KEY CONCEPT 3.1: EXPANSION & INTENSIFICATION of COMMUNICATION & EXCHANGE NETWORKS
Although Afro-Eurasia and the Americas remained separate from one another, this era witnessed a deepening and widening of old and new networks of human interaction within and across regions. The results were unprecedented concentrations of wealth and the intensification of cross-cultural exchanges. Innovations in transportation, state policies, and mercantile practices contributed to the expansion and development of commercial networks, which in turn served as conduits for cultural, technological, and biological diffusion within and between various societies. Pastoral or nomadic groups played a key role in creating and sustaining these networks. Expanding networks fostered greater interregional borrowing, while at the same time sustaining regional diversity. The prophet Muhammad promoted Islam, a new major monotheistic religion at the start of this period. It spread quickly through practices of trade, warfare, and diffusion characteristic of this period. (2012 CONTINUITIES & CHANGE ESSAY)
1. Improved transportation technologies and commercial practices led to an increased volume of trade, and expanded the geographical range of existing and newly active trade networks.
The expansion of EMPIRES facilitated Trans-Eurasian trade and communication as new peoples were drawn into their conquerors’ economies and trade networks.
- Required examples of empires:
*WARNING: THE FOLLOWING ARE NOT REQUIRED SOCIETIES BY THE COLLEGE BOARD... BUT THEY'RE STILL IMPORTANT.*
2. The movement of peoples caused environmental and linguistic effects.
3. Cross-cultural exchanges were fostered by the intensification of existing, or the creation of new, networks of trade and communication.
- Increased cross-cultural interactions resulted in the diffusion of literary, artistic, and cultural traditions (Neoconfucianism and Buddhism in Southeast Asia, Hinduismand Buddhism in Southeast Asia, Islam in Sub-saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, Toltec/Mexica and Inca traditions in Mesoamerica and Andean America).
4. There was continued diffusion of crops and pathogens throughout the Eastern Hemisphere along the trade routes.
KEY CONCEPT 3.2: CONTINUITY & INNOVATION IN STATE FORMS & THEIR INTERACTIONS
State formation in this era demonstrated remarkable continuity, innovation and diversity in various regions. In Afro-Eurasia, some states attempted, with differing degrees of success, to preserve or revive imperial structures, while smaller, less centralized states continued to develop. The expansion of Islam introduced a new concept — the Caliphate— to Afro-Eurasian statecraft. Pastoral peoples in Eurasia built powerful and distinctive empires that integrated people and institutions from both the pastoral and agrarian worlds. In the Americas, powerful states developed in both Meso-America and the Andean region.
- Following the collapse of empires, most reconstituted governments, including the Byzantine Empire and the Chinese dynasties — Sui, Tang, and Song — combined traditional sources of power and legitimacy (Patriarchy, Religion, Land-owning elites) with innovations (New methods of taxation, Tributary systems, Adaptation of Religious Institutions) better suited to the current circumstances. (SEE BELOW)
- In some places, new forms of governance emerged, including those developed in various Islamic states (Abassids, Muslim Iberia, Dehli Sultanates), the Mongol Khanates, city-states (Italian Peninsula, East Africa, Southeast Asia, Americas), and decentralized government (feudalism) in Europe and Japan.
- In the Americas, as in Afro-Eurasia, state systems expanded in scope and reach: Networks of city-states flourished in the Maya region and, at the end ofthis period, imperial systems were created by the Mexica (“Aztecs”) and Inca.
2. Inter-regional contacts and conflicts between states and empires encouraged significant technological and cultural transfers.
KEY CONCEPT 3.3: INCREASED ECONOMIC PRODUCTIVE CAPACITY & ITS CONSEQUENCES
Changes in trade networks resulted from and stimulated increasing productive capacity, with important implications for social and gender structures and environmental processes. Productivity rose in both agriculture and industry. Rising productivity supported population growth and urbanization but also strained environmental resources and at times caused dramatic demographic swings. Shifts in production and the increased volume of trade also stimulated new labor practices, including adaptation of existing patterns of free and coerced labor. Social and gender structures evolved in response to these changes.
1. Innovations stimulated agricultural and industrial production in many regions.
- In response to increasing demand in Afro-Eurasia for foreign luxury goods, crops were transported from their indigenous homelands to equivalent climates in other regions.
- Chinese, Persian, and Indian artisans and merchants expanded their production of textiles and porcelains for export; industrial production of iron and steel expanded in China.
2. The fate of cities varied greatly, with periods of significant decline, and with periods of increased urbanization buoyed by rising productivity and expanding trade networks.
3. Despite significant continuities in social structures and in methods of production, there were also some important changes in labor management and in the effect of religious conversion on gender relations and family life.
OVER HALF OF THIS ERA IS TRADE. OLD TRADE ROUTES EXPANDED AND NEW ONES EMERGED (AND ALL THE LOVELY THINGS THAT COME WITH IT; DISEASE, RELIGIONS, CROPS, PEOPLE).
FORGET CLASSICAL PEOPLES, THIS ERA IS DOMINATED BY TWO NEW GROUPS MUSLIMS & MONGOLS.
REMEMBER THE ASHES OF THE CLASSICAL PEOPLES; FEUDAL EUROPE, BYZANTINES, & RENAISSANCE CHINA.
SPECIFIC PEOPLE MOVEMENTS ARE STRESSED HERE (MIGRATIONS, LANGUAGES, PEOPLES)
QUICK LOOK AT THE LITTLE GUY: LABOR, FARMING, URBAN LIFE