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  • 1. GIVE A TITLE Topic sentenceINTRODUTION A good opener, such as: A question Something humorous Something unusual A scenario An idea/ argumentBODY 2 OR 3 Paragraphs, 2 points on each Paragraph 1 o Facts, evidences (What/Why/How/When/Who/Where/ physical description) o Examples Paragraph 2 o Pros + cons o Personal experienceCONCLUSION Summarise Opinion Finish with a bangTO BEAR IN MIND Essay are more formal than an article Contractions are not allowed
  • 2. OPTION A.- What changed, and what survived, as a result of the plagues and disasters of thefourteenth-century in Afro-Eurasia?IntroductionThe main changes were: First of all, the change in the political system because of powervacuums that brought the population decrease, so new political systems would emerge, mainlythe Ottoman Empire which in its great expansion pulled together many of the local Islamicchieftains. Secondly the European necessity of finding new ways to the trade routes to the Eastas the Ottomans expanded; this situation explains the phenomenon of Christopher Columbus.Thirdly the new political order that brought the fill of power vacuums with newcomers, basedon systems of dynasties, warfare as an instrument of statecraft and special appeals to religiousor ethnic identities as a way to bolster the claims of these political elites.On the other hand, the prevailing commercial systems remained almost intact. Religiousbeliefs and institutions also survived though in modified forms.Body (Supporting Paragraphs)New different imperial dynasties appear in Europe, Anatolia, Persia (Iran), India and China. Sowe have:Islamic DynastiesOttoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires replace the Mongols.Ottomans overrun Constantinople and become the primary Sunni regime in the Islamic world.Safavids come to power in Iran as a Shiite state less tolerant of diversity than the OttomansMughals replace the Delhi Sultanate in South Asia and continue to accommodate diversereligious beliefs.ChinaThe Ming dynasty replaces the Mongol Yuan dynasty and rebuilds a strong state from theground upAn elaborate, centralized bureaucracy oversees the revival of infrastructure and long-distancetradeWestern ChristendomDevastation from Black Death provokes revolt and extremist religious movements.New national monarchies appear in Portugal, Spain, France, and England.A rebirth of classical learning (the Renaissance) originates in Italian city-states spreadsthroughout Western Europe.
  • 3. The rebuilding of military and civil administration required political legitimacy. Dynastiessought to establish their legitimacy in three ways: by insisting that their power derived from adivine calling, establishing clear rules about succession to the throne and finally making biggertheir power through conquest or alliance.In 1453, the Ottomans, led by Sultan Mehmed, seized the city of Constantinople. From here,ottoman navies controlled sea-lanes in the eastern Mediterranean, curtailing European accessto the rich ports that handled the lucrative caravan trade. Furthermore, by the late fifteenthcentury, ottoman forces menaced another of Christendom’s great capitals, Vienna, andEuropean merchants feared that never again would they obtain the riches of Asia via thetraditional overland route. So, new routes to Asia had to be explored. The imperialbureaucracy permitted extensive regional autonomy. To balance this local autonomy, theOttomans established a corps of infantry soldiers and bureaucrats who owed direct allegianceto the sultan.In Persia, the Safavids revived the traditional idea that rulers were ordained by God. In southAsia The Mughals did not replace the Mongol regime. Instead, they erected their state on thefoundations of the old Delhi Sultanate; which had come into existence in 1206.In Europe, the stabilization of Italian city-states such as Venice and Florence, and ofmonarchical rule in Portugal and Spain, led to an economic and cultural flowering known asthe Renaissance, which transformed the European elite orienting it toward ancient modelsinstead of medieval ones, although it could not unify the states and peoples who cultivated it.In China the message was clear: the goods were on the side of the Ming household, althoughreligious sources of political power were less essential for the Ming dynasty than for theIslamic dynasties. Conquest and defence helped establish the realm, and bureaucracy kept itfunctioning. Regarding the trade, the Chinese decision to focus on internal trade anddefending northern borders just at the time others began to look outward and overseas was asmonumental as that of Mehmed to take Constantinople, or that of Columbus to attempt aperilous westward voyage across "the Ocean Sea".ConclusionDevastation that came with the Black Death transformed peoples of Afro-Eurasia, but whatchanged were mainly the political regimes. In contrast, universal religions and wide-rangingcultural systems persisted even though they underwent vast transformations. The dynasties allfaced similar problems. They had to establish legitimacy, ensure smooth succession, deal withreligious groups, and forge working relationships with nobles, townspeople, merchants, andpeasants. Yet each state developed distinctive traits as a result of political innovation,traditional ways of ruling, and borrowing from neighbours.
