Williamsville Central School District
Curriculum
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Unit Four: The First Global Age (1450 - 1770)

Content Standards Concepts/
Themes
Connections
  1. The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644)
    1. Human and physical geography
    2. Restoration of Chinese rule, Chinese world vision
    3. The impact of China on East Asia and Southeast Asia
    4. China's relationship with the West
    5. Contributions
    6. Expansion of trade (Zheng He, 1405-1433)
2,3,4 Human/
  Physical
  Geography
Cultural and
  Intellectual
  Life
Movement of
  People and
  Goods
  • What were the Ming achievements in science and engineering?
  • What impact did China's self-concept of the "middle kingdom" have on its political, economic, and cultural relationships with other societies in Eastern and Southeastern Asia?
  • To what extent was Europe more interested in trade with China, than China was interested in trade with the West? Why?
  • What factors made the Ming turn away from expeditions of trade and exploration?

Suggested Documents: Photographs of blue and white porcelain, map showing voyages of Zheng He; excerpts from the novel Journey to the West; Matteo Ricci, The Art of Printing

  1. The impact of the Ottoman Empire on the Middle East and Europe
    1. Human and physical geography
    2. Contributions
    3. Suleiman I (the Magnificent, the Lawgiver)
    4. Disruption of established trade routes and European search for new ones
    5. Limits of Ottoman Europe
2,3,4,5 Human/
  Physical
  Geography
Belief
  Systems
Change
Political
  Systems
Movement of
  People and
  Goods

TEACHER'S NOTE: Students should have a clear understanding of the extent of the Ottoman Empire at its height. They should investigate the factors that brought about change within the Ottoman Empire and its long-term impacts on global history.

  • What factors contributed to the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire?
  • What impact did Ottoman domination have on Eastern Europe? What impact continues today?
  • To what extent were the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans and Columbus's voyages major turning points in global history?
  • Why was Suleiman I called the Magnificent by Westerners and Lawgiver by Ottomans?
  • How did Suleiman I compare to other absolute rulers (Akbar, Louis XIV, Peter the Great)?
  • How did Ottoman law compare with other legal systems?
  1. Spain and Portugal on the eve of the encounter
    1. Human and physical geography
    2. Reconquista under Ferdinand and Isabella
5 Human/
  Physical
  Geography
  • What were Spain and Portugal like on the eve of the encounter?
  • In what ways was 1492 a turning point in global history?
    1. Expulsion of Moors and Jews
    2. Exploration and overseas expansion
      1. Columbus
      2. Magellan circumnavigates the globe
  Movement of
  People and
  Goods
Human
  Rights
Conflict
  • What impact did the encounter have on demographic trends in the Americas, Africa, and Europe?
  • How did life change as a result of this encounter?
  • How did the standard of living in Europe change as a result of the encounter?
  • What technologies made European overseas expansion possible? What were the original sources of those technologies?
  • How did Jews and Muslims view the Reconquista? the Inquisition?
  1. The rise of Mesoamerican empires: Aztec and Incan empires before 1500
    1. Human and physical geography
    2. Organizational structure
    3. Contributions
    4. Trade
2,3,4,5 Human/
  Physical
  Geography
Cultural and
  Intellectual
  Life
Diversity
Urbanization

TEACHER'S NOTE: Here is another instance in which strict adherence to chronology is suspended in order for students to acquire a broader knowledge of the rise and fall of diverse civilizations. Students should be able to compare and contrast the empires of Mesoamerica with the empires of Afro-Eurasia. They should understand that on the eve of the encounter, the peoples of the Americas already had complex societies.

  • To what extent can the Aztec and Incan empires be compared to earlier Afro-Eurasian classical civilizations in terms of their organization and achievements?
  • How widespread were Aztec and Incan trade?
  1. The encounter between Europeans and the peoples of Africa, the Americas, and Asia
    Case study: The Columbian exchange
2 Human/
  Physical
  Geography

TEACHER'S NOTE: Students should understand that the encounters between peoples in the 15th and early-16th centuries had a tremendous impact upon the worldwide exchange of flora, fauna, and diseases.

    1. Human and physical geography
  Conflict  
    1. European competition for colonies in the Americas, Africa, East Asia, and Southeast Asia--The "old imperialism"
  Economic
  Systems
  • What forces came together in the mid-1400s that made the Age of European Exploration possible?
    1. Global demographic shifts Case study: The triangular trade and slavery
5 Human/
   Physical
  Geography
  • What impact did European technology, food, and disease have on the Americas?
    1. The extent of European expansionism
3 Movement of
   People
  and Goods
  • What impact did food and diseases introduced from the Americas have on Europe, Africa, and Asia?
    1. European mercantilism
    2. Spanish colonialism and the introduction of the Encomienda system to Latin America
    3. Dutch colonization in East Asia (Japan and Indonesia)
    4. Exchange of food and disease
4  
  • What impact did the introduction of American foodstuffs (corn, sweet potatoes, peanuts) have on the increase in Chinese population?
  • What impact did mercantilism have on European colonies? on Europe?

Suggested Documents: Maps of transatlantic trade showing the exchange of goods; various diaries; Bartolome de las Casas, The General History of the Indies

  1. Political ideologies: global absolutism
    1. Human and physical geography
    2. Thomas Hobbes, The Leviathan
    3. Jacques-Benigne Bossuet: Absolutism and Divine right theory
    4. Case studies: Akbar the Great, Suleiman the Magnificent, Philip II, Louis XIV, Ivan the Terrible, and Peter the Great
2,5 Human/
  Physical
  Geography
Political
  Systems
Power

TEACHER'S NOTE: Students should understand that in the 16th and 17th centuries, the monarchies of Western Europe sought to centralize political power. Political absolutism supported that trend. Students should be able to compare and contrast absolutism in Europe with absolutism in Asia and Africa.

Suggested Documents: Maps of Russian expansion, other political maps; Extracts from Bossuet's Work on Kingship.

  1. The response to absolutism: The rise of parliamentary democracy in England
    1. Background--Magna Carta
    2. Divine Right of Monarchy--Stuart rule
    3. Puritan Revolution--Oliver Cromwell
    4. Glorious Revolution--John Locke and the English Bill of Rights
5 Conflict
Culture and
  Intellectual
  Life
Decision
  Making
Power
Citizenship

TEACHER?S NOTE: The tradition of sharing political power and natural law had its roots in Greek and Roman practice and was expressed in documents that limited royal power such as the Magna Carta and the English Bill of Rights.

  • What impact did the Puritan Revolution have on the Enlightenment and subsequent political events in Europe and the Americas?

Suggested Documents: Thomas Hobbes, The Leviathan; Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince; James I, Justification of Absolute Monarchy; John Locke, Two Treatises of Government; and the English Bill of Rights



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