Long Distance Trade and Travel
 Traders in the Eurasian world used two primary routes
for trade
 Silk Roads of central Asia
 Sea lanes of the Indian Ocean
 Greatest and most famous traveler of these Eurasian
routes was Marco Polo
Wrote extensively about his travels
Long Distance Trade and Travel
 Political and Diplomatic travel
 Increasing importance of the Sharia cause diplomatic
travel as Muslim intellectuals moved throughout subSaharan Africa, the Swahili states, and northern India.
 Ibn Battuta
Great traveler of India, China, and Africa
Long Distance Trade and Travel
 Mission Campaigns
 Sufi missionaries – Islamic
 Roman Catholic Missionaries
Long Distance Trade and Travel
 Long Distance Travel and Cross Cultural Exchanges
 Chinese Magnetic Compass
 Chinese gunpowder technology
 Sugar-Cane Production in the Mediterranean
Led to slave trade which in turn led to cross cultural
Crisis and Recovery
 Cross cultural trade also led to the spread of pathogens
 Bubonic plague / Black Death
Resulted in population decline, labor shortages, and peasant /
worker rebellions.
Destroyed many populations
 Death rate more than 70% in many areas
Crisis and Recovery
 Recovery in China: The Ming Dynasty
 After the Mongols are devastated by the plague, power
in China falls to a Buddhist named Hongwu.
 Proclaims the Ming Dynasty and sets out to eliminate
Mongol influences in China.
 Reestablished the strong central government in China
 Economy and agriculture flourished under Ming rule.
Recovery in Western Europe
 Europe’s recovery took the form of regional states
rather than a centralized government.
 Problems of the Fourteenth Century increased with
continual clashes between France and England in the
Hundred Years War.
 Competition between European states became so
intense that numerous small wars broke out which
served to promote new military technologies.
 These innovations would serve the Europeans well as
they launched their global explorations.
Recovery in Western Europe: The
 Renaissance – Cultural growth in Europe that drew
inspiration from the Romans and Greeks.
 Growth in arts, architecture, scholarship, and literature, all of
which led to more sophisticated lifestyles in the city.
 Key players
Leonardo da Vinci
Brunelleschi (architect)
Humanists – Scholars and literary figures who studied philosophy,
history, and literature in an attempt to simplify their writing styles
from the convoluted efforts of medieval writers.
Exploration and Colonization
 After recovering from the plague, China and Europe
worked to reconnect with the rest of the world.
 The early Ming accommodated traders and for a brief
period sponsored a series of voyages into the Indian
 Meanwhile, European rulers began to sponsor voyages
to the southern Atlantic as a route to the riches of Asia.
 By the end of the fifteenth century, Europeans had
opened sea lanes to India and visited the Americas as
The Chinese Reconnaissance of the
Indian Ocean
 Ming Emperors refurbished the Song dynasty’s navies
and allowed Chinese merchants to trade overseas once
 1405 – First huge Chinese fleet sailed into the Indian
Ocean under the leadership of Zheng He.
Size of the fleets in the seven voyages he commanded in over
30 years were huge… Hundreds of vessels and tens of
thousands of troops
Just when China established its presence in the Indian Ocean,
the Ming Emperors withdrew support for the endeavor.
 Put money toward agriculture and defense instead.
European Exploration in the
Atlantic and Indian Oceans
 Portuguese, under the leadership of Prince Henry the
Navigator, were among the earliest European explorers
sponsored by a state.
 Explored islands throughout the Atlantic
 Began to grow sugarcane on the islands of the Pacific
which required large labor forces, which laid the
foundations for the Atlantic Slave Trade in which over 20
million African slaves would be transported to America
over the course of the next 400 years.
European Exploration in the
Atlantic and Indian Oceans
 Searching for Asia
 Other Europeans attempted to find an all water route to
Asia to bypass the Italians and Muslims in the
Portuguese – Bartolomeu Dias sailed around the Cape of
Good Hope in 1488 to find India. Vasco da Gama in 1498
reached Calicut in India.
Spain – Christopher Columbus
 Reached America in 1492, thinking he had reached Asia.

Reaching Out: Cross-Cultural Interactions