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With all of this trade going around during the NETWORKS OF EXCHANGE period (1200-1450), there were bound to be MASSIVE cultural consequences. The College Board only mentions a couple, but I’m sure your teacher will come up with more. Religions, languages, sciences, math, technology, etc etc etc. This is the section where they mention the world travelers by name: Ibn Battuta, Marco Polo and Margery Kempe. The Network of Exchange was not just political; below you can see the Cultural Consequences…

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Below are the specific KEY CONCEPTS that apply to this sub-unit:

A deepening and widening of networks of human interaction within and across regions contributed to cultural, technological, and biological diffusion within and between various societies.

A deepening and widening of networks of human interaction within and across regions contributed to cultural, technological, and biological diffusion within and between various societies.

  • Improved commercial practices led to an increased volume of trade and expanded the geographical range of existing trade routes—including the Silk Roads, trans-Saharan trade network, and Indian Ocean—promoting the growth of powerful new trading cities.

  • The growth of inter-regional trade in luxury goods was encouraged by innovations in previously existing transportation and commercial technologies, including the caravanserai, forms of credit, and the development of money economies as well as the use of the compass, the astrolabe and larger ship designs.

  • The economy of Song China flourished as a result of increased productive capacity, expanding trade networks, and innovations in agriculture and manufacturing.

  • The expansion of empires—including the Mongols—facilitated Afro-Eurasian trade and communication as new people were drawn into their conquerors’ economies and trade networks.

  • The expansion of empires—including Mali in West Africa—facilitated Afro-Eurasian trade and communication as new people were drawn into the economies and trade networks.

  • The expansion and intensification of long distance trade routes often depended on environmental knowledge, including advanced knowledge of the monsoon winds. The growth of interregional trade was encouraged by innovations in existing transportation technologies.

  • Muslim rule continued to expand to many parts of Afro-Eurasia due to military expansion, and Islam subsequently expanded through the activities of merchants, missionaries, and Sufis.

  • In key places along important trade routes, merchants set up diasporic communities where they introduced their own cultural traditions into the indigenous cultures and, in turn, indigenous cultures influenced merchant cultures.

  • As exchange networks intensified, an increasing number of travelers within Afro–Eurasia wrote about their travels.

  • Increased cross-cultural interactions resulted in the diffusion of literary, artistic, and cultural traditions, as well as scientific and technological innovation.

    • Chinese cultural traditions continued, and they influenced neighboring regions.

    • Buddhism and its core beliefs continued to shape societies in Asia and included a variety of branches, schools, and practices.

    • Islam, Judaism, Christianity, and the core beliefs and practices of these religions continued to shape societies in Africa and Asia.

    • Hinduism, Islam, and Buddhism, and their core beliefs and practices, continued to shape societies in South and Southeast Asia.

    • Christianity, Judaism, Islam and the core beliefs and practices of these religions continued to shape societies in Europe

State formation and development demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity in various regions.

State formation and development demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity in various regions.

  • Muslim states and empires encouraged significant intellectual innovations and transfers.

  • Interregional contacts and conflicts between states and empires, including the Mongols, encouraged significant technological and cultural transfers, including during Chinese maritime activity led by Ming Admiral Zheng He

Changes in trade networks resulted from and stimulated increasing productive capacity, with important implications for social and gender structures and environmental processes.

Changes in trade networks resulted from and stimulated increasing productive capacity, with important implications for social and gender structures and environmental processes.

  • Demand for luxury goods increased in Afro–Eurasia. Chinese, Persian, and Indian artisans and merchants expanded their production of textiles and porcelains for export; manufacture of iron and steel expanded in China.

  • The fate of cities varied greatly, with periods of significant decline and periods of increased urbanization buoyed by rising productivity and expanding trade networks.


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CLIP #1: The SPREAD OF WORLD RELIGION (This covers all of time but is kind of cool to watch).

CLIP #2: ISLAM (from CRASH COURSE World History)

CLIP #3: MARGERY KEMPE (from the BRITISH MUSEUM)

CLIP #4: HISTORY OF PAPERMAKING (OK. I’m kind of obsessed with how Paper is pronounced in Chinese and they keep saying it over and over.)

CLIP #5: HISTORY OF GUNPOWDER (from TEDEd)

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1. TRAVELS OF MARCO POLO, c. 1300, Marco Polo (VENICE)
2. A Gift to Those Who Contemplate the Wonders of Cities and the Marvels of Travelling, 1355 CE, Ibn Battuta (MOROCCO)
3. TARIKH-I-JAHANGUSHAY, c. 1280 (Persian chronicler recounts Hulegu Khan’s efforts to procure gunpowder prior to the siege of Baghdad in 1258), Ata-Malik Juvayni (BAGHDAD, ILKHANATE)
4. GALLE TRILINGUAL INSCRIPTION, c. 1409, Zhenghe (SRI LANKA)
5. The Book of Margery Kempe, c. 1438, Margery Kempe (ENGLAND)

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1. BATTLE OF TALAS, UNKNOWN (Battle where papermaking transferred from Tang China to the Abbasids)

2. JIKJI, 1377 CE, (GORYEO) (Oldest Extant book printed using metal movable type)

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3. GUTENBERG BIBLE , c. 1450 (GERMANY)

4. HEILONGJANG HAND CANNON, 1298, (CHINA) (Oldest extant firearm)

5. DE NOBILITATIBUS SAPIENTII ET PRUDENTIIS REGUM, 1326, Walter de Milemete (earliest depiction of European use of gunpowder) (ENGLAND/FRANCE)

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1. Trade routes aren’t just highways for trading stuff.
2. As people from different places run in to one another, they will share stuff from their cultures.
3. Big takeaway here: Religions spread (Islam, Hindu, & Buddhism). Tech spreads (Mostly Chinese stuff making it’s way to the west).
4. People have traveled before this. BUT, they didn’t write much down. Two prolific travelers: Ibn Battuta and Marco Polo. One religious pilgrim: Margery Kempe
5. As cultural stuff spread, it altered from its original form (Islam in Mecca is different than Islam in Timbuktu… Same for Buddhism in Central India vs. Northern Japan) This is called Syncretism.