World Contacts before Columbus summary



World Contacts before Columbus summary


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World Contacts before Columbus summary


World Contacts before Columbus:

 The Trade World of the Indian Ocean:

-Prior to Columbus, the Indian Ocean was the center of both world trade and cultural exchange, partly due to its location

-sea trade had always flowed through, and the volume of this trade increased

-merchants gathered in port cities around this ocean = very diverse people and cultures


-Central to the Indian Ocean trade was the economic powerhouse of China, which opened its trade to the West.  China had the most advanced economy in the world.


-India was also vital to this trade, and a rich multicultural commercial world operated out of key port cities.

-India was an important contributor of goods to the world trading system, especially pepper, and cotton and silk textiles


-Playing a key role in pre-Columbian trade, Africa developed several large empires known for their rich prosperity and culture.


The Ottoman Empire:

-They controlled trade- could stop trade too which the Europeans were afraid of

-Turkish expansion frightened Europeans and fear of this empire spread

-They caused Europeans to search for new safer trade routes

        -for example, Columbus made his voyages to look for new trade routes to avoid the Ottomans

-Battle of Lepanto= Philip II’s only achievement

        -he defeated the Ottoman fleet, stopping them from advancing further into Europe


Causes of European Expansion:

        1) God

                -spread Christianity

        2) Glory



        3) Gold (and other resources like spices and slaves)

                -money and wealth

        *also, they wanted new trade routes to avoid the Ottomans


Technological Stimuli to Exploration:

-Crucial to the voyages of exploration were the new developments in:

        -shipbuilding- primarily the Portuguese caravel, a light three-masted ship that required fewer sailors

        -weaponry- particularly the cannon

        -navigation- such as better cartography, the magnetic compass, and the astrolabe.

                -Arabs reintroduced Europeans to Ptolemy’s Geography


The Portuguese Overseas Empire:

-Though a poor nation, Portugal had long been involved in seafaring and navigation.

-Spain blocked them from access to western Europe à they turned to the Atlantic and North Africa, whose waters they knew better than any other country

-nature favored the Portuguese- helpful winds

-they searched for new, safer trading routes in order to avoid the Ottomans

Prince Henry the Navigator

        -encouraged the study of geography and navigation

        -sponsored expeditions down the western coast of Africa every year

-European exploration began with Portugal’s 1415 conquest of the Moroccan city of Ceuta.

-Rewarded with new access to gold, the Portuguese continued to expand their trading empire.

-King John II-established trading posts and forts on the African Guinea coast and penetrated further into Africa, all the way to Timbuktu

-Portuguese ships transported gold to Lisbon à Portugal controlled the flow of African gold to Europe

-Voyages by Bartholomew Diaz and Vasco da Gama, along with military force, opened up trade with India.

Bartholomew Diaz

-rounded the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa, but had to return due to storms and threatens of mutiny

Vasco de Gama

        -rounded the Cape and sailed up the east coast of Africa, all the way to India

-Even though he didn’t make any trade alliances with India, he provided the possibility of trade with the East via the Cape route

 Pedro Alvares Cabral

        -sent by King Manuel to set up trading posts in India

        -They spotted Brazil and claimed it for Portugal

-They then continued on to India where they used military force to make Lisbon the entrance port for Asian goods into Europe

-port city-states tried to fight for their control over the spice trade of the Indian Ocean, but the Portuguese destroyed or seized ports and used them as trading posts and military bases for Portugal

-Alfonso de Albuquerque was appointed governor of India by Portugal, and he decided that these Portuguese bases should control the Indian Ocean, and he used cannons to make this happen


The Problem of Christopher Columbus:

-Columbus grew up in Genoa

-He was a very religious man and believed he was a “divine agent”

-He was seeking a westward passage to the Indies to fulfill religious, material, and secular goals.

-Funded by the Spanish Ferdinand and Isabella, Columbus’s first voyage reached San Salvador and Cuba. But he believed he had found some small islands off the coast of Japan.

-Even after subsequent voyages, Columbus continued believing that he had reached islands near Japan.


Later Explorers:

-Columbus’s discovery led to other voyages of exploration.

-Florentine Amerigo Vespucci identified the discoveries as a separate continent in a letter called Mundus Novus (the New World).

        -America is named after him.

-Ferdinand Magellan- his Spanish expedition became the first to circumnavigate the earth and revolutionized Europeans’ understanding of the world.

-As Spain focused more on the riches of the New World, the Dutch, English, and French claimed land in the New World.


Treaty of Tordesillas (1494)

-the pope divided the New World discoveries between Spain and Portugal.

        -Spain =everything to the west of an imaginary line drown down the Atlantic

        -Portugal = everything to the east – includes Brazil

-it was needed to prevent a war from breaking out over conflicts of territory

-worked in Spain’s favor

        -the Dutch eventually take away Portugal's trade


New World Conquest:

-In the early sixteenth century, Spanish troops led by Hernando Cortés conquered the Aztec empire in Mexico.

