding of global wind and currents patterns —
all of which made transoceanic travel and trade possible.
Caravel (see ship to the right)
Astrolabe: See picture below
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Revised Maps:
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Spanish Galleon Ships:
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Spanish galleon, a large multi-deck ship with at least three or four masts. The forward sails were large rectangular power sails with the last mast usually carrying a lateen sail. These ships were the primary vessels of the Spanish Treasure Fleet and were capable of carrying an enormous volume of cargo. They carried most of the slaves across the Atlantic via the dreaded Middle Passage. Europeans were the first to mount firearms on their ships, outfitting their caravels and galleons with broadside canon. Thus armed, these ships gave Europeans the capacity to project unprecedented power.
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Read this on the Scientific and Enlightenment Movements

III. Remarkable new transoceanic maritime reconnaissance occurred in this period.
A. Official Chinese maritime activity expanded into the Indian Ocean region with the naval voyages led by Ming Admiral Zheng He, which enhanced Chinese prestige.
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B. Portuguese development of a school for navigation led to increased travel to and trade with West Africa, and resulted in the construction of a global trading-post empire.
C. Spanish sponsorship of the first Columbian and subsequent voyages across the Atlantic and Pacific dramatically increased European interest in transoceanic travel and trade.
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D. Northern Atlantic crossings for fishing and settlements continued and spurred European searches for multiple routes to Asia.

E. In Oceania and Polynesia, established exchange and communication networks were not dramatically affected because of infrequent European reconnaissance in the Pacific Ocean


European Colonies in the Americas


IV. The new global circulation of goods was facilitated by royal chartered European monopoly companies that took silver from Spanish colonies in the Americas to purchase Asian goods for the Atlantic markets, but regional markets continued to flourish in Afro-Eurasia by using established commercial practices and new transoceanic shipping services developed by European merchants.

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A. European merchants’ role in Asian trade was characterized mostly by transporting goods from one Asian country to another market in Asia or the Indian Ocean region.
B. Commercialization and the creation of a global economy were intimately connected to new global circulation of silver from the Americas.
C. Influenced by mercantilism, joint-stock companies were new methods used by European rulers to control their domestic and colonial economies and by European merchants to compete against one another in global trade.
D. The Atlantic system involved the movement of goods, wealth, and free and unfree laborers, and the mixing of African, American and European cultures and peoples.

V. The new connections between the Eastern and Western hemispheres resulted in the Columbian Exchange.
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A. European colonization of the Americas led to the spread of diseases (such as smallpox, measles or influenza) that were endemic in the Eastern Hemisphere among Amerindian populations and the unintentional transfer of pests (such as mosquitoes or rats).
B. American foods (such as potatoes, maize or manioc) became staple crops in various parts of Europe, Asia and Africa, while cash crops (such as cacao or tobacco) were grown primarily on plantations with coerced labor and were exported mostly to Europe and the Middle East in this period.
C. Afro-Eurasian fruit trees, grains, sugar and domesticated animals (such as horses, pigs or cattle) were deliberately brought by Europeans to the Americas, while other foods (such as okra) were brought by African slaves.
D. Populations in Afro-Eurasia benefitted nutritionally from the increased diversity of American food crops.
E. European colonization and the introduction of European agriculture and settlements practices in the Americas oftn affected the physical environment through deforestation and soil depletion.

Absolute Monarchs Chart

These are some (but not all) of the Monarch to know.

VI. The increase in interactions between newly connected hemispheres and intensification of connections within hemispheres expanded the spread and reform of existing religions and created syncretic belief systems and practices.
A. The practice of Islam continued to spread into diverse cultural settings in Asia and Africa.
B. The practice of Christianity was increasingly diversified by the Reformation. Reformation_Map_1555_full.jpg
Protestant Denominations.png

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C. Buddhism spread within Asia.
D. Syncretic forms of religion (such as African influences in Latin America, interactions between Amerindians and Catholic missionaries, or Sikhism between Muslims and Hindus in India and Southeast Asia) developed.

VII. As merchants’ profits increased and governments collected more taxes, funding for the visual and performing arts, even for popular audiences, increased.
A. Innovations in visual and performing arts (such as Renaissance art in Europe, miniature paintings in the Middle East and South Asia, wood-block prints in Japan or post-conquest codices in Mesoamerica) were seen all over the world.
B. Literacy expanded and was accompanied by the proliferation of popular literary forms in Europe and Asia (such as Shakespeare, Cervantes, Sundiata, Journey to the West or Kabuki).

Key Concept 4.2. New Forms of Social Organization and Modes of Production

I. Traditional peasant agriculture increased and changed, plantations expanded, and demand for labor increased. These changes both fed and responded to growing global demand for raw materials and finished products.
A. Peasant labor intensified in many regions (such as the development of frontier settlements in Russian Siberia, cotton textile production in India or silk textile production in China).
B. Slavery in Africa continued both the traditional incorporation of slaves into households and the export of slaves to the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.
C. The Atlantic slave trade increased demand for slaves and altered male-female ratios in Africa.
D. The purchase and transport of slaves supported the growth of the plantation economy throughout the Americas.
E. Spanish colonists transformed Amerindian labor systems (such as introducing the encomienda and hacienda systems or changing the Inca mit’a labor obligation into a forced labor system).
F. Europeans used coerced and semicoerced labor (such as indentured servitude or impressment).


