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Early Globalizations: East Meets West (1200s-1600s)

Purpose of Course  showclose

This course will introduce you to the history of the world’s major civilizations from medieval times to the early modern era.  You will learn about the pivotal political, economic, and social changes that took place in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and Europe during this period.  The course will be structured chronologically, with each unit focusing on the expansion or decline of a particular civilization or the interactions and exchanges between civilizations.  The units will include representative secondary and primary source documents that illustrate important overarching political, economic, and social themes, such as the transformation of western Europe during the Renaissance, the emergence of a more inclusive world economy, and the impact of early European exploration and colonization.  By the end of the course, you will understand how many different civilizations evolved from isolated societies into expansive, interconnected empires capable of exerting global influence.

Course Information  showclose

Welcome to HIST102.  Below, please find some general information on the course and its requirements.

Primary Resources: This course is composed of a range of free, online materials.  However, the course makes primary use throughout of Dr. Steven Kreis’s lectures in The History Guide series.  Sections of the course dealing with events in Asia also make frequent use of materials from Columbia University’s Asia for Educators website and video lectures from Harvard University’s Extension School.

Requirements for Completion: In order to complete this course, you will need to work through each unit and all of its assigned materials. Please give particular thought to the reading questions posed in each unit.  These questions are intended to highlight some of the main historical issues addressed in each unit, as well their connections with the larger themes of the course.

Finally, in order to earn a passing grade for this course you will need to obtain a score of 70% or higher on the final exam.  Your score on the exam will be tabulated as soon as you complete it.  If you do not pass the exam, you may take it again.

Time Commitment: This course should take you a total of approximately 78 hours to complete.  Note that the time advisory for each unit contains an estimate of the number of hours required to complete the work assigned in that unit.

Tips/Suggestions: It is extremely important that you give each assignment the amount of reading and review necessary to grasp the main points and lines of enquiry.  Also, on completing the assignments in each subunit, take a moment to consider how the materials you have just studied relate to the topics covered in previous sections of the course.



Learning Outcomes  showclose

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
  • Think critically and analytically about world history in the medieval and early modern eras.
  • Identify and describe the emergence, decline, and main features of the Byzantine Empire.
  • Identify the origins and characteristics of the European medieval period and describe the rapidly changing forces at work in society, the economy, and religion during this time.
  • Identify the origins of the Aztec and Inca civilizations and assess how these empires affected socio-economic development in the Americas.
  • Identify the origins of the Tang and Song dynasties in China and assess the impact of these empires on Chinese government, society, religion, and economy during what scholars refer to as the “golden age.”
  • Identify the origins of the Mongol Empire, which dominated much of Asia in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Students will analyze the nature of this empire created by nomads.
  • Identify the reasons for a changing balance in the world economy in the 1400s and analyze why Europe superseded Asia as the most dominant civilization on the globe.
  • Assess how and why the European Age of Discovery had such a large impact on the New World, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
  • Identify the origins and characteristics of the Renaissance and describe its impact on European civilization as a whole.
  • Identify the origins of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation in Europe and assess how this movement altered the social, political, and religious fabric of Europe.
  • Identify the origins of colonial Brazil and New Spain. Students will also be able to assess the impact of Spanish and Portuguese colonization on the New World, Africa, and Europe.
  • Identify the origins of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal empires and assess the unique characteristics of these dynasties and their impact upon Asia and the world.
  • Identify the origins of the Atlantic slave trade, assessing how this forced migration of peoples affected Africa, Africans, Europe, and the New World.
  • Analyze and describe the Asian trading world, the Ming dynasty in China, the “warring states,” and early modern eras in Japan.
  • Analyze and interpret primary source documents from the medieval period to the early modern era using historical research methods.

Course Requirements  showclose

In order to take this course, you must:

√    Have access to a computer

√    Have continuous broadband internet access

√    Have the ability/permission to install plug-ins or software (e.g. Adobe Reader or Flash)

√    Have the ability to download and save files and documents to a computer

√    Have the ability to open Microsoft files and documents (.doc, .ppt., .xls, etc.)

√    Have competency in the English language

√    Have read the Saylor Student Handbook.

Unit Outline show close


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  • Unit 1: Globalization and History  

    The resources in this short, introductory section will discuss some of the meanings and developments associated with the term globalization and the manner in which they have been used by historians to account for changes in the lives of peoples throughout the world over time. One of the major insights to be gained from these resources is that the cultural and political practices (laws, languages, religions, etc.) of any given society tend in some measure to reflect the effects of interactions with the larger world, whether brought about by migration, trade or conquest.  Students should keep the concepts found here in mind as they progress through the course.  The following units will in fact present numerous examples of the diverse forms of encounter and “interconnectedness” described in the resources below, as well as their many causes and consequences.

    Unit 1 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 1 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 1.1 Globalization: Meanings and Historical Contexts  
  • Subunit 1.1 Assessment  
    • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 1 Essay: Globalization”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 1 Essay: Globalization” (HTML)

      Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

      • Unit 1 provides an overview of the meanings associated with the term globalization.  In describing this concept the authors of our resources often refer to forms of cultural blending and “interconnectedness.”  Using examples found in the resources, please identify several of the ways in which this can occur.  Again, illustrate your answer with references to specific events discussed in the unit assignments and their effects.

        Tips for getting started:  This question asks you to consider the different forms of interaction between states and peoples that have taken place throughout history.  As indicated in the unit assignments, these interactions involve a range of encounters and exchanges in the political, social, economic and cultural spheres.  It may in fact be helpful to organize your answer around these different themes.  For example, what are some forms of economic interaction that involve multiple parts of the world and what kinds of cultural changes can they bring about in the societies involved?

    • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation's “Reading Questions for Subunit 1.1”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation's “Reading Questions for Subunit 1.1” (PDF)

      Instructions: Complete the linked assessment. When you are finished, compare your response to The Saylor Foundation's “Guide to Responding to Subunit 1.1 Reading Questions”. (PDF)

  • Unit 2: Europe: East and West  

    In the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire, two major civilizations emerged in Europe during the early medieval period.  The Byzantine Empire, which encompassed territory in the Balkans, the Middle East, and the eastern Mediterranean, maintained a highly advanced political, cultural, and economical system between 500 and 1450 C.E.   Orthodox Christianity defined characteristics of Byzantium and helped expand the empire’s influence in eastern Europe, Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia.  Meanwhile, another form of Christianity that had no imperial center, Catholicism, developed in western and central Europe.  Although areas of small kingdoms diffused in the early Middle Ages, the fiefdoms of western Europe had shared some common ground—Latin as lingua franca, the Catholic Church, and feudal society.

