Thursday, December 9, 2010

Weekly Assignment Roundup

Weekly Assignment 17
Due Date: December 17, 2010


In this era of long-distance exploration, did Europeans have any special advantages over other cultural regions? What explains the different nature of Europe’s interactions with Africa, India, and the Americas?

Weekly Assignment 16
Due Date: December 17, 2010
What social, political, and military developments contributed to the rise of European nations in this period?

Weekly Assignment 14

In what ways did Mesoamerica influence the cultural centers of North America?

Weekly Assignment 8

What were the most important similarities and differences between the Roman Empire and the Chinese Empire, and what do these similarities and differences tell us about the circumstances and the character of each? Your essay should be well in excess of two pages, double-spaced, with conventional one-inch margins and twelve point font

Weekly Assignment 7

How did the Persian Wars and their aftermath affect the politics and culture of Ancient Greece and Iran?

Weekly Assignment 6


How did the civilization of Israel develop, following both cultural patterns typical of other societies and in its own unique way?

Weekly Assignment 4

In the readings and lectures on Mesopotamia and Egypt, religious beliefs played an important role in organizing society. What specifically were the religious beliefs in the two regions—meaning, what were the specific religious practices. What benefit did religion have in each society—and were there any practices that were harmful. How were these practices different from those today—and are there any similarities?


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Global Maritime Expansion

I. Global Maritime Expansion Before 1450

A. Pacific Ocean

1. Polynesian Voyages--the ancestors of the Polynesians originated in Asia. After centuries of island-hopping migration, Polynesians developed more sea-worthy canoes, some as long as 120 feet (that's 40 yards--nearly half the length of a football field). Polynesian voyagers eventually reached the mainland of the Americas, where they gained access to the sweet potato, which was domesticated first in South America. Long-distance travel spread this nutritious crop as far away as New Zealand.

B. The Indian Ocean

1. Chinese Voyages--the Indian Ocean traders before 1400 operated outside the control of empires and the states they served, but China under the Ming dynasty was becoming more interested in these wealthy ports of trade. Between 1405 and 1433, the Ming sent out 7 imperial fleets, each with an enormous number of ships. The expeditions were led by Admiral Zheng He, a Chinese Muslim eunuch. After 1433, Ming emperors stopped sending out these fleets, influenced by Confucian advisers who thought that people who could not speak Chinese had little to offer them.

II. European Expansion 1400-1500










I. Portuguese Exploration


A. Henry the Navigator--younger son of ruling Aviz family. Became head of the religious military organization Order of Christ in 1420. Portuguese nobility, fired by the long, successful struggle against Islam in the Iberian peninsula, and were looking for allies to extend this struggle to retake Jerusalem from Islamic control--preferably with a partner east of the Holy City.




1. Legend of “Prester John”--a supposed long-lost Christian king, located somewhere in Africa (or maybe Asia--nobody is really sure). Henry’s plan seems to have been to seek out the kingdom of Prester John, and ally with it to “free” the Holy Land.

a) Basis in reality?--there were, of course, Christians in eastern Africa (the Coptic Church in both Egypt and Ethiopia), as well as Christians in the Arabian Peninsula, Persia, and India--none of them called Prester John, of course.

2. Systematic exploration--the Portuguese began a systematic exploration of the African Coast to look for the “western Nile” (apparently the Senegal River) that would take them to the kingdom of Prester John.

B. Benefits of Arab Contact



1. Navigational tools--from their Muslim contact, Portuguese sailors had learned to use an astrolab and a compass, and to build a modified ship they called the caravel, which had a lateran sail that allowed the ship to tack better--necessary to navigate on the open ocean (particularly against the wind)

2. Navigational maps--as the exploration process progressed, Portuguese mapmakers grew more skilled, and gathered more information, to draw more accurate maps. These new maps included not only more accurate depictions of land masses, but also indications of the direction and strength of trade winds and sea currents

3. Knowledge of Arab trade routes--Portuguese were also hoping to tap into some of the wealth the Arabs generated from their trade with Africa and Asia.


II. The Expeditions

A. To the “Western Nile”

1. Cape Bojador--the southernmost point known to Europeans to this time. It was a fairly unattractive place, port along the Atlantic coast with Sahara Desert as its hinterland. It eventually was discovered that sailing well into the Atlantic--out of the sight of land--was a better route.

a) Porto Santo (1419)-- “Discovered” by an expedition that got caught in a storm and blown off course; became an important launching point for future expeditions.


b) Madeira Islands (1420)--became an important source for wood to construct ships (madeira is portuguese for wood); it was colonized, and becomes an important source for industrial agricultural products.

2. Tangiers--Portuguese disasterous attack on this city, held by Berbers. Portuguese army surrounded and forced to surrender; only way to save the army was to send youngest Aviz brother, Prince Fernando, into captivity. He died in captivity four years later. This tragedy seemed to spur Prince Henry on, however.

3. Cabo Branco (Cape Blanco)--an expedition to “make peace” with Africans ended up capturing a number of them, including a chief named Adahu, who provided the Portuguese with much information.


B. The Atlantic Islands and the Development of Slavery--the Portuguese colonized the islands they “discovered” in the Atlantic, probably because they used these as stations during expeditions. Using the model of the islands of the Mediterranean, plantation agriculture using slave labor was quickly developed--particularly the cultivation of sugar cane, which used slave labor; many slaves from Africa were used to cultivate sugar cane in the Mediterranean, and the importation of African slaves to work the plantations on these Atlantic islands seemed a natural progression.
1. Madeira Islands--sugar cane, and grapes (Madeira wine)

2. Azores Island (1427)

3. Cape Verde Islands (1460)

4. Sao Tome (1470)--all these islands were colonized, in contrast to the “factories” that were established on the African coast as trading outposts.


