Explorations

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Explorations:

Explorations

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Between 1400 and 1700, the world became a truly global system for the first time.

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At the beginning of this period, trade centered on the Indian Ocean and was dominated by Arab Muslims. The Chinese were powerful enough that traders came to them, and the Europeans didn’t have much that anyone wanted.

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In the 15 th century, Zheng He made a series of voyages that led to Chinese domination of the Indian Ocean. Zheng He’s ship compared to a caravel But the Chinese decided not to follow up.

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In the 16 th century, new ships called caravels helped Portuguese merchants conquer trade depots in the Indian Ocean. Spain followed.

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In 1492, Columbus reached the Americas and began a wave of European conquest and colonization there. Guns and steel swords gave the Europeans a huge advantage in battle, and the Aztecs and Incas happened to be in the middle of internal crises.

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European-American contact led to t he Columbian Exchange and the Great Dying.

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Labor-intensive sugar plantations led to demand for huge numbers of slaves from Africa. For the first time, slavery came to be associated with race rather than economic status or military losses.

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Rise in trade, growing European population and new silver sources led to massive inflation worldwide.

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All these things led to a world that was profoundly different in 1700 than in 1400.

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