    In this unit, we will first study a broad overview of Byzantine civilization before looking at its more specific components—Orthodox Christianity, imperial law and government, and Byzantine society.  We will then turn our attention to an examination of medieval western Europe, beginning with the historical context of the medieval era and the definition of the term “Middle Ages.”  We will then study the emergence of the powerful Carolingian Empire, the expanding scope and power of the medieval Catholic Church, the significance of feudalism and manorialism in medieval society, and the devastating impact of the Black Death.

    Unit 2 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 2 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 2.1 The Byzantine Empire  
  • 2.1.1 The Division of the Roman Empire and Collapse in the West  
    • Reading: Boise State University: Professor E.L.S. Knox’s “The Fall of Rome”

      Link: Boise State University Professor: E.L.S. Knox’s “The Fall of Rome” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read links 1-7 on the left hand-side of the page.  These texts describe the events surrounding the division of the Roman Empire, the eastern half of which later became known as the Byzantine Empire, and the collapse of Roman power in the west.  In addition to providing an overview of the major events of the era, Professor Knox describes some of the ongoing debates between historians concerning the factors most responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.1.2 Byzantine Society and Civilization  
  • 2.1.3 Orthodox Christianity in Eastern Europe  
    • Reading: University of Oregon: Professor Robert Kimball’s “Olga, Anna and the Christianization of the Rus”

      Link: University of Oregon: Professor Robert Kimball’s “Olga, Anna and the Christianization of the Rus” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Please read all of this text, which describes the key roles played by the Russian princess Olga and the Byzantine Princess Anna in the spread of Orthodox Christianity among the Rus.  In addition to providing an introduction to the lives and experiences of these interesting figures and the “nuptial diplomacy” of the day, the author describes the larger geo-political context in which this important episode of cultural transfer took place.  Finally, please give some thought to the manner in which the events described here reflect the processes or patterns of globalization described in the resources from Unit 1.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Subunit 2.1 Assessment  
  • 2.2 Western Europe: The Middle Ages  
    • Reading: California Institute of Technology: Professor Warren C. Brown’s “What’s ‘Middle’ About the Middle Ages?”

      Link: California Institute of Technology: Professor Warren C. Brown’s “What’s ‘Middle’ about the Middle Ages?” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: We turn now from Byzantium to Western Europe and consider developments in that part of the continent during the so-called “middle ages.”  Please use the pdf link to the article at the center of the page and read all of this text.  As you will find, the author provides an engaging introduction to medieval European history, as well as the manner in which our perceptions of the era often conflict with what scholars have learned through careful research and analysis of the surviving sources. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 2.2.1 Charlemagne I and the Carolingians  
  • 2.2.2 Charlemagne, Chivalry and the Medieval Imagination  
  • 2.2.3 The Medieval Catholic Church  
  • 2.2.4 Feudalism and Manorialism  
  • 2.2.5 The Black Death  
  • Subunit 2.2 Assessment  
    • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 2 Essay: Christianity”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 2 Essay: Christianity” (HTML)

      Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

      • The resources in Unit 2 describe the political and cultural history of the Byzantine Empire and Western Europe during the early middle ages. Although Christianity played an important role in both of these worlds, was it practiced in the same way and subject to the same authorities?

        Tips for getting started: In this assignment we are using the subject of religion as a vehicle for exploring the political and cultural boundaries and relations between Byzantium and Western Europe. It may in fact be helpful to introduce your response in this manner. In preparing your answer, closely review the resources for references to the ideas and customs shared by Christians of these two worlds as well as the points that separated them 

    • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 2.2"

      Link: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 2.2" (PDF)

      Instructions: Please complete the assessment linked above.  When you are finished, compare your response to The Saylor Foundation's "Guide to Responding to Subunit 2.2's Reading Questions." (PDF)

  • Unit 3: The Americas: Aztecs and Incas  

    When Christopher Columbus landed in the New World in 1492, he mistakenly referred to the native inhabitants as “Indians,” thus implying that all peoples in the Americas shared the same identity.  But that was not the case.  During the postclassical era, also known as the medieval period, civilization in the Americas was comprised of many diverse societies that developed largely in isolation from the rest of the world.  However, two major centralized civilizations emerged during this period: the Aztecs and the Incas.  

    In this unit, we will begin by studying a broad overview of the Aztec Empire, which emerged in what is now called Central America.  We will then examine more specific aspects of the Aztecs—their religion, society, and culture, as well as their great city at Tenochtitlan.  We will then examine the emergence of the Inca Empire in the Andes Mountains of South America.

    Unit 3 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 3 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 3.1 Rise of the Aztecs  
  • 3.1.1 Aztec Society and Culture  
  • 3.1.2 Tenochtitlan  
    • Reading: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heidi King’s “Tenochtitlan”

      Link: Metropolitan Museum of Art: Heidi King’s “Tenochtitlan” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage in order to get a sense of the scale and sophistication of this prominent Aztec city.
       
      Note on the Text: This article is written by Heidi King, who is the Research Associate in the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Subunit 3.1 Assessment  
  • 3.2 World of the Incas  
    • Web Media: PBS NOVA: “Secrets of Lost Empires”: “The Inca Empire”

      Link:  PBS NOVA: “Secrets of Lost Empires”: “The Inca Empire” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the transcript of this video to get an overview of the most advanced civilization of the Americas, the Incas—with an emphasis on Incan stone building.  
      Note on the Media: This short documentary gives insight into the geographical location of the Incan civilization.  Also, the film explores Incan engineering with the use of stone, featuring the opinions of prominent anthropologists.  This documentary was originally part of NOVA, the televised science series on PBS.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 3.2.1 Inca Society, Religion, and Expansion  
    • Reading: Boundless: “The Incas”

      Link: Boundless: “The Incas” (PDF)

      Instructions: This article will discuss three important aspects of Incan culture: Machu Picchu, which was the administrative and religious center for the Inca Empire; the production of textiles among the Inca and the influence of earlier cultures on Inca art; and the Inca craft production and the cultural significance of metals.

      Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. It is attributed to Boundless and the original version can be found here.

  • 3.2.2 The Incas and European Explorers  
    • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Pedro de Cieza de Léon’s Chronicles of the Incas, 1540

      Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of Pedro de Cieza de Léon’s Chronicles of the Incas (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the entire excerpt to get a sense of Léon’s descriptions of the Incas.
       
      Note on the text: In this 1540 text, the conquistador Pedro de Cieza de Léon describes the nature of the Inca economy.  Less directly, the author illustrates the hierarchy of Inca society.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above

    • Assessment: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 11, Multiple Choice Quiz

      Link: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 11, Multiple Choice Quiz” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please take the assigned multiple choice quiz on this webpage in order to assess your understanding of Americas on the eve of European invasion.  Click the “Submit Answers for Grading” at the bottom of the page to go to the answer key for the quiz.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 3 Essay: The Incan and Aztec Empires”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 3 Essay: The Incan and Aztec Empires” (HTML)

      Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

      • Please describe in this essay what historians and archaeologists have learned about Incan and Aztec civilization based on research conducted at Tenochtitlan and Macchu Picchu.

