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Chapter 13 AP WH

AP World History
Unit 4: Early Modern Times
Chapter 13: Political Transformations: Empires and Encounters (1450 – 1750)
Section 1: European Empires in the Americas
Why where the European empires considered “unique”?
a- Maritime Empires
1- Not contiguous land empires
2- In the Americas and Asia (European presence in Asia will be discussed next
b- The European Advantage (What made is possible for Western Europeans to do
1- Geographic proximity and wind patterns: a short trip across the Atlantic / no
monsoon winds like the Indian ocean)
2- European weaknesses: marginal location (outside of the trade networks),
land-hunger, relatively poor, the “push factors” or social drives (both the rich
and the poor wanted more land and glory, the church wanted to spread
Christianity, traders wanted to establish new markets
3- There was constant competition between European states that was mostly
perceived at sea, therefore states made sure they remained organised when
it comes to overseas expansions, and continued to develop the technology
that was taken from the Muslim world to create advanced fleets of ships and
superior weaponry
4- European found local allies in the original inhabitants in the Americas
amongst the Aztecs and the Incas.
c- The greatest advantage the Europeans had was the fact that they were hosts of
incredibly infectious diseases
1- The new world had an estimate of 60-80 million people without immunities
2- Small pox, measles, influenza, malaria, yellow fever = demographic collapse
(Mexico had 10-20 million people, over the span of 100 years, they were
reduced to 1 million) (Mass death)
d- The Columbian exchange: the joining of the new world with the old
1- Europeans brought their germs, plants, and animals (they were both
domesticated and not) horses and pigs were important
2- New food was introduced to Europe, Africa and Asia (Corn (popular in Africa)
and potatoes (popular in Europe – Ireland and Russia, sweet potato became
popular in china)
3- Stimulants: tobacco and chocolate (biggest impact on global markets)
4- Silver, slaves (from Africa), and sugar (Commodities that made people
5- Europe was the biggest winner and was finally able to compete with Asia
Section 2: Comparing Colonial Societies
Why did these colonies develop new social structures?
a- General similarities
1- Economic policy: mercantilism
- Mercantilism is based on the idea that a nation’s wealth and power can
be maximised by increasing exports by means of increasing trade
- Main objective was to convert all wealth into gold or silver bullions
2- There was an enormous imbalance between men and women, women were
expected to bear a new civilization, for African and native women things
were even worse (abuse, rape)
b- Differences
1- The Aztecs and the Incas (Latin America) (The Spanish)
- The Spanish conquered lands controlled by the two largest empires in
pre-columbian America, so their socio economic system was different
than other colonies (such as their fellow Catholics the Portuguese)
- Both empires had already developed large scale agriculture, the Spanish
simply built on that base, it was able to feed itself, and provide exports
- At some point they found the largest silver mine, and mining became its
largest industry
- To control the land and labour, the Spanish put together a series of
colonial legal systems:
**Encomienda (settlers were given control over a community and were
allowed to extract wealth and labor as they see fit, this system led to
**Repartimiento: this system was under more direct government
**Hacienda: Spaniards built large estates and paid unskilled farm workers
low wages to work their lands
- Social hierarchy : “purity of blood” / the Spanish were a minority, not
many Spanish women / people born in the colonies were inferior to those
from the Iberian peninsula but both were superior to the mixed race
indigenous and African individuals.
2- Colonies of sugar (Latin America) (The Portuguese)
- Brazil has no civilizations with large scale agriculture, so they developed
an economic base cantered almost exclusively on sugar production after
they had learned about it from the Arabs.
- This industry was very harsh and needed a lot of labour, the market
demand could not be met after the “great dying” so they started
importing slaves from Africa.
- Social hierarchy: similar to Spain, however more Africans were taken to
sugar plantations
3- Settler colonies in North America
Spain and Portuguel were more wealthy so they seized more colonies
first, the British were left with New England which was not as
agriculturally developed
British society was mid transition, conflicts between kings and nobles, a
rising merchant class, catholic protestant conflict
The settlers established family-run small farms, and women’s rights were
very restricted given religious beliefs (Patriarchy)
Pure settler societies with little racial mixing: white, red, and black
Settlers didn’t care much for converting natives, and there was no strong
royal bureaucracy, there were trading companies, wealthy sponsors and
self-governing communities.
