Three Worlds Collide

  1. Pre-Columbian America

    1. Origins of the Amerindians
      1. Bulk of population migrated between 14,000 and 11,000 years ago from Asia
      2. Came across Bering Land Bridge
      3. Some tentative evidence suggests human habitation as early as 35,000 BCE
    2. Contemporary images of American Indians
      1. Plains/War Bonnet/Warrior
      2. western movie image
      3. plains culture as pan-Indian
      4. even Eastern Indians today adopt Plain's image as authentic Indian
    3. In reality over 500 languages and cultures
  2. Urban and Village cultures in present day United States
    1. Mississippian culture - 750 AD to contact (the Moundbuilders)
      1. complex moundbuilders
      2. Cities of  2,000 people or more
      3. Cahokia
        1. 30,000-50,000 people
        2. had more versatile uses of mounds
      4. Social Organization
        1. hereditary chieftain positions
        2. may have been early states
        3. some of these groups lasted 'til contact
      5. Religious Practices
        1. No distinction between secular and sacred
        2. possibly focused on blood and sacrifice
        3. sun worship
          1. primary deity
          2. other gods "less" prominent or powerful
          3. mirrored in the social structure and hierarchy
    2. Iroquois
      1. Confederation of villages in New York/Pennsylvania region
      2. Palisaded villages of some 1000 people each
      3. Farming/hunting done communally
      4. Matrilineal family structure
        1. Family descent through mother's line
        2. This led to greater property rights and political power for women than common in Europe
  3. Mesoamerican society
    1. Southern and Central Mexico, Upper Central America
    2. 10-20 million people
    3. Largest civilizations in North America
    4. Dominated by Aztec Empire (1427-1521)
      1. Capital at Tenochtitlan (Mexico City)
      2. Tribute empire
      3. Ritualized warfare designed to produce sacrifices for Sun god
    5. Overthrown by Hernan Cortes (1521)
      1. Gain allies among Aztec enemies
      2. Also helped by epidemics that devastated Aztecs
    6. Mexican (and Bolivian) silver and the Price Revolution
      1. Spaniards discovered vast silver mines in Mexico and Bolivia
      2. Massive imports of silver into Europe sparks rapid inflation
      3. This will impoverish many artisans and peasants, producing a large poor population that would join  the immigrants to the New World
  4. Columbian Exchange
    1. Biological, human, cultural, and economic exchange between New and Old World after 1492
    2. Old World gains a number of new crops - corn, potatoes, manioc, peanuts, squashes, tomatoes, much more
    3. New World gains new crops (wheat, rice) and many domesticated animals (horses, cattle, pigs, more)
    4. Massive changes in population
      1.  New crops in Europe, Africa result in population increase possible
        1. Makes possible migration of millions of Europeans to New World
        2. Also increases African population, increasing possibilities for slave trade
      2. Amerindians had no immunity to Old World diseases - massive epidemics, as much as 90% drop in population over first 100 years
  5. Africa on the Eve of European Expansion
    1.  West Africa an important trading region
      1. Main exports - gold and salt
      2. Slaves, forest products also important
      3. Because of this, extensive contacts with Muslims in North Africa develop
    2. Islam in Africa
      1. Because of trade and conquest, North and East Africa becomes Muslim between c.700 and c.1500 AD
      2. West Africa will become increasingly Muslim due to trade contacts with these regions, gaining access to nearly global Muslim culture
    3. Ghana, Mali, Songhai
      1. Gold trade in West Africa will support the growth of three major trade empires in succession
      2. Ghana Empire (c.400-c.1100 AD) the first - becomes major supplier of gold to Mediterranean
        1. Ghana as a commercially based empire: culture has origins in 300s as Rome was losing power in that geographic area
          • 1. Founded by Soninke people -- roughly in 600s
          • 2. capital at Kumbi
          • 3. gains prominence in 900s AD
          • 4. Cross-Saharan trade develops around 750 AD
          • 5. Cross-Saharan trade grafted on to indigenous local trade routes
          • 4. "Ghana" was the title of the king
        2. Government
          • 1. sacred king at top
          • 2. king an intermediary between living and dead
          • 3. His sacred status also limited his behavior - had to uphold moral standards
          • 4. network of subchieftans who ruled the clans
          • 5. Government taxed trade
          • 6. Gold belonged to king (called the kaya maghan - Master of Gold)
          • 7. But king expected to redistribute gold to people - held massive feasts
          • 4. Kingdom the size of Texas
        3.  Society
          • 1. Clan the basic unit of society
          • 2. based on descent from common ancestor
          • 3.clans often specialized
        4. Moved salt and gold across Sahara from north to south
          • 1.acted as middle men, moving gold and salt but not actually mining them
            • a. gold and ivory from southern forests
            • b. salt deposits in north
            • c. imported horses, swords, carpets and more from Arab world
          • 2.included trade with Romans and with southern Africans
          • one point, gold was said to be "worth its weight in salt"
          • 4.why salt?