C. Guineas and Gold--Guinea was the name applied to the land south of the Sahara Desert, and to the people living there. It later became applied to a several countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It also became a slang term for the gold coin minted in Great Britain between 1663 and 1813, made with gold mined in Guinea--and those coins were often traded for slaves (Guinea slaves)


1. Caravel--in 1441, the first expedition to use the caravel was made, and at a village along the Rio do Ouro several people were kidnapped, taken back to Portugal, and sold as slaves--the beginning of the slave trade in Europe (Arabs had dealt in the African slave trade for hundreds of years to this point).



2. Bay of Arguin (1448)--first Portuguese fort constructed on African coast from which trade was conducted with Africans. The few Portuguese agents in these forts were called “factors,” which is how these establishments became known as “factories.”

3. Cape Verde (1444)--Dinis Dia, inspired by the earlier discovery that the Sahara Desert ended, found the westernmost part of Africa. From this point on, Portuguese merchants became more involved in the exploration process, because of the potential wealth to be gained from establishing trade networks; the Portuguese monarchy was happy to take a cut of the trade proceeds without having to risk anything.

a) Fenao Gomes--one of the merchants who financed their own expeditions. Gomes and his crew “discovered” the Gold Coast (modern Ghana).

D. King Joao II--succeeded his father Afonso V to the throne, he actively supported his own expeditions, and signalled a renewed drive on the part of the Portuguese crown to seek a sea route to Asia; within four years of his gaining the crown, Portuguese expeditions round the Cape of Good Hope.


1. Voyage of Diogo Cao (1482)--Cao discovered that the western coast of the African continent turned south and ran for over a thousand miles before turning again. Cao also became the first European to come into contact with the Kingdom of the Kongo, which became an important trading partner and the first successful effort to convert sub-Saharan Africans to Christianity.

2. Christopher Columbus--was turned down by King Joa in 1484 (and again in 1488).

3. Bartolomeu Dias (1487)--sent on expedition to find the southern cape of Africa. He was successful, but did not at first recognize his feat because his small fleet had been caught in a serious storm as they approached the cape, and passed in the midst of that. He reported back that his fleet had rounded the “Cape of Storms,” but king changed the name to “Cape of Good Hope” because investors would be scared off from an expedition that had to pass by the Cape of Storms.

II. Spanish Exploration


A. Christopher Columbus--son of a Genoese shopkeeper. Columbus aspired to greatness on the seas; from his early teen years on he gained sailing experience. He developed a theory that one could reach Asia by sailing west from Europe, largely because of a miscalculation.

1. Columbus in Lisbon--Portugal is the westernmost country in Europe, and had sailors sailing the Atlantic long before the rise of Prince Enrique (Henry) the Navigator. With the fall of Constantinople, Lisbon had become the place for seafaring adventurers.

a) Columbus’ proposal (1485)--to Joao (or John) II, that he be outfitted with three ships and a year’s time to make the voyage to Asia and back. King Joao turned this request over to his councilors, who concluded that Columbus had badly miscalculated the circumference of the earth, and that the trip was impractical.

b) Columbus’ proposal (1488)--same sales pitch, same result. Decision was also probably influenced by knowledge that a Portuguese expedition had yet to return from an attempt to round the continent of Africa.

2. Columbus in Cadiz--Columbus had already utilized his Genoese connections to find half the money for the expedition; he had to rely upon a European monarch for the other half of the funding, however.

a) Proposal to Henry VIII of England, who did not decide in favor before Columbus was finally able to persuade the dual monarchs of Spain to take the chance.

b) Ferdinand and Isabella--although the Kingdom of Spain was mostly broke from fighting the final battles to unite their kingdom, they were able to find some money in the treasury (and force contributions from some of their subjects) to fund the expedition

c) Departure--from Palos de la Fronterra on August 3, 1492. The three ships made a stop in the Canary Islands for final repairs, then departed on September 6.

d) Arrival--land was spotted on October 12 (Columbus Day in much of the Spanish-speaking world)


3. Columbus in the New World

a) Caribbean Islands--Columbus’ first encountered a gentle, friendly people the Spanish called the Tainos, who seemed to welcome the strangers

b) Columbus was attracted to their gold jewelry, and attempted to ascertain where they obtained it--but they had great difficulty communicating with each other, since neither party spoke the others’ language.

c) Kidnapped 12 “Indios” to take back to Spain (kind of like specimens); tellingly, all 12 died shortly after their arrival in Spain

d) Columbus made three other voyages, and served for a time as governor of “New Spain” (when he was accused of misusing his power and theft, and briefly thrown in jail), but it is not clear that he ever understood the importance of his “discovery.”


E. Treaty of Tordesilla (1494)--divided the world outside of Europe into two spheres of influence--Portuguese and Spanish. These spheres were divided by the Pope in a line running north/south from 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands.


1. Spanish proposal--after Columbus’ “discovery,” Spain insisted upon dividing world into two different areas for making claims of surzenity, or control. Spain’s proposal was to demarcate the line 100 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands.