        Tips for getting started: This assignment asks you to demonstrate what you have learned about the efforts of historians and archaeologists to reconstruct the world of the ancient Aztec and Incan peoples from the remains of their great cities. What do these findings suggest about the religious beliefs, politics, social systems and/or everyday life in these empires? It may also be interesting for you to indicate the types of questions that scholars continue to seek answers for in their research. 

  • Unit 4: China's Golden Age  

    After the fall of the Han dynasty in 589 C.E., China descended into political and cultural turmoil.  The bureaucracy collapsed and a “foreign” religion—Buddhism— replaced Confucianism as the primary force in cultural life.  Decline was evident in most aspects of Chinese society—including in technology, the economy, and urban areas.  But beginning in the latter sixth century, two successive dynasties restored the Chinese bureaucracy and economy.  As we will see in this unit, the Tang and the Song reinvigorated the Chinese political system and revived the Confucian order.  In fact, these influential dynasties ushered in China’s “golden age.”

    In this unit, we will begin by examining the downfall of the Sui dynasty and the subsequent emergence of the Tang and Song dynasties.  We will then turn our attention to the changes and developments in government, society, the arts, and the economy during this “golden age.”

    Unit 4 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 4 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 4.1 Downfall of the Sui and Emergence of the Tang  
  • 4.1.1 The Tang: Religion, Bureaucracy, and the Scholar-Gentry  
  • Subunit 4.1 Assessment  
  • 4.2 The Song (Sung) Dynasty  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: “The Song Dynasty in China.”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: “The Song Dynasty in China” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  In this section of the unit we begin a study of the Song dynasty in China.  In doing so, we will make particularly heavy use of a course of readings on Columbia University’s Asia for Educators site.  Please use the link below to   access and read the entire first page in this program.  As you will find, the authors provide some key dates in Song history, a geographical depiction of the dynasty’s power, and a few reflections on its historical “significance,” subjects that will be explored in greater depth in the sections that follow.  Please give some thought throughout to matters of continuity and change in the social, economic and political affairs of Song and Tang era China.    
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.2.1 Imperial Power and Confucian Revival  
  • 4.2.2 Technological Advances  
  • 4.2.3 Urban Life and Architecture  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: The Song Dynasty in China: “Cities”

      Link: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: The Song Dynasty in China: “Cities” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this page on the growth of cities during the Song period   before continuing on to the pages entitled “Hangzhou & the Urban Elite,” “Temples & Religious Life,” and “The Rainbow Bridge.”
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.2.4 Scholar-Officials and the Neo-Confucian Revival  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Asia for Educators: The Song Dynasty in China: “Confucianism”

      Link:  Columbia University: Asia for Educators: The Song Dynasty in China: “Confucianism” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read all of this text on the Scholar-Officials whose training provides an important illustration of what the authors have called the “Song Confucian Revival.” Continue on from here to the pages entitled “The Three Perfections & Su Shi,” and “Neo-Confucianism: Family, Women, Children.”  
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 4.2.5 Relations with the Outside World  
  • 4.3 Changes and Innovations  
  • 4.3.1 Rise of the Scholar-Gentry  
    • Reading: Pennsylvania State University’s East Asian History Textbooks: Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 8: The Middle Dynasties”

      Link: Pennsylvania State University’s East Asian History Textbooks: Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History:  “Chapter 8: The Middle Dynasties” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click the link on the left marked “Rise of the Scholar-Gentry Class.”  Please read the section entitled “Rise of the Scholar-Gentry Class” in this chapter to get a sense of the “scholars” of the Middle Dynasties period in China and why they were designated a distinct social class.
       
      Note on the Text: This website is authored and maintained by Dr. Gregory James, who teaches History and East Asian Studies at Penn State University.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

  • 4.3.2 Changes in Government  
    • Reading: Pennsylvania State University’s East Asian History Textbooks: Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 8: The Middle Dynasties”

      Link: Pennsylvania State University’s East Asian History Textbooks: Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 8: The Middle Dynasties” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click on the link on the left entitled “Structure of Government.”  Please read the section entitled “Structure of Government” in this chapter to learn about the hierarchy of government officials during the Middle Dynasties period in China.
       
      Note on the Text: This website is authored and maintained by Dr. Gregory James, who teaches History and East Asian Studies at Penn State University.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

  • 4.3.3 Demographic Changes  
    • Reading: Pennsylvania State University’s East Asian History Textbooks: Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 8: The Middle Dynasties”

      Link: Pennsylvania State University’s East Asian History Textbooks: Topics in Pre-Modern Chinese History: “Chapter 8: The Middle Dynasties” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Click the link on the left entitled “Demographic Changes.” Read the section entitled “Demographic Changes” in this chapter to get a sense of the population and migration patterns during the Middle Dynasties period in China.
       
      Note on the Text: This website is authored and maintained by Dr. Gregory James, who teaches History and East Asian Studies at Penn State University.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

      The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

      Submit Materials

  • 4.3.4 Art and Scholarship  
    • Reading: Washington State University: Arthur Waley’s version of Li Po's "Drinking Alone by Moonlight"

      Link: Washington State University: Arthur Waley’s version of Li Po's "Drinking Alone by Moonlight" (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the entire poem, paying attention to the poet’s emphasis on nature—a hallmark of Tang poetry.
       
      Note on the text:  This poem is thought to be Li Po’s most famous work.  Li Po wrote over a thousand poems during the Tang era and is considered one of China’s most famous poets.  However, he was a Daoist and received criticism from Confucian supporters during the Tang and Song eras.  His poetry influenced many later Western artists, including Gustav Mahler and Ezra Pound.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Assessment: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 12, Multiple Choice Quiz”

      Link: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 12, Multiple Choice Quiz” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please take the assigned multiple choice quiz on this webpage in order to assess your understanding of the “golden age” of
      China—the Tang and Song dynasties.  Click on “Submit Answers for Grading” at the bottom of the page to link to the answer key for the quiz.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 4 Essay: The “Golden Age” of China”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 4 Essay: The “Golden Age” of China” (HTML)

      Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

      • The Tang and Song eras are often referred to as the “golden age” of China. Based on your study of the resources from Unit 4, what are some of the developments in politics and culture that might be cited by scholars in support of this view?

        Tips for getting started: Please review all the resources from the unit closely in order to gain a clear understanding of what scholars mean by a “golden age” and the factors that serve to distinguish this time period in Chinese history from those which came before and after. What are some of the terms that appear to surface often in connection with these themes – wealth, power, influence, artistic vitality and innovation? Include examples from these different spheres of Tang and Song era life to illustrate your points.

