Intro to Modern World History

3 World Trade, Expansion, & Europeans in the Americas

Shelley Rose


As you complete this chapter think about how commerce, colonization, and conquest shaped global interaction in the 15th and 16th centuries. Pay specific attention to the goods, or products, involved in these encounters. Objects are historical sources and excellent “lenses” into world history. For example see the BBC History of the World in 100 Objects Podcast “Pieces of Eight


After completing Chapter 3, you will be able to

  • Explain the impact of Europeans on the Indian Ocean trade routes.
  • Evaluate the significance of silver as a global commodity and its effects on local, regional, and global economies
  • Utilize historical thinking skills to evaluate encounters between Native Americans and Europeans in Central and South America.
  • Construct a world historical narrative using an object as a lens.

The Indian Ocean and Atlantic World

  1. Listen to the 15-Minute History podcast “Indian Ocean Trade and European Dominance
  2. Read the transcript or watch historian Dani Anthony’s “Bartolomé de las Casas and 500 Years of Racial Injustice

Historian Alfred Crosby and Ecological Imperialism

  1. Read historian Christopher Miller, “The Americas to 1620” and this Smithsonian interview with historian Alfred Crosby on the Columbian Exchange. Also see this map from the Gilder Lehrman Institute. OPTIONAL: Listen to historian Brian DeLay, “What is the Columbian Exchange?”
  2. Choose one item or object exchanged after Columbus’ 1492 voyage to the Americas. Examples include: specific animals, diseases, commerce items, crops etc.
  3. Create a visual narrative in the app of your (or your instructor’s) choice that illustrates the global consequences of this object’s journey. Be sure to answer the following questions: Where did the item or object originate? What is it? Where did it end up? Why is it significant to world history and, in particular, the narrative of the Columbian Exchange?
    • Be sure to cite all information in your narrative.
    • NOTE: Evaluate all sources for your narrative according to the “T is for Thinking ICYouSee Guide” criteria for evaluating internet materials. Be sure to consider Authority, Accuracy, Objectivity, Currency, Coverage, and Value when you choose sources to include in the narrative. You will be graded based on your ability to discern useful internet sources from unreliable materials.
    • Post a your narrative to the course discussion board.

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