Time Period 2: 1450 - 1750

General Outline
General Timeline
General Maps

Map #1: European Explorers & Africa

Time Period 2 Map #2.png

Map #2: Asian Kingdoms

Time Period 2 Map #1.png
Course Content

Revolutions within Europe:



  • Rebirth and patronization of human achievements
    • Known as Humanism​
    • Promoted personal beauty and achievements
  • Patronized ancient Greek & Roman classics

  • Sculptures were made to look exactly like real human postures as opposed to exaggerated figures

  • Wealthy people patronized artists & commissioned them to make artwork for them

  • Lots of artwork was kept in churches as the church also patronized artwork

  • Linear perspective artistic style was developed, allowed for 3-D paintings

  • More Humanist books were published, wrote about the church or an ideal world

    • Niccolo Machiavelli published The Prince, taught that rulers shouldn't use religion to justify power


Scientific Revolution

List of Scientists & Discoveries

Nicolaus Copernicus

First person to propose heliocentric model (in which all planets orbit the sun instead of the earth). 

Galileo Galilei

Used telescope, proved heavenly bodies (sun, moon, Venus, etc.) aren't spherical & smooth like Bible claims. Proved law of inertia. 

Johannes Kepler

Proved planets' orbits are elliptical instead of circular. 

WHAP Website Logo 2.png

Isaac Newton

Proved the forces of universal gravitation that govern the universe. 

William Harvey

Discovered blood circulation. Studied anatomy, discovered that women's bodies are useless compared to men's bodies. 

Emilie du Chatelet

Influential woman scientist. Translated Newton's works into French & added additional explanations into her book, Principia Mathematica

Change in Thinking & Emergence of Deism

  • Most of the discoveries undermined Catholic teachings

    • Heliocentric model disproved the fact that Earth was center of universe​

    • Universal gravitation disproved that heavenly forces govern the world

  • Scientists created a new ideology, deism

    • Believed that a god created the universe but doesn't intervene later as the natural forces govern the universe


Protestant Reformation & Catholic Developments

Origins of Protestant Reformation

  • Martin Luther, a theology professor at the University of Wittenberg in Germany, believed the Catholic church was corrupt
What was Wrong with the Church?
  • Luther believed people go to heaven by way of god rather than through the Catholic church

  • Luther hated the sale of indulgences (Catholic church sold forgivenesses of sins to people)

  • Luther hated that the Bible was only available in Latin as opposed to regional and common languages

Hover for the answer

  • In 1517, Luther wrote 95 Theses, a pamphlet with 95 theses against the Catholic church, and nailed it to the Wittenberg Church
  • The printing press helped spread his views
  • Many agreed with him, but Pope Leo X excommunicated him in 1520
  • He was called to a meeting at Worms in 1521, but he refused to recant his ideas

Protestantism & Other Denominations

  • Luther's ideas led to a new branch of Christianity, Protestantism
  • Lutheran's own views were compiled into a denomination of Protestantism, Lutheranism
  • John Calvin, a French Protestant who moved to Geneva, created the Calvinist Church
    • Believed god predestined a certain group of people (known as "the elect") to go to heaven

  • King Henry VIII of England wanted to divorce his wife (Catherine of Aragon) as he didn't have a male heir with her, but Pope Clement VII refused to let him

    • King Henry VII thus split from the Catholic church & established the Anglican church​​​​​


Catholic Counter Reformation

  • Catholic pope wanted to slow the spread of Protestantism, reformed Catholic doctrine
  • Pope and other church officials met at Council of Trent from 1545 - 1563
  • Promoted better education and training for church officials
  • Banned sale of indulgences
  • Clarified church's position on religious questions like salvation and heaven
  • Still kept Latin as official language
Council-of-Trent-compressor (1).jpg

Other Developments within Catholicism

  • Witch-hunting became common
    • People hunted, tried, and executed witches (people who they believed worshipped hell and the devil)
    • 110,000 witches were tried in court, 45,000 witches were executed
    • Most convicted witches were women, especially poor divorced women as they had few people to protect them 
  • In 1534, Ignatius Loyola founded the Society of Jesus​​

    • Believed that praying to god led to salvation​

    • Had a rigorous education system for clergy

    • Practiced self-control & moderation



Origins of Enlightenment

  • Monarchs consolidated all power for themselves & claimed "divine right"
    • Believed god chose them to rule & gave them all the power to control their subjects
  • Enlightenment thinkers believed in promoting human progress, so they ​​promoted more human rights and liberties


Major Enlightenment Thinkers & Their Effect

Thomas Hobbes

Believed men are evil & prone to violent warfare. Believed a strong ruler was necessary to prevent war-like behavior of men. 

John Locke

Believed all men have rights of life, liberty, and pursuit of property. Believed ruler must guarantee these rights or else people can overthrow the ruler. 

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Believed all men are free & society should organize itself according to majority rule & the will of the general public. 

WHAP Website Logo 2.png

Francois-Marie Arouet (Voltaire)

Believed in religious tolerance. Believed rulers shouldn't use religion to justify their rule. 

Baron de Montesquieu

Believed government should have a checks & balances system to prevent it from becoming too powerful. 

Impact of Enlightenment

All of these ideas led to the political revolutions of America, France, Haiti, and Latin America (Time Period 3). 

What effect did the Enlightenment, Scientific Revolution, and Protestant Reformation all have?

All 3 of these led to a decline in belief in Catholicism & the church. The Scientific Revolution's discoveries undermined the Catholic church's teachings. The Enlightenment undermined the idea of "divine right" and that god gives rulers their power. The Protestant Reformation undermined Catholicism, making some former Catholics to believe in Protestantism. 