2. Portuguese response--King Jao insisted that the line be drawn at 370 leagues--why? Why not 200, or 300? Did the Portuguese have information about the existence of a large land mass on the other side of the Atlantic?


III. Voyage of Vasco da Gama

A. Arming the caravel--in preparation for sailing into the Indian Ocean--known to be dominated by Islamic traders, a method was devised to put cannons below deck, behind doors built into the bulkhead. This provided da Gama and his successors an immense advantage, because they were the most heavily armed ships in the Indian Ocean.

B. The Voyage

I. Portuguese Age of Exploration 1415-1530
1. da Gama left in 1497. Hoping to avoid the difficulties faces by Dias, Gama used the trade winds of the Atlantic to his advantage--but still almost missed the Cape of Good Hope.

2. After rounding the Cape, the expedition made slow progress up the east coast of Africa, before finding a local pilot knowledgeable of the Indian Ocean, who guided the fleet across to India.

3. Returned to Portugal in 1499.

IV. The Aftermath

A. Spice trade--after reaching India, Portuguese explorers continued to press eastward, eventually reaching the Spice Islands, China, and Japan.

1. As on the coast of Africa, the Portuguese established factories to carry out trade, which allowed them to dominate the spice trade to Europe for about 100 years.

2. Asciento system--in the early years of Portuguese dominance, they were able to insist that ships that traded in the Indian Ocean by a license to trade there; as more ships followed the Portuguese example of heavily arming their ships, this became less effective; Portuguese also found it difficult to maintain such a huge empire with fewer than 300 ships and less than 10,000 Portuguese to run it.

3. Succession problems--the fall of the House of Aviz, and the ascension of Philip II of Spain to the throne of Portugal, made the lucrative spice trade a ready target for Philip’s growing list of enemies--particularly the Dutch, who take over much of the Portuguese empire in Asia by 1620.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The Latin West, 1200-1500

I. Rural Growth and Crisis

A. Peasants, Population, and Plague



1. Rural life--In 1200, most western Europeans lived as serfs tilling the soil on large estates woned by the nobility and the Church. They owed their lord a share of both their harvests and numerous labor services. As a consequence of the inefficiency of farming practices and their obligations to landowners, peasants received meager returns for their hard work. Even with the numerous religious holidays, peasants labored fifty-four hours a week in their fields, more than half that time in support of the local nobility. Each noble household typically lived on the labor of fifteen to thirty peasant families.

2. New Farming Technology--Population growth required more productive farming and new agricultural settlements. The new three-field system replaced the practice of leaving half the land fallow (unplanted) every year so it could regain its fertility. Instead, complimentary plants restored nutrients to the soil, and the fallow field allowed pasture for horses, who in turn produced fertilizer.

3. New Settlements--The Order of Teutonic Knights drove out native peoples who had not adopted Christianity, and resettled Christian peasants on the land in much of present day Germany; other Latin Christians were able to found new settlements on lands conquered from Muslim and Byzantines in southern Europe, and on Celtic lands in the British Isles.

4. Famines--the population explosion necessitated the draining of swamps and clearing of forests, opening more marginal land to settlement. With climatic change beginning about 1250, this land was more suceptible to frost, and after 1300 northern Europe could no longer depend upon warm summers. After 1300, most Europeans could expect to face extreme hunger once or twice during his (or her) 30 to 35 years of life.

5. Black Death--reversed this population growth. Brought to Kaffa by Mongol invaders, the disease was brought to Italy and southern France by Genoese traders in 1347. The disease spread throughout Europe for the next two years, in some places killing as much as two-thirds of the population. For Europe as a whole, about one-third of the population was killed.

B. Social Rebellion--the Black Death triggered social changes in western Europe, as workers who survived demanded higher pay for their services.

1. Wat Tyler Rebellion--In 1831, English peasants, under the leadership of one of their own, Wat Tyler, invaded London, demanding an end to serfdom and obligations to landowners. Demonstrators murdered the archbishop of Canterbury and several royal officials, and authorities responded with even greater violence and bloodshed--including the killing of the unarmed Tyler during a meeting with the King. These actions could not stave off the higher wages and other changes demanded by the rebels, however

2. Better Rural Conditions--Serfdom practically disappeared in western Europe after this time period, as serfs either ran away to cities (inhabitants became free in most cities in western Europe after living there one year), or purchased their freedom. Some large English landowners, no longer having enough serfs to work their landholdings, instead began raising sheep and providing wool to manufacturers in Flanders and, later, England. The Black Death had only effected human populations; so, those left had more to eat. The material conditions of the rural poor improved after the plague, although the gap between rich and poor was still huge.

C. Mills and Mines--Mining, metalworking, and the use of mechanical energy expanded so greatly in the centuries before 1500 that some historians speak of an "industrial revolution" in medieval Europe.

1. Watermills--Watermills were not, of course, a European invention, but before 1500 the landscape in much of western Europe fairly britstled with watermills. Because the watermills worked more efficiently if water dropped from above the wheel, many of the rivers in Europe were also dammed. In areas that were fairly arid, or where winter were severe enough that they froze over, windmills became favored. These mills provided power for a host of different activities.

2. Milling and Iron Making--watermills provided much of the power to break up iron ore, and to operate the bellows that superheated the fire that turned the iron into liquid.

