In the 15th century, the West was able travel across seas to trade with new and undeveloped land, due to technology advancement. The use of the compass, building of stronger ships equipped with weapons, and more efficient maps helped the West achieve success in battling oceans. The West, mainly European countries, started to explore the Americans as well as the Indian Ocean areas. They tried their best to establish as much trade ports as possible. The discovery of the Americas was very important. By establishing colonies there, they were able to gain useful raw materials. The Columbian exchange resulted from this trading system. The Columbian exchange is basically an exchange of diseases, foods, animals, etc. between Europe and the Americas. The Europeans brought deadly diseases such as smallpox to the Americas, killing many of the native population. From the Americas, Europe gained many useful staple crops such as corn and potatoes. Migration to the Americas was great because a new land meant new opportunities and many also wanted to escape from their countries due to religious  oppression or hard life. The governments encouraged settlement to the Americas by granting land to those migrators. Different European countries had different ways of settlement however, generally, Europeans countries started off by conquering the natives in the Americas and gaining superiority over them. They would next look for any gold or silver, but as agriculture development became widespread, they started planting staple crops to import back the mainland for money. Crops such as sugar, cotton, and tobacco were very popular. However, managing these crops meant a need for labor, so slaves from Africa were imported in a myriad of numbers. Therefore the theme “interaction between humans and the environment” is an evident theme in chapter 16. 

Another theme that is evident in this chapter is "Creation, Expansion, and Interaction of Economic Systems."This chapter is filled with topics relating to commerce, the main economy of this time. From the Columbian Exchange, which talks about the exchange of old world agriculture such as Onions, Olives, Turnips, Coffee, Peaches, Pear, Wheat, Rice, Barley, Oats and a few livestocks to the New World and New World agriculture such as Potatoes, Squash, Pumpkins, Peanuts, Tobacco, Tomatoes, Corn, Vanilla, Cocoa beans and even Turkeys to the old world. Another topic covered in this chapter was Merchantilism which was an ideology that dominated the European world at this time. It is when a government controls foreign trade to ensure the prosperity of its country. Mercantalism was a cause of many European Wars, it encouraged expansion of its colonies.

Vasco da Gama: Portuguese that led four ships to India in 1498 with the aid of a Hindu pilot. He and his shipmates were met with hostile Muslim merchants that traded crude goods with them. Da Gama then used the ships’ guns to intimidate and used his forces to kill or torture many Indian merchants to substitute for the lack of goods. Da Gama’s successful voyage to India served as a precursor for other Portuguese voyages to the Indian Ocean.

Christopher Columbus: An Italian navigator that sailed for Spain. Found “India” in 1492, was actually present day America. Called the Native Americans “Indians”. To death, he always believed that he had landed in India. 


Ferdinand Magellan: Led a Spanish expedition westward in 1519. He traveled across the Pacific, reaching the Indonesian Islands in 1521, and eventually gained the Philippines in 1898. His trip was known as the first trip around the world.

East India Companies: There was the Dutch East India Company and the British East India Company. These were basically trading companies chartered by the Netherlands, Britain, and France and were given monopolies of trade in the certain regions. They had the right to raise armies and coin money. Sort of served as independent governments in the regions they claimed.

World economy: The new world economy emerged after 1500. The production and use of silver was the main force of power during this time. The value of silver increased as it became the most commonly traded commodity. Silver basically powered the wheels of international commerce, such as allowing Europeans to buy Asian imports that could not have been afforded before.

Columbian Exchange: When more and more European countries started to settle out of their area, they brought along new diseases, animals, and goods to those newly conquered lands. Also in exchange they also brought back new animals and goods from those lands.  The disease smallpox, brought from Europe to the New World, wiped out more than half of the native population. New World crops such as potatoes quickly gained popularity in Euro-Asia and became the main reason for large population increases in many places such as China. Animals from the New World such as horses and cattle were introduced into Europe as well. 

Lepanto: In the Battle of Lepanto, a Spanish fleet defeated the navy of the Ottoman Empire in 1571. This is significant because it shows the rise of European naval power over the past powerful Middle Eastern influence.

Core Nation: Countries such as Spain, Portugal, England, Holland, and France, were considered as the core nations during this time of voyages. They were basically the merchants that had a firmer status in world trade. These core nations supplemented their growing economic predominance by self-serving political policies such as mercantilism. 

Dependent Economic Zones- dependent regions had an opportunity for profit. African slave traders and rulers taxing the trade could become rich. Merchants and landlords did not control their terms of trade. Wealth gained was used on European imports and did not stimulate local manufacturing or general economic advance. Dependence in the world economy helped form a labor system. In the Dutch East Indies and British India, peasants were forced into labor systems.


Vasco de Balboa- Portuguese explorer. In 1497-1498 he led the first naval expedition from Europe to sail to India, opening an important commercial sea route.

Below: Vasco de Balboa


New France- French colonies in North America; extended from St Lawrence River along great lakes and down Mississippi River


Atlantic Colonies- British colonies in North America along Atlantic coast

Treaty of Paris- Arranged in 1763 following Seven Years World; granted New France to England in exchange for French sugar island in Caribbean


Cape ColonyDutch colony established at Cape of Good Hope in 1652 initially to provide a coastal station for Dutch seaborne empire; by 1770 settlements had expanded sufficiently to come into conflict with Bantus

Seven Years War:  A war that was instigated by the British attacking the French, First world-wide war.

Cape of Good Hope: Major Port City is South Africa where in the fifteenth century, Portuguese sailors sailed around it in an attempt to reach India, However, they decided to turn back.   

Mercantilism: An ideology that dominated the European world at this time.It is when a government controls foreign trade to ensure the prosperity of its country. Mercantalism was a cause of many European Wars, it encouraged expansion of its colonies. 

Mestizos:  A term in the European Casta system that means one from a European or Native American descent.

Francisco PIzzaro: Spanish Conquistador who conquered  the Incan Empire, Founded Lima.  

John Locke: Englishman known as the Father of Liberalism.Was a philosopher and physician who was regarded as one of the most influential enlightenment thinkers.  

William Shakespeare: Worlds greatest writer and poet, also known as the English national poet.  

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