Emergence of Global HistoryAmerica, Europe, and Asia Instructor Pacas
Chinese Exploration 1433-1434 CE • During the early 15th century CE China engaged in massive marine explorations that took the imperial fleet to S.E. Asia, India, Madagascar, around Africa, and finally Mediterranean Europe. • Some historians and archaeologist even speculate that the Chinese might have reach the Caribbean. • After these massive undertakings the Ming Emperor chose to torch the imperial fleet.
China agreeing to limits on their imperial polity • In the cultural perception of what has traditionally been called the ‘West’ or ‘Western Civilization’ the Chinese decision to agree upon limits, not engage in over-consumption, is interpreted as a ‘missed opportunity.’ • However, caution must be exercised to discern the difference between conventional ‘Western’ perceptions vs. different perceptions employed by other parts of the globe. • Moving away from a western-centric, Eurocentric, etc. perception of world history into a more inclusive perception that understands differences in perceptions- none are right or wrong-just different.
Europe in the Global Context • In the 8th century CE the Islamic Empire conquered north Africa and the Iberian peninsula. • The loss of north Africa and its vast agrarian resources was a huge blow to the standard of living enjoyed by Europeans in the previous centuries. Conditions in Europe, with the exception of Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), became harsh and have traditionally been called the Dark Ages in European history.
Europe in Global Context Cont’d • Suffering from a lack of natural resources, Europe was forced to trade at unfavorable conditions in order to acquire the goods it sought from the east. • In 1453 CE the Ottoman Turks successfully captured Constantinople from the crumbling Byzantine Empire. • The capture of Constantinople turned a bad situation worse as the Ottomans now sought to increase the price for goods from the East sought by Europeans.
1492 and Global History • Events in the Iberian peninsula would soon change the international balance of power. • In 1492 CE the Catholic Kingdoms of Spain (Aragon and Castile) successfully conquered the last Muslim kingdom of Granada in southern Spain. • The wealth of Granada allowed King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella to finance the expeditions of Christopher Columbus. • Europeans sought to eliminate the Ottoman middle-man and establish direct trade links with the East.
Incorporating the Americas into the European Spheres of Power • The incorporation of the wealth of the Americas transformed Europe, which had traditionally been poor in natural resources into an equal contender in global trade. • Now Europeans were able to trade along a more level field as Asia now demanded goods that only the European American possessions could supply. • Supply and demand
American Food Improved the Living standard of Europeans • The wealth of the Americas in gold and silver were not the only resource that helped to improve collectively the European living standard. • The food crops improved European diets. • The establishment of colonies in the Americas assisted in creating a degree of social stability in Europe. Issues tied to lack of social resources (jobs, living spaces, etc.) could now be diffused to the Americas thus easing social pressures in Europe.
Not only food but cash crops • Besides gold and silver, the Americas supplied other European powers with cash crops or merchantable commodities to supply a global demand for these goods. • Example: Cocoa, tobacco, indigo, flax, etc.
Merchantable Commodities • In order to exploit the global demand for merchantable commodities (cash crops) and the wealth that they generated in markets around the globe, European Empires –Spanish, British, Dutch, French, and Portuguese- sought to expand their territorial possessions at the cost of the Native American inhabitants.
Supply/Demand and Global History • As demand for merchantable commodities increased around the globe, the need for more land and the need for a labor force to meet the demand became pressing issues for Europeans. • European powers engaged in dislodging aboriginal peoples of the Americas from their traditional homelands- often employing genocide to effect this end. • The Spanish and Portuguese used Native American and Black African slaves to supply their labor force.
Indentured Servants in the British Colonies of North America • Queen Elizabeth passed the Law of Enclosure in England. • This law dislodged the disenfranchised part of the population that subsisted by squatting in private lands and forced them out of manors. • After being dislodged from the manors these individuals sought work in cities but due to minimum source of jobs many were forced to become indentured servants shipped off to the British Colonies in North America to work the fields that produced the cash crops for the British Empire.
Indentured Servants • Each indentured servant had to work off the cost of the voyage from Britain to a North American colony for 7 years. • At first, most indentured servants died before their term of service was complete. • With improved diets many began to survive their service to the detriment of the companies or land owners that used them as a labor force. • The law of indentured servants stipulated that after the 7th year the former indentured servant was supposed to receive a plot of land from his former employer, money, and a gun. It was for this reason that the British Colonial Elite eventually switched to using African slaves as a labor force to cultivate the cash crops instead of indentured servants.