Section 3: The Making of the Russian Empire
After the decline of the Mongols an independent Russian state developed based out of the
city of Moscow, its growth made it as much an Asian empire as it was European.
What motivated the Russian expansion?
1- Defend itself against Central Asian Nomads who would raid the cities of the
2- Its expansion to Siberia was because they wanted access to soft gold (fur) which
became a major export and provided wealth for the Russian state
3- They did use Christianity and civilisation to justify their expansion, however
How did the expansion look from the perspective of the conquered?
1- The Russians used gun powder to conquer new lands, people were eventually
made to pay tribute to signify dependence
2- Russians sent settlers to new conquered lands, this put pressure on cattle
farmers, settlers tried to bring agriculture with them such as potatoes, but they
were not suited to the climate, so both the settlers and the natives became
dependant on Russian merchants
3- Russification (Orthodox Christianity)
4- Epidemic diseases
How did the Russians experience this expansion?
1- Russia becomes multi-ethnic
2- Russia amassed wealth from fur and agriculture, this gave them the means to
trade with Asia, especially having a direct contact with China
3- Russia tried to annexe lands in the west as far as Poland and in the South parts of
the Ottoman Empire.
4- Peter the Great tried to reform Russia by westernisation (shaving beards and
building ships)
5- Russia was required be fairly authoritarian in its state system (Tsar, Russian word
for Caesar)
Section 4: Asian Empires
Those empires are considered regional in nature.
Making China an Empire: China preferred the world to come to it, not to venture to
the world. Its expansions were primarily for security reasons, not economic.
1- The Ming dynasty had already started focusing on defence form central Asia
rather than exploring the world
2- The Qing dynasty (Originated from North of Korea and aren’t ethnically Chinese,
but used the Chinese system to rule) was the only one who had ventured out
into the west more than any dynasty before it
3- Is it colonial? Since their reasons were not economic or for the basis of settling,
but rather for security, they were considered colonial
4- The expansion of China to the West and Russia to the East meant the demise of
Central Asia
Muslims and Hindus in Mughal Empire: the Delhi Sultan was replaced by the Mughal
(descendant from Turkic and Mongolian people of central Asia)
1- his greatest challenge was managing the incredible religious diversity in South
Asia, ruling dynasty and 20% were Muslim, most of the population were Hindus,
and Sikhism (a blend of Muslim and Hindu beliefs) gained popularity.
2- Sultan Akbar (1556-1605): He administered a rule that was known for tolerance,
but not everyone was a fan, Sirhindi was an advocate for the purity of Islam.
Akbar tried to conquer all of India, which has never been done before. Southern
India remained untouched as there was a rising European presence there.
3- Aurangzeb (1658-1707) was not tolerant, and damaged the relations between
hindus, Sikhs and muslims beyond repair. This weakened but didn’t end the
The Ottoman Empire: After the Ottomans of Anatolia conquered Constantinople in
1453, they began to expand their territory in the Mediterranean and the middle
east. The majority of the population was Muslim, but there were significant Christian
and Jewish communities.
1- They were considered “The Sword of Islam”: They combined political, military,
and religious authority.
2- Women had less autonomy than before (Urbanisation) but more rights and
3- New importance of Turks in the Islamic world, it controlled the holy cities,
military power was advanced
4- Other ethnicities and religious groups had negotiated terms of tolerance with the
The Devshirme was a special tax on Balkan Christians whereby they had to
turnover their first born sons to be converted to Islam and raised by the state to
be either administrators or Janissaries (elite fighting force in the army)
5- The Ottomans fought with Christian Europe a lot, the Christian Europeans both
feared and admired the ottomans for their development and culture.
6- They thought of themselves as the new Rome