Midterm History 1. The World In 1492 2. The Colombian Exchange 3. Spices and other things 4. The Journey of Man
The World in 1492 Age of Exploration; Portugal led Europe Henry the Navigator, 1394-1460. Christopher Columbus, 1451-1506 Portuguese explorers and other Europeans wanted to reach East Asia for: Sugar, Silk, Silver, Spices, Tea, and other goods. The real “discovery” Wind and water patterns of the northern Atlantic. “Discovered” a course out and back.
The Colombian Exchange Explorers created contact between Europe and Americas. Contact between the Europeans and Native Americans led to the exchange of disease, plants , and animals. Scholars estimate that one-third of all food crops originate from the Americas.
Spices and other Things European traders kept trying to find their way by sea to Asia. Portuguese sailors were the first to succeed. They, for the first time, managed to sail south around the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa and then back up to India and Asia. European countries quickly set up regular trade routes - and colonies - to transport valuable spices, tea, silk, and porcelain back to Europe. European and Asian traders had been traveling back and forth for many hundreds of years before this. They had traveled over land, using the Silk Road and camel caravans to transport goods from place to place. But the new sea route around Africa was quicker and safer. And it led to an explosion of world trade that involved people in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and the Middle East.
The Journey of Man Human ancestors originated in Africa, and eventually made their way out to the rest of the world It is believed, on the basis of genetic evidence, that all human beings in existence now descend from one single man who lived in Africa about 60,000 years ago. The earliest groups of humans are believed to find their present-day descendants among the San people, a group that is now found in western southern Africa. The first wave of migration out of Africa stayed close to the oceans shores, tracing a band along the coastal areas of the Indian Ocean including parts of the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and into South East Asia, down into what is now Indonesia, and eventually reaching Australia. The second wave of migration took a more northerly course, splitting somewhere in the area around what is now called Syria to sweep to the northwest into the area of the Balkans and to the east, where it split several more times in Central Asia, north of Afghanistan.
Summery One of the biggest developments in our world history was the Columbian Exchange of plants, animals, and microorganisms between Asia, Europe, and the Americas. It followed the success of European sea captains in permanently linking the two hemispheres. The ecological and demographic consequences of the Great Global Convergence were huge, especially the “Great Dying” of much of the indigenous population of the Americas. Europeans benefited from this disaster by peopling the Western Hemisphere with new immigrants, both free European settlers and Africans slaves. Europeans also gained access to important new sources of food and fiber. These included, among many others, maize (corn), tobacco, and the potato, which were American crops, and sugar and cotton, which came from Asia but thrived in American soil. In the Western Hemisphere, the demographic collapse among Native Americans was catastrophic in places that had large populations on the eve of European contact. These places included the Caribbean islands, central Mexico, the Mayan highlands of southern Mexico and central America, and the Andes Mountains. The Great Dying involved multiple infectious diseases and ferocious pandemics that followed one after another for more than a century and a half. It began when new disease pathogens were inadvertently introduced to American Indian populations by early Spanish and Portuguese invaders. The long separation between the western and eastern hemispheres, the populations of the Americas had not evolved significant natural immunities to European infections, which included measles, smallpox, influenza, typhus, and tuberculosis. Therefore they had no inherited defenses against them. In this perspective, the epidemic diseases can be seen as part of the Columbian Exchange of numerous organisms, including plants and animals.