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WH Strand 4: GLOBAL INTERACTIONS

(Ca. 1400 C.E.–1750 C.E.)

During what is sometimes referred to as the early modern period, the balance of global power shifted toward Europe. Europeans gained increasing control of international trade routes. European exploration led to the inclusion of the formerly isolated Americas and Oceanic regions in global systems. Global connections brought drastic environmental and social changes. Maritime and land empires were formed not just by Europeans, but by Turkish, American, and Chinese states, creating enduring patterns of colonization. Societies that previously had little contact with civilization centers were no longer isolated. The world seemed to become smaller as global integration, diplomacy, and world trade became more complex. In response, new ways of understanding the world emerged.

Possible Guiding Questions to Consider:

  • How and why do historians create terms such as “Columbian Exchange”?
  • How did the Columbian Exchange and Renaissance change life on almost every continent?
  • What impact did colonization have on the development of the concept of race and the growth of racism?
  • What factors led to Europe’s rise from a relative backwater region to a global power?
  • Why did some societies continue to live as hunter-gatherers or Stone Age farmers when most societies around the world adopted metallurgy, intensive agriculture, complex trade networks, and intricate bureaucratic governments?
  • Other Worlds: The Voyage of Columbus
    Debate over the legacy of Christopher Columbus has opened new perspectives on the Renaissance world that gave impetus to his first voyage, and has raised awareness of the cultures he and those who followed him encountered in the world across the sea. Through the Internet, students can observe the events of 1492 from this dual vantage-point, exploring the two worlds that made contact when Columbus stepped ashore. The goals of this lesson plan are to gain an understanding of the forces within European society that found expression in the voyage of Christopher Columbus; to examine the cultures of those whom Columbus and his successors encountered in the New World; to analyze the degree to which cultural expectations shaped the encounter experience for Columbus; to reconstruct the encounter experience for those who saw Columbus sail into their world.


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