II. As new social and political elites changed, they also restructured new ethnic, racial and gender hierarchies.

A. Both imperial conquests and widening global economic opportunities contributed to the formation of new political and economic elites such as:
- the Manchus in China
- Creole elites in Spanish America,
- European gentry
- Urban commercial entrepreneurs in all major port cities in the world

B. The power of existing political and economic elites (such as the zamindars in the Mughal Empire, the nobility in Europe or the daimyo in Japan) fluctuated as they confronted new challenges to their ability to affect the policies of the increasingly powerful monarchs and leaders.

C. Some notable gender and family restructuring occurred, including
the demographic changes in Africa that resulted from the slave trades
as well as the dependence of European men on Southeast Asian women for conducting trade in that region
the smaller size of European families

D. The massive demographic changes in the Americas resulted in new ethnic and racial classifications such as:
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- mestizo,
- mulatto
- Creole

Key Concept 4.3. State Consolidation and Imperial
Empires expanded and conquered new peoples around the world, but they often had difficulties incorporating culturally, ethnically, and religiously diverse subjects, and administrating widely dispersed territories. Agents of the European powers moved into existing trade networks around the world. In Africa and the greater Indian Ocean, nascent European empires consisted mainly of interconnected trading posts and enclaves. In the Americas, European empires moved more quickly to settlement and territorial control, responding to local demographic and commercial conditions. Moreover, the creation of European empires in the Americas quickly fostered a new Atlantic trade system that included the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Around the world, empires and states of varying sizes pursued strategies of centralization, including more efficient taxation systems that placed strains on peasant producers, sometimes prompting local rebellions. Rulers used public displays of art and architecture to legitimize state power. African states shared certain characteristics with larger Eurasian empires. Changes in African and global trading patterns strengthened some West and Central African states — especially on the coast; this led to the rise of new states and contributed to the decline of states on both the coast and in the interiorExpansion
I. Rulers used a variety of methods to legitimize and consolidate their power.
An individual's claim to have authority over other people is not something we humans take for granted. We need a reason to obey. Coercion and force have long been a part of political power, but we yield to them out of fear or for pragmatic reasons rather than our belief that they constitute legitimate reasons for our consent. A state has political legitimacy when subjects choose to recognize its authority because it has some intrinsic validating quality. Notions used by states to legitimize their rule in this period (1450-1750) are examples of important continuities of state-building we have seen since the River Valley Civilizations in Period I. Religion and art continued to be closely connected with the political power of states.

A. Visual displays of political power such as:
monumental architecture: urban planning: This is the map of St. Petersburg in Russia under Catherine the Great

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courtly literature and the visual arts helped legitimize and support rulers.
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B. Rulers used religious ideas such as the ones seen below, to legitimize their rule.
European notions of divine right
The Safavid use of Shiism,
The Mexica or Aztec practice of human sacrifice
The Songhai promotion of Islam
The Chinese emperors’ public performance of Confucian rituals)
C. States treated different ethnic and religious groups in ways that utilized their economic contributions while limiting their ability to challenge the authority of the state (such as the Ottoman treatment of non-Muslim subjects, Manchu policies toward Chinese or the Spanish creation of a separate “República de Indios”).
D. Recruitment and use of bureaucratic elites, as well as the development of military professionals (such as the Ottoman devshirme, Chinese examination system or salaried samurai), became more common among rulers who wanted to maintain centralized control over their populations and resources.
E. Rulers used tribute collection and tax farming to generate revenue for territorial expansion.

II. Imperial expansion relied on the increased use of gunpowder, cannons and armed
trade to establish large empires in both hemispheres.
A. Europeans established new trading-post empires in Africa and Asia, which proved profitable for the rulers and merchants involved in new global trade networks, but these empires also affected the power of the states in interior West and Central Africa

B. Land empires, including the Manchus, Mughals, Ottomans and Russians, expanded dramatically in size.
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Suleiman the Magnificent

C. European states, including Portugal, Spain, the Netherlands, France and Britain, established new maritime empires in the Americas.
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III. Competition over trade routes (such as Omani-European rivalry in the Indian Ocean or piracy in the Caribbean), state rivalries (such as the Thirty Years War or the Ottoman-Safavid conflict) and local resistance (such as bread riots) all provided significant challenges to state consolidation and expansion.

Crash Course Videos:
Crash Course: Maritime Explorers
Crash Course: Capitalism and Joint Stock Companies
Crash Course: The Reformation
Crash Course Ottoman Turks
Columbian Exchange
Crash Course: Slave Trade
Crash Course: The Spanish Empire in the Americas
Crash Course: The Little Ice Age
Crash Course: Charles V
Crash Course: The Mughals
Crash Course Russian History