Rebirth of Empire - 14th and 15th Century Expansionism

  1. Africa

    1. East Africa, 15th century

      1. Trade expands across Indian Gulf

      2. Coincides with expansion of Ethiopia

      3. Increased Indian Ocean trade leads to expansion along entire coast and inland

        1. traditional trading ports like Zanzibar grow

        2. Along the Zambezi river in the south, inland Mutapa Empire emerges (1250-1629)

          1. founded by Mwene Mutapa

          2. economy based on gold, salt, other minerals

          3. grows wealthy on Indian Ocean trade despite having no direct access to sea

    2. West Africa

      1. Songhay emerges after decline of Mali

        1. founded by Sonni Ali (r. 1464-1493)

        2. Muhammad Touray Askia (r. 1493-1528) expands empire, strongly promotes Islam

        3. Askia's strongly Islamic stance both reflects and expands Islam's influence in the Sahel

        4. wealth based on control of Trans-Saharan trade, like Ghana and Mali

        5. growth reflects recovery of the Mediterranean economy after the plague years

      2. Other strong states emerge, notably Kongo farther south

      3. Growth of West African states also reflects increased trade as Portuguese develop Atlantic trade routes

  2. Eastern Europe and Asia

    1. Muscovy (Russia)

      1. Benefits from the collapse of Mongol rule

      2. Expands rapidly in late 1400s under Ivan the Terrible (r. 1462-1505)

      3. uses Volga River as a trade and military axis

      4. As Constantinople falls to Ottomans (1453) and Byzantine Empire ends, sees itself as third Rome, inheritor of imperial tradition

    2. Ottomans

      1. Collapse of Mongols, weakness of Byzantine Empire enables expansion of Ottoman Turks in Anatolia

      2. By late 1300s, control much of Anatolia

      3. A highly adaptive empire

        1. while maintaining a Turkic identity, eagerly sought to adapt Mediterranean science, technology, know-how

        2. in particular, understood importance of European gunpowder technology

        3. allowed local communities to maintain religious tradition and laws

        4. Janissaries

          1. developed an elite corps of soldiers and bureaucrats loyal only to the Sultan

          2. Christian boys would be taken from families at seven years old

          3. raised as Muslims, trained fro war and government service

        5. seize Constantinople in 1453, declare themselves inheritors of Rome

    3. China

      1. Peasant revolts bring down Mongol rule in 1350s

      2. After a period of war, Ming Dynasty established in 1368

      3. Initially highly expansionist

        1. Military campaigns and colonization pushes China's frontiers west

        2. Also promotes a series of Treasure Fleet voyages (1405-1425)

          1. led by Zheng He

          2. meant to display Chinese power and collect tribute

          3. explores much of Indian Ocean, traveled as far as East Africa

      4. But traditionalism asserts itself

        1. Ming emperors revived importance of the Confucian bureaucracy

        2. bureaucrats saw voyages as unnecessary

        3. also greatly concerned by rebirth of Mongol power, wished to focus on northern frontier

        4.  voyages ended in 1425, leaving space for European expansion into same waters

  3. An Age of Expansion in the Americas

    1. Incan Empire

      1. A Quechua empire emerges from what is now the Andes region of southern Peru in the 1400s

      2. Between 1438 and 1532, the city-state of Cuzco builds an empire long much of the Andean coast of South America

      3. "Inca" was the title of emperor; the Quechua called their empire Tawantinsuyu - the land of the four corners

      4. Based on efficient organization and an extensive bureaucracy

      5. Co-opted conquered ruling elites, incorporating them into bureaucracy

      6. Used re-settlement to shatter old loyalties

      7. Made extensive use of mita (forced corvee labor) for construction and other tasks

      8. Rapid conquests and brutal methods bred resentment, leaving the empire fragile

    2. Aztec Empire

      1. Last in a series of Amerindian civilizations to develop in Valley of Mexico
      2. Aztecs srrived in the valley c. 1218.
        1. Last Nahua group to arrive in Valley
        2. trouble fiding land
        3. worked as mercenaries for other Nahua city-states
        4. Founded Tenochtitlan on islands in lake Texcoco c. 1325
      3. Begin big push outward in 1430, gaining subservience of north Mesoamerica
      4. Religion and Empire
        1. A doom that must be averted
          1. The sun is born, lives and dies- each cycle each must end
          2. The current Sun, the 5th Sun, must die, but Aztecs seek to put this off as lone as possible
        1. Huitzilopotchli - God of War and the Sun
          1. the chief tribal god of Aztecs
          2. the sun formed by a god sacrificing himself on coals each day - reborn as sun
          3. Nourishment comes only from human heart (purity) - must be physically freed
          4. thus human sacrifice on an ever grander scale vital to religion
        1. All nations must serve Huitzilipotchli
          1. conquered tribute cities must give over sacrificial victims
          2. Flowery war
            1. meant to take captives, not kill
            2. often orchestrated
            3. hurt them with Spaniards
      5. An empire based on fear
        1. Aztecs did not govern their conquests directly
        2. left them intact as source of tribute
        3. left them intact as source of "war captives" for sacrifice
        4. Need to constantly ratchet up the fear
        5. sacrifice and war become a self-reinforcing obsession
        6. life of nobles a constant preparation and participation in war
        7. yet also a society that valued speech, dance, poetry
    3. Both suffer from limitations of isolation

  4. Western Europe and Oceanic Imperialism

    1. Long distance ocean trade viable only in monsoonal systems (ex: Indian Ocean) prior to 1500s

    2. In 1400s, Europeans begin to build foundations of new maritime trade routes

      1. Method

        1. gained access to navigation technologies like the quadrant

        2. gained access to naval techniques like lateen sail, which enable tacking

        3. developed boats appropriate for long seas voyages, like the caravel

      2. Motive

        1. originally motivated by short term goals, such as more direct trade routes with West Africa

        2. push establish trade routes with India, China, and Japan develops over time

        3. also sought allies against the growing Ottoman threat

        4. somewhat motivated by desire to spread Christianity

      3. Opportunity

        1. Some regions, like India and China, had the needed technology, but no motivation to build these trade routes

        2. Other peoples who might have benefited from doing this. like West Africa or the Amerindians, lacked the needed technology

        3. Only the Europeans had both the technology and the need, given the relative weakness of the European economy