World Trade Patterns

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This era includes only 300 years, but some profound and long-lasting changes occurred. The western hemisphere came into continued contact with the eastern hemisphere. Technological innovations, strengthened political organization, and economic prosperity all contributed to this change that completely altered world trade patterns. Technological advancements and willingness of political leaders to invest in it meant that sea-based trade became much more important. Relative power and prosperity of Europe increased dramatically during this time in comparison to empires in the longer-established civilization areas but, Europe did not entirely eclipse powerful empires in Southwest Asia, Africa, and East Asia. When the Ming drove the Mongols out,…show more content…
Christianity had remained over the centuries a missionary religion. The Catholic Church took this responsibility seriously, and as a result, Europe was overwhelmingly Catholic by 1450. Portugal was the first European kingdom to explore other lands. For most of the 16th century, the Portuguese dominated the Indian Ocean trade. Europeans conquered and claimed the territories and greatly increased their prosperity and power, and Christianity spread to a whole new hemisphere. Portugal and Spain even presumed to divide the world in two by seeking the Pope's blessing on the Treaty of Tordesillas, which drew a line through north and south through the Atlantic, giving Portugal the lands east and Spain the lands west. Portugal actually lost in the long run because the lands that they "received" were already claimed by empires that did not recognize the Portuguese claims. The French and English did not arrive in the Americas until the 17th century, but when they did, they claimed much of North America in areas that the Spanish did not go. The trade routes that appeared during this era in the Atlantic Ocean were collectively known as the Great Circuit. The routes connected four continents: North America, South America, Europe, and Africa, and they linked directly to the old water trade routes established in previous eras. The Atlantic routes were generally circular and complex, with most ships making several stops along the way on at least two of the continents, but sometimes more. During this era between 1450 and 1750 some of the old feudal kings amassed enough power to allow their kingdoms to sponsor the expensive sea voyages necessary for colonization in the New World. Three powerful countries that emerged were Spain, England, and France. In all three cases these monarchs curbed the power of the nobility and built strong centralized regimes. CHANGES IN SOCIAL AND GENDER STRUCTURES With the growth
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