Politics within Europe & Religious Wars:



Before 1469, Spain was divided into multiple kingdoms

In 1469, King Ferdinand of Aragon married Queen Isabella of Castile

Partially unified Spain

In 1478, Ferdinand & Isabella launched the Spanish Inquisition, a government program intended to attack all non-Catholics

Through Spanish Inquisition, they conquered Muslim Kingdom of Granada in 1492

Thus, Spain was completely unified under Catholic rule. End of Spanish Inquisition

In 1556, Charles V (ruler of large Habsburg domain from Spain to Austria) retired

His son Philip II inherited Spain & Low Countries (Netherlands, Belgium)

King Philip II continued Spanish Inquisition. Continued to attack all non-Catholics

Attacked Low Countries (Netherlands, Belgium) in 1568 as they were Calvinist (a branch of Protestantism)

Spanish Armada (Spanish navy) attacked England in 1588 as they were Anglican (a branch of Protestantism)

7 northern provinces  became independent, known as United Provinces. 10 southern provinces were still under Spanish control

English navy successfully defended against Spanish


English retreated from France after 100 years' war

Bourbon Regime took over. First Bourbon king (Henry IV) issued Edict of Nantes (1598), which allowed Huguenots (French Protestants) to practice their religion

King Louis XIV took over. Known as "sun king." Consolidated all power, forced nobles to live at newly-built Palace of Versailles. Revoked Edict of Nantes. 

Louis XIV's grandson, Philip V, inherited the Spanish throne

France started centralizing power

Cardinal Richelieu was chief advisor to King Louis XIII. Helped Huguenots defeat Catholic Habsburgs during 30 years' war. 

Louis XIV's financial advisor, Jean-Baptiste Colbert helped increase size of French empire, tried to manage French war debts. 

War of Spanish Succession ensued, other nations hated prospect of Spain-France alliance

Peace Agreement was that Philip V can inherit Spanish throne but can't combine with France. 


English Civil War (1642-1649)

King Charles I needed money from Parliament

Charles I signed Petition of Right, limiting his power & giving more power to Parliament, so Parliament could give him money

Charles I got the money he needed and revoked the Petition of Right & reclaimed divinity & absolute authority

Parliament refused to give him money because he reclaimed absolute authority & revoked Parliament's rights

Charles I needed money from Parliament to fight the Irish Rebellion

Irish Catholics resented absolute rule of Anglican Charles I, mounted Irish Rebellion of 1641

Charles I attacked some members of Parliament to get the money he needed

Also, Charles I was Anglican and wanted ornate religious ceremonies with a hierarchy of bishops, unlike his Puritan & Calvinist Parliament members

Parliament organized an army under Oliver Cromwell to defeat Charles I

Oliver Cromwell's army won after English Civil War (1642-49), Cromwell (a Puritan) took the throne. Encouraged Protestants to settle in Northern Ireland as he was religiously intolerant. Gave Parliament more power. 

Stuart Restoration (1660)

Oliver Cromwell died

Charles II took over, restored monarchy (Stuart Restoration) (1660)

Glorious Revolution (1689)

Charles II died

James II took over. He was Catholic & unpopular. 

Parliament feared James II would make England a Catholic state, so they removed him from office, put his daughter, Mary, & her husband, William of Orange, in power. This is known as Glorious Revolution (1689), ensures Anglican future of England & parliament's high power

Holy Roman Empire

Largely decentralized, hundreds of nation-states existed, north was largely Lutheran, south was largely Catholic. Central authority in Holy Roman Empire was loose. 

Charles V (Habsburg Emperor) signed Peace of Augsburg (1555), allowed each individual state to adopt their own religion. This peace didn't last long. 

Thirty Years' War (1618-1648)

In 1618, Protestant Bohemians challenged central Catholic authority of Holy Roman Empire

Thirty Years' War started (1618-1648). Many nations were involved, France benefited the most (as Richelieu helped). Holy Roman Empire lost 1/3 of its population. 

Peace of Westphalia (1648) allowed individual states in Holy Roman Empire to govern themselves


Before 1480, Russia was under control of the Khanate of Golden Horde

Ivan III became czar (leader) of Russian Muscovy state in 1462

Ivan III declared independence from Khanate of Golden Horde in 1480

Ivan IV (Ivan the Terrible) took power in 1547. Allowed serfs to be free if they became Cossacks (warriors). Cossacks helped him expand into Siberia & Caspian Sea. 

Ivan IV died in 1584

The Time of Troubles began. Different lords were competing for power. No single monarch consolidated full power. 

In 1613, Michael Romanov took power (end of Time of Troubles. Romanov dynasty lasted until 1917, Ruled ruthlessly & consolidated hold on serfs (treated them like slaves), Used cossacks to expand empire. 

Peter I (Peter the Great) took power in 1862. Wanted to westernize Russia, led Russian army to Western cities to learn about military technology. Built city of St. Petersburg on Baltic Sea, hired western engineers to train his military. Forced people to wear western clothes.  

His granddaughter, Catherine II (Catherine the Great), took office later. She  promoted economic development & made Russia one of Europe's great powers. She loosened control over serfs & conquered Poland & Black Sea. 