-Cortes took advantage of Aztec internal weakness, the locals’ resentment opposition to the rulers, and lenient Aztec attitudes about war.

        -He entered Tenochtitlan and took Montezuma, the emperor, hostage

        -He put Alvarado in charge, whose harsh rule drove the Aztecs to revolt.

-Cortes returned and the Aztecs allowed him to join Alvarado in his besieged fort—didn’t have “divide and conquer” warfare tactics

-The Spanish, led by Francisco Pizarro, also defeated the Incas.

-Incas- created complex and populous civilization not threatened by foreigners; built roads and had lots of grain and a strong army              

-The Incas were totally isolated à when Spaniards arrived, they told them that they were sent by God, and the Incas believed them and thought they meant their god Virocha

-Pizarro invited the chief Atauhualpa to meet in the central plaza of Cajamarca, then captured him, collected an enormous ransom in gold, then killed him

        -Decades of violence due to Incan resistance and internal struggles among Spaniard troops


Europe and the World After Columbus

-By increasing global contacts, the American discoveries dramatically impacted European society and culture.


The Columbian Exchange:

- Columbian Exchange = global transfer of plants, animals, disease, and especially food (between Europe and the Americas)

-It brought together the Eastern and Western hemispheres and touched, in some way, nearly all peoples of the world

-it changed the eating habits and lifestyles of both peoples

European contribution

-Europeans brought their lifestyle and diet to the New World, raising wheat, grapes, olive groves, sugar plants, rice and bananas. Some plants were carried over unintentionally, like in clumps of mud on shoes.

-Native Americans had no animals for food, or for travel.

        -Columbus introduced horses, cattle, sheep, dogs, pigs, and goats

American contribution

-maize, or cornà very important crop for Europeans

-white potatoes, beans, squash, avocado, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and tomatoes


The Price Revolution

-marked by severe inflation

-starts in Spain

-spread to all of Europe, but Spain the most


  • Silver and gold

-The importing of New World silver turned Spain into a major economic and political power in the sixteenth century.

-this new income of money caused inflation

  • In Spain: previous expulsion of Muslims and Jews

-at first it was good because Spain gained land, but then it was bad because they lost their most experienced and talented craftsmen

  • Exploration: lots of money suddenly came to Europe, which caused inflation
  • Population increase à more demand for food and goods

-black plague wasn’t as common, so less people died

-population increased by 1/3

Winners (people who benefitted from this)

-wealthy merchants

-people who were leased land for 99 years- they were still paying the same amount

Losers (people who were hurt by this)


-people with fixed income-while other prices went up, their stayed the same

-people who leased the land to others for 99 years- they were still gaining the same amount of money from the person they leased their land to

Problem: the system of government doesn’t know how to deal with it or how to react


The Birth of the Global Economy:

-The age of exploration created new commercial empires.

        1) The Portuguese dominated the sea route to India, plus the slave and sugar trade.

                -brazil- provided most of the sugar used in Europe

        2) The Spanish developed a rich trade in the Pacific.

                -silk trade, until the Dutch came along

        3) The Dutch controlled a monopoly on the spice trade.

                -Dutch East India Company- established to capture spice trade from Portugal

                -They gained control of the spice trade by first gaining control of Indonesia and the passage to it


Spain’s Global Empire:

(*remember from last chapter) King Phillip II gained Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal, and all their territories, including the New World

-Governing this large empire proved problematic for King Philip II

-he was very devoted to his Catholic religionà didn’t support tolerance and identified it with heresy, civil disorder, violence and bloodshed

-Phillip II was preoccupied in other conflicts, like the advance of the Ottomans, the revolt of the Muslims in Granada, and the death of his son à couldn’t focus as much on the revolt of the Spanish Netherlands

The Spanish Armada vs. England

-Spanish Armada= invincible, yet it’s defeated (like the Persians who invaded Greece)

-was launched by Phillip II

-why he wanted to invade England:

        1) Elizabeth turned England into a Protestant nation which challenged his empire of Catholicism

2) Phillip had been married to Elizabeth’s sister Mary, and when Mary died, he wanted to marry Elizabeth to stay in the family. He sends her flowers and diamonds, and she sends him cannon balls back in rejection.

3) He saw Mary Queen of Scots (whose Catholic) as the rightful leader of England and supported Mary’s conspiracy. Elizabeth found out that she was part of a murder plot to assassinate Elizabeth, and executed her.