        5. Commerce vs. tribal life
          • helped city to grow
          • 2.yet major court life was centered outside the city
          • 3.showed the strength of the old tribal, non-city ways even in the Ghanese empire
          • 4.most traders and court possibly Muslim, most commoners probably African animist religions
          • 5.Islam was urban and commercial; traditional religions rural and less commercial
        6. Commerce was maintained by war
          • 1.kept trade routes open
          • 2.gave the possibility of winning slaves for later sale
          • 3.continuous warfare in desert and grasslands, however, meant a brittle empire
          • 4. Conquered by Berbers from Morroco in 1076AD - after brief period of chaos, revives but disappears by 1203AD.
      3. With each successive empire (Mali, Songhai), both governments and culture of region becomes more Islamic, particularly in cities
      4. Kongo Kingdom
        1. founded by Bakongo people in the Congo river basin
        2. ironworking critical in expanding agricultural production and in military development
        3. agricultural surpluses enabled development of village life and ultimately founding of a royal state at Mbanza Kongo
        4. will establish direct trade with Europeans after first European merchants arrive in 1482.
    4. Society and Religion
      1. Extensive village farming, husbandry
      2. Matrilineal family structure in many places
      3. Non-Islamic regions practiced animism, sprit possession, polytheism
  6. Europe in the Period of Early Expansion
    1. Europe developed slowly after collapse of Roman Empire, but began to more rapidly after c.1000 AD
    2. Feudal system (feudalism) develops
      1. Weak kings who have direct control only over a small territory
      2. Most of their kingdoms divided into fiefs ruled by vassals
        1.  vassals had largely total authority over these fiefs
        2. in exchange, they provided military service to the king
      3. Most of the European population were serfs
        1. tied to the land - could not leave the place where they were born
        2. provided labor to the vassals; paid the vassals tax and/or rent
        3. their labor, taxes, and rents were main source of wealth for the nobility
    3. Strong nation-states with powerful kings begin to develop after Black Death (mid-1300s)
    4. England a little different because of Magna Carta (1215)
      1. English nobles able to force King to sign document that made him share power with them
      2. This leads to creation of Parliament, a legislature that limited King's power
      3. Sets stage for a more unified state in England, and ultimately the strong English belief in their individual rights
    5. Enclosure movement also made England distinctive
      1. English nobles began "enclosing" their estates in the 1500s, throwing serfs off their land
      2. Instead of making money by renting land to serfs, nobles now engaged in commercial agriculture, selling to cities
      3. This created a population of landless peasants
        1. Many become part of  labor pool for industrialization
        2. Others join immigrants headed to the new colonies in the New World
    6. New Ideas in Europe
      1. Renaissance (1400-1600)
        1. Period of increasing rationalism, secularism, humanism
        2. Also great interest in recovery of classical knowledge of ancient Greeks, Romans
        3. Inspired new commercial ventures and political advancements that led to stronger governments, expanding trade and conquest
        4. Also triggered greater religious inquiry
      2. Protestant Reformation
        1. Increasing rationalism and humanism, as well as corruption in Catholic Church, lead to demands for religious reform
        2. Beginning with Martin Luther (1517) religious unity of Western Europe begins to break down
        3. Large areas of Europe become Protestant (including England); religious wars break out
        4. Protestants favored a more Bible-centered and individualistic religion; Catholics placed more emphasis on Church hierarchy and communal salvation
        5. Completion between Catholics and Protestants, and between various Protestant groups, will spur exploration and expansion as groups look for converts
        6. Calvinism
          1. Protestant group that was particularly influential in early English colonies
          2. Founded by John Calvin (1509-1564)
          3. Believed in a pre-destined "elect"; emphasized very strict moral behavior
          4. Churches governed by elected councils called presbyteries
      3. Maritime trade and exploration
        1. starting in the early 1400s, systematic efforts to explore and exploit the Atlantic begin
        2. New technologies make more extensive trade and exploration possible
        3. fish in the Atlantic and trade with west Africa are the initial goals
        4. Baking of increasingly powerful rulers with well-organized nation-states was critical
        5. Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal
          1. in 1420s, began promoting Atlantic exploration as a source of wealth and for military reasons
          2. Portuguese sailors locate the Canaries, Azores, and Madeira - will become site of early plantations
          3. establish trade ties with west Africa, trading in gold, ivory, and slaves