3. Growth of Industry--Demand stimulated iron mining in many parts of Europe; in addition, new silver, lead, and copper mines in the region supplied metal for coins, church bells, cannon, and statues. Industrial growth changed the landscape: towns grew outward and new ones were founded, dams and canals changed the flow of rivers, quarries and mines were developed. Urban factories like tanneries, along with human waste from these cities, polluted the waterways. Deforestation accelerated, providing wood for ships, buildings, and as fuel in such endeavors as glass making.

II. Urban Revival

A. Trading Cities-Most urban growth after 1200 resulted from manufacturing and trade, both between cities and their hinterlands and over long distances. Northern Italy particularly benefited from maritime trade with port cities of the eastern Mediterranean, and, through them, the markets of the Indian Ocean and East Asia. In northern Europe, commercial cities in the county of Flanders (roughly today's Belgium) and around the Baltic Sea profited from regional networks and from overland sea routes to the Mediterranean.

1. The Fourth Crusade--Was not really a Crusade, but a Venetian-inspired attack on Constantinople, that temporarily eliminated Byzantine control of the Straits of Bosporus, and allowed Venice to seize control of Crete and expand its trading colonies around the Black Sea.

2. Marco Polo--A young Venetian merchant who traveled in 1271 overland via the Silk Road to China during the reign of Khubilai Khan. Polo served as an official in the Chinese government for Khubilai (he claimed), including a stint as a governor of a Chinese province, before returning to Europe via the Indian Ocean some twenty-four years after he began his journey.

3. Genoa and the Hanseatic League--Venice was not the only city in northern Italy that developed an extensive trade network; the sea trade conducted by Genoa was probably just as extensive, and in northern Europe among the members of the Hanseatic League, who traded mainly among the ports of the Baltic Sea, including as far east as Novogorod in Russia and London in England.

4. Flemish Cities and Textiles--In the late 13th century, Genoese galleys from the Mediterranean and Hanseatic ships from the Baltic were converging on the trading and manufacturing cities in Flanders. Artisans in Bruges, Ghent, and Ypres transformed wool from England into fine woolen cloth that was softer and smoother than the "homespun" cloth made in villages around the continent. Dyed in vivid colors, these Flemish textiles appealed to wealthy Europeans, who also were buying textiles from Asia

5. Trade Fairs--Venetians traded with these Flemish cities via an overland route, and in the Champagne region of France there developed trade fairs, where local merchants and farmers could trade their goods with each other, as well as with these Venetian traders going to and from Flanders. This trade became much more regular when the French king gained control of the Champagne region, and could guarantee safe passage for travelers. This trade expanded so much that it became cheaper to send ships from Venice, and the trade fairs declined in international importance, although they remained regionally important.

6. Wool Trade--In the late 13th century, the English king raised the tariff on exported raw wool, so that it became cheaper to manufacture woolen cloth in England--especially after a number of Flemish artisans moved to England and brought their knowledge of the trade with them. Florence, another city in northern Italy, also developed a home-grown textile industry.

7. Venice--While Venice first grew in importance as a trading center, by the 15th century it had also grown as a manufacturing center, turning out glassware and fine textiles that previously had only been available from Asian sources. Europeans were able to adopt innovations from other cultures readily, and make them their own.

B. Civic Life--Most northern Italian and German cities were independent states, much like the port cities of the Indian Ocean Basin. Other European cities held charters that exempted them from control of local nobles. This autonomy enabled them to adapt to changing market conditions more quickly than cities controlled by imperial authorities, as in China and the Islamic world. Since anyone who lived in a chartered city for over a year could claim freedom, urban life promoted social mobility.

1. Jews in Europe--Western Europe's Jews mostly live in cities. Spain had the largest number of Jews as a result of the religious tolerance practiced by the Muslim rulers there. Most commercial cities welcomed Jews with manufacturing and business skills; however, during times of crisis (like the Black Death), Jews were blamed and persecuted. In 1492, and Isabel and Ferdinand were consolidating their control of modern-day Spain, they ordered all Jew expelled from the kingdom.

2. Artisan Guilds--Within most towns and cities, powerful associations known as guilds dominated civic life. Guilds brought together craft specialists or merchants working in a particular trade to regulate business and to set prices. Guilds also trained apprentices and promoted members' interests in the city government. Guilds denied membership to certain people (especially Jews), and protected the interests of families of members.

3. Banking--By the fifteenth century, a new class of wealthy merchant bankers was operating on a vast scale and specializing in money changing and loans and making investments on behalf of other parties. Some merchant-bankers even developed their own news service, gathering information on any topic that could affect business. The Medici family of Florence operated banks in their hometown, as well as in Florence and London--and became important enough that one of the members of the family became Pope. The holding of the Medici's paled in comparison to the Fugger family by 1500, however, as that family's holdings was as much as ten times larger. The Fugger's financed various activities, including Hungarian copper mining.

C. Gothic Cathedrals--The men who designed and built the cathedrals had little or no formal education and a limited understanding of mathematics or of modern civil engineering. Master masons sometimes miscalculated, causing parts of some overly ambitious parts of cathedrals to come tumbling down. But as builders gained experience and invented novel solutions to their problems, success rose from the rubble of their mistakes.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tropical Africa and Asia, 1200-1500

I. New Islamic Empires

A. Mali in the Western Sudan--Muslim rule in the seventh century greatly stimulated increased trade along the routes that crossed the Sahara. In the centuries that followed, Islam gradually spread to the lands south of the desert.

