Course Syllabus for "HIST102: Early Globalizations: East Meets West (1200s-1600s)".

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.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

Course Requirements

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.

Course Information

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.

Course Overview

  • 4.3.2 Changes in Government  
  • 4.3.3 Demographic Changes  
  • 4.3.4 Art and Scholarship  
  • 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
    This unit will take you 9 hours to complete.
    ☐    Subunit 5.1: 2 hours

    ☐    Subunit 5.2: 2 hours

    ☐    Subunit 5.3: 2 hours

    ☐    Subunit 5.4: 3 hours
    Unit5 Learning Outcomes

    Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

    • Define key milestones in the rise of the Mongol Empire and the sources of its power.
    • Describe some of the results of the cultural interactions that the spread of Mongol rule helped to promote.
    • Identify some of the key factors that are used to explain the decline of Mongol power in Asia and Europe.
  • 5.1 The Mongols  
  • 5.1.1 Reasons for Conquest  
  • 5.1.2 Chinggis Khan  
  • 5.1.3 Conquering a Vast Territory  
  • 5.1.4 The Pax Mongolica  
  • 5.1.5 Empire’s Collapse  
  • 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  
  • 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  
  • 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
    This unit will take you 6.5 hours to complete.
    ☐    Subunit 6.1: 2 hours

    ☐    Subunit 6.2: .5 hours

    ☐    Subunit 6.3: 2 hours

    ☐    Subunit 6.4: 2 hours
    Unit6 Learning Outcomes

    Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

    • Identify some of the general factors and arguments used to explain the changing patterns of world trade over the early modern era.
    • Compare and contrast the rise of the Spanish and Portuguese Empires.
    • Assess the causes and consequences of Dutch and English advances into Asia and the Western Hemisphere along with the types of products that were included in the exchange   of goods between Europe and the Americas.
  • 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  
  • 6.2.1 Reasons and Motivations  
  • 6.2.2 Portuguese Traders and Explorers  
  • 6.2.3 The Spanish  
  • 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  
  • 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
    This unit will take you 9.5 hours to complete.
    ☐    Subunit 7.1: 1.5 hours

    ☐    Subunit 7.2: 6 hours

    ☐    Subunit 7.3: 1 hour

    ☐    Subunit 7.4: 1 hour
    Unit7 Learning Outcomes

    Upon successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

    • Identify the ecclesiastical, political, and cultural developments commonly associated with Medieval and Renaissance Europe.
    • Discuss specific issues and doctrinal disputes surrounding the rise of Protestantism.
    • Identify some of the principles of leading thinkers of the age and their influence upon those who followed.
  • 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  
  • 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  
  • 7.4 New Ideas in Art and Science  
  • 7.4.1 The Early Scientific Revolution  
  • 7.4.2 Architecture  
  • 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
    This unit will take you 9.5 hours to complete.
    ☐    Subunit 8.1: 6 hours
    ☐    Subunit 8.2: 3.5 hours
    Unit8 Learning Outcomes
    Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

    • Compare and contrast the factors that help explain the Spanish and Portuguese conquests in the Americas.

    • Identify the ways in which both empires sought to economically exploit their gains in the New World.

    • Discuss the manner in which these events involved the Catholic Church and its relations   with the dynastic powers.
  • 8.1 New Spain  
  • 8.1.1 The Spanish Conquest  
  • 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  
  • 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
    This unit will take you 8 hours to complete.
    ☐    Subunit 9.1: 3.5 hours

    ☐    Subunit 9.2: 1.5 hours

    ☐    Subunit 9.3: 3 hours
    Unit9 Learning Outcomes
    Upon completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

    • Identify key milestones in the rise of the Ottoman Empire.

    • Describe some of the important religious and political features and practices within the Ottoman state.

    • Describe some of the various forms of interaction between the Ottoman Empire, Europe, and the Middle East during the period under review.

    • Identify some key milestones in the rise of the Mughal Empire, its internal features, and    its myriad cultural and commercial interactions with the outside world.
  • 9.1 The Ottoman Empire: Origins and Conquests  
  • 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  
  • 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
    This unit will take you 10 hours to complete.
    ☐    Subunit 10.1: 7 hours

    ☐    Subunit 10.2: 1 hour

    ☐    Subunit 10.3: 2 hours
    Unit10 Learning Outcomes
    Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

    • Describe some of the main features of the Atlantic slave trade – its origins, development, protagonists, and victims.

    • Identify key milestones in the growth of the Atlantic slave trade, its economic consequences, and human costs.

    • Discuss the effects of the slave trade on the development and geographical extension of the African diaspora.

    • Describe some common forms of opposition and resistance to the slave trade as well as the various factors and events over time that contributed to its demise.
  • 10.1 The Slave Trade  
  • 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
    This unit will take you 11 hours to complete.
    ☐    Subunit 11.1: 6 hours

    ☐    Subunit 11.2: 1.5 hours

    ☐    Subunit 11.3: 3.5 hours
    Unit11 Learning Outcomes
    Upon completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

    • Describe the efforts of European powers to establish commercial contacts with Asian states and societies as well as the types of goods involved in the subsequent trade.

    • Identify some of the main cultural and political developments in Ming China.

    • Describe some of the key features of Japanese culture and politics as well as the efforts of rulers to meet the challenges of social change and evolving threats from abroad.
  • 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  
  • 11.2.3 Ming Culture: Kunqu Opera  
  • 11.2.4 Isolation and Decline  
  • 11.3 Japan  
  • 11.3.1 Medieval and “Warring States” Era  
  • 11.3.2 Buddhism in Japan  
  • Zen Buddhism  
  • 11.3.3 Tokugawa Japan  
  • Subunit 11.3 Assessment  
  • Unit 12: Final Exam