Age of Exploration, 1400-1800

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Age of Exploration, 1400-1800

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Age of Exploration, 1400-1800. I. Europeans Explore Asia. Prior to 1400s, Europeans had little interest or ability to explore far-off, foreign lands The ideas and events of the Renaissance stirred European unrest/curiosity 3 motivating factors: 1) Economic motivations (wanted to be rich) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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Page 1: Age of Exploration, 1400-1800

Age of Exploration, 1400-1800

Page 2: Age of Exploration, 1400-1800

I. Europeans Explore Asia

Prior to 1400s, Europeans had little interest or ability to explore far-off, foreign lands

The ideas and events of the Renaissance stirred European unrest/curiosity

3 motivating factors: 1) Economic motivations (wanted to be rich)

Spices/luxury items from Asia were introduced during the Crusades Trade took place between Italian and Muslim merchants who

charged high prices European merchants looked for a direct route to Asia to secure

items at lower cost 2) Spread of Christianity

Many Europeans felt it was their duty to convert non-Christians



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I. Continued…

3 motivating factors (continued…) 3) New technologies

New ships (caravels) were faster, sturdier, and could sail against the wind

Magnetic compass and astrolabe allowed for better navigation, map making

Portugal first to embrace and pursue exploration First to establish trading outposts along African coast Supported by Prince Henry of Portugal

Founded navigation school, supported explorers financially

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I. Continued…

1488 – Portuguese sailors rounded tip of Africa, began exploring east Africa 1498 – Vasco da Gama travelled

to Calcuta, India

Spain was jealous of Portugal’s success Sent Christopher Columbus

searching for a route to Asia in 1492

Rivalry between Spain and Portugal grew tense Pope Alexander VI suggested created a dividing line that split

the world Signed the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494

Dividing line ran north-south, gave Spain all lands west, Portugal all lands east

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Map of Conquest, 1494-1506

Source -

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II. Trading Empires in the Indian Ocean

After da Gama’s voyage, Portugal established a thriving trading empire throughout Indian Ocean Seized control of spice trade from Muslim merchants Captured trading ports in Middle East, India, East Indies

(modern-day Malaysia and Indonesia) Prices for Asian goods dropped in Europe, access increased Success of Portuguese attracted other European countries to

areaAround 1600, Dutch and English challenged Portuguese

dominance Established East India Companies to trade with Asia

Could mint money, make treaties, establish armies Would lay the foundation for colonies later

Dutch and English remained dominant forces into modern times

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Dutch Empire,17th – 19th centuries.

British Empire, early 20th century

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II. Continued…

Competition between European nations eventually leads to worldwide conflict – Seven Years’ War End of War gives British control over vast territory

Europeans controlled many Asian ports, but influence was limited Small groups converted to

Christianity, but majority of populations remained elusive

Chinese and Japanese governments implement policiesof isolation to limit European influence

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1. What role did religion play for the Europeans during the Age of Exploration?

2. Describe a piece of technology that allowed Europeans to go out and explore.

3. Who was the first person to round the southern tip of Africa?

Christopher Columbus Vasco da Gama Prince Henry

4. What did the Treaty of Tordesillas do?

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III. China During the Age of Exploration

Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Founded by Hongwu in 1368, originally a peasant

Sought to restore power of China, erase Mongol past Encouraged return to Confucian ideas, restored examination

system Eventually became a tyrant, killing thousands of government

officials suspected of plotting against him Yonglo, son of Hongwu, continued many

policies of his father Began short-lived Chinese age of exploration Zheng He led all voyages

Explored as far as West Africa, established a system of tribute in more than 16 countries

“Treasure Fleet” voyages mysteriously ended in 1433



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III. Continued…

Trade and commerce become highly regulated Confucian beliefs argued against idea of commerce, trade

for profit Economic policies favored agriculture, not external trade Fear of outside (European) influence

Policy of isolation had unintended consequences Lack of technological progress – Europeans and others

developed better weapons, navigation tools over time Limited access to resources in times of need Society falls into disrepair – money spent on defense not on

supporting population

Fall of Ming Dynasty caused by civil unrest, brought on by problems associated with isolation policy

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IV. Japan Becomes Isolated

1400s – civil war had disrupted centralized Japanese leadership With centralized power gone, feudalism became

dominant system Regional warlords (daimyo) held real power,

emperor had little say Warlords relied on samurai to protect land and

control peasant population

European contact began mid-16th century Brought new technologies, ideas

Guns, printing press, mechanical clocks

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IV. Continued…

Brought new technologies, ideas (continued…) Christian missionaries attempted to convert

Some early success, many people were interested Western ideas

But, by late 16th century, Christian missionaries and converts were being actively persecuted• Thought to be a threat to the social order

Isolation By mid-17th century, Japanese ships forbidden to sail overseas Outsiders limited to port of

Nagasaki – only Dutch and Chinese merchants

For more than 200 years, Japan was basically closed to Europeans and the West

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Make a prediction (or three)! What do you think motivated the Europeans

to go out and explore the world? List and explain at least three possible motivating

factors. Complete sentences!


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After the Ming dynasty ended the voyages of the “Treasure Fleet”, China begin to enforce a policy of isolation. What factors might have motivated China into

isolating themselves from the rest of the world? What might be the positive and negative

consequences of such a policy? Complete sentences, at least a paragraph.