1. Muslim advances--Muslim Berbers invading out of the desert in 1076 caused the collapse of Ghana, the empire that preceded Mali in the western Sudan, but their conquest did little to spread Islam. To the east, the Muslim attacks that destroyed the Christian Nubian kingdoms on the upper Nile in the late 13th century opened the area to Muslim influence, but Christian Ethiopia successfully withstood Muslim advances. Instead, Islam's spread south usually followed a pattern of gradual and peaceful conversion. The expansion of commercial interests, coupled with Islam's spiritual appeal to many Africans, were the major forces behind this.

2. Sundiata--a leader of the Malinke people, whose army defeated King Sumanguru's army from Takrur for control of regional and trans-Saharan trade routes. Mali, as the new kingdom was known, controlled not only the nearby trade routes, but the core trading area surrounding the upper Niger River--including the rich gold fields at the headwaters of the river.

3. Mansa Musa--was one of Sundiata's successors. During his pilgrimage to Mecca in 1324-1325, he distributed so much gold that the value of that metal was depressed for years afterward. He traveled to Mecca with a huge retinue, including his principal wife, five hundred of her ladies in waiting, as many as sixty thousand porters and a vast caravan of camels, with 500 hundred slaves who carried golden staffs.

4. Ibn Battuta in Mali--Ibn Battuta wrote vivid accounts of the countries he visited during his extensive travels; his accounts are perhaps the best source for an idea of what life was like in Muslim countries during this time. He visited Mali during the reign of Mansa Suleiman, and reported that "complete and general safety" prevailed in the vast territory he ruled.

5. The Fall of Mali--Two centuries after its founding, Mali began to disintegrate. Mansa Suleiman's successors could not prevent rebellions breaking out among the diverse peoples subject to Malinke rule, and other groups outside this sphere of influence were drawn to attack to attempt to gain some of the wealth of the kingdom. By 1500, the rulers of Mali ruled only little more than the Malinke heartland.

B. The Delhi Sultanate in India--after losing the defensive unity of the Gupta Empire, the divided states of northwest India fell prey to raids by Afghan warlords by the early 11th century. In the last decades of the 12th century, a Turkish dynasty armed with powerful crossbows captured the Indian cities of Lahore and Dehli.

1. Sultan Iltutmish--Between 1206 and 1236, Muslim invaders extended their rule over the Hindu princes and chiefs in much of northern India. Sultan Iltutmish consolidated this conquest in a series of military expeditions that made his realm the largest in India. He secured official recognition of the Delhi Sultanate as a Muslim state from the caliph of Baghdad, and began the transformation of Muslims from brutal conquerors to somewhat more benign rulers

2. Raiziya, a Female Sultan--Iltutmish astonished his ministers by attempting to pass over his sons and designate his daughter Raziya his successor. Only after her elder brother proved completely inept did the Turkish chiefs accede to her father's wishes--although that was only for four years, even though she proved a capable ruler.

3. Annexation of Gujarat--After a half-century of stagnation and rebellion after the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, Sultan Ala-ud-din Khalji increased the control over the outlying provinces. Successful frontier raids and high taxes kept his treasury full, wage and price controls kept down the costs of maintaining a huge army, and a network of spies stifled intrigue.

4. Muslim and Hindus--A small majority in a giant land, the Turkish rulers relied on terror to keep their subjects submissive, on harsh military reprisals to put down rebellion, and on pillage and high taxes to sustain the ruling elite in luxury and power--none of which endeared them to those they conquered.

5. South Indian Kingdoms--Personal and religious rivalries within the Muslim elite, along with Hindu discontent, threatened the Delhi Sultanate whenever it showed weakness, and finally hastened its end. In the mid-14th century, Muslim nobles established the independent Bahmani kingdom on the Deccan Plateau. To resist further Muslim incursions southward, the Hindu states of south India united to form the Vijayanager Empire--although they cooperated with the Bahamani rulers when it suited them, and the Bahamani's incorporated Hindu's into their ruling clique.

6. Timur Sacks Delhi--By 1351, when all of south India had cast off Delhi's rule, northern India rose in rebellion. In the east, Bengal broke away from the sultanate in 1338, and became the center of the mystical Sufi tradition of Islam; Gujarat regained its independence by 1390. In 1398, the disorder in Delhi led the Turko-Mongol ruler Timur to attack Delhi; when his army finally withdrew a year later, they left with great quantities of loot and tens of thousands of slaves, and the largest city in southern Asia lay in ruins.

II. Indian Ocean Trade

A. Monsoon Mariners

1. Trade Goods--The prosperity of Islamic and Mongol empires in Asia, cities in Europe, and new kingdoms in Africa and Southeast Asia stimulated and contributed to the vitality of the Indian Ocean network. The demand for luxuries--precious metals and jewels, rare spices, fine textiles, and other manufactures--rose. Larger ships made shipments of bulk cargoes profitable. The great distances necessary to cover help to divide this trade into two legs: from the Middle East across the Arabian Sea to India and from India across the Bay of Bengal to Southeast Asia.

2. Dhows--relatively small watercraft manufactured on the Malabar Coast in southwestern India dominated trade on the Arabian Sea--although they grew from 100 ton capacity in 1200 to 400 tons by 1500. On a typical expedition, a dhow might sail west from India to Arabia and Africa on the northeast monsoon winds (December to March) and return on the southwest monsoons (April to August)

3. Chinese Junks--by far the largest ships plying the oceans of the world; junks could accommodate 100 passenger cabins and a cargo of over 1,000 tons--and the largest carried a crew of over 1,000. Junks dominated China's foreign shipping to Southeast Asia and India, but the Chinese did not control all of the junks that plied these waters. During the 15th century, similar vessels came out of shipyards in Bengal and Southeast Asia sailed by local crews.

