The World of the 15th Century Part 1


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The World of the 15th Century Part 1

  1. 1. The Worlds of Fifteenth Century Part I Strayer Chapter 13
  2. 2. Introduction • 1492, the year Columbus sailed across the Atlantic in an attempt to find an all water route to Asia, and instead found the Americas radically changed the world by uniting the Old World (Africa, Asia, and Europe) with the New World • What did the different regions of the world look like before 1492?
  3. 3. Paleolithic Persistence • Hunting gathering and pastoral societies • Still relied on Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) technology • Found in Australia, Siberia, arctic coastlands, parts of Africa, parts of the Americas • Despite Old Stone Age technology, they did change over time, just VERY slowly!
  4. 4. Case Study: Australia • Made up of about 250 different hunting/ gathering groups • Did adopt some technology from outsiders frex. Outrigger canoes, fish hooks, and mythology • Despite contact with New Guinea, did not adopt farming
  5. 5. Change Over Time • Change: – Changed the environment, “firestick farming” burned away underbrush to make hunting easier – Traded goods over hundreds of miles blending cultural ideas across time and space • Continuity: – Maintained Paleolithic technology
  6. 6. Case Study: Pacific Northwest • Chinookan, Tulalip, and Skagit tribes • Had access to more than 300 edible plant and animal species  hunting and gathering • Differed from Australia b/c: – Permanent villages with large sturdy homes – Economic specialization – Social classes sometimes including slaves – Extensive food storage
  7. 7. Similarity: Australia and Pacific Northwest • Lost hunting/gathering lands as agriculture expanded
  8. 8. Agricultural Village Societies • Found in: North America, Amazon River Basin, Southeast Asia, Africa south of the Equator • Fully agricultural • Avoided incorporation into larger empires • Avoided oppressive political institutions • Did not develop city or state-based societies • Usually small village-based societies • Usually had class and gender-based equality
  9. 9. Case Study: West Africa • Yoruba-speaking people of Nigeria; Yoruba, Bini, and Igbo peoples • Many rival city-states each made up of walled towns ruled by kings (sometimes women!) • Like ancient Mesopotamia and Greece, did not form single state or empire
  10. 10. • Most successful city-state = Benin • Conquered 201 towns • Replaced kinship leaders with administrative chiefs • Sponsored extensive trade • Patronized arts
  11. 11. • Igbo people lived east of the Niger River • Rejected kingship and state-building • Wealth helped men earn ranks • Women’s associations and rituals mediated problems • Kinship groups balanced power to avoid conflict • Similar to society in Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
  12. 12. Similarities: Yoruba, Bini, and Igbo peoples • Were not isolated or self contained • Traded with each other and with more distant peoples • Shared common artistic styles • Switched from matrilineal to patrilineal systems of descent • Declined as a result of the transatlantic slave trade
  13. 13. Case Study: Iroquois • Iroquois peoples of New York: Onondaga, Seneca, Cayuga, Oneida, Mohawk • Frequent warfare among groups as populations grew • Women held high status by farming maize and bean using techniques from Mesoamerica • Men’s status was based on warfare
  14. 14. • Conflict led to political innovations: – Loose confederation of tribes – “Great Law of Peace” led by a council of elders lead the Iroquois League of Five Nations and settled disputes, blood feuds, and tribal conflicts, and coordinated communication with outside peoples – Expressed value of a limited government, social equality, and personal freedoms – Men usually held political offices – Women selected and could depose leaders