Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The World to 1650 - up to the starting line.

There are three basic trends that we are going to look at today (and expand upon later) and they all have to do with the reorienting of global commerce in the 15th Century:

1.) Why did Europe get into the maritime exploration business in the 15th century? Be sure to think about large overarching causes as well as more location-specific ones.

2.) How did the emergence of maritime trade "change things?" How revolutionary were European innovations in shipping?

3.) In what ways did the Protestant Reformation and Catholic Counter Reformation and the relative position of the Pope cast a shadow over the "era of exploration?"

Europe in the 15th Century:

Here is a great map of the world in the "age of exploration" from the University of Texas.

A Ming Dynasty porcelain vase

A fine Persian-style rug from the Mughal Dynasty.  

The Ottoman Empire

Innovations in European sailing technology:

An early Portuguese caravel (model) Note the lateen sails.

This is a pretty interesting site charting the transformation of sailing in the 15th Century.

 Here is a link to a very interesting page on square rigged ships - in this case, whaling ships.

This image should give you an idea of the maneuverability of ship-rigged ships.

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