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MODULE 1 The Worlds of the Fifteenth Century

MODULE 1 The Worlds of the Fifteenth Century

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MODULE 1 The Worlds of the Fifteenth Century

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  1. MODULE 1 The Worlds of the Fifteenth Century

  2. The Shapes of Human Communities • Paleolithic Persistence • gathering and hunting societies (Paleolithic peoples) still exist: Australia, Siberia, Arctic, Africa, Americas • Change over time, interaction with neighbors • Assimilation of outside technologies. Name some. • Examples: Australian aborigines, NW Coast of North America • Agricultural Village Societies • Predominates in N. America, Africa south of equator, Amazon river basin, SE Asia • Characteristics—gender and class • Example: Southern Nigeria: different patterns of Yoruba, Benin, Igbo peoples • Herding Peoples’ • Tamerlane and Turkic warriors • Steppe nomads absorbed by Chinese, Russian empires • Independence of African pastoralists until 19th century

  3. Civilizations of the Fifteenth Century: Comparing China and Europe • Ming Dynasty China • Disruption by Mongols (1300s-1644), recovery under Ming • Elimination of all signs of foreign rule, promotion of Confucian learning • Highly centralized government, eunuch administrators • Extensive infrastructure improvements: what are they?’ • Large scale maritime exploration and trade ventures in early 1400s • European Comparisons: State Building and Cultural Renewal • European collapse after Plague of 1340s-60s, increase in population after 1450 • Many competing states, warfare • Renaissance: cultural revival, 1350-1500, trend toward naturalism & humanism • European Comparisons: Maritime Voyaging • Technology improves: Chinese rudder introduced in 12th century, square sails replaced by triangular lateen sails, improving performance • Navigational instruments • Knowledge of wind, currents; Marinheiros (blue-water sailors) adept in Atlantic

  4. Maritime Voyaging • Portuguese voyages of discovery begin 1415 • Discovery and exploitation of Canary, Azores, Madeira islands in 15th century • Transformation into plantation economies • Extermination of indigenous peoples • Voyages of Columbus and Vasco Da Gama in 1490s • Europeans seek wealth, converts, allies in Crusade against Islam • Europeans use violence to create empires, while Chinese rely on trade • End of Chinese voyages in 1433, escalation of European ones • Rivalry between European states encouraged competitive exploration, empire building • Critical shortage in Europe of items it “needs”: spices, Chinese exports, gold, silver, exotic foods—the problem of European food production

  5. The Islamic World • In the Islamic Heartland: The Ottoman and Safavid Empires • Ottomans last from 14th to 20th century, comprising Anatolia, Eastern Europe, Middle East, North Africa, Black sea coast • Ottoman aggression against Christian lands, and legacy • Safavid Empire emerged in Persia from Sufi religious order • Safavids impose Shia Islam as official religion • Sunni Ottomans and Shia Safavids fought wars in 16th-17th centuries • On the Frontiers of Islam: The Songhay and Mughal Empires • Songhay rises in West Africa after 1450, limited to urban elites • Sonni Ali (r. 1465-92) powerful leader combining Islamic belief, African traditional spirituality • Mughal empire in India created by Turkic warriors, control most of India by 1600s, fluctuating relations with Hindus

  6. The Americas • The Aztec Empire • Mexica people create society in central Mexico, establish capital at Tenochtitlan by 1325 • Form triple alliance with other city state, conquer neighboring states • Control much of Mesoamerica by the end of 15th century • Continue Mesoamerican cultural elements, which had begun under Olmecs, 1000 BCE—ballgames, human sacrifice, warriorship, mythology, ritual, trade • Loosely structure, unstable state of 5-6 million • The Inca Empire • Quechua speakers established the Inca Empire along the length of the Andes Mtns. • Incas were more bureaucratic, centralized than Aztecs • Divine ruler, state owns all land and resourcces • 80 provinces, with governors, hierarchical units of people. Resettlement program • Incas and Aztecs practice gender parallelism, women and men operate in separate but equal spheres, religious cults, political hierarchies for both men and women

  7. Webs of Connection • Large-scale political systems brought together culturally different people. • Religion both united and divided far-flung peoples • common religious culture of Christendom, but divided into Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy • Buddhism linked people in China, Korea, Tibet, Japan, and parts of Southeast Asia • Islam was particularly good at bringing together its people • the annual hajj • yet conflict within the umma persisted

  8. A Preview of Coming Attractions: Looking Ahead to the Modern Era (1500–2000) • No fifteenth-century connections were truly global. • those came only with European expansion in the sixteenth century • 1500–2000: inextricable linking of the worlds of Afro-Eurasia, the Americas, and Pacific Oceania