  • Unit 5: The Mongol Empire  

    The Mongols—nomads of central Asia—dominated world history during the thirteenth century.  The Mongols invaded many postclassical empires and built an extensive cultural and commercial network.  Led by Chinggis Khan and his successors, the Mongols brought China, Persia, Tibet, Asia Minor, and southern Russia under their control.  Often portrayed as barbarians and destructive warriors, most of the peoples conquered by the Mongols lived in relative peace, enjoyed religious tolerance, and had a unified law code.  The Mongol empire also opened trade routes and communication between different regions in Asia.  As will see in this unit, the Mongols presented a formidable nomadic challenge to sedentary, civilized societies throughout Asia.

    In this unit, we will begin by examining who the nomadic Mongols were and what motivated their ambitious expansion.  We will then turn our attention to specific Mongol rulers, the Mongol military machine, and the nature of the Mongol imperial system.  We will also examine Mongol rule in China, called the Yuan Dynasty, and its impact on Chinese culture.  Finally, we will study outsiders’ perceptions of Mongol rule and conquest.

    Unit 5 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 5 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 5.1 The Mongols  
  • 5.1.1 Reasons for Conquest  
    • Reading: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquests”: “What Led to the Conquests?”

      Link: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquests”: “What Led to the Conquests?” (HTML)

      Also available in:
      PDF (p. 7-8) (At the bottom of the right column, select link "Transcript (PDF)" and scroll down to page 7)
       
      Instructions: Please read the entirety of this section to get a sense of what motivated the Mongol conquest of Asia.
       
      Note on the Text: This text was created by the Asia for Educators Program at Columbia University under the direction of Professor Morris Rossabi, who teaches Chinese History at both CUNY and Columbia University.  This project was funded by The Freeman Foundation.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.1.2 Chinggis Khan  
  • 5.1.3 Conquering a Vast Territory  
  • 5.1.4 The Pax Mongolica  
    • Reading: Silkroad Foundation: Professor Daniel C. Waugh’s “The Pax Mongolica”

      Link: Silkroad Foundation: Professor Daniel C. Waugh’s The Pax Mongolica (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage, which discusses Waugh’s contention that relative peace characterized the Mongol Empire in the wake of their military conquests.
       
      Note on the Text: Author, Daniel C. Waugh, is a professor at the University of Washington, Seattle.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above

  • 5.1.5 Empire’s Collapse  
    • Reading: Columbia University: “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquests”: “The Collapse of the Empire”

      Link: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: “The Collapse of the Empire” (HTML)
       
      Also available in:
      PDF (p.11-12) (At the bottom of the right column, select link "Transcript (PDF)" and scroll down to page 11)
       
      Instructions: Please read the entirety of this section in order to get a sense of how the struggles among Mongol leaders led to a breakdown in power in the empire.
       
      Note on the Text: This text was created by the Asia for Educators Program at Columbia University under the direction of Professor Morris Rossabi, who teaches Chinese History at both CUNY and Columbia University.  This project was funded by The Freeman Foundation.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Subunit 5.1 Assessment  
  • 5.2 The Mongols in China  
  • 5.2.1 The Mongols’ Influence on China  
  • 5.2.2 Kubilai Khan in China  
    • Reading: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: “Kubilai Khan in China”

      Link: Columbia University’s “The Mongols in World History: The Mongol Conquest”: “Kubilai Khan in China”(HTML)
       
      Also available in:
      PDF (p. 13) (At the bottom of the right column, select link "Transcript (PDF)" and scroll down to page 13)
       
      Instructions: Please read the entirety of this section on Kubilai Khan’s rule in China.
       
      Note on the Text: This text was created by the Asia for Educators Program at Columbia University under the direction of Professor Morris Rossabi, who teaches Chinese History at both CUNY and Columbia University.  This project was funded by The Freeman Foundation.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 5.2.3 Life in China under Mongol Rule  
  • 5.2.4 Beginnings of Mongol Collapse  
  • 5.3 The Pastoral-Nomadic Life of the Mongols  
  • 5.3.1 Nomads  
  • 5.4 Perceptions of the Mongols  
  • 5.4.1 Persian Views  
  • 5.4.2 The Mongols and Christian Europe  
    • Reading: Michigan State University: Robert Marshall’s Selections from Storm from the East: from Genghis Khan to Khubilai Khan

      Link: Michigan State University: Robert Marshall’s Selections from Storm from the East: from Genghis Khan to Khubilai Khan  (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Please read the entire webpage to get a sense of how medieval European Christians perceived the Mongol conquests of Asia and the Middle East.
       
      Note on the Text: These selections from “Chapter 5: From Prester John to Cultural Strangers” comes from Marshall’s textbook Storm from the East: from Genghis Khan to Khubilai Khan, which is published by University of California Press (1993).
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Stetson University: “Correspondence between Roman Pope and Great Khan”

      Link: Stetson University: “Correspondence between Roman Pope and Great Khan” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  By the middle of the Thirteenth Century Mongol armies had penetrated into Central Europe.  These events inspired a response from Pope Innocent IV who dispatched emissaries to the Great Khan in 1245.  As you will find in the subsequent exchange of letters included on this page, Pope and Khan appeared to have very different views on how one should interpret the“commands of Heaven.” 
       
      Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

    • Assessment: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 14, Multiple Choice Quiz”

      Link: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 14, Multiple Choice Quiz” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please take the assigned multiple choice quiz on this webpage in order to assess your understanding of the empire built by the Mongols.  Click the “Submit Answers for Grading” at the bottom of the webpage to link to the answer key.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 5 Essay: The Nature of Mongol Rule”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 5 Essay: The Nature of Mongol Rule” (HTML)

      Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

      • As the resources in Unit 5 indicate, the Mongol Empire extended across a considerable part of the world. In this assignment you will compare what different historians featured in our resources have to say about the nature of Mongol rule. Specifically, do you find any major similarities or differences of opinion in their assessments of Mongol policies and attitudes towards the populations under their control?

        Tips for getting started: This assignment is intended to reinforce our understanding of the interpretive nature of historical scholarship. That is to say that it is not uncommon for historians to arrive at different perspectives or conclusions on the causes or nature of the same event. Your review of the resources from the unit may suggest several possible subjects upon which there exists a range of opinion. These may include Mongol attitudes toward local religious traditions, taxation or the use of force. You may in fact find it helpful to organize your comparison in this fashion. 

  • Unit 6: A Changing World Balance  

    By 1400, a fundamental shift was occurring among the world’s civilizations.  Chinese and Middle Eastern empires had been at the forefront of civilization for hundreds of years; sophisticated methods of governance, trade systems, and technology allowed them to exert near-global influence.  But Mongol invaders from the East undermined the preeminent role of the Islamic and Chinese empires.  For a time, the Ming dynasty of China attempted to fill the power vacuum that appeared when the Mongols conquered eastern Europe and Asia Minor.  Meanwhile, internal and dynastic struggles continued to upset affairs in western Europe, where some states and kingdoms nevertheless experienced a rise in political and commercial power.

