Period 4 Unit Outline

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Period 4
Global Interactions
c. 1450 to c. 1750

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.

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 or revised maps), 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.

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. 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. 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.

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. 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. 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 often affected the physical environment through deforestation and soil depletion.

VI. The...
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