What happens when people come in contact with each other?
During this period, the world becomes truly global. For the first time, the Americas are included in the global trade network and the process of true globalization begins. Trade is extended throughout all parts of the world.
The European nations gain access to Asian trade routes and attempt to control them.
The Columbian Exchange of goods, disease, and cultures spreads throughout the world.
Why do some things change while other things stay the same?
The most significant change in this period is the inclusion of the Americas. These encounters with the Americas set off a tremendous chain of events that were felt throughout the world.
How does the development of new technology and movement of people affect the world?
Improvements in the spread of shipping technologies and gunpowder weapons allowed European countries to begin their dominance of the world.
Native American people died by the millions due to their exposure to previously unknown European diseases, and in Africa, people were forcibly transported across the Atlantic Ocean to fill the need for labor on plantations.
In the Americas, a new social structure emerges based on race. Those with pure European blood are considered the highest socially and politically, and those with indigenous African blood were considered the lowest.
Women of the harem in the Ottoman Empire wielded considerable power behind the scenes.
How do people identify themselves and express themselves culturally and intellectually?
In Europe, the Renaissance and Reformation challenge previously accepted beliefs and the power of the Roman Catholic Church.
In other parts of the world, like China, reaffirmation of more traditional beliefs was viewed as key to stability.
How do people govern themselves?
The predominant form of political organization remained the empire. European empires, like those of Spain and Portugal, stretched their power overseas to conquer and control the newly encountered Americas.
The most significant change that occurs in this time period is the inclusion of the Americas in the global trade network. With this inclusion, a truly global economy develops. As Europeans are getting ready to reach out and explore the world around them, the previous world power, China, is more focused on internal stability. This shift allows Europe to rise as a dominant world power.
The empires of the day needed to decide the degree to which they should interact with the outside world. While Europe was embracing outside interaction and conquest, many other empires were more insular and focused on their own preservation and stability.