Global Interactions and Conflict 1450 to 1750


  • Ottoman Turks conquest of Constantinople, 1453 – takeover of the Byzantine Empire
  • early Ming Dynasty after defeat of Mongols (Yuan Dynasty)
    • end of Ming overseas voyages of exploration and tribute collection
  • Russian continuing resistance to Mongols
  • decline in trade and exchanges along Silk Roads after Crusades, Ottoman expansion
  • trade, interactions, and exchanges – Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, and Trans-Saharan trade routes
  • Portuguese voyages of discovery (early European maritime revolution)
  • European Renaissance and scientific revolutions
  • Aztec and Inca empires near peak in Americas
  • unified Ashikaga Shogunate – Japan

Key Concept 4.1 Globalizing Maritime Exploration, Interactions, and Exchanges

1. European maritime technological advances in cartography (map making) and navigation built on previous knowledge developed in the classical, Islamic, and Asian cultures. European production of new tools, ship design innovations, and better understanding of wind and current patterns made transoceanic exploration and trade possible.

  • One example of new tools/technologies: astrolabe OR revised maps
  • One example of innovations in ship design: caravels

2. Remarkable new transoceanic maritime reconnaissance/exploration

  • Ming China naval voyages of exploration and tribute collection in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea led by Admiral Zheng He enhanced Chinese prestige.
  • Portuguese school for navigation led to exploration, trade with W. Africa, and eventual global trading-post empire.
  • Spanish sponsored voyages of Columbus and subsequent voyages across the Atlantic and Pacific dramatically increased European interest in transoceanic travel and trade.
  • Northern Atlantic crossings for fishing and settlements continued and spurred multiple European searches for sea route to Asia.
  • Polynesia and Oceania trade and exchanged networks not substantially affected by infrequent European reconnaissance in the Pacific Ocean

3. Royal chartered European monopoly companies took silver from Spanish colonies to purchase goods for Atlantic markets, facilitating a new global circulation of goods. Established Afro-Eurasian markets and merchants continued to flourish w/ established commercial practices & new European transoceanic shipping services.

  • European merchants in Asia mostly transported goods between Asian and Indian Ocean markets.
  • Global economy intimately connected to new global circulation of silver from the Americas
  • European joint-stock companies used to control domestic and colonial economies and to compete world wide w/ other European companies
  • The Atlantic system involved the movement of goods, wealth, and free and unfree laborers – and the mixing of African cultures and peoples.

4. New global circulation of goods led to intensification of all existing regional trade networks – brought prosperity and economic disruptions to merchants and governments in trade regions of the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Sahara, and overland Eurasia (Silk Roads)

5. Columbian Exchange

  • European colonization of the Americas led to the spread of smallpox, measles, influenza, and other diseases to Amerindians. Rats, mosquitoes, and other pests also spread to the Americas unintentionally.
  • American foods became staple crops in regions of Europe, Asia, and Africa.
    • One example: potatoes, maize, OR manioc
  • Cash crops primarily grown on plantations w/ coerced labor – exported to Europe and M.E.
    • One example: sugar OR tobacco
  • Europeans brought fruit trees, grains, sugar, and domesticated animals to the Americas.
    • One example: horses, hogs, OR cattle
  • African slaves brought rice, okra and other foods to the Americas.
  • People in Afro-Eurasia benefited nutritionally from increased diversity of American crops.
  • European settlement practices and agriculture led deforestation and soil depletion in the Americas.

6. Increased regional & long distance interactions led to the spread and reform of existing religions and created syncretic (combined) belief systems and practices.

  • As Islam spread to new regions of Afro-Eurasia; believers adapted it to local cultural practices.
  • The split between the Sunni and Shi’s Islamic traditions intensified.
  • Sufi practices became more widespread.
  • Christianity continue to spread throughout the world and was increasingly diversified by the process of diffusion and the Reformation.
  • Buddhism spread within Asia.
  • Syncretic and new forms of religion developed. One example: Vodun in the Caribbean, the cults of the saints in Latin America, OR Sikhism in South Asia

7. As merchants’ profits increased and governments collected more taxes, funding for the visual and performing arts, even for popular/general audiences, increased.