    In this unit, we will examine world civilizations in a comparative light to see how and why western European society eclipsed other powerful civilizations in Asia.  We will first examine the transition from an Asian-dominated world economy to a European-dominated one.  We will then consider the two emerging European empires—Spain and Portugal—who spearheaded trade and conquest in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and the New World.  Finally, we will study the Age of Discovery and its impact on native peoples, Europe, and the balance of world trade.

    Unit 6 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 6 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 6.1 The Changing World Balance  
  • 6.1.1 The Asian-Based World Economy  
  • 6.1.2 Rise of the European Economy  
  • 6.2 The Age of Discovery  
    • Reading: Concepcion Saenz-Camba’s “The Atlantic World, 1492-1600”

      Link: Concepcion Saenz-Camba’s “The Atlantic World, 1492-1600” (PDF)

      Instructions: Please read the sections titled “Introduction” and “The First Atlantic Encounters” in their entirety.  These readings will help you gain an understanding of the circumstances that led to one of the momentous times in history, the opening of the Atlantic World, and the subsequent discovery of the New World.  

      Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of Concepcion Saenz-Camba.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder.

  • 6.2.1 Reasons and Motivations  
  • 6.2.2 Portuguese Traders and Explorers  
    • Reading: University of Calgary: Applied History Research Group: The European Voyages of Exploration: “Portugal”

      Link: University of Calgary: Applied History Research Group: The European Voyages of Exploration: “Portugal” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Portugal was one of the major powers in the European Age of Discovery.  Please read this page, which describes the state of kingdom at the beginning of this period.  At the bottom of the page, use the “proceed with tutorial” link to read the sections on “Prince Henry the Navigator,” “Prince Henry the Navigator: The Lure of Trade,” and “Prince Henry the Navigator: An Assessment.”  We will return to the subject of Portuguese exploration and empire-building in section 8.2 of the course when we deal with the colonization of Brazil.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 6.2.3 The Spanish  
    • Reading: University of Calgary: Applied History Project: The European Voyages of Exploration: “Spain”

      Link: University of Calgary: Applied History Project: The European Voyages of Exploration: “Spain” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this text, which describes the political situation in Spain during the first stages of the “Age of Discovery” and, specifically, the unification of Aragon and Castile. Use the “proceed with the tutorial” link at the bottom of the page to read about early Spanish exploration in the Western Hemisphere (do not continue beyond this page).  We will return to this subject in section 8.1 when dealing with the rise of the Spanish empire in the Americas.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History: Laurence Bergreen’s “Magellan: Missing in Action”

      Link: The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History: Laurence Bergreen’s “Magellan: Missing in Action” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Read this article, which describes the exploits of Ferdinand Magellan - a native of Portugal whose voyages were nevertheless sponsored by the Spanish monarchy. In addition to providing some basic facts about Magellan’s aims and experiences, the author offers further reflection on the factors that have affected the way he has been treated in history.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 6.2.4 The English in the New World  
  • 6.2.5 The Dutch in the New World  
  • 6.2.6 Native Americans and Europeans  
  • 6.3 Trade and Exchange  
  • Subunit 6.3 Assessment  
    • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 6.3"

      Link: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 6.3" (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Once you have worked through all of the assigned resources in the subunit above, please open the linked PDF and respond to all questions.  When you are done--or if you are stuck--please check your work against The Saylor Foundation's "Guide to Responding to Reading Questions for Subunit 6.3" (PDF).

    • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 6 Essay: Primary and Secondary Sources”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 6 Essay: Primary and Secondary Sources” (HTML)

      Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

      • Our knowledge of history is built first and foremost from the analysis of primary sources. In the case of Unit 6, what kinds of primary sources are used by the authors of our resources to create a picture of the Native American peoples and culture?

        Tips for getting started: It is very important that students of history know how to distinguish primary sources from secondary sources and this assignment will test your ability to do so. Remember, primary sources are books, letters, reports, diaries, laws, material goods, art, etc. produced during the time period that the historian is writing about. In contrast, the book or article written by the historian as a result of this research is a secondary source. Please read the resources from this section carefully and keep a close watch out for the various materials from the time period which the historians use to recreate the lives and cultures of Native Americans.  

  • Unit 7: Transformation of the West  

    Beginning in the fifteenth century, western Europe underwent a number of profound changes.  First, Europe developed many commercial and manufacturing centers that encouraged contact with other civilizations, primarily in Asia.  Second, quarrels within the Catholic Church resulted in a new division among Christians along Catholic or Protestant lines.  In addition, the rise of rational scientific ideas and new political philosophies shaped European government and society.  

    In this unit, we will begin by studying the advent of the European Renaissance.  We will define what “Renaissance” actually meant and how it differed from the medieval period; we will examine influential Renaissance thinkers and their ideas, as well as the larger impact of the Renaissance on European civilization as a whole.  We will then turn our attention to the fundamental changes occurring in the religious landscape of this era: namely, the Protestant Reformation.  Finally, we will take a look at the early scientific revolution and new approaches toward art and architecture.

    Unit 7 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 7 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 7.1 The Idea of the Renaissance  
  • 7.1.1 Origins of the Renaissance  
  • 7.1.2 From Medieval to Renaissance  
  • 7.1.3 Portraits of the Renaissance  
  • Subunit 7.1 Assessment  
  • 7.2 Renaissance Thought and Thinkers  
  • 7.2.1 Humanism  
  • 7.2.2 Renaissance Neo-Platonism  
  • 7.2.3 Pico della Mirandola  
  • 7.2.4 Niccoló Machiavelli  
    • Reading: The Constitution Society's version of Niccoló Machiavelli’s The Prince

      Link: The Constitution Society's version of Niccoló Machiavelli’s The Prince (HTML)
       
      Also available in:
      Google Books

      Instructions: Read the entire text, paying special attention to the manner in which Machiavelli separates ethics from political pragmatism. See, for example, Chapters 15 to 21 for the author’s specific advice on the principles that should guide “the prince’s” exercise of state power.
       
      Note on the text: This political treatise was written by Niccolò Machiavelli, a Florentine political theorist, in the sixteenth century. In an era of constant conflict among Italian city-states, Machiavelli asserts that the greatest moral good is a virtuous and stable state. Even if actions taken to preserve the state are immoral, Machiavelli argues, they remain justified. The text, with its “end justifies the means” pragmatism, had a deep impact on Western philosophy.
       
      Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

    • Reading: Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “Machiavelli”

      Link: Reading: Stanford University Encyclopedia of Philosophy: “Machiavelli” (HTML)

      Instructions: Please read the opening paragraph on this page followed by the sections entitled “1. Biography” and “2. The Prince: Analyzing Power.”  These passages will give you an introduction to the life and work of the Florentine philosopher Machiavelli, author of one of the most influential and widely read treatises on government, The Prince.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 7.2.5 Leonardo da Vinci  
  • 7.3 The Church  
  • 7.3.1 The Protestant Reformation  
  • 7.3.2 Impact of Luther and the Radical Reformation  
  • 7.3.3 Catholic Counter-Reformation  
    • Reading: Boise State University: Professor E.L. S. Knox’s “The Council of Trent”

      Link: Boise State University: Professor E.L. S. Knox’s “The Council of Trent” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Please read all of this text in which Boise State Professor E.L. S. Knox describes the Council of Trent (1545-1563), an event that the author terms “one of the foundations of the Counter Reformation.” Professor Knox goes on to identify some of the steps taken by those participating in the Council to reform the Catholic Church. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 7.4 New Ideas in Art and Science  
  • 7.4.1 The Early Scientific Revolution  
  • 7.4.2 Architecture  
    • Reading: Columbia University: Department of Art History and Archaeology: “Renaissance Architecture”

      Link: Columbia University: Department of Art History and Archaeology:  “Renaissance Architecture” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions:  Please read the introduction to Renaissance architecture on this site and then proceed to the extensive photo gallery on the right-hand side of the screen.  These images will illustrate the points made in the introduction concerning the northern and southern European iterations of Renaissance architecture as well as provide panoramic views of some of the most iconic structures from the period.  
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Assessment: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 17, Multiple Choice Quiz”

      Link: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 17, Multiple Choice Quiz” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please take the assigned multiple choice quiz on this webpage in order to assess your understanding of the European Renaissance and the Protestant Reformation.  Click on “Submit Answers for Grading” at the end of the webpage to access the answer key for the quiz.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 7 Essay: The Renaissance”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 7 Essay: The Renaissance” (HTML)

      Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

      • One of our learning outcomes for this course is to be able to identify major developments in art and culture that characterize the Renaissance and distinguish it from other periods. To demonstrate your grasp of this subject please describe and compare the works of two Renaissance era artists and indicate how their works illuminate some of the predominant themes, styles and interests of this era.

        Tips for getting started: The resources in Unit 7 have introduced you to a wide range of figures who could be used for an analysis of the kind specified above. Note that you might consider artists from different genres, including painters, sculptors, architects and writers (of course, in some cases, the people in question worked in multiple mediums!). Please also keep in mind the point made throughout the unit regarding the relationship between the artists of the Renaissance and the traditions which preceded them. Your ability to speak for example about both the continuities and departures between Renaissance and medieval culture will add important nuance to your answer.

  • Unit 8: Early Latin and South America  

    Beginning in the fifteenth century, the empires of Portugal and Spain founded large colonies in Latin America.  As a result of these conquests, disease and warfare destroyed or transformed many of the native peoples who lived there.  Gradually, a new syncretic civilization emerged in the Americas and became an integral part of the world market.  Societies comprised of Africans, Spanish, Portuguese, and native peoples developed a sophisticated market economy driven by gold and silver mining as well as plantation agriculture.  We will see how the colonial systems implemented by the Spanish and Portuguese in the New World had roots in the political and religious institutions of Europe.

    In this unit, we will begin by examining the founding of Spain’s first New World colony—New Spain—in an area now known as Mexico.  We will study how the Spanish defeated the Aztec empire and subsequently erected a colonial government and economy.  We will then turn to Portugal’s main colonial enterprise in the Americas—Brazil.  We will study Brazil’s indigenous population and the effects of Portuguese colonization, as well as the evolution of Brazil’s economy from plantation agriculture to mining.

    Unit 8 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 8 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 8.1 New Spain  
  • 8.1.1 The Spanish Conquest  
    • Reading: MexConnect: Dale Hoyt Palfrey’s “The Spanish Conquest (1519-1521)”

      Link: MexConnect: Dale Hoyt Palfrey’s “The Spanish Conquest (1519-1521)” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read the entirety of this webpage in order to get a sense of the Spanish conquistadores’ defeat of the Aztec Empire.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Canadian Libraries Internet Archive’s version of Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s True History of the Conquest of Mexico

      Link: Canadian Libraries Internet Archive’s version of Bernal Diaz del Castillo’s True History of the Conquest of Mexico (HTML)
       
      Also available in:
      Kindle
      Google Books
      eBook
      PDF
       
      Instructions: Read Chapters 7 and 8 for Castillo’s description of the Aztec capital city as well as the course of negotiations between Montezuma and the Spanish force.
       
      Note on the text: You may view this text online or on the device of your choice, or you may choose to download the PDF version. This account, written around 1568, describes the invasion of Mexico by Don Hernán Cortés and his 600 Spanish conquistadors in 1519. Despite their advanced society, the Aztecs were no match for European disease and warfare; three years later, in 1521, the Aztec capital surrendered to Cortés. Written from the perspective of the European conquerors, this document is one of only a few texts that elucidates the collision of Spanish and Aztec cultures in the New World.
       
      Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

  • 8.1.2 The Founding of New Spain  
  • 8.1.3 Conversion of Indigenous Peoples  
  • 8.1.4 Colonial Economy  
  • 8.1.5 Encomienda  
  • Subunit 8.1 Assessment  
  • 8.2 The Portuguese in Brazil  
  • 8.2.1 The Indigenous Population  
  • 8.2.2 Frontier Expansion  
  • 8.2.3 Early Colonization  
  • 8.2.4 French and Dutch Incursions  
  • 8.2.5 Gold Mining and Cane Farming  
    • Reading: US Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s Brazil: A Country Study: “Gold Mining Displaces Cane Farming”

      Link: US Library of Congress: Rex A. Hudson’s Brazil: A Country Study: “Gold Mining Displaces Cane Farming” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Read this article about how the discovery of gold in colonial Brazil began supplanting the sugar economy.
       
      Note on the Text: This website contains electronic texts of previous publications printed by the Library of Congress and sponsored by the U.S. Department of the Army from 1986-1998.
       
      Terms of Use: This resource is in the public domain.

    • Assessment: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 19, Multiple Choice Quiz”

      Link: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 19, Multiple Choice Quiz” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please take the assigned multiple choice quiz on this webpage in order to assess your understanding of Spain and Portugal’s New World colonial pursuits.  Clicking on “Submit Answers for Grading” at the end of the webpage will redirect you to the answer key for the quiz.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 8 Essay: Europe and the Americas”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 8 Essay: Europe and the Americas” (HTML)

      Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

      • As indicated in the unit resources from Unit 8, the Spanish and the Portuguese had a long “head start” in the exploration and colonization of the Americas, but were ultimately joined by other European powers, such as the English, Dutch and French. Although there are a number of factors that could be used to compare how these different powers operated in the Western Hemisphere, please focus on the attitudes and policies which each directed toward the indigenous peoples with whom they came into contact. What were some of the common features of these interactions? Do historians note any special distinctions or aspects of these encounters that serve to distinguish, say, Spanish relations or attitudes toward the Native Americans from those of the English?