European Age of Exploration:


Motives for Exploration

Economic Motives

  • Believed in mercantilism, a belief in which all wealth on Earth was fixed and measured in gold
    • European nations wanted a higher share of this gold, so they pursued economic ventures
  • Europeans wanted to trade goods directly with Asia without Muslim intermediaries of the Middle East

    • Thus, they embarked on sea voyages to find the fastest routes from Europe to Asia

  • Royal support for these voyages was common as nations wanted more glory by finding the fastest routes to Asia & dominating the most territory

    • Church lifted its ban on giving loans for interest, so many royal governments gave large sponsorships to explorers to showcase their nation's power & glory

  • Economic voyages led to the rise of joint-stock companies

    • Multiple merchants would pool their resources into a few large cargo ships so they all share the profits​

    • Thus, if one cargo fails (robbery, shipwreck, etc.), all merchants can still profit from other cargoes

    • Successful cargos can yield huge profits for merchants

    • This system dominated overseas trade during this time

    • British East India Company & Dutch VOC (United East India Company) were most dominant joint-stock companies

Maritime Technology

What technology enabled Europeans to venture into the sea?
  • Maritime innovations like the magnetic compass, lateen sail, astrolabe, and sternpost rudder

    • Europeans could venture into the open sea without fear of getting lost​

Remember Europe acquired all of these innovations through the trade routes of the 13th & 14th centuries?

  • New fast cargo ships: The Portuguese used caravel & carrack, and the Dutch used Fluyt (much faster than the Caravel, allowing Dutch to outperform the Portuguese later on)

  • Europeans deciphered wind patterns in the oceans & used barometers to predict storms

Hover for the answer

When did Europeans receive the technology that enabled them to explore?

In Time Period 1 (1200-1450), Europe was centralizing and its trade was reviving (After many centuries of decentralized feudalism). Europe entered the larger trade networks of Afro-Eurasia, where it acquired these maritime technologies from the Muslims, Chinese, and Indians. 

Religious Motives

  • Europeans wanted to spread Christianity, which was another reason for exploration
    • When Vasco da Gama arrived in India, he said, "I want Christians and spices," showing his desire to convert the Indian population to Christianity
  • Especially after Protestant Reformation, nations wanted to spread their newly adopted denomination of Christianity
    • English sought to spread Anglicanism, Spain zealously preached Catholicism, etc.​


Portugal & Spain Start Exploration

  • Portugal started European exploration as it is a small country facing the Atlantic & can only expand westward
    • Portugal had lots of royal support for these journeys

    • Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal promoted sea voyages down the African coast in mid 1400s​

    • Portuguese built many trade posts on West African coast

    • In 1488, Bartholomew Diaz became first European to sail around the Cape of Good Hope (the Southern tip of Africa), but he returned home immediately afterward

    • In 1497, Vasco da Gama became first European to sail to India around Cape of Good Hope

      • Many others later followed his journey to dominate spice trade from India​

  • In 1492, Spain sponsored Christopher Columbus's journey to find a westward route to Asia

    • Instead of reaching Asia, Columbus reached some Caribbean islands, thinking they were Japan

    • It wasn't until 1497 when Spain sponsored Amerigo Vespucci, who traveled to South America, that they realized the land isn't Asia & is another land (named America after Amerigo, first one to realize new land)

English, French, and Dutch Exploration

  • English, French, & Dutch also sponsored explorative voyages, but they weren't as zealous as Spain & Portugal
    • Mostly sought to find the Northwest Passage (a route to Asia via north of Canada

    • English sought to spread Anglicanism, Dutch sought to spread Calvinism, French sought to spread Catholicism


Compare & Contrast: Spanish & Portuguese Exploration vs English, French, Dutch Exploration

Both sets of nations are similar in that they all initially sought routes to Asia. However, Spain & Portugal later sought to acquire colonies while English, French, & Dutch didn't care much about colonies & sought to find a route to Asia called the Northwest Passage (a route from Europe to Asia via the north of Canada). 

Exploration to Asia

  • In addition to colonizing the Americas, Europeans built trading posts in many coastal Asian cities
    • Portuguese built many posts on West African coast & Goa (in India)

    • Dutch established a post in modern-day Indonesia

    • England & France established posts in India

    • Spain established a post in present-day Philippines (named after King Philip II)

  • China & Japan were isolationist, limited their contact with Europeans


List of Major Explorers



Year of Journey


Bartholomew Dias



First to round the Cape of Good Hope (Southern tip of Africa). Returned home immediately afterward. 

Christopher Columbus



First to land in Americas. Landed in Caribbean islands. Thought they were some islands near Japan. 

Vasco da Gama



First to sail to India. Sailed around the Cape of Good Hope to India. Returned to Portugal with lots of spices. 

John Cabot



Sailed for England, arrived in present-day New Foundland. 

Amerigo Vespucci



WHAP Website Logo 2.png

Sailed to South America. First to realize new land is not Asia & is instead a new continent. Named America after Amerigo. 

Pedro Alvares Cabral



Discovered Brazil, made claims for Portugal there. 

Ponce de Leon



Explored present-day Florida, made claims for Spain there. 

Vasco Nuñez de Balboa



Explored Panama. Found Pacific Ocean when traveling overland from Panama.  

Ferdinand Magellan



First to circumnavigate the world. Sailed through a strait near tip of South America. Died in Philippines, his crew returned to Spain.

Giovanni da Verazzano



WHAP Website Logo 2.png

First European to explore North American coast between Florida and New Brunswick (located in present-day Canada). 

Jacques Cartier



Laid claims for France in Canada. Discovered and sailed through St. Lawrence River. 

Sir Francis Drake

Henry Hudson





First Englishman to circumnavigate the world. Discovered Tierra del Fuego (tip of South America). Disrupted Spanish Armada. 

Tried to find Northwest Passage, sailed through Hudson river to present-day New York City. Named it New Amsterdam. 

