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Due to the nature of this being a World History course that BEGINS in 1200, this is the one era that will not heavily feature the Europeans. You can tell from the map that the Europeans are already making their way down to Africa and are 42 years away from the Americas and 48 years from India by 1450. We are smack-dab in the middle of the Post Classical or Medieval period or Dark Ages. That means knights, ladies, castles, etc. The Social/Political order is crucial in Europe during this period, with Feudalism dominating most of the Continent. There’s a trade union in the North you should know: Hanseatic League. The Mongols arrive to the East and bring destruction (by cavalry or by Bubonic Plague). The educational center is not Paris or London; it’s Cordoba. The biggest interaction the Europeans have outside of Europe in this period are the Crusades that last for a little over a century. Otherwise, that’s really it. This will be the last time we see the Europeans in the confines of Europe. Most of what you need to know about Europe going forward deals a great deal with their interactions OUTSIDE of Europe. Let’s get medieval.


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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 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 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.

  • 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.

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

  • There was continued diffusion of crops and pathogens, with epidemic diseases, including the bubonic plague, along trade routes.

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

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

  • Empires and states in Afro-Eurasia and the Americas demonstrated continuity, innovation, and diversity in the 13th century

  • Europe was politically fragmented and characterized by decentralized monarchies, feudalism, and the manorial system.

  • Empires collapsed in different regions of the world and in some areas were replaced by new imperial states, including the Mongol khanates.

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

  • Inter-regional contacts and conflicts between states and empires, including the Mongols, 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.

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

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

  • Europe was largely an agricultural society dependent on free and coerced labor, including serfdom.


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CLIP #1: MEDIEVAL EUROPE (from CRASH COURSE EUROPEAN HISTORY)

CLIP #2: THE DARK AGES (from CRASH COURSE WORLD HISTORY)

CLIP #3: HANSEATIC LEAGUE

CLIP #4: THE MAGNA CARTA

CLIP #5: THE CRUSADES

CLIP #6: THE BLACK DEATH (Black Death starts at 4:55 mark)

CLIP #7: The VENETIAN REPUBLIC (from the armchair historian)

CLIP # 8: THE LITTLE ICE AGE (from CRASH COURSE World History)

CLIP #9: THE BYZANTINE EMPIRE

CLIP #10: MEDIEVAL RUSSIA

CLIP #11: MARGERY KEMPE (She’s the OTHER world traveler who went from England to Jerusalem and wrote history’s first autobiography!)


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1. Council of Clermont (where Pope where Pope Urban calls for the 1st Crusade), 1095 (FRANCE)
2. Charter of Fealty, 1110 CE, Monk John (FRANCE)
3. Magna Carta, 1215 CE, Archbishop of Canterbury (ENGLAND)
4. Ystoria Mongalorum, c. 1240, John of Plano-Carpini (FRANCE)
5. The Book of Margery Kempe, c. 1438, Margery Kempe (ENGLAND)


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1. NOTRE DAME CATHEDRAL, c. 1163 (PARIS, FRANCE)

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2. CHRIST PANTOCRATOR, 1261 CE, (HAGIA SOPHIA, CONSTANTINOPLE, BYZANTINE EMPIRE)

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4. Doge’s Palace (home to the Doge or Duke or leader of Venice) c. 1340 (VENICE)

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5. The Arnolfini Portrait, 1434 CE, Jan van Eyck (BRUGES, BELGIUM)


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1. Global Tapestry Europe (1200-1450) is the end of Medieval Europe. Castles, knights, chivalry and such.
2. If you get ONE thing from this period for them, focus on the FEUDAL SYSTEM.
3. Europe is still backwards and Dark Age-ish. They will have global empires by the end of the NEXT period. For now, it’s pretty Monty Python and the Holy Grail everywhere.
4. Trade with the rest of the world is kind of limited. Look to the Venetians for trading with the Middle East.
5. This period has Mongol Invasions, The Black Death, the Crusades, and the 100 Years War. Very little here is on Europe’s Highlight Reel.