        Tips for getting started: Your initial review of the resources from this unit should have alerted you to a number of similarities and differences in the manner in which the European powers came into contact with the native inhabitants of the Americas and their subsequent relations. Carefully study and analyze these materials again for common forms of interaction from one regional setting to the next as well as points of difference. 

  • Unit 9: The Muslim Empires  

    The Mongol invasions of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries broke apart a unified Muslim world.  But in the wake of these invasions, three new dynasties rose to power and paved the way for the emergence of an Islamic renaissance.  The greatest of the three, the Ottoman Empire, ruled most of Asia Minor.  The Safavids ruled Persia and Afghanistan, while the Mughals dominated India.  All three empires originated from Turkic nomadic peoples who embraced Islam and Islamic conversion efforts. 

    In this unit, we will begin by studying the Ottomans.  We will consider their origins, their methods of conquest, as well as the unique features of their society.  We will also examine the reasons for the decline and reform of the Ottoman Empire.  Then, we will turn our attention to the Safavids, studying both their society and religion—Shi’a Islam.  Finally, we will focus on the Mughals—including their origins, reasons for their wealth, the formation of their empire, and outsiders’ cultural and economic interests in the Mughals.

    Unit 9 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 9 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 9.1 The Ottoman Empire: Origins and Conquests  
    • Reading: University of Calgary: Applied History Project: Rise of the Great Islamic Empires: “The Ottoman Empire”

      Link: University of Calgary: Applied History Project: Rise of the Great Islamic Empires: “The Ottoman Empire” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  The Ottoman Empire played a dominant role in the history of the Middle East, Caucasus, Asia Minor and parts of Europe from the period covered here to the twentieth century.  Please read all of this text which describes events in the 13th Century before continuing on to the links entitled “Empire Building, 1301-1402,” “Recovery and Renewed Conquest, 1402-1480,” “Relations with the Islamic World, 1480-1520” and “Suleyman I.”  These readings will provide you with an introduction to some of the major milestones in the early history of the Ottoman Empire and the lands brought under its rule.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 9.1.1 The Fall of Constantinople  
  • 9.1.2 Religion and Society: Muslim and Non-Muslim Relations  
  • 9.2 The Safavids  
  • 9.2.1 Rise and Fall of the Safavids  
  • 9.2.2 Shi’a Islam  
  • 9.3 The Mughals  
  • 9.3.1 The Mughal Empire  
  • 9.3.2 Connection and Exchange  
  • 9.3.3 Mughal Art and Culture  
  • 9.3.4 Mughal Religion  
  • 9.3.5 Challenges: the Marathas and the Sikhs  
  • 9.3.6 The Coming of the Europeans  
  • 9.3.7 Decline of the Mughals  
  • Subunit 9.3 Assessment  
    • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 9.3"

      Link: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 9.3" (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Once you have worked through all of the assigned resources in the subunit above, please open the linked PDF and respond to all questions.  When you are done--or if you are stuck--please check your work against The Saylor Foundation's "Guide to Responding to Reading Questions for Subunit 9.3" (PDF).

    • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 9 Essay: The Muslim Empires”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 9 Essay: The Muslim Empires” (HTML)

      Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

      • The resources in Unit 9 provide an introduction to the histories of the Ottoman, Safavid and Mughal Empires.  In this assignment you are to locate additional secondary sources (books or articles written by professional historians) that deal with the subjects covered in the subunits.  Specifically, you will locate one source that addresses a subject found in subunit 9.1 (Ottoman Empire); another that addresses a subject found in subunit 9.2 (Safavid Empire); and a final one that addresses a subject found in subunit 9.3 (Mughal Empire). 

        Tips for getting started: As anyone who has written a term paper knows, it is important to be able to find multiple scholarly sources for a particular historical problem or question.  Although you are not being asked to write a paper in this assignment, you are performing one of the initial tasks that goes along with writing a paper – the collection of academic works that offer different perspectives on a particular subject. 

        You might begin by selecting a subject covered by the resources in subunit 1, such as the role of Islam in Ottoman government, the organization of the empire’s military forces, the policies toward minority communities, etc.  The next step is to find one other academic source that deals with the selected subject.  In order to do this you might visit the website of the American Historical Association (AHA).  On this site you will find a link to academic journals (http://www.historians.org/pubs/free/journals/).  Use the directory’s list of subjects to locate academic journals that deal with our empires.  The AHA site will also provide you with links to the journals’ home pages.  When you arrive at the journal home page, use the search function to find articles.  Note that in most cases you will not be able to access the entire article, however, you will be able to read the abstracts.  These will should provide you with the information necessary to complete this assignment.

  • Unit 10: Africa, Africans, and the Atlantic Slave Trade  

    While much of Africa followed its own trajectory of progress in the post-medieval period, the rise of European trade and influence still had a profound impact upon African societies.  Perhaps the greatest—and most horrific—effect upon Africa was the Atlantic slave trade.  The forced removal of Africans to the New World was first started by the Portuguese in what is now Sierra Leone in the 1400s.  Soon after, English, Dutch, Portuguese, and French traders began to enslave and sell Africans to benefit New World plantation societies.  The result was an incredibly profitable system of enslavement that transformed European empires, colonial societies, and the world economy.
     

    In this unit, we will examine the impact of the many—and complex—facets of the Atlantic slave trade.  We will examine how the trade came into being, who was involved, why it was so profitable and so deadly, how it affected Africa and Africans, and why it ended.

    Unit 10 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 10 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 10.1 The Slave Trade  
    • Reading: HowStuffWorks, Inc.: “Assignment Discovery: The Atlantic Slave Trade”

      Link: HowStuffWorks, Inc.: “Assignment History: The Atlantic Slave Trade” (HowStuffWorks Video)
       
      Instructions: Please enter Atlantic Slave Trade in the search field and watch all of this video (approximately 4 minutes) in order to get an overview of the complex and exploitative nature of the African slave trade.
       
      Note on the Media: This video segment was produced by Cosmeo, which is a website containing educational videos as supplemental resources.  Cosmeo is a division of Discovery Communications, Inc., which produces the Discovery Channel.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Reading: Concepcion Saenz-Camba’s “The Atlantic World, 1492-1600”

      Link: Concepcion Saenz-Camba’s “The Atlantic World, 1492-1600” (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Please read the sections titled “The Atlantic Slave Trade: Logic of Enslavement” and “The Atlantic Slave Trade: Global Consequences of the Atlantic Slave Trade” in their entirety.  Pay special attention to how the Slave Trade affected not only the Americas but also Europe, Africa, and Asia.

      Terms of Use: The linked material above has been reposted by the kind permission of Concepcion Saenz-Camba.  Please note that this material is under copyright and cannot be reproduced in any capacity without explicit permission from the copyright holder.