Columbian Exchange

  • Exchange of goods, animals, crops, and diseases from Afro-Eurasia to the Americas
    • First time the ecosystems of Americas & Afro-Eurasia were connected

    • Potatoes, maize, squash, tomatoes went from Americas to Afro-Eurasia

      • Led to enriched diet & population growth in Afro-Eurasia

    • Livestock, fruits, sugarcane, disease went from Afro-Eurasia to Americas

  • Disease was one of the most influential things that went from Afro-Eurasia to Americas

    • Indigenous peoples of Americas weren't immune to European diseases → Died in large numbers

    • Whooping cough, smallpox, measles all killed majority of indigenous American population




Songhai Empire

  • Founded in 800s, were part of Mali empire then
  • In 1494. Sunni Ali led raid against Mali Empire & established autonomy of Songhai Empire
    • Had capital at Gao in West Africa, had control over trade cities of Timbuktu & Jenne

    • Used wealth from trade to conquer entire Niger River Valley

    • Had a navy patrol the Niger River

    • Supported Islam & trans-Saharan trade, built many mosques & Islamic schools

  • Fell in 1591 as an army with muskets (supplied by Europeans) easily took them over


Kingdoms of Central Africa

Kingdom of Kongo

  • Portuguese established diplomatic relationships with Kongo in 1483
    • Portuguese supplied advisors, tailors, priests, ​and many other important people
    • In exchange, Portuguese wanted slaves to send to the Americas to work on plantations
    • Encouraged converts to Christianity
  • King Nzing Mbemba (Afonso I) of Kongo converted to Christianity & zealously promoted it
    • Built many churches in his capital of Mbanza (also known as Sao Salvador)

    • Encouraged his subjects to convert to Christianity


Kingdom of Ndongo

  • Located just south of Kingdom of Kongo
  • Portuguese built a coastal colony in 1575, ventured inland into Ndongo in 1611
    • Wanted slaves to send to the Americas in exchange for supplying goods & specialized people (missionaries, advisors, tailors, etc)
  • Queen Nzinga of Ndongo resented Portuguese presence
    • She acted & dressed like a man
    • She planned to use the Dutch in South Africa to expel the Portuguese, then she would expel the Dutch herself. This plan failed

Hover over the light blue boxes


European Presence in Africa

Dutch Presence in South Africa

  • Dutch built a trading post in Cape Town (present-day South Africa) in 1652 & later ventured inward
    • Conquered native Khoikhoi & Xhosa ​people of South Africa

    • Forced natives to do labor, built a prosperous colony with native labor


European Alliances with African Kingdoms

  • Europeans allied with African kingdoms to get slaves
    • European states would give manufactured goods (including guns) to West African kingdoms in exchange for war captives as slaves

    • As African kingdoms keep trading with European states, they acquire more guns from Europeans, which they use to capture more slaves

      • Ultimately, certain African kingdoms became super power this way

    • This led to political turmoil as the most powerful states would attack other states for slaves

  • Since most slaves were men, society was disrupted in Africa

    • Many people practiced polygyny, the practice of having multiple wives​

      • This was because more women were left behind as most slaves were men

    • Many families lost their laboring men → Women had to work on farms or the family would go into poverty

Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade

Triangular Trade


Raw materials cultivated by slaves



Manufactured goods 


Middle Passage

  • Journey of slaves across the Atlantic
    • Deadliest part of a slaves live
    • Journey takes about 6 weeks, almost 25% of slaves die
    • Slaves are packed into a crowded ship, barely have enough room to sit upright on bunk beds
    • Many fall sick; sick slaves are thrown overboard so the crew doesn't have to deal with them
  • Since working conditions for slaves are so cruel, slave mortality is high, so demand for new slaves is high​​
    • Many slaves die within the first year of working, especially on sugarcane plantations​

  • In total, 16 million slaves were taken from Africa, of which about 4 million died in the Middle Passage


Slave Culture

  • Slaves often harmonized their indigenous African culture with American culture (syncretism)
    • Practiced African music, rituals, and religion in Americas

    • Harmonized African deities with Christian saints whose feast days coincide

    • Slaves often came from different African kingdoms, so they all syncretized their cultures

unnamed-compressor (2).jpg



Conquest of Aztecs

In 1519, Hernan Cortes led Spanish army into Mexico

Cortes allied with local tribe leaders that resented Aztec rule

WHAP Website Logo 2.png

Smallpox aided Cortes as the native Aztecs weren't immune to it, so many Aztecs died, allowing Cortes to easily take over. 

Cortes led an army into Tenochtitlan & killed Aztec leader Montezuma (1520)

Cortes plundered Tenochtitlan, starved the city to death. Fully took over in 1521. 

Conquest of Incas

In 1532, Francisco Pizarro led Spanish army into Peru

Called all Inca rulers under pretext of a conference. Seized & killed them all except for Inca ruler, Atahualpa

Seized all of Atahualpa's gold, then killed him. Later seized all of Cusco's gold

Allied with local tribal leaders that resented Inca rule. Also used loss of authority from the existing civil war between ruling brothers Atahualpa & Huascar to seize power. Smallpox also helped him kill the Incas

WHAP Website Logo 2.png

Consolidated control by 1540. Conquered last corner of Inca empire by 1572

Spanish & Portuguese Rule in Americas

Spanish Rule in American Colonies

  • Spain had direct royal rule in colonies
    • Had two regions, New Spain (present-day Mexico) and New Castile (present-day Peru)

    • Each region had a viceroy, who is the local administrator that represents the Spanish crown

    • Below the viceroys are the audiencia, a group of people advising the viceroy & checking his power, reporting any issues to the Spanish crown

    • Spain imposed Spanish as the governmental language & Catholicism as the official religion, building churches in colonial cities