4. From Africa to China--Decentralized and cooperative commercial interests, rather than political authorities, connected the several regions that participated in the Indian Ocean trade. The Swahili Coast supplied gold from the interior of Africa, ports around the Arabian peninsula supplies horses and goods from the northern parts of the Middle East, the Mediterranean, and eastern Europe. Merchants in the cities of coastal India received goods from east and west, sold some locally, passed others along, and added Indian goods to the trade. The Straits of Malacca, between the eastern end of the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea, provided a meeting point fro the trade from Southeast Asia, China, and the Indian Ocean. In each region, certain ports functioned as giant emporia, consolidating goods from smaller ports and inland areas for transport across the seas.

B. Africa: The Swahili Coast and Zimbabwe--Trade expanded steadily along the East African coast from about 1250, giving rise to between thirty and forty separate city-states by 1500. After 1200, masonry buildings replaced mud and thatch buildings, and archaeological findings indicate and extensive trade network had been built.

1. Ibn Battuta in Kilwa--Sometime after Ibn Battuta's visit to Mogadishu in 1331, the more southerly city of Kilwa surpassed it as the Swahili Coasts most important commercial center--because by then it was exporting more than a ton of gold each year from mines even further south.

2. Great Zimbabwe--the city now known to us as Great Zimbabwe controlled these gold mines, and used the profits generated from the gold trade to build a grand city, but scholars now suspect that the depletion of firewood and the overgrazing of cattle hastened the empire's collapse in the 15th century.

C. Arabia: Aden and the Red Sea

1. Ibn Battuta in Aden--The city of Aden had a double advantage in the Indian Ocean trade. Monsoon winds brought enough rainfall to supply drinking water for a large population and to grow grain for export, and its location made in a convenient stopover for trade with India, the Persian Gulf, East Africa, and Egypt. Ibn Battuta observed that these conditions contributed to fabulous wealth for a number of merchants

2. Yemen and Ethiopia--Common commercial interests generally promoted good relations among the different religions and cultures in the region, although sometimes these differences created periods of friction.

D. India: Gujarat and the Malabar Coast--The state of Gujarat in western India prospered from the expanding trade of the Arabian Sean and the rise of the Delhi Sultanate. Blessed with a rich agricultural hinterland and a long coastline, Gujarat attracted new trade after the Mongol destruction of Baghdad in 1258 disrupted the northern land routes. After the initial violence of its forced incorporation into the Delhi Sultanate in 1298, Gujarat prospered from increased trade with Delhi's ruling class. Independent again after 1390, the Muslim rulers of Gujarat extended their control over neighboring Hindu states and regained their preeminent position in the Indian Ocean trade.

1. Maritime Trade--Gujaratis exported cotton textiles and indigo to the Middle East and Europe, in return for gold and silver. They also shipped cotton cloth, carnelian beads, and foodstuffs to the Swahili Coast in exchange for ebony, slaves, ivory, and gold. During the 15th century, traders expanded eastward to the Strait of Malacca. These Gujarati merchants helped spread the Islamic faith among East Indian traders, some of whom even imported carved gravestones from Gujarat.

2. Cambay and Calicut--Later observers compared the Gujarati city of Cambay with cities in Flanders and northern Italy in the scale, artisanry, and diversity of its textile industries. Cotton, linen, and silk cloth, along with carpets and quilts, found their way to Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. At the height of its prosperity, its well-laid out streets and open places boasted fine stone housed with tiled roofs. Although Muslims controlled most of the overseas trade, Hindu merchants profited so much from related commercial activities that their wealth and luxurious lives became the envy of other Indians. Other cities along the west coast like Calicut also shared in the wealth.

D. Southeast Asia--At the eastern end of the Indian Ocean, the Strait of Malacca between the Malay Peninsula and the island of Sumatra provided the principle passage into the South China Sea. As trade increased in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, this commercial choke point became the site of political rivalry.

1. Kingdom of Majapahit--The mainland Kingdom of Siam controlled most of the upper Malay Peninsula, while the Java-based Kingdom of Majaphahit extended its domination over the lower Malay Peninsula and much of Sumatra. They could not control a band of Chinese pirates based in Palembang, however, that preyed on ships sailing through the strait. In 1407, a fleet from China smashed the pirates' power and took their chief back to China for trial. Majahpahit, weakened by internal struggles, could not take advantage of China's intervention, however.

2. The Rise of Malacca--The beneficiary of China's intervention was the newer port of Malacca, which dominated the narrowest part of the strait. Princes in Malacca made a series of strategic alliances, which resulted in the visit of the imperial fleet from China, and with Muslim traders fro Gujarat and elsewhere. Malacca served as both a meeting point and an emporium of exotic trade goods

III. Social and Cultural Change

A. Architecture, Learning, and Religion

1. Temples and Mosques--Social and cultural changes typically affected cities more than rural areas. As Ibn Battuta and other travelers observed, wealthy merchants and ruling elites spent lavishly on mansions, palaces, and places of worship. Most places of worship surviving from this period blended older traditions and new influences.

2. Spread of Literacy--Mosques, churches, and temples were centers of education as well as prayer. Muslims promoted literacy among their sons (and sometimes their daughters) so they could read the sacred texts.

