Changing Social Hierarchies

Unit 4: c. 1450-1750

Main Ideas:

  • Many diverse kingdoms adopted policies to utilize the different contributions of each ethnic/religious group, while others suppressed the actions of certain groups

  • More imperial conquests → Power of existing elites fluctuated → Creation of new elites & hierarchies

Creation of New Hierarchies

More Imperial Conquest → States Became More Diverse → Changing Hierarchies 

Key Ideas:

  • Many diverse states adopted policies to accommodate for their ethnic diversity or to suppress the actions of certain ethnic/religious groups
    • Mughals & Ottomans were very religiously diverse & adopted policies to utilize the contributions of each ethnic group

      • Mughal zamindars were Hindu tax farmers​

      • Ottoman devshirme was a program of enslaving Christian boys & putting them in the Ottoman administration or army

    • Some Kingdoms suppressed their diversity & only favored a certain ethnic group

      • Colonial Americas favored Europeans over African slaves & indigenous Americans

      • Spain favored Catholics and expelled all its Jews

      • Qing Dynasty restricted actions of the Han Chinese

  • More imperial conquest → Creation of new elites & social hierarchies

    • As the Europeans colonized the Americas, they created a new European-dominated hierarchy called the casta system

    • The power of existing elites (European nobility, Russian boyars, etc.) fluctuated as they struggled to respond to the growing power of European monarchs

Casta System:

Peninsulares

People born in Spain or Portugal

Creoles

Direct descendants of Peninsulares (European people born in Americas)

Mestizos

People of mixed European and indigenous (or African) ancestry

Bottom Classes

Indigenous Americans & African slaves