  • Spain is the first to create the casta system

    • A hierarchy of ​people in the Americas

    • The top were peninsulares (people born in Spain or Portugal), and below them were criollos (creoles, European people born in Americas)

    • Below the Europeans were the mestizos

      • Because the majority of colonists were male, Europeans often married indigenous women, forming mestizo (mixed) families

    • Below them were indigenous people, then slaves

Spanish Labor Systems

  • Spain employed many different labor systems in its colonies
  • First labor system used was encomienda
    • Spanish colonists (encomenderos) would supervise indigenous people & make them perform labor in exchange for small wages
  • Later, Spanish used the hacienda system
    • Laborers would live on a plantation​ & perform labor in exchange for small wages to pay off debts (debt peonage)
    • Most laborers would work forever as the wages were too small to pay off debts
    • Different from encomienda system as laborers live & work in a single place 
  • Spain later used mita system
    • This was an existing labor system used by Incas​
    • Each village was forced to send 1/7 of its men to labor in the silver mines for a few months
  • Spain also used slavery & indentured servitude
    • Both were cruel labor systems, most slaves died of overwork

    • Slaves were treated as property

    • They used slavery because most indigenous Americans died of European diseases, and Africans didn't know the land so they couldn't run away easily

    • Indentured laborers got small wages & a free passage from homeland & had a work contract for a few years before returning home

    • Often convicted criminals would do this as they could seek a new life in the Americas after finishing a 5-year work contract

  • Slaves often cultivated sugarcane, tobacco, rice, indigo, cotton
    • Invention of sugarcane engine (engenho) made harvesting sugarcane easier

Manila Galleons & Silver Trade

  • Spain dominated silver mines of Zacatecas & Potosi
    • Would employ natives to do labor here
    • The Spanish king would get 1/5 (the quinto) of the silver produced
  • Spain would ship the silver from Acapulco (Mexico) to Manila (Philippines) & trade it with China for luxury Chinese products
    • These ships were known as Manila galleons
  • Ultimately, the silver supply was running short, causing inflation in Spain

Portuguese Colonization of Brazil

  • Spain & Portugal signed the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494)
    • Meant to control colonization to prevent Spain-Portugal conflict
    • An imaginary line was drawn in the Atlantic Ocean. Spain would get ​all lands west, Portugal would get all lands east
  • Brazil was east of the line, so Pedro Alvares de Cabral landed in Brazil in 1500 & claimed it for Portugal
    • Portuguese government dispatched a governor there & encouraged Portuguese nobles to settle there by giving him land grants

English, French, & Dutch Colonization

  • English, French, & Dutch didn't have much royal support for administration
    • These colonists had to form governing assemblies themselves
  • They developed good relations with the indigenous people
    • French & occasionally English & Dutch traded fur with the indigenous
    • They allied with indigenous tribes to attack other indigenous tribes to trap the fur from beavers
    • Couldn't spread Christianity easily as the indigenous weren't sedentary & moved around often

Compare & Contrast: Spanish & Portuguese Colonial Administration vs English, French, & Dutch Colonial Administration

Spanish & Portugal had direct governance from Spain/Portugal for their colonies where the royal kings would employ governors to rule the colonies. In contrast, English, French, & Dutch didn't have royal support for governance, so local colonists had to  govern themselves. Thus, because they didn't have self-rule in the colonies, Spanish & Portuguese colonists had less experience in self-government than English, French, & Dutch colonists, which explains why Spanish & Portuguese colonies had unstable governments after their independence (Time Period 3). 



Mughal Empire

  • Founded by Zahur al-Din Muhammad (Babur) in 1526

    • Sieged Delhi, replaced the Delhi Sultanate

  • 3rd emperor, Akbar, expanded Mughal landholdings & tolerated many religions

    • Abolished the jizya, a special tax that non-Muslims must pay

    • Expanded his territory to include most of India

    • Employed Hindu tax farmers called zamindars to collect taxes

      • Tax farming was when ordinary people would collect taxes & give it to the government

    • Instituted his own religion called "divine faith," harmonizing Hinduism & Islam

  • Had multiple capitals, including Fatehpur Sikri, Agra, Shahjahanabad

  • Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal for his wife

  • Limited trade with Europeans, regarded them as harmless

    • Allowed Portuguese Jesuit missionaries to settle in Goa

    • British controlled Bombay in 1661, founded trading post of Calcutta in 1691

  • 6th Emperor, Aurangzeb, reinstated Islam as the state religion

    • Reinstated the jizya, the tax that non-Musilms pay

    •  The last of the great Mughal emperors

    • He died in 1707, causing the empire to weaken significantly

  • Eventually fell in 1867 when the British deported the last Mughal emperor to Burma


Ming Dynasty

  • Founded by Emperor Hongwu in 1368
  • After Zheng He's voyages, it sought isolationism
    • Wanted to protect its culture from foreign influences

  • Had failing economy

    • Attempted to restore it by ​changing paper money into silver bullion

    • Acquired silver bullion from trade with Spain via Manila galleons

  • Many pirates raided the cities

  • Portuguese established a trading post at Macau


Qing Dynasty

  • Founded by Manchus (natives of Manchuria, north of China) in 1644
    • Went to China to aid Ming court in a peasant rebellion
    • After they crushed the rebellion, the Manchus themselves just took control of the government
  • Manchus weren't ethnically Chinese & not enough Manchus came to China, so they hired Chinese in the government
    • Reinstated civil service exam
  • Manchus forbade cultural connections between Chinese & Manchus
    • Forbade Chinese from traveling to Manchuria & learning Manchu language
  • Conquered lots of territory