  • 10.1.1 Development of the Trade  
  • 10.1.2 Traders and Trade  
  • 10.1.3 The Middle Passage  
  • 10.1.4 Resistance and Abolition  
  • 10.1.5 Impact  
  • Subunit 10.1 Assessment  
  • 10.2 Africa and Africans in the Age of the Slave Trade  
  • 10.2.1 African Slavery and Politics  
  • 10.2.2 Capture and Enslavement  
  • 10.3 The African Diaspora  
  • 10.3.1 The Nature of the Diaspora  
  • 10.3.2 Africans in the Atlantic World and Beyond  
  • Unit 11: East Asia and Its Trading World  

    The pre-modern world of South and East Asia was a diverse one linked together by commerce.  Most politically and culturally independent Asian states, including India, China, and Japan, were only marginally affected by the arrival of European traders in the fifteenth century.  Although the voyages of the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama had opened up the East to Europe, the power of Asian states and commerce prevented European nations from dominating lucrative trade networks.  Still, the strength of European sea power allowed traders to influence many aspects of the Asian spice trade.

    In this unit, we will begin with an examination of the Asian trading world.  We will ask what this world looked like and why Europeans were so attracted to it.  In particular, we will study how Portugal, Holland, and England extended their commercial empires to South and East Asia.  We will then turn our attention to China and Japan.  We will explore the unique characteristics of the powerful Ming state in China as well as the tumultuous era of medieval and pre-modern Japan.

    Unit 11 Time Advisory   show close
    Unit 11 Learning Outcomes   show close
  • 11.1 The Asian Trading World and the Arrival of the Europeans  
  • 11.1.1 The Rise of the Portuguese Trading Empire  
  • 11.1.2 The English and the Dutch in the East  
  • 11.2 Ming China  
  • 11.2.1 The Ming State  
  • 11.2.2 Commercial Revolution  
    • Reading: Asia Society: “Chinese Trade in the Indian Ocean”

      Link: Asia Society: “Chinese Trade in the Indian Ocean” (HTML)
       
      Instructions:  Please read this article, which describes the remarkable efforts made by Ming rulers, beginning in 1403, to expand the empire’s maritime trading capacity and network.  The author provides an overview of the motivating factors as well as several of the great “voyages” that followed from these initiatives. 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 11.2.3 Ming Culture: Kunqu Opera  
  • 11.2.4 Isolation and Decline  
  • 11.3 Japan  
  • 11.3.1 Medieval and “Warring States” Era  
    • Reading: Japan 101’s “Sengoku Period: Japan 1467 AD to 1615 AD”

      Link: Japan 101’s “Sengoku Period: Japan 1467 AD to 1615 AD” (HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please read this short article to get a sense of the Sengoku or “warring states” era in Japan.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Web Media: Columbia University: Asian Topics: “Medieval Japan: A Time of War: Parallels with Feudal Europe”

      Link: Columbia University: Asian Topics: “Medieval Japan: A Time of War: Parallels with Feudal Europe” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions:  Please watch these excellent video lectures, in which leading authorities on Japanese history discuss various aspects of political, social and cultural life during the medieval era.  Proceed from the first   video presentation to the links marked “Feudalism in Japan,” “Kinship Aspect of the Lord-Vassal Relationship,” “The War Tales of the Samurai,” “The Mongol Invasions,” and “Country at War: The Sengoku Age, 1467-1568.”  As you will find throughout the course of lecturers used here and in the following sections of this unit, the speakers often seek to relate developments in Japan to those occurring elsewhere.  How, for example, do some of the scholars compare Japanese and European “feudalism”? 
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 11.3.2 Buddhism in Japan  
    • Web Media: Columbia University: Asian Topics: “Medieval Japan: Seeking Solace in Religion: The Spread of Buddhism”

      Link: Columbia University: Asian Topics: “Medieval Japan: Seeking Solace in Religion: The Spread of Buddhism” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions:  Please watch these short presentations which describe the manner in which Buddhism spread and was practiced in Japan during the medieval era.  As you will find, the lecturers describe some of the ideas and concepts from this imported tradition of thought and spirituality that appeared to most strongly attract Japanese artists and writers.  Proceed from the opening video presentation to “Seeking Solace in Religion: The Spread of Buddhism,” “Emergence of Popular Buddhist Sects,”  “Account of My Hut” “Kenko’s Essays in Idleness” “The Desirability of Impermanence,” and “The Beauty of Simplicity.”
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • 11.3.2.1 Zen Buddhism  
  • 11.3.3 Tokugawa Japan  
    • Lecture: Columbia University: "Asian Topics: Tokugawa Japan"

      Link: Columbia University: “Asian Topics: Tokugawa Japan” (Adobe Flash)
       
      Instructions:  Please watch all of the short lectures given by Professor Carol Gluck and other eminent historians found on this site.  Give particular attention to the evolving political and social challenges faced by Tokugawa leaders, their comparison with those confronted by other Asian societies, and the actions taken to resolve them.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

    • Assessment: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 22, Multiple Choice Quiz”

      Link: Pearson Education’s World Civilizations: AP Edition: “Chapter 22, Multiple Choice(HTML)
       
      Instructions: Please take the assigned multiple choice quiz on this webpage in order to assess your understanding of the Asian trading world as well as Ming China and pre-modern Japan.  Please click on the “Submit Answers for Grading” button to link to the answer key for the quiz.
       
      Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Subunit 11.3 Assessment  
    • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 11.3"

      Link: The Saylor Foundation's "Reading Questions for Subunit 11.3" (PDF)
       
      Instructions: Once you have worked through all of the assigned resources in the subunit above, please open the linked PDF and respond to all questions.  When you are done--or if you are stuck--please check your work against The Saylor Foundation's "Guide to Responding to Reading Questions for Subunit 11.3" (PDF).

    • Activity: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 11 Essay: Japanese Relations”

      Link: The Saylor Foundation’s “Unit 11 Essay: Japanese Relations” (HTML)

      Instructions: This is an ungraded activity. If you choose to complete the activity, you may record your answer anywhere you like. You do have the option to use the link above to save your answers on Saylor.org, though you will need to create a free account in order to do so --  this will only take a minute, and you may do so here.

      • In this assignment, you will consider Japanese relations with the outside world during the Medieval and Early Modern eras. Specifically, you will focus on Japanese interactions with China and, secondly, its response to the entrance of the European maritime powers into East Asia. In doing so, please describe the nature of Japanese relations with these different “others.” How would you characterize the relations that were established with each and what kind of influence did they have on Japanese life?

        Tips for getting started: As you will find, the Japanese response to these two parts of the outside provides a number of interesting scenarios. First of all, what was the nature of the relationship between Japan and China? How would you characterize the cultural interaction between these two societies? Do you find any similarities here to the Japanese response to its early encounters with the West? Explain. 

  • Final Exam  

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