3. Timbuktu--a city on the Niger River in the modern country of Mali. The city was founded by the Tuareg as a seasonal camp sometime after 1000. As part of the Mali Empire, Timbuktu became a major terminus of the trans-Saharan trade and a center of Islamic learning, with over 150 schools teaching the Quran, and leading clerics taught advanced classes in private homes.

5. End of Indian Buddhism--In India, Muslim invasions eliminated the last strongholds of long-declining Buddhism, including the great Buddhist center of study at Nalanda in Hihar in 1196. Manuscripts were burned, and thousands of monks killed or driven into exile in Nepal and Tibet. Islam emerged as the second most important religion in India, behind Hindusim--and Islam displaced Hinduism in most of maritime Southeast Asia.

B. Social and Gender Distinctions--the growth of slavery accompanied the rising prosperity of the elites.

1. The Slave Trade--According to modern estimates, between 1200 and 1500 Saharan and Red Sea traders bought approximately 2.5 millions slaves from sub-Saharan Africa. Because of the abundance of "free" labor, however, the purpose of these slaves was to serve as house servants, and often as soldiers in various armies--although some were also employed in occupations like mining, which few free workers desired to engage in.

2. Status of Women--in much of the region, the status of women improved somewhat. In India, the sati remained a strongly approved social custom, but as Ibn Battuta made clear, it was an option that could be resisted more successfully than in the past. Indian parents still gave their daughters in marriage before puberty, but the marriage was not consumated until the young woman was ready.

3. Women's Activities--Besides child rearing, women were engaged with food preparation--including brewing, when not prohibited by religious practice. Women were also largely responsible for much of the farm work, including especially planting and harvesting crops

IV. Conclusion--Tropical Africa and Asia contained 40 percent of the world's population and over a quarter of its habitable land in 1500. Between 1200 and 1500, commercial, political, and cultural currents drew the region's peoples closer together, and the Indian Ocean became the world's most important and richest trading area. Trade and empire followed closely the enlargement of Islam's presence and the accompanying diversification of Islamic customs.

Yet many social and cultural practices remained stable. Most tropical Africans and Asians never ventured far outside the rural communities where their families had lived for generations. Their lives followed the patterns of the seasons, the cycle of religious rituals and festivals, and the stages from childhood to adulthood.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Eastern Asia, South Asia, and Africa, 1200-1500

I. Centralization and Militarism in East Asia, 1200-1500

A. Korea from the Mongols to the Yi, 1231-1500

1. Mongol conquest--Korea was the answer to the Mongol search for coastal areas from which to launch naval expeditions and choke off the sea trade of their adversaries. After twenty years of defensive war, Korea was left with a ravaged countryside and a depleted treasury, as well as other losses. The Korean military commander (analagous to the Japanese shogun) was killed by his underlings in 1258, and soon afterward the Koryo king surrendered to the Mongols.

2. Breakdown of Isolation--Mongol control broke down centuries of comparative isolation. Cotton was introduced in southern Korea, gunpowder came into use, and the art of calendar-making stimulated astronomical obersvation and mathematics. Avenuues of advancement opened for Korean scholars willing to learn Mongolian, landowners willing to open their lands to falconry and grazing, and merchants servicing the new royal exchanges with Beijing.

3. Yi Dynasty--when the Yuan Dynasty in China fell in 1368, the Koryo ruling family remained loyal to the Mongols, and had to be forced to recognize the new Ming Empire. In 1392 the Yi established a new kingdom in Seoul and sought to re-establish a distinctive Korean identity. Like Russia and Ming China, the Yi regime publicly rejected the period of Mongol domination, yet still employed Mongol-style land surveys, taxation in kind, and military garrison techniques.

4. Korean Printing--Like the Ming emperors, the Yi kings revived the study of the Confucian classics, and this may have spurred a technological breakthrough in printing. Working directly with the king, Yi printers developed a reliable device to anchor the pieces of type securely to the printing plate. This enhanced the legibililty and accuracy of the printing, and made the production of a high volume of printed material possible. This allowed Korean printers to not only produce Confucian texts, but also manuals for producing and using fertilizer, transplanting rice seedlings, and engineering resevoirs.

5. Cotton and gunpowder--farmers in Korea expanded the cultivation of cash crops, just the opposite of what was occuring in Ming China. Cotton was the primary cash crop, and was so valuable that the government accepted it for tax payments. The Korean army was outfitted in cotton, and it was the preferred wear among Korean elites, as well. Although the Chinese attempted to prevent anyone else from learning the formula for gunpowder, the Yi government gained that knowledge, and by the late 1300s had mounted cannon on ships that patrolled against pirates. This firepower, along with the armoring of ships, made the small Korean navy a formidable force.

B. Political Transformation in Japan, 1274-1500

1. Mongol attacks--After securing Korea, the Mongols looked toward Japan--an easy reach from the Korean peninsula. In 1274 the Mongols launched their first 30,000 man attack that included cavalry forces, archers, and sailors, and decimated the Japanese defenders. A great storm on the Hakata Bay on the north side of Kyushu Island prevented the establishment of a beachhead, however, and led to the withdrawal of the Mongols to Korea.

2. Kamakura Shogunate--the Japanese shogun was the real power in the country, the "protector" of the emperor. The Kamakura Shogun had been established in 1185, and the Kamakura family remained in power by keeping the other elite families as nearly equal as possible, so that none could challenge their supremacy. The shogun distributed land and privileges to his followers, and they in turn supplied him with soldiers. These families were largely isolated from each other, until the threat from the Mongol invaders. After the initial invasion, power was much more centralized.