    • Emperor Kangxi conquered Mongolia, Taiwan, Central Asia, Tibet

    • Emperor Qianlong made Nepal, Vietnam, Burma as vassal states (tributary states)

  • Sought isolationism

    • Wanted to preserve Chinese culture

    • Banned Christianity in 1724

    • Restricted trade to just Canton (Guangzhou) in 1757

    • Gave some trading concessions to Portuguese, Dutch, & British


  • Originally had a feudal system
    • Shogun ruled entire realm, local daimyo ruled small provinces
  • In 1600, Tokugawa Ieyasu established the Tokugawa Shogunate
    • Consolidated central power, had rigid social classes, imposed policy of isolationism from Western influences
  • Japan was very strict in isolationism
    • Portuguese came to Japan & brought Christianity and guns in mid 1500s

    • Jesuits also controlled Nagasaki & traded there

    • Shogun didn't want daimyo to become too powerful with guns → Imposed isolationism

    • National Seclusion Policy (1635) prevented Japanese from traveling abroad, except to some nearby nations

    • Portuguese failed to established relationships with Tokugawa shogun

    • Only Dutch had some trading concessions at Nagasaki

    • Japanese wanted to preserve their culture

    • Japanese also persecuted & later banned Christians


Compare & Contrast: Ming/Qing China & Japan vs Russia under Peter I

Ming/Qing Dynasties in China as well as Tokugawa Japan sought isolationism in that they didn't want any foreign influence in order to preserve their culture. In Contrast, Peter I (Peter the Great) of Russia wanted Western influence as he wanted to westernize his state & his military

Middle East & Persia:


Ottoman Empire

  • Founded by Osman Bey in 1289

  • Sultan Mehmed II conquered Constantinople in 1453, renamed it Istanbul, became capital of Ottoman Empire

    • Replaced churches with mosques, turned Hagia Sophia into a mosque​

  • Through program called devshirme, they enslaved Christian boys & turned them into administrators or warriors

    • The warriors were known as janissaries

  • Suleiman I (Suleiman the Magnificent) took over later, built magnificent mosques, promoted trade, expanded territory

    • Defeated Habsburgs at Vienna in 1529​

  • Women had low status, but royal women sometimes had high status

  • Believed in Sunni Islam

    • Fought against Safavids, who believed in Shi'a Islam​

    • Defeated Safavids at Battle of Chaldiran (1514)

  • Built magnificent mosques & buildings to legitimize their rule

  • Had some relations with Europeans

    • Allied with English & French against Spanish​

    • Relied on European shipments for modern military technology, causing Ottoman military to fall behind & decline


Safavid Empire

  • Founded by Shah Ismail in 1501​

  • Believed in Shi'a Islam

    • Specific religion was twelver shiism​

    • Fought with Ottomans (Sunni Muslims), lost against them at Battle of Chaldiran (1514)

      • While Safavids lost, Ottomans didn't have the resources to fully take over Safavids

  • Shah Abbas expanded Safavid Empire, promoted trade

    • Moved capital from Tabriz to Isfahan​

    • Consolidated more power, gained more territory

    • Employed slaves to help run administration

  • Administration was largely central & absolute

    • Had a small bureaucracy

    • Employed military officers, known as qizilbash

      • Wore red pleats on their heads with 12 folds, signifying twelver Shiism

    • Built lots of monumental architecture

      • Tabriz & Isfahan had large open palaces, signifying the Shah's wide visibility​

  • British helped Safavids consolidate power

    • Supplied gunpowder, helped retake Hormuz from Portuguese​

    • Advised Shah Abbas

Important Themes

Land-Based Empires:

Empires used gunpowder to expand


The Mughal, Safavid, and Ottoman empires used gunpowder to expand & establish their rule

Empires used a military, & had innovative methods of forming bureaucracy


The Mughal, Safavid, and Ottoman empires had a bureaucracy & a military to maintain their rule. The Ottomans had the biggest military, known as the Janissaries. The Safavids had a small bureaucracy. Ming & Qing Dynasties used the civil service exam to determine their bureaucracy. Tokugawa Shogunate had a policy of alternate attendance where each daimyo (regional ruler) lives at the capital of Edo every other year. 

Empires used monumental architecture to legitimize their rule


Rulers would claim "divine right" (believe that god allowed them to rule) & build large palaces to showcase their glory & power. When other people see these glorified palaces, they'll realize that the person who built this must be in power. Shah Jahan built the Taj Mahal for his wife, Suleiman built the Suleymaniye, Shah Abbas built many open palaces, King Louis XIV built the Palace of Versailles. 

Empires developed innovative ways of collecting taxes to finance their empires


The Mughals, Safavids, and Ottomans would use tax farming to collect taxes. Tax farming involves employing ordinary people to collect taxes from each part of the empire & returning the collected taxes to the government. Mughal tax farmers were known as zamindars, which were Hindu farmers. 

Interaction between empires led to religious expansion, syncretism, & conflict


The Protestant Reformation in Europe was a split in Christianity (Catholicism & Protestantism). The Ottoman & Safavid rivalry intensified the Sunni & Shia split. The Mughal dynasty was Muslim, while the people of India were largely Hindu, leading to the creation of Sikhism, a religion harmonizing Hinduism & Islam. Also, Akbar instituted the "divine faith," his own religion meant to combine Hinduism & Islam. 

Empires either accommodated for or suppressed the ethnic diversity of their realm


The Mughals initially accommodated for the ethnic diversity for their realm under Emperor Akbar by removing the jizya, a tax that non-Muslims pay, but Emperor Aurangzeb reinstated the jizya. The Ottomans were very religiously tolerant and employed Christian boys into the administration or the military. Under Louis XIV, France was not religiously tolerant & forced the Huguenots (French Protestants) to leave. Manchus also suppressed the ethnic Chinese. 