4) Elizabeth is funding rebellions against Spain in the Netherlands

5) Her ships are raiding Spanish ships- the pirate Sir Francis Drake was funded by her

-Pope Sixtus V gives him money to invade England

-He builds a giant fleet called “la felicissima armada” or “The Fortunate Fleet”

-His plan= Netherland troops would invade England through France and the Armada would sail and protect the army and stop the English navy

-He knew England doesn’t have a strong standing army, they would have to call on the peasants, because they’re an island, so they put all their money into their navy

-BIG mistake: made the Duke of Medina-Sedonia the leader of the expedition

        -he had a spotless reputation on land

        -but: he tried to decline because he didn’t have much sea experience, and he got sick at sea

-Phillip chose him because he’s a pious Catholic

        -this fleet was holier than most: 700 priests to convert the English

*He did not focus on having a strong navy, focused on having a pious, holy one because he thought God would be on his side against Elizabeth’s heretic navy      

-20 days after the Armada left from Spain, they were hit by the worst storm in a century, and they turned back to Spain à Duke of Sedonia remained loyal to his mission and to Phillip

-When she heard news of the Armada’s dispersal, she summoned Francis Drake, Lord Howard, and other admirals to strategize. She hoped to intercept the Armada before they could meet up with the invading army from France.

        -Drake had an offensive strategy to hit the Armada while it was still recovering

        -but Elizabeth wanted to wait and sent scouts

-Duke of Sedonia was sighted near Plymouth where Drake was playing a game

-The English sailed ships out of Plymouth harbor and snuck up behind them à the battle started

        -The Spanish ships had an unbreakable formation à Drake wanted to sink them, 1 by 1

        -used cannons, muskets, and bows

        -After this first skirmish the Armada was still intact

-Sedonia anchored at port at the boast of France but it was empty à the army was 2 weeks away, and the Duke was getting low on food and weapons

-Drake comes up with the plan to send in fire ships (=ships that are loaded with gun powder and cannons but no men, then set on fire so they explode)

-the fire ships break down discipline and formation of the Armada- now each ship could be picked off one by one

-the Armada scattered, leaving Sedonia alone and he prepared to attack the English

-Battle of Gradlin= longest and bloodiest battle

        -Duke was wounded

        -because of a storm, the fighting finally stopped

        -the English were in good shape, but the Armada was in a state of disaster

-the Armada retreated defeated and decided to take the long way back to avoid the English

        -On their way home, they were hit with storms until they landed in Ireland

-But Elizabeth had ordered everyone to torture and kill all Spaniards that were found à only a few people who arrived in Ireland survived

        -in total, 2/3 of the Armada’s ships and men was destroyed or died

-When Phillip II heard the news, Spain mourned

-England rejoiced: Elizabeth gave a speech where she said she had the soul of a man in a female body

        -soul of a man- idea that she can’t be a real women if she’s so powerful and smart

        -promoted nationalism


-Spain rebuilt its navy

-the war dragged on for years

-the defeat of the Spanish Armada stopped Philip II from forcing Catholicism on western Europe

-checked Spain’s power, although they still remained very powerful

-England’s power grew à this was a moral booster and gave them the courage to explore and expand

-leads to the Elizabethan era- a golden age in England


Changing Attitudes and Beliefs

-A flowering of artistic expression in this period reflects the changes in culture, which was inspired by the new discoveries.



-Until this period, slavery had never been associated with race.

-natives were originally slaves

        -however, there were rumors that they couldn’t work as hard

        -population declined: disease (90% died from disease)

                                                   they weren’t used to harsh conditions            

        -they knew they land, so they could easily escape

        -harder to spot that someone with dark skin- they could camouflage themselves

-African slaves = the alternative

        -already built up immunity

        -couldn’t escape- are also new to the land

        -they were terrified and were beaten into submission so their souls and individuality wouldn’t exist

        -there was already slavery in Africa for centuries; Arabs and Egyptians had slavery for awhile too

        -more industry à more slaves needed

        -need for sugar islands à more money for Spain and Portugal (Brazil)

-The Middle Passage/ Atlantic Slave trade

        -10 million people traveled through it

        -20% of them died—about 2 million, and that was just getting there

        -disease, overcrowding, contaminated water

        -forced people to exercise on the deck everyday

        -they chained people down to stop them from committing suicide

-Population increases and economic expansion à demand for sugar à demand for slaves


Elizabethan and Jacobean Literature:

-England witnessed remarkable literary creativity under Elizabeth and James I

        -called the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods

-Elizabeth’s favorite playwriter = William Shakespeare

-he was a Renaissance man in his deep appreciation of classical culture, individualism, and humanism. Many of his plays deal with classical subjects and figures or have Italian Renaissance settings.

-his plays explore an enormous range of human problems and are open to interpretation.

-the Authorized Bible, or King James’ translation of the Bible

        -King James I assigned the new English translation to a committee of scholars

-encouraged peasants to read the Bible

-was very popular

        -carried to North American colonies


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