3. The Divine Wind--the Mongols did not attack again until 1281. In the intervening years, the Japanese had prepared for this second invasion, studying and training how to fight against the advanced weaponry of the Mongols. With these new techniques and fortifications, the Japanese were able to fight the Mongols to a standoff, until a typhoon struck the Mongol fleet and sunk perhaps half of the ships, and forced another Mongol retreat. The Japanese stood ready for a third attempt, which never came; they expense of maintaining the defenses eventually led to financial difficulties for the Kamakura.

4. The Ashikaga Shogunate--with the weakening of the Kamakura, the emperor Go-Daigo broke with centuries of tradition, and attempted to reclaim power from the shoguns. This led to a civil war that destroyed the Kamakura system. In 1338, with the Mongol threat waning, the Ashikaga Shogunate took control at the imperial center of Kyoto.

5. Zen Buddhism--Growing wealth and relative peace stimulated artistic creativity, mostly reflecting the Zen Buddhist beliefs of the warrior elite, which found expression in the simple elegance of architecture and gardens, the contemplative landscape painting of artists, and the eerie, stylized performances of Noh theater.



6. Onin War--Despite the technological advancement, artistic productivity, and rapid urbanization of this era, however, civil war nearly destroyed this warlord system. Regional rivalries among familes led to the great Onin War in 1477 that left Kyoto devastated and the Ashikuna Shogunate a central government in name only.

C. The Emergence of Vietnam, 1200-1500

1. Annam and Champa--Before the first Mongol attack in 1257, Annam and Champa had clashed frequently. While Annam looked to China for political ideas, social philosophies, trade, dress, religion, and language, Champa was more heavily influenced by the trading networks of the Indian Ocean.

2. Annam's victory--The Mongols exacted tribute from both Annam and Champa until the fall of the Yuan Empire in 1368. Mongol poltical and military ambitions were focused largely elsewhere, however, and Annam attempted to take advantage of this lack of attention and moved a majority of its troops to its southern border with Champa. Ming troops instead overran Annam, occupied its capital, Hanoi, and installed a puppet government. Almost thirty years elapsed befor Annam regained independence and resumed a tributary status. By then, the Ming had turned north to meet yet another Mongol threat, and Annam, in a series of ruthless campaigns, terminated Champa's independence and began the establishment of the modern state of Vietnam.

II. Tropical Lands and Peoples

A. The Tropical Environment--Because of the angle of the Earth's axis, the sun's rays warm the tropics year-round. The equator marks the center of the tropical zone, with the Tropic of Cance and the Tropic of Capricorn marking the northern and southern outer limits of the tropics.

1. Monsoon system--in the lands around the Indian Ocean, the rainy and dry season reflect the influence of alternating winds known as monsoons. A gigantic high-pressure zone over the Himalaya's that peaks from December to March produces southern Asia's dry season through a strong southward air movement (the northeast monsoon) in the western Indian Ocean. Between April and August, a low-pressure zone over India creates a northward movement of air from across the Indian Ocean (the southwest monsoon) that brings southern Asia the heavy rains of the wet season.

B. Human Ecosystems--Thinkers in temperate climates once imagined that surviving in the tropics was merely a matter of picking wild fruit off trees. A careful observer touring the tropics in 1200 would have noticed, however, many differences in societies deriving from their particular ecosystem--that is, from how human groups used the plants, animals, and other resources of their physical environments.

1. Hunter and fishers--domesticated plants and animals had become commonplace long before 1200, but people in some environments continued to rely primarily on hunting, fishing, and gathering.

2. Herders--herding provided sustenance in areas too arid for agriculture. Pastoralists consumed milk from their herds and traded hides and meat to farmers in return for grains and vegetables. The world's largest concentration of pastoralists inhabited the arid and semi-arid lands of northeastern Africa and Arabia.

3. Farmers--The density of agricultural populations reflected the adequacy of rainfall and soils. South and Southeast Asia were generally wetter than tropical Africa, making intensive agriculture possible. High yields supported denser populations; by 1200, over 100 million people lived in South and Southeast Asia.

C. Water Systems and Irrigation

1. Irrigation systems--Though the inland delta of the Niger River received naturally fertilizing annual floods, many tropical farmers had to move the water to their crops. Conserving some of the monsoon rainfall for use during the dry season helped in Vietnam, Java, Malay, and Burma, which had terraced hillsides with special water control systems for growing rice. Northern and southern India also had water-storage dams and irrigation canals. Government collapse, such as happened in 12th century Ceylon and 18th century Cambodia, could have devastating effects on the maintenance of such structures, which led to their failure.

D. Mineral Resources--the most productive metal trade in the tropics was ironworking, which provided the hoes, axes, and knives farmers used to clear their fields. Between 1200 and 1500, the rain forests of coastal West Africa and Southeast Asia opened up for farming.

1. Copper--and its alloys had special importance in southwestern Africa. Copper was used in coins, while bronze (copper plus zinc) was used extensively in artwork.

2. Gold--African gold moved across the Sahara in great quantities, and then into the Red Sea trade and the Indian Ocean trading system, as well. Some of this gold came from the streambeds of the Niger River in modern Ghana, where it was panned by prospectors; much else, however, was mined for, especially in the hill south of the Zambezi River in current-day Zimbabwe.