Maritime Empires:

Technological innovation made it possible for explorers to travel the world


With innovations like the astrolabe, magnetic compass, sternpost rudder, and lateen sail as well as the barometer (used to predict storms) and charts depicting the wind currents and new ship designs like the fluyt, caravel, and carrack, explorers could travel in the open sea without fear of getting lost. Europeans acquired most of these technological innovations from the trade routes of the 13th & 14th centuries. 

State-sponsored exploration allowed explorers to travel the world


The royal governments sponsored these expeditions by giving supplies of ships, resources, and crew to explorers. The Europeans states wanted more glory by colonizing new lands & finding efficient paths to Asia, they wanted more gold as they believed in mercantilism (a belief that there exists a fixed amount of wealth in the world), and they wanted to spread Christianity. The Portuguese started by sponsoring voyages down the African coast, then the Spanish sponsored a voyage westward to Asia (actually landing in the Caribbean). Meanwhile, the English, French, & Dutch sought to find the Northwest Passage (a sea route to Asia via north of Canada). 

Columbian Exchange led to transfer of food crops & livestock & unintended transfer of diseases between Afro-Eurasia & Americas


When the Europeans settled in the Americas, they brought their food crops, livestock, and diseases with them, both intentionally & unintentionally. The ecosystems of the Americas & Afro-Eurasia were connected for the first time in tens of thousands of years. Fruits, grains, livestock, sugarcane, and diseases went to the Americas from Afro-Eurasia, and American food crops went to Afro-Eurasia. The American food crops enriched the diet of Afro-Eurasians, leading to population growth, while the Afro-Eurasian diseases killed most indigenous Americans as they weren't immune to them. 

European maritime trading-post empires, driven largely by political, economic, and religious motives, were profitable for rulers & merchants involved, fostering the growth of some African states

Maritime empires were driven by political, economic, and religious rivalries as European states competed for glory, gold, and spreading Christianity. Due to mercantilist principles, European nations wanted to dominate all of the gold in the world. Also, they wanted to spread Christianity, and after the Protestant Reformation, they competed to spread their specific denomination (Anglicanism, Catholicism, Calvinism, Lutheranism, etc.). These empires yielded enormous benefits for the merchants involved, as joint-stock companies pooled resources of thousands of merchants and yielded huge profits for the merchants & the nation's ruler. They also fostered the growth of some African kingdoms by giving them guns in exchange for captured slaves, allowing certain African kingdoms to become super powerful. 

Some Asian states sought to limit the effects of European-dominated trade by isolationism


Qing & Ming China as well as Japan adopted policies of isolationism, restricted trade with Europeans. Japanese even went further to prevent Japanese from traveling 

American colonial economies depended on agriculture, using new & existing labor systems

Colonial economies were largely dependent on plantation agriculture. Slave labor was the most common system of labor. Before slavery, the Spanish used the encomienda & hacienda systems. The Spanish also used an existing labor system (mit'a), which the Incas used. Also, Europeans used the indentured servitude system. 

More demand for slaves in Americas led to demographic changes in Africa

Most slaves were men, leaving many African women behind, so African men practiced polygyny (having multiple wives). Also, many women had to labor previously done by men. 

Joint-Stock companies & mercantilist principles were used by rulers & merchants to compete with other states & finance exploration

States adopted legislation in favor of merchants to allow joint-stock companies to dominate overseas trade. Joint-stock companies were based on mercantilist principles, the idea that there exists a fixed amount of wealth in the world. The enormous wealth generated from this trade was used to finance exploration. 

European economies facilitated global circulation of goods

European states monopolized cash crop production in the Americas, shipped it to Europe, and sent European manufactured goods throughout the world to trade. Also, Spain monopolized silver production in the Americas, sending it to Manila, where it as sent to China to increase their supply of silver bullion currency in exchange for luxury Chinese goods. 

More cross-cultural interaction led to greater influence of religion & creation of syncretic religions

Christianity spread throughout the Kingdom of Kongo as well as throughout the Americas. When slaves came to the Americas, they harmonized their African religion & culture with Christianity, forming syncretic religions & cultures. 

New social hierarchies developed as Europeans changed demographic structures

Europeans developed the casta system in the Americas. At the top were peninsulares (people born in Europe), then were criollos (creoles, Europeans born in America), then were mestizos (people of mixed European & indigenous ancestry), then all indigenous Americans, then slaves. Similarly, as most African slaves were men, most women were left behind in Africa, allowing many women to take men's roles in Africa. 


Revolutions Within Europe:

Overall, the main theme across the four revolutions in Europe was a decrease in the Catholic church's power. T​he Protestant Reformation was led by Martin Luther as he believed the church was corrupt and was abusing its power, leading to a new branch of Christianity, Protestantism. The Scientific Revolution led to new discoveries in science (especially astronomy), undermining the church's teachings of heavenly bodies and god's controlling the universe. The Enlightenment led to more human rights and less authoritarian & religious rights for the ruler, undermining the position of the church in state power. The Renaissance was not so much a decrease in church power, but its ideas focused on acknowledging human traits and achievement. 

