WORLD HISTORY BEFORE 1500Fifteenth Century in a Global Context
WHY 1500?Christopher Columbus, Genoan sailor,travels to “New World” in 1492.Vasco da Gama, Portuguese navigator,sails around southern coast of Africa toIndia, 1497.Europe discovers the world, in a sense.Beginning of the formation of themodern world as we will come to knowit.
BEFORE 1500?Most of Europe still recovering fromcollapse of the Roman Empire in thefifth century.Most of world revolved around theIndian Ocean (1300s-1500).East Africa, the Middle East, South Asia,East Asia.Commonalities: spread of Islam,oceanic navigation, cross-culturalencounters, trade.
Interconnections in the global economy before 1500.
Indian subcontinent atthe end of thefifteenth century.
Indian subcontinentunder theexpansiveMughal Empire
ZHENG HEMuslim eunuch, closefriend of the Mingemperor, Yongle.1430s: Sailedthroughout IndianOcean: Sumatra,Java, Ceylon, India,Persia, Persian Gulf,Arabia, Red Sea, andE. Africa.Fleet of 300 ships (63massive junks);30,000 men.
(Left) Giraffe brought fromAfrica to China by Zheng Hein 1414;chi-lin.