Chapter 13 Notes WHAP - Political Transformations Chapter...

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Political TransformationsChapter 13European Empires in the AmericasThe European AdvantageEuropean innovations in mapmaking, navigation, sailing techniques, and ship design-- building on earlier models from the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean, and Chinese regions -- likewise enabled Europeans to penetrate the Atlantic OceanOnce the Americas were discovered, windfalls of natural resources, including highly productive agricultural lands, drove further expansion, ultimately underpinning the long-term growth of the European economy into the nineteenth and twentieth centuriesRulers were driven by the enduring rivalries of competing statesImpoverished nobles and commoners alike found opportunity for gaining wealth and status in the coloniesMissionaries and others were inspired by crusading zeal to enlarge the realm of Christendom Persecuted minorities were in search of a new start in lifeEuropeans states and trading companies enabled the effective mobilization of both human and material resourcesSeafaring technology, built on Chinese and Islamic precedents, allowed them to cross the AtlanticIronworking technology, gunpowder weapons, and horses initially had no parallel in the Americas, although many peoples subsequently acquired them Various subject peoples in the Aztec Empire resented Mexica domination and willingly joined Hernan Cortes in the Spanish assault on the empireSpanish military victories were not solely of their own making, but the product of alliances with local peoples, who supplied the bulk of the European’s conquering armiesThe most significant of European advantages lay in their germs and diseases, with which Native Americans had no familiarity Diseases decimated society after societyThe Great Dying and the Little Ice AgeGreatest concentration of people lived in the Mesoamerican and Andean zones, which were dominated by the Aztec and Inca empiresBrought smallpox, measles, typhus, influenza, malaria, and later, yellow feverThe settled peoples of the Caribbean virtually vanished within fifty years of Columbus's arrivalCentral Mexico, with a population estimated at some 10 to 20 million before the Spanish conquest, declined to about 1 million by 1650Little Ice Age
Debate in causesLow point in sunspot activityLeading to less intense solar irradiation of the earth Volcanic eruptionsWhose ash and gases blocked the sun’s warming energy in the upper atmosphereThe Great DyingResulted in the desertion of large areas of Native American farmland and ended the traditional practices of forest management through burning in many regionsCaused a resurgence in plant lifeTook large amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, out of the atmosphere, contributing to global coolingWeather conditions adversely affected food production in regions across the globeHelped spark the General Crisis

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