Politics Within Europe & Religious Wars:

After Ferdinand & Isabella (leaders of two independent Spanish kingdoms) became married in 1469, Spain became partially unified again. Through the Spanish Inquisition (a program intended to attack all non-Catholics), they conquered the Muslim Kingdom of Granada. Philip II later attacked the Protestant territories of the Low Countries & England. In France, after the English retreated after the 100 years' war, France began consolidating authority and the Bourbon regime took over. King Louis XIV claimed divine right and built the Palace of Versailles to display his superiority. In England, the English Civil War gave more power to the parliament, but the Stuart Restoration restored a monarchy, but the Glorious Revolution again gave more power to the parliament, ensuring a future for England in which the parliament would have power. In the Holy Roman Empire, the Thirty Years' War was a religious war between Catholic and Protestant German states, ending in the Peace of Westphalia (1648), where each German state could govdern itself. In Russia, Ivan III declared independence of Muscovy state in 1480, and Ivan IV used cossacks (warriors) to expand his territory. Peter I & Catherine II later sought to Westernize and expand Russia. 

European Age of Exploration:

After European states started to centralize their power, they wanted to display their glory by finding new lands and direct sea routes to Asia so they don't have to trade with the Muslim intermediaries in the Middle East. Europeans believed in mercantilism, a belief that there exists a fixed amount of wealth in the world (measured in gold), so they wanted to get more of this gold by exploring new lands. Also, Europeans wanted to spread Christianity, and after the Protestant Reformation, they wanted to spread their branch of Christianity, whether Catholicism or Protestantism. What enabled Europeans to explore into the sea was maritime technology,  that traveled to Europe via the trade routes of the 12th & 13th centuries. Because states wanted to display their glory, royal governments sponsored a lot of voyages. In 1488, Bartholomew Dias sailed around the Cape of Good Hope (southern tip of Africa) but returned home, so in 1497, Vasco da Gama sailed around the Cape of Good Hope to India. In 1492, Christopher Columbus sailed westward to the Caribbean Islands, and Amerigo Vespucci realized in 1497 that the land where Columbus went was not Asia but rather a new land. 


Europeans began establishing trading posts in Africa, causing the trans-Saharan trade to decline. Europeans would trade manufacture goods (including guns) to the West African kingdoms in exchange for slaves. The African kingdoms would use these guns to capture slaves, which it would use to buy more guns from Europeans, causing certain African states to become super powerful. Meanwhile, the Songhai Empire emerged in West Africa, earning wealth from the trans-Saharan trade, but it declined in 1591 as an army with European-provided muskets easily defeated them. Portuguese established relations with the Kingdoms of Kongo & Ndongo to receive slaves. The Dutch also colonized parts of South Africa and employed the local population to perform labor there. Once slaves were captured, they were sent on the Middle Passage to the Americas, and 25% of slaves died in this passage. Slaves often brought their African culture to the Americas, syncretizing it with American and Christian traditions. 


In 1519, Hernan Cortes led an army to conquer the Aztecs. In 1532, Francisco Pizarro led an army to conquer the Incas. Both leaders were successful as they had horses and stronger weapons, both allied with local tribes that resented Aztec/Inca rule, and used their smallpox immunity to eradicate most of the population, causing the Aztec & Inca empires to fall. The Portuguese also colonized Brazil. The Spanish & Portuguese had strong royal support for colonial governments as the Spanish installed a viceroy in each colony and the Portuguese installed a governor in Brazil. The British, French, and Dutch also colonized American lands, but they spent most of their effort looking for the Northwest Passage, a sea route to Asia via north of Canada. Those three nations also did not have strong royal support for colonial governments as local assemblies of colonists set laws, and they mostly traded fur with the indigenous instead of exploiting them. 


In India, the Mughals, a Muslim empire, took over the Delhi Sultanate. The third Mughal emperor, Akbar, tolerated Hinduism and abolished the jizya, a special tax that non-Muslims would pay. The 6th Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, reinstated the jizya, causing many to resent his rule. Sikhism, a syncretic religion of Hinduism and Islam, was creating during this time, which was oppressed by the Mughals. The Mughals used monumental architecture, like the Taj Mahal, to legitimize their rule. In China, Ming & Qing Dynasties sought isolationism from Western influences to preserve their culture. In 1644, the Manchu forces of Manchuria (north of Canada) helped the Ming government control a peasant rebellion, but once the rebellion was over, the Manchus just took over the government, creating the Qing Dynasty, the second non-ethnically Chinese dynasty (the first was the Mongol Yuan dynasty). The Qing used the civil service exam to recruit Chinese people for the government as they didn't have enough Manchus to run the government. Similarly, Japan also sought isolationism and banned Christians & foreigners. The Tokugawa Shogunate centralized power & took over in 1600, further abolishing foreigners & restricted trade to just the Dutch at Nagasaki. 

Middle East & Persia

Just like the Mughals, the Ottomans & Safavids were Muslim dynasties that used gunpowder to take over and establish their rule. The Ottomans had religious tolerance and used Christian boys to serve in the military (janissaries) or the administration. The Safavids also had a small bureaucracy and an army. Both empires used monumental architecture to legitimize their rule and sought help from the Europeans to consolidate power. While both were Muslim, the Ottomans were Sunni Muslim and the Safavids were Shia Muslim, leading to conflict and the Safavid decline in the 1700s. 

General Summary

The period 1450-1750 saw great transformations. Europe gained a lot of power & monopolized the economy of the Americas. Internal political transformations in Europe led to the church's decline in power, more religious wars, and more state expansion as states wanted to compete with one another for resources and for spreading their branch of Christianity. What made all of this possible was the centralization of power by European monarchs (as opposed to feudal lords) from 1200-1450 that allowed European nations to form. Furthermore, Europeans fostered the growth of certain African kingdoms and created political and social turmoil within Africa. Meanwhile, the Mughals, Ottomans, and Safavid empires took hold, and the Ming and Qing Dynasties and the Tokugawa Shogunate in Japan sought to isolate themselves from European influence while Russia sought to engage with Europe.