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WORLD EVENTS AT THE TIME OF THE "AGE OF EXPLORATION"

ASIA (W4:D2):

Ottoman Empire (Middle East: 1299 - 1922) – While the Renaissance was occurring throughout Western Europe, most of the surrounding areas around the Mediterranean, some of the Middle East, and even Northern Africa, was controlled by the Islamic Ottoman Empire. Constantinople was conquered in 1453, Cairo in 1526, and Algeriers in 1528. Suleiman the Magnificent was the longest lasting monarch, during most of the European Renaissance. The Ottomans continued to attack Christian-controlled Europe, taking more areas from Europe. Suleiman took many Christian strongholds, including Belgrade and Rhodes, and conquered much of Eastern Europe, until the Siege of Vienna. He controlled most of the Mediterranean, Red Sea, and the Persian Gulf, which controlled much of the spice trade for Europe. He also annexed much of Iran and Northern Africa. He sold millions of slaves; many white Christian Europeans captured in battle were sold in the African slave markets, as well. The Empire would also capture women and children, and sell them into slavery. He broke from Ottoman tradition, though, when he married an Orthodox Christian woman slave, from his harem. She converted to Islam, and yet always stood out, due to her firey red hair. She is known by the West as Roxelana. Only one of his sons, born to Roxelana, succeeded him, since the Sultan executed two of his sons, and the others died of Smallpox. After his death, the Ottoman Empire went through economic and political changes, called the Transformation. The Persian Safavid Empire (Iran: 1051-1736) – This was one of Iranian’s greatest Empires, after Muslim conquered Persia (7th Century). It was ruled by the Safavid dynasty and was in constant battles with the Ottoman Empire, as they both continued to fight to expand their reach. The Ottoman were of Sunni Muslim rule, as opposed to the Safavid, who considered their empire a Shi’ite state.

The Chinese Renaissance (China: 1368 – 1600) – During this time, Europe’s influence grew throughout Asia, including that of European merchants and Christian missionaries visiting China. The Ming Dynasty had reached its peak, with a strong centralized and fully functional government, with an aristocratic elite, and a territorial base of powers. The peasants were made to sustain this government with the sweat of their brow, by producing more crops for their government, before feeding their families. The military force was of both infantry and naval, including the help of Zheng He (1371-1435) and his Great Fleet. A great famine began and flooding in the land devastated the peasant class. The people were forced to make new changes to the technology they used in agriculture, textile production - such as the silk looms and cotton mills, and find new ways of producing the products the government demanded, including paper and ceramics. There was a great inequality of wealth, status, and livelihoods. Merchants and peasants began to find new ways of making money, including trading with outsiders, especially Europeans. The Dynasty cracked down on the people, considering any unsanctioned trade “piracy,” creating pirates in China like Ching Shi. At this point, there was a

great uprising from the Northern clans, made of Manchu, Han, and Mongol elements, who captured Beijing and overthrew the Ming Dynasty (1636), setting up the Qing Dynasty, ruled mostly by Manchus and governed like their predecessor. This was the last Great Imperial Dynasty. Christian missionaries and Jesuits entered China, in 1582, and received an audience with the emperor in 1601. At that point, the Jesuits were taken in by the courts as advisors, for the next 150 years, under both Ming and Qing emperors.











The Rise of Russia – This began as a nomadic area of many different people. The Slavs of Northern Europe sought refuge in their own land and began construction of two great regions, Moscow and Kiev, in 1240. The Mongols, the Khan, and the Golden Horde, invaded these areas and ruled this province until 1480. In 1462, Ivan III was crowned Great Prince, after his father’s death, and began taking control of this and many surrounding areas. He began buying and invading many lands, which caught the attention of Khan Ahmed, of the Golden Horde, who demanded tribute to them, of which Ivan defied. The Golden Horde fought back, but could not match Ivan’s army and were forced out of Russia. Through invasions and the deaths of his brothers (and inheriting each of their regions), Ivan took over a large portion of modern-day Western Russian, all by 1505. Move forward two generations, and Feodor I the Great invaded more lands to the East, by 1598, and then Peter the Great took the rest of the area, to the coast of the Pacific, by 1689. This was a great transition for this region, once ruled by Mongols and later overtaken by Slavs, as they built their nation. Russia, with its Byzantine-influenced culture, became a state of Eastern Orthodox Christian faith after Ivan III married the niece of the Byzantine Emperor, Constantine XI, in 1472. Yet, while the Byzantines ruled much of the Mediterranean, they left the land Northward to the Tsardom dynasty, started by Ivan IV, first Tsar of Russia.

India’s Islamic Rule by the Moguls – Conquered in 1206 by the Delhi Sultanate, an Islamic Empire based in Delhi, India was a region with set boundaries, and a people under Islamic rule. They are noted as one of the only Empires to thwart the Mongol invaders and the first and only Muslim Empire to be rules by a woman, Razia Sultana, for four years. They were also known for the destruction and attacks on Hindu and Buddhist structures and gatherings, nearly eradicating these faiths from India. This empire dissolved by 1352, and it was taken by the Bengal Sultanate, who were also Sunni Muslims. It was under their rule that peasants began to starve. Hindus began to rise and claim regions of Southern India back from the Empire, and started a movement towards Sikhism. In 1526, the Mughal Empire, ruled by Babur, with the help of his neighbors - the Ottomans and Safavid Empires, took over all of India again, overthrowing the Sultan of Delhi. This began the proto-Industrialization period, making India one of the biggest global economies and manufacturing power, around the 1580s. This empire lasted until 1720.

Japan’s Development – This was a very turbulent time for Japan, and yet, was part of its developmental stage. Theirs was a society designed similar to European feudalism. The Ashikaga government preceded the Kamakura era. These wars, including the Onin War (1467-77), destroyed Kyoto and so collapsed the shōgunate’s power. It was not until 1582 that peace was again established, when the first, Oda Nobunaga, took control of Kyoto and disposed of the Ashikaga shogun.












Activity: Map Making – Much was happening throughout Asia during this time. There were many different rulers than there are today. We want you to map out these different rulers. Their borders are not well defined, and there are no specific countries organized, because this is before the time of defined borders (and the occurrence of constant wars changing the boundaries), but there is a distinction between most of the regions throughout Asia. Go to this site www.HuntThePast.com/AsianRenaissance to get the entire assignment, to map out what was happening in Asia. We will provide you a map of what were the most common borders during this time. Design the map from the printout prepared on the site, and then replicate the map in the space below.

Activity #2: Critical Thinking – The events of one nation almost always influence other nations. How do you think Asian influences affected Europe, and the Age of Exploration? Think of different possibilities of how Europe was affected, including the Spice Trade - and trade all together, wars that may have occurred, diplomacy between nations, and economic struggles that were caused by Asian nations in Europe. ______________________________________________________________________________________

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Why would Europe feel that exploration was so important to their survival? Why was the Age of Exploration so important to Europeans?


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