  • 4. The Bubonic plague had a greater impact on the political, social, cultural and religious structures of the vast geography of Afro-Eurasia than even the Mongolinvasion and conquests. Populations throughout this geography declined significantly. China lost almost a third of its population from 120 million to 80 million;Europe, central and southwestern Asia saw similar declines. The areas that were not central to the Silk road or to the main sea routes from China were lessaffected, such as Southern part of India and the isolated continents of North and South America.This unprecedented scale of devastation significantly impacted and in some cases completely destroyed many institutions, and yet some survived and even thrived.The largest impact was on existing political systems, which significantly changed and transformed, while universal religions, and wide-ranging cultural systemspersisted, even though they underwent some transformations. The interconnections of trade and commerce, and land and sea routes for commerce, also survived.Let us look at each of the above in detail with examples from the distinct regions, Central and south Asia, Africa, China, and Europe. (I don’t know if you needthis sentence)The hold of the Mongols in central Asia was so weakened that it gave way to a new and different form of political system in the form of three great dynasties: theOttoman Empire in Anatolia, the Safavid empire in Persia, and the Mogul empire in Northern and Central India. These dynasties were instituted and maintainedthrough the passing from one generation to the next in or by choice. The dynasties based their power on three major factors, 1) A mandate from Heaven; 2)establishing clear rules of succession from one generation to the next; and 3) maintaining power through conquests or forging alliances through marriage and otherfamily relationships.The main distinction of the dynasties derived from the old Mongol rule was that they all relied on the centrality of the Islamic religion, even though it was appliedwith different intensities and different branches of Islam. For example the Ottoman Empire was based on the Sunni branch of Islam and demonstrated a greaterreligious tolerance among its diverse populations than the monolithic Shiite state of the Safavid monarchy in Persia. Mogul Emperors also assimilated diversityand ruled by forging alliances and relationships with the Hindu majority through marriages and conquests. Moguls showed significant religious tolerance exceptfor the fourth emperor Aurangzeb who usurped power from his older brothers by killing them and imprisoning his father Shah Jahan the builder of the Taj Mahal.Besides invoking divine power, the dynasties ruled by brutally enforcing their power and also creating elaborate symbols of power by building huge ostentatiouspalaces for themselves and their families. For example, the Blue mosque in Istanbul, The red fort in Delhi and Agra, Fatehpur Sikri- a whole new capital built byAkbar in the outskirts of Agra. A new religion(Sikhism) was established by Guru Nanak in response to the invasions from the Northwest corridor of India and theimpact of Islam on the local culture. Guru Nanak was born a Hindu but decided to reform the practices and rituals that had long lost its meaning, by combining theideas of Islam, the practice of Bhakti (devotion) and his vision of all humans as equals eliminating the stigma of the corrupt caste system. The great emperor Akbartolerated these varying cultures and religions in India.Commerce and trade started to flourish across North Africa Europe and Asia through the old land and sea routes after declining initially.Africa had varying impacts from the plague. North and West Africa and some African coastal cities of the East coast were devastated by the plague. This wasprimarily due to the contact in the north with land based travel routes with Eurasia and in the coastal cities through the contact with Chinese seafarers who broughtthe disease. The interior of Africa was generally cut off from the trade with the outside world was left alone, thus limiting the impact of the plague & devastation.In the wake of the devastation brought by the microbes traveling the land routes in North Africa and the sub-Saharan region, a great new empire arose in WestAfrica as the sultanate of Mali and the state of Mendika. This was largely an Islamic empire deriving its wealth by dominating the gold and slave trades.In China over the eighty years of plague the Mongol rule was substantially weakened and lost its claims to divine power. The founder of the Ming dynastyemerged as a leader from the Red Hat movement and recaptured the Chinese capital from the Mongols and established a new dynasty by re-affirming the ethnicityof the Hans. Ming dynasty also claimed divine connection and consolidated power through coercion, harsh punishments, building elaborate monuments andpalaces, the most striking example being the Forbidden Palace. What was different about the Chinese system was that it established a huge hierarchicalbureaucracy to run the country through centralized rule under direct control of the emperor. It also adopted the Confucian model in schools and universities toqualify bureaucrats for every position.Once some stability was established in the late 14th century China, it started dominating the sea routes for commerce by sending out large fleets of giant ships ledby a captured Arab slave who was turned into a eunuch and served in the royal entourage in the forbidden palace for many years. He rose through the ranks to be ageneral and led many sea expeditions commanding fleets consisting of over 300 ships almost 400 feet long and upto nine masts each exceeding a height of 100feet.Conclusion Thus following the spread of the black plague throughout the vast regions of Afro-Eurasia, the hold of the old Mongol rule collapsed and various newpolitical systems emerged with new dynasties. Each region drew upon religion to establish divine support for the ruling dynasty but differed significantly in howreligion was treated in each region based on the religious and cultural make up of the populations ruled. Thus all major world religions survived and thrived albeitin different transformations following the devastation of the plague. The interconnections betweens the regions too survived and after a period of recovery, startedto furish again along land and sea routes. Some of the negative impacts actually resulted in sowing the roots of reformation and rennaisance in Europe and otherregions.