History Through Film I
TheAge of Discovery and Exploration
-Age begins in the 15 century with Portuguese & Spanish Explorations, last until the 20 century.h
-Decolonization post 1945 inAfrica &Asia
-Lasted about 500 years.
-Colonialism: Dominance by one state over another state, people or territory. This is a
relationship of superior and inferior. The colonizer has technologies & superiority that allow
dominance to occur.
-Statehood is a significant feature of this period. Spain, Portugal, France, & England were the dominant
-15 century European society has been compared to the developing world (3 world) of today.A very
small elite of wealthy & powerful people who ruled over the rest of society. 98% of the population
lived in a subsistence level economy, a peasant class. There was no upward mobility.Avery brutal
world. When colonizers come to the new world, they bring these principles with them. They attempted
to replicate the system they had at home.
-There is a small growing middle class of merchants & such that is connected to the towns and the
cities in this period in Europe. These are the people who will get involved in exploration because they
are involved in trade. The initial motive for exploring is trade, & to find alternate routes to trade with
-Prior to this period of exploration, trade routes were principally through the Mediterranean sea, which
were dominated by the Italian states. However, this was very expensive to do. They wanted direct sea
routes to eliminate the land traders required by the initial routes.
-At this period, the Ottoman empire expanded from Anatolia into Europe. This expansion reached its
heights in the 15 century. This expansion cut off the Black Sea from the Italians, making trade more
difficult for the Italian shippers. Italian shippers traditionally used the galley for trade, ships powered
by rowing. Galleys are not ideal for ocean trips.
-However, the more northern European states had experience with sailing and had improved the
technology greatly. The Portuguese began colonizingAtlantic Islands such as the Canary Islands & the
Azores. They began setting up sugar plantations on these islands as well as using them as stop over
point. They slowly conquer a port in NorthAfrica called Ceuta, and slowly being working their way
down theAfrican coast, building forts as they go.
-Forces Behind European Expansion:
-Direct trade route to Africa and the East
-Needs of monarchial states -FromAsia they wanted spices (Black pepper etc.), fromAfrica they want gold and slaves (Who were
at this time used as domestic services in wealthy households)
-The European monarchs were interested in the prospect of wealth through gold and jewels inAfrica
and the East. The monarchy would get 20% of all the wealth the explorer obtained in their travels. The
explorer would have to name whatever territory found for their monarch & Christianize the territories
-Spread Christianity in non-Christian lands
-New weapon: Canno