This is the assignment page for the topic "The First Global Age Emerges" for J. B. Owens's sections of the lower-division undergraduate course, History 101, Foundation of Western Civilization. The sole purpose of this page and all of the pages linked to it is to provide an orientation for those students enrolled in History 101.

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The First Global Age Emerges

ID: Portugal, Dom Henrique do Portugal (aka Prince Henry the Navigator; 1394-1460); Goa (1510), Malacca [Melaka] (1511), Hormuz [Hurmuz, Ormuz] (1514), Aden, Sokotra [Socotra], Diu (1535-38), Gujarat, Bartolomé de las Casas (1474-1566), Dominican Order, Jesuit Order [Society of Jesus]

  1. What impact did the Mongol expansion of the thirteenth century have on the Eurasian world?
  2. What sorts of European trading enterprises had developed in the Mediterranean Basin by 1450?
  3. What factors contributed to the formation of investment capital in Latin Christian Europe in the fifteenth century?
  4. Why did the Portuguese and Castilian governments support oceanic exploration in the 15th century?
  5. Why did 15th-century Portuguese leaders pursue the exploration of the coast of West Africa?
  6. Why were Europeans, traditionally a marginal group in Afroeurasian production and trade, able to play such a prominent role in the world economic system, which was developing in the 16th century?
  7. What would have happened in world history if there had been no Americas and Columbus had achieved his goal of reaching eastern Asia?
  8. Why was American silver production so important for the development of the world economic system in the period prior to the British conquest of Bengal after the Battle of Plassey in 1757?
  9. Why was the Castilian government ultimately unable to control the colonists' exploitation of the indigenous peoples of the Americas?
  10. Why did Bartolomé de las Casas oppose the application of Aristotle's conception of natural slavery to the population of the Americas?
  11. Why were at least 12-15 million African slaves (as compared to a European immigration of about two million) imported into the Americas by the mid 18th century?
  12. Why did sugar increasingly emerge as one of the central commodities of world trade?
  13. Why was South Asian cotton cloth production of such great importance in the emergence of the world economic system?
  14. How were the Dutch able to revolt successfully against their Habsburg rulers?
  15. Why were the Dutch able to gain European economic leadership from the Mediterranean countries?
  16. In the context of a thriving agricultural economy in the sixteenth century, why were Europe's peasant farmers faring so badly?
  17. Why were Europeans so slow to emigrate to the Americas, even to those parts whose climate and resources would have been familiar to them?
  18. Why was South Asian commercial activity fundamental to the development of a European-controlled world economic system after the mid 18th century?


Owens, chapter 17; Kishlansky, chapter 12.

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J. B. Owens
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Revised: 29 May 2006