  • Innovations in visual and perform arts were seen all over the world.
    • One example: European Renaissance art, Middle East and South Asia miniature paintings, Japanese wood-block prints, OR Mesoamerica post-conquest codices
  • Literacy expanded and was accompanied by the proliferation of popular authors, literary forms and woks of literature in Afro—Eurasia.
    • One example: Shakespeare, Cervantes, Sundiata, Journey to the West, OR Kabuki

Key Concept 4.2 New Types of Economic/Agricultural Activities and New Socio-economic Class Systems and Hierarchies

1. Traditional peasant agriculture expanded, plantations style agriculture expanded, and demand for labor increased. This reflected growing global demand for raw materials and finished goods.

  • Peasant labor expanded and intensified (demands for production increased) in many regions.
    • One example: Russian Siberia frontier settlements, cotton textile production in India, OR silk textile production in China
  • Slavery in Africa continued both household slaves in Africa and export of slaves (majority women) to the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean regions.
  • Growth of the Americas plantation economy increased demand for slaves (native & Africans)
  • Americas colonial economies depended on a range of coerced/forced labor.
    • One example: chattel slavery, indentured servitude, encomienda and hacienda systems, OR Spanish adaptation of the Inca mit’a

2. New political and social elites changed, restructuring new ethnic, racial, and gender hierarchies (socio-economic classes rankings)

  • Increased imperial conquests and increased global economic opportunities led to new types of political, economic, and social elites
    • One example: Manchus in China, Creole elites in Spanish America, European gentry OR major port cities commercial entrepreneurs
  • Existing political/economic elites’ power fluctuated, confronting new elites challenges to their influence on increasingly powerful monarchs/central leaders
    • One example of existing elites: zamindars – Mughal India, European nobility, OR daimyo in Japan
  • Some gender & family restructuring – including demographic changes in Africa from slave trade
    • One example: dependence of Eur. men on SE Asian women for conducting trade there OR the smaller size of European families
  • Massive demographic (population) changes in Americas – new ethnic and racial classifications
    • One example: Mestizo, Mulatto, OR Creole

Key Concept 4.3 States Consolidation/centralization and Imperial Expansion

1. Rulers used a variety of methods to legitimize and consolidate power

  • Rulers used the arts to display power and help legitimized their rule
    • One example: monumental architecture, urban design, courtly literature, OR the visual arts
  • Rulers continue to use religious ideas and rituals to legitimize their rule
    • One example: divine right of kings in Europe, human sacrifice of Aztecs/Mexica, Chinese emperors’ public performance of Confucian rituals, Safavid use of Shiism, OR Songhay promotion of Islam
  • Rulers used/treated different ethnic and/or religious groups in ways that utilized their economic contributions, while limiting their ability to challenge the authority of the state.
    • One example: Ottoman treatment of non-Muslim subjects, Manchu policies toward Chinese, OR Spanish creation of a separate “Republica de Indios”
  • Increased ruler recruitment and use of bureaucratic elites and military professionals to maintain centralized control over their population and resources
    • One example: Ottoman devshirme, Chinese examination system, OR salaried samurai
  • Tribute collection and tax farming used by rulers for revenues for territorial expansion

2. Gunpowder, cannons, & armed trade used to create large empires

  • European trading post empires – profitable for rulers and Eur. merchants – affected power of interior West and Central African states
  • Land empires expanded dramatically in size
    • Required examples: Manchus (Qing Dynasty 1644- 1911), Mughal India, Ottoman AND Russian
  • European maritime empires
    • Required examples: Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, French, British

3. State/empires competition over trade routes, colonies/peripheries, and local resistance were major challenges to state consolidation, power, and expansion

  • One example of competition over trade routes: Omani-Europeans rivalry in the Indian Ocean OR piracy in the Caribbean
  • One example of state rivalries: Thirty Years War OR Ottoman – Safavid conflict
  • One example of local resistance: food riots, Samurai revolts, OR peasant uprisings


  • patriarchy reinforced in most regions, leading to greater gender inequality
  • Arab and African slave trade with Africa
  • Indian Ocean, Trans-Saharan, Mediterranean trade, interactions, and exchanges
  • Chinese dynastic cycle, ethnocentricism and xenophobia
  • mixture of African agricultural, nomadic, and urban cultures