Comments to the course: “The History of the World since 1300”, Princeton University, coordinated by Prof. Jeremy Adelman

The European expansion in the fifteenth century can be considered as the first step towards economic, social cultural and biological globalization.
It is therefore important to be characterized in detail to a correct understanding of this phenomenon and that follow the timeline.
Normal presentation of this historical phenomena has been made ​​with the omission of important and relevant historical facts t, leading to distorted conclusions about the process of " European expansion ", as well as in historical periods sequent .
Here are historically significant events presented in an synthetically analysis characterized in 5 videos, which are:

Discoveries (Part V) EN - Conclusions
his part summarizes the analysis made ​​in Parts I to IV , as well as the most relevant aspects of the findings . ( we suggest you start here ) .


1.       Columbus arrived Caribbean Islands (1492), thinking he was in India.  Vasco da Gama arrived India (1497) establishing the spices rout by sea.

2.       In the sixteenth century, we can say that the European expansion in Asia, led by the Portuguese, controlled Indian trade during one century, then followed by the British, Dutch, and others, in the seventeen century that take control of several areas, represented the first steps towards economic globalization .  The Spanish and the Portuguese made the same with North, central and South America and Brazil.
3.       The European expansion altered the success factors of the economic model based on land and slavery, by complementing it with large scale trading, creating a new paradigm.
a.       In ancient times: the conquest of fertile lands and slaves to work.
b.      In feudalism: access to land and servile labor;
c.    In the mercantilist period: access to new products, markets and financial resources.
4.       The gold and silver changed the field of wars from land to the seas.
5.       America becomes a huge world asset that would be revealed in the following centuries.
(20m08)  ( video)

Discoveries (Part I) EN - Historical Background (9M06)
 We have to emphasize that the frame of reference of the European Middle Ages, the end of the Byzantine Empire and especially the spread of Islam to the Iberian Peninsula , which conditioned the initial Spain involvement in the discoveries . ( video)

Discoveries (Part II) EN - Reasons, motivation and preparation.
In this part , it is characterized the basic motivation for expansion, including the opulence of the Italian city-states and the consequent discovery of the spice route .
It is worth to emphasize important aspects related to the preparation of Discuveries, namely:
• The involvement of the of Spain in conquest of the south of the Iberian Peninsula from the Moors until 1492 , which reduced their capability to engage more deeply in the Discoveries till that period;
• The navigations made ​​by the Portuguese for over 100 years , identifying current and sea winds - important factor for ocean navigation .
• The Portuguese discovery of Canary Islands, in the fourteenth century , around 1336, but Pope Clement VI , assign the same to Spain. Although diplomatic complaint from the Portuguese, the situation remained unchanged .

• When starting the period of effective discoveries in the mid- fifteenth century and in order to no more misunderstandings arise and demands , the Portuguese propose to Spain a treaty ( signed in Alcaçovas and Toledo in 1479 about 13 years before the discovery of Caribbean by Columbus) that defined recognition of all lands to discover east a meridian passing 100 leagues west of Cape Verde would belong to Portugal, and everything to be discovered west belonged to Spain.
• According to historical references, Colombo lived in Lisbon for more than a decade. He made a proposal to D. João II (King of Portugal) to discovering India by sailing west, which was rejected. This led to the supposition that D. João II, has ordered Duarte Pacheco Pereira for a recognition of the existence of land to the west.
• Duarte Pacheco Pereira identified " major mainlands " as he reported in his travel diary , ie Brazil, but that keeps confidential , because if it becomes public the discovery of these lands would belonged to the Crown of Spain in accordance with the Alcaçovas treaty .
• Gave rise to the renegotiating the Alcaçovas treaty, leading to the Treaty of Tordesillas in 1494 , passing the meridian to 370 miles west of Cape Verde involving the lands of Brazil to be owned by Portugal. In accordance with the new treaty, Pedro Alvares Cabral in 1500 navigates throw, in order to a formal recognition of the discovery of Brazil .
(12m13 video )


Discoveries (Part III) EN - Sailing westward (to America) in search of India
This part identifies the strategy followed by Spain to reach India following the guide line of Columbus, sailing westward. Columbus reaches the Caribbean Islands in 1492, thinking he was in India. Although it was a technical error, it was the discovery of a new continent , later identified by Amerigo Vespucci and called America in his honor by cartographer Martin Waldseemuller  in 1505 .
But most of all is the enormous potential in gold and silver, the Aztecs and Incas, who comes to give Spain a strategic priority to its implementation in the Americas. All framed in the Treaty of Tordesillas / Toledo.
The objective of strategic discovery of the spices rout by Spain was long and painful . After Columbus (1492 ) have discover the West Indies , Ferdinand Magellan ( 1519 ) have crossed into the Pacific Ocean , Andrés de Urdaneta only managed to find the way back ( 1565 ) which linked Manila to Acapulco . Only about 70 years after the Portuguese had arrived in India. At that moment, the interest in spices by the Spaniards was completely overpassed because the enormous wealth in gold and silver that was regularly taken from Americas to Spain.

Discoveries (Part IV) EN - Navigating surrounding Africa to India
The Portuguese arrive in India in 1497 by the commanding of Vasco da Gama . On the one hand , Indian Ocean , Arabian and Red, as well as the spice trade with the west , are totally dominated by the Arabs , on the other hand, Indian territory was ruled by the Sultanate of Dili since 1206. This means that the Portuguese have taken important local battles with the Arabs, then the control seas and Indian soil, to establish factories.
For nearly 100 years the Portuguese dominate the spice trade with Europe until the arrival of the British and the Dutch.
Nearly 30 years after the arrival of the Portuguese in India is invaded by the Mughals, who become to dominate the entire territory and become the dominant land power, with its base centered in Agra (about 100 years later to build Taj Mahal) . India was dominated by the Mughals , for over a century , after being dominated and integrated in the British Empire .
(8m08 video  )