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)
KC 3.1: 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.
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.
E. 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.*
II. The movement of peoples caused environmental and linguistic effects.
III. Cross-cultural exchanges were fostered by the intensification of existing, or the creation of new, networks of trade and communication.
IV. There was continued diffusion of crops and pathogens, including epidemic diseases like the bubonic plague along trade routes.
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.
I. Empires collapsed in different regions of the world, and in some areas were replaced by new imperial states or political systems.
A. Following the collapse of empires, imperial states were reconstituted in some regions, including the Byzantine Empire and the Chinese dynasties — Sui, Tang, and Song — combining 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.
B. In some places, new political entities emerged, including those developed in various Islamic states, the Mongol Khanates, new Hindu and Buddhist states in South, East, and Southeast Asia; city-states (Italian Peninsula, East Africa, Southeast Asia), and decentralized government (feudalism) in Europe and Japan.
D. 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 of this period, imperial systems were created by the Mexica (“Aztecs”) and Inca.
II. Inter-regional contacts and conflicts between states and empires encouraged significant technological and cultural transfers.
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.
I. Innovations stimulated agricultural and industrial production in many regions.
B. Demand for luxury goods increased in Afro-Eurasia. 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.
II. 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.
III. 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