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Chapter 15 The West and the Changing Balance of Power.

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Presentation on theme: "Chapter 15 The West and the Changing Balance of Power."— Presentation transcript:

1 Chapter 15 The West and the Changing Balance of Power

2 A World in Transition (#1) Two events signaled a profound transition in the balance of world power by the year 1400: ◦ 1) The downfall of the last Arab caliphate in The Arabs had been a source of stability for over 600 years. ◦ 2) Mongols invasions had caused severe disruption to the stability of Asia and Eastern Europe.

3 Mongol Trading Network (#2) Their holdings throughout the Far East, central Asia, the Middle East, and Eastern Europe connected far reaching areas together. This empire encouraged interregional travelers and provided great opportunities for trade and exchange of technology and ideas.

4 Who’s next??? (#3) ChineseWestern Europeans

5 Chinese expansion (at least briefly!) The Ming government begins to fund huge state-sponsored trading expeditions to southern Asia and beyond. (#4) These fleets numbered nearly 3,000 shipping vessels, 400 armed naval ships, and long-distance ships. Nine great treasure ships (junks) monitored the Indian Ocean from China all the way to the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea. (#5)

6 Admiral Zheng He (#6) An imperial eunuch and admiral who led great trading expeditions on behalf of the Ming emperor from He was also a Muslim, therefore, he could establish lasting trade contacts with the Arab world. His expeditions took Chinese goods to the Middle East, Africa, and India, and also brought back luxury and exotic goods.

7 A Chinese Recall (#7) In 1433, Zheng He’s fleets were called back to China. Bureaucrats, jealous of his growing power, argued that the expeditions were too expensive and that the money could be better used elsewhere, like fighting nomadic threats and the ongoing construction of Beijing. Also, the new Ming emperor wanted to distance himself from the policies of his predecessor.

8 Zheng He’s Voyages

9 Back to the Norm (#8) For the Chinese, a withdrawal from international trade was simply a return to the status quo. Never ones for foreign dependence, the cancelling of Zheng He’s expeditions in 1433, reaffirmed the Chinese policy of isolationism that had been the norm throughout their history.

10 Rise of the West (#10) For western Europe, who had been mired in the Middle Ages, their location in relation to the Mongol Empire was actually perfect. They were: ◦ A) Close enough so as to benefit from trade and exchange (printing, the compass, and explosive powder) due to the Mongols tolerant policy of free trade. ◦ B) Spared from the wrath of destruction that so many other cultures experienced from the Mongol raids.

11 Rise of the West (#9) These advantages helped European economy slowly pick back up. But, Europe was facing tough problems in other areas: ◦ A) Church- The Church’s influence was weakening in the face of divisions and no theological explanations for the Bubonic plague. People began to question its authority and seek their own gains instead. ◦ B) Famine – Recurring famine in the 1300’s due to increased population and no new agricultural inventions to increase food supply FORCED Europeans to look for new agricultural methods to feed its people. ◦ C)Plague – Ironically, the plague helped solve the problem of food shortage by killing 1/3 of Europe’s population. Also, with fewer workers, wages went up and investments in business and commerce increased. * Believe it or not, the plague eventually led to economic growth and famine (fear of starvation) proved to be a great motivator for Europeans to find solutions to their problems.

12 An Asian Obsession (#11) Of course, another issue encouraged Europeans to branch out: Asian goods!!! The elite, upper classes of western Europe had become obsessed with the more refined products of Asia like spices, silks, perfumes, and jewels. The cruder European goods such as wool, copper, tin, honey, and salt could not make up the discrepancy in value. The balance had to be made up in gold shipments to Asia. This created a gold famine in Europe which threatened to collapse the entire European economy. The solution to this problem was to find more gold!!! So, Europeans began exploring (more on that later).

13 Gold > Wool Asian goodsEuropean goods

14 Renaissance (#12) The Renaissance was a cultural and political movement in Western Europe that began in Italy in the 1400’s. There was an emphasis on artistic and architectural output. As a result, not only were paintings and sculptures created, but cathedrals, bridges, plazas, etc. This created jobs and higher incomes, making the Renaissance not just a cultural, but an economic revolution as well.

15 Cities began competing with one another over trade and commercial rights as well as artistic superiority. Florence, ItalyGenoa, Italy

16 While Renaissance art and culture remained religiously dominated, there was more of an emphasis on realistic portrayals of humans and nature. This was known as humanism and was more secular than medieval art. (#13) Medieval art (Religiously focused)Renaissance art (Human emphasis)

17 Experimenting with Exploration (#14) In 1469, Ferdinand of Castille (a Spanish province) and Isabella of Aragon (another Spanish province) wed to create the famous dual monarchy of Ferdinand and Isabella. Devout Catholics, they began a military campaign to expel Arabs and Jews from their regions and eventually all of Spain. In this way, they clearly brought state affairs and religious affairs together. The government had a duty to promote and protect religion according to these rulers. Eventually, they would look to expand their power beyond Spain through exploration.

18 Nautical Shortcomings (#15) European nations such as Spain, Portugal, and Italy began searching for routes to the “Indies” by the late 1200’s. However, Europeans lacked adequate navigational techniques which prohibited them from venturing into the Atlantic. Their ships, designed for the Mediterranean, were shallow-drafted and oar-driven. Eventually, through trade with Arabs and Chinese, Europeans acquired the compass and astrolabe as well as improved maps to aid their quests.

19 Henry the Navigator – an exploration entrepreneur (#16) Henry the Navigator was a Portuguese prince with a fascination for exploration. A student of astronomy and nautical science himself, he funded about a third of all Portuguese voyages before his death in His motivations were scientific, intellectual, economic and religious. He also built a school of navigation in Portugal to train prospective explorers.

20 Commercial Agriculture begins By 1439, the Portuguese had control of the Azores Islands and the Spanish soon took the Madeira and Canary Islands. They began growing cash crops like sugar and tobacco on these islands, and more importantly, imported African slaves for the first time to aid in this plantation style labor system. Azores Madeira Canary Is.

21 European Arrival in the Americas (#17) When Europeans arrived in the late 1400’s to the lands of the Aztec and Inca, both New World empires were already in decline. The Aztec had many enemies due to enslavement and religious sacrifice while the Inca were over expanded. These factors (along with guns, steel weapons, and germs) made Spanish conquest very easy.


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