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Dr.Liamvan Beek

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HIS271 A Collision of Cultures:September 15th 2010
Old World Meets Old World
There was a great diversity of culture and language before Europeans entered the
375 languages
Some of these groups were settled, others nomadic
After the 16th century, when horses had been introduced, these groups became more
The materials they used were completely dependent on the surrounding environment
Despite the depth of this culture, Europeans who entered this land had a very
skewed idea of the world
It wasnt until the 15th century that Europeans discovered America
The information we have on America at this time is very Eurocentric
Europeans began to expand their influence within the last decades of the 15th
Explaining the Growth in Exploration and Conquest
Growth in population
Results in an increase in trade and commerce (more people = more things,
and more land to produce those things)
Advancements in navigation and long distance sea travel
Possible to go greater distances by sea
Stronger monarchies
Once weak, and divided monarchies are more powerful and unified
Social, economic and cultural impulses
The Renaissance is happening at this time, pushing people towards optimism
and adventure
The printing press aids the circulation of the idea of these new places
Growth of mercantilism
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HIS271 A Collision of Cultures:September 15th 2010
Old World Meets Old World
A desire for exotic goods
The introduction of goods such as sugar had become very important to the
European culture
The narratives of famed explorers
It is said that even Columbus had read Marco Polos adventures and was
Columbus had been trying to find an ocean path to the Orient
1492 sets sail, financed by Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain
In October, he lands on an island which he thought was the East Indies, but was
actually the Bahamas
As he made his way across the region, kidnapping Indians, he believed he had
found this westward passage to the Orient
He named all found area in honour of the Spanish crown
Brought riches back to Spain and promised to bring more if he could go back
He goes back and brings many more ships and colonists
In 1498, when he reaches the South American mainland he realizes that this isnt
the Orient but an entirely new continent
Between 1492-1504 Columbus made the trip four times and claimed a great mass of
land for the Spanish crown
Often described in terms of conquest
These first encounters were often devastating and violent
In many ways, these encounters were described in terms of opposites
New World and Old World
Civilized and Uncivilized
When you describe things in extremes, you dont see the similarities
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