Chapter 16-1


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THE WORLD: CHAPTER SIXTEEN QUESTIONS: How were empires the agents of change in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? Empires resulted in migration as well as exchange of technology, plants and animals, ideas, religion, politics, and art. The exchange of all types of life forms around the world starting approximately 500 years ago resulted in the world that we have today. Europe improved its maritime technology through contact with Asia. Asian economies were far richer then the European ones; easy access to trade in Asia brought great wealth to Europe. Sought after goods included textiles from India and China, porcelain from China and Japan, exotic foods, drugs, and spices. Pepper became a valuable commodity because of its use in food preservation. Spain and Portugal divided up trading empires into navigation zones so that they were not in conflict. The Portuguese got the Indian Ocean and quickly established a trading post at Goa. From there they established trade relations throughout the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, monopolizing the spice trade. In many ways the Portuguese were typical of maritime imperialism; they took ports, forced the indigenous population to trade with them, and attacked rival Europeans. Japanese and even more so, Chinese immigrants numbered among the largest segments of the populations of colonies in Asia. Some left to escape religious persecution but most left in pursuit of economic opportunities. These immigrants used the established mechanisms of European imperialism to achieve their goals. After 1684 when the Chinese government relaxed emigration, the Chinese became a major component of economics in the region, sending wealth home to China. Why were the Dutch able to replace the Portuguese as the main European imperial power in Asia? Beginning in 1498, the Portuguese fit in well with the Asian world and dominated Asian- European trade for over 100 years. By the 1620s local governments became impatient with the presence of sovereign ports, offshore trading, and the religious intolerance of the Portuguese which excluded Muslim and Hindu merchants. As Asian Empires expanded or became more interested in European trade, they began to expel the Portuguese. From 1640 onward, Portugal’s focus changed to the New World which had profitable sugar plantations in Brazil, a highly profitable slave trade, and a long-term war with Spain. The merchants from Other European countries were increasing in number in Asia, bringing a choice of trading partners. Little opportunity, civil war and a long maritime tradition resulted in merchants from the Netherlands breaking into Mediterranean trade in the late 16 th century. Holland was in rebellion against their ruler who happened to be the king of Spain. He succeeded to the Portuguese throne as well; Dutch maritimers began attacking their trade as well. In 1602 the merchants in Holland formed a joint-stock company to exploit the trading opportunities with Asia. The Dutch East
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This note was uploaded on 04/08/2008 for the course UGC 112 taught by Professor Barry during the Spring '08 term at SUNY Buffalo.

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