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The Maritime Revolution to 1550

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Chapter 15 Outline

The Maritime Revolution to 1550

I. Global Maritime Expansion Before 1450

A. The Pacific Ocean

-Historians have debated for years about Polynesian people and their sailing.

Despite traveling over the vast Pacific Ocean and not being able to navigate

using the land (because of their distance from it, they could not follow the shore

line) The Polynesians left no written records on how they navigated, and

historians debate over whether they were actually able to navigate or whether

they just got lost and found their way through the chain of Hawaiian islands, even

though some were over 2000 miles away from their home ports. Others say that

peoples from the Americas settled there instead of the Polynesians, however the

native language has ties to Malaysia, the Pacific west, and the Asian continent,

disproving this theory.

-In 1976, a Polynesian crew proved that it was possible to navigate the Pacific

waters using only observations of stars, currents, and land.

B. The Indian Ocean

-The Indian Ocean has long been a vital area for developing civilizations in the

Middle East and Asia. It served as a highway for goods and people, with its

coves and large landmass proximity sheltering the seafarers. The monsoon

winds were very predictable and helped to transport goods very easily, and large

ships filled with goods were easily transported

-The traders and merchants who operated in the Indian Ocean trading system

were for the most part not loyal to their homeport. They were independent and

traded without influence from their homeland.

-During the period of 1368, the Chinese government began to show interest in

the trading going on in their ports, because of the large amount of revenue it was

generating. The ruler's Ming dynasty overthrew the Mongols at this point and

began to establish connections and implement policies in order to nurse China's

suffering economy and prestige back to what it was before the Mongol

conquests. Once establishing control over the East Asian continent, the Ming

sent out expeditions on an enormous scale. Under the command of Zheng He,

these expeditions sent large treasure ships for trade and documented the local

customs and cultures of the places visited. After 1433 though, the Ming

discontinued the expeditions due to the fact that it faced growing internal issues

and lacked the finances to continue sending out ships.

C. The Atlantic Ocean

-The Vikings were the main group of mariners in the Atlantic Ocean during the

middle ages. Much like the Polynesians, they navigated without maps and

navigation tools. They used their small nimble ships to attack towns throughout

the Atlantic.

-During this time, the Europeans and the Africans sent out exploratory

expeditions in the Atlantic. The Amerindian peoples voyaged up and colonized

the West Indies, and by 1000 AD, the Arawak (Group of Amerindian peoples) had

moved and settled into the Greater Antilles, consisting of Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto

Rico, and Hispania.

II. European Expansion 1400-1550

A. Motives for Exploration

-There were many motives for the rulers of Europe to send out these explorers,

one reason even being that the rulers had an adventurous personality. Other

reasons include economy, and wanting to expand the trade and wealth. Some

countries like Spain and Portugal did it because of religion and their militant

views of Christianity, as well as the growing dominance of Islam. Also the growing

curiosity about the world around them sparked these exploratory trips.

-Some countries like Italy however, who was a leader in Europe, did not send out

expeditions because they were comfortable with the trade that they had already

established with the Muslims and Islamic states.

-These new expeditions also helped to stimulate new technologies, as the small

and brittle ships of the Mediterranean could not withstand the heavy winds and

current of the Atlantic. This led to new shipbuilding techniques, as well as

advances in gunpowder technology.

B. Portuguese Voyages

-The Portuguese voyages were based on two building blocks, the strong Atlantic

fishing, and a long history of anti-Islamic feelings. So when the Islamic Moroccan

government began to show signs of weakness, the Portuguese attacked. These

crusades helped to establish the trade of gold from west Africa, and the

Portuguese would sail from their home ports directly to the gold mining areas.

-During this time,



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