Transoceanic Encounters Chapter 19.pdf - By 1500 C.E...

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  • HIST 195
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1 | C h a p t e r 2 2 T r a n s o c e a n i c E n c o u n t e r s a n d G l o b a l C o n n e c t i o n s By 1500 C . E ., peoples throughout the world had built well-organized societies with distinctive cultural traditions. Powerful agricultural societies dominated most of Asia, the Mediterranean basin, Europe, much of sub-Saharan Africa, Mexico, and the central Andean region. Pastoral nomads thrived in the dry grassy regions of central Asia and Africa, and hunting and gathering societies with small populations survived in lands where cultivation and herding were not practical possibilities. The vast majority of the world's peoples, however, lived in agricultural societies that observed distinctive political, social, and cultural traditions. By 1500, peoples of the world had also established intricate transportation networks that supported travel, communication, and exchange between their societies. For more than a millennium, merchants had traveled the silk roads that linked lands from China to the Mediterranean basin, and mariners had plied the Indian Ocean and neighboring waters in connecting lands from Japan to east Africa. Caravan routes across the Sahara desert brought sub-Saharan west Africa into the larger economy of the eastern hemisphere. Although pioneered by merchants in the interests of trade, these transportation networks also supported cultural and biological exchanges. Several religious traditions most notably Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam traveled along the trade routes and attracted followers in distant lands. Similarly, food crops, animal stocks, and disease pathogens spread throughout much of the eastern hemisphere in premodern times. Transportation networks in the Americas and Oceania were not as extensive as those in the eastern hemisphere, but they also supported communication and exchange over long distances. Trade linked societies throughout North America, and seafarers routinely sailed between island groups in the central and western Pacific Ocean. Commercial, cultural, and biological exchanges of premodern times prefigured much more intense cross- cultural interactions after 1500. These later interactions followed the establishment of new transportation networks in the form of sea lanes linking the lands of the Indian, Atlantic, and Pacific Ocean basins. Beginning in the fifteenth century, European mariners sought new, all-sea routes to the markets of Asia. As a
2 | C h a p t e r 2 2 T r a n s o c e a n i c E n c o u n t e r s a n d G l o b a l C o n n e c t i o n s result of their exploratory voyages, they established trade routes throughout the world's oceans and entered into dealings with many of the world's peoples. The new sea lanes not only fostered direct contact between Europeans and the peoples of sub-Saharan Africa and Asia but also facilitated interaction among the peoples of the eastern hemisphere, the western hemisphere, and Oceania. In short, European mariners created globe-

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