Hemispheric Exchange Review for AP World History (page 2)
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As European nation-states grew more powerful and involved in colonial expansion, their governments formed trading companies. The governments of Spain, the Netherlands, England, and France gave regional monopolies to these companies. Among the two most prominent companies were the British East India Company, which concentrated on trade in India and North America, and the Dutch East India Company, which focused on trade with Indonesia. With the origin of the great trading companies came increased consumption of eastern products such as coffee, tea, and sugar. The growth of trade and commerce fostered the growth of capitalism, an economic system that is based on the private ownership of property and on investments with the hope of profit.
Technological inventions such as the caravel, magnetic compass, and astrolabe, adopted from the eastern world by the Europeans in the early fifteenth century, facilitated the entrance of Europe into expeditions of exploration. Portugal had already sailed along the western coast of Africa in the early fifteenth century, trading gold and crude iron pots for spices and slaves. The voyage of Vasco da Gama around the Cape of Good Hope to India in 1498 broke the Muslim and Italian monopolies on trade with the Middle East, East Asia, and Southeast Asia. One Portuguese expedition was blown off course and landed in Brazil, giving Portugal a claim to territory in the Western Hemisphere. The Portuguese continued their commercial interests by setting up forts and trading posts on the eastern African coast and also in India at the port of Goa. Portugal also traded in the port of Malacca in Indonesia. From the Chinese port of Macao it entered into trade between Japan and China.
Columbus's rediscovery of the Americas for Spain in 1492 was followed by the Magellan expedition's circumnavigation of the globe, which gave Spain claim to the Philippine Islands. In the sixteenth century, the states of northern Europe joined in voyages of exploration. The defeat of the Spanish Armada by the English navy in 1588 made England the foremost naval power among the European nations.
Both the French and the British turned their attentions to North America, creating rivalries that erupted in warfare in the latter part of the eighteenth century. In 1534, France claimed present-day Canada. In the seventeenth century, the French established settlements and fur-trading outposts in the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. During the sixteenth century, the British had explored the Hudson Bay area of North America in search of a northwest passage to the Indies. In the seventeenth century, England established colonies along the east coast of North America to provide the raw materials and markets that were a part of its mercantilist policy.
The Netherlands, which had recently won its independence from Spain, set up colonies in North America and, for a brief time, in Brazil. The Dutch demonstrated their power in the Indian Ocean by removing the Portuguese competition in Indonesia in the early seventeenth century. In 1652, they established Cape Colony, a settlement at the southern tip of Africa, using it primarily as a supply station for ships sailing to Indonesia.
The Columbian Exchange
The voyages of Columbus to the Americas initiated a system of exchange between the Eastern and Western hemispheres that produced a major impact on the Atlantic world. The Columbian Exchange was a trade network that exchanged crops, livestock, and diseases between the two hemispheres. Tobacco was introduced to the Eastern Hemisphere. American food crops such as maize and sweet potatoes spread to China and parts of Africa. White potatoes spread to Europe, and manioc to Africa. The introduction of new food crops tended to boost population growth in the Eastern Hemisphere. Coffee, sugarcane, wheat, rice, and bananas made their way across the Atlantic from the Eastern to the Western Hemisphere. The indigenous people of the Americas, however, were largely uninterested in the food crops introduced by Europeans. Sugarcane cultivation was eventually transferred to Brazil and the Caribbean islands and raw sugar sold to the Eastern Hemisphere.
The Columbian Exchange brought livestock such as cattle, horses, sheep, and pigs to the Americas. The horse revolutionized the lifestyle of the nomadic Plains Indians of North America by facilitating the hunting of buffalo.
Epidemic disease also found its way to the Americas through the Columbian Exchange. Prior to the voyages of Columbus, the peoples of the Americas had lived in virtual isolation from the rest of the world, a situation that prevented their exposure to the diseases of the populations of the Eastern Hemisphere. When Europeans arrived in the Americas, they brought with them common diseases to which the Native Americans had developed no immunity: diseases such as smallpox, measles, tuberculosis, and influenza. Within 50 years after the voyages of Columbus, approximately 90 percent of American native peoples had died, most of them from epidemic disease.
Patterns of World Trade
By the seventeenth century, Europeans had established ports in East Asia, Southeast Asia, India, and the west coast of Africa. In general, involvement in international trade positively affected local and regional economies. In areas where direct trade was not possible, Europeans negotiated special economic rights. In Russia, Western European shippers known as factors established agencies in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In the Ottoman Empire, Western European traders formed colonies within the city of Constantinople where they were granted commercial privileges.
Regions Outside the World Trade System
Until the eighteenth century, large regions of the world lay outside the international trade system. China relied primarily on regional trade, channeling most of its commercial activity through the port of Macao. One reason for China's limits on trade with Europe was disinterest in European products. As a result, Europeans paid for the few items they purchased from China with silver, which was the basis of the Chinese economy. England and the Netherlands compensated for the expense of acquiring fine Chinese porcelain by developing their own porcelain modeled after Chinese patterns. Tokugawa Japan also prohibited foreign trade except for limited commercial activity with the Dutch and Chinese through the port of Nagasaki.
Other world regions carried on only limited long-distance trade. Russia traded primarily with the nomads of Central Asia until the eighteenth century, when it began trading grain to the West. The Ottomans, who dismissed the impact of European technology, showed little enthusiasm for trade with the West. Mughal India encouraged trade with the West but was more preoccupied with imperial expansion. Whereas some trading ports were established by Europeans along Africa's west coast, Europeans were deterred from entering the continent by the risk of contracting malaria and by the lack of navigable rivers.
The increased level of exchange between the Eastern and Western hemispheres began with the voyages of Columbus. Crops, livestock, and diseases changed the demographics on both sides of the Atlantic. Colonies furthered the interchange between the two hemispheres. Some areas such as Japan and China remained largely outside global trade networks, whereas regions such as Russia and the Ottoman Empire concentrated on regional trade.
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