World History I

World History I

The role religion played in politics and commerce in the various cultures of the world between 1400 and 1650.

The most significant role that religion had on politics and trade during the 1400 and 1650 period was related and impacted by the growth of commercial trade and communication networks that connected all the global regions (Trivellato, Halevi & Antunes, 2014). A perfect example includes the direct interaction of American people with Afro Eurasian people. This also involved the exchange of animals and plants which led to the permanent linkage of both hemispheres. Europeans also gained access to new food sources such as potatoes and maize from American people, cotton, and sugar from Afro Eurasia (Trivellato et al., 2014).

This spurred the creation of the first actual global economy. France was financed by silver leading to the growing involvement in the Atlantic-based global economy. Politics and religion were tangled to the point that there was no parting of the state and the church in most parts of the world. Changes in the European government were as a result of political and religious developments (Trivellato et al., 2014). In the 1450s, European kingdoms were ruled by leaders who only had a tentative political power grasp. Most were fragmented, and the political structures were feudal based.

Competition for a new Atlantic commerce system’s control deepened Spain and the Habsburg rivalry (Eire, 2016). In the Asian sub-continent, the Ming rulers continued to exert their rule over China in the mid-1600s. The empire’s cultural brilliance and economic accomplishments were persistent until about 1600. China had the same problems being faced by the Muslims which included difficulty in maintaining the military, difficulty in guarding their borders, transportation and communication matters (Billows, 2015). In the 1500s, the Mongols reemerged in power in the region with the support of Tibet. In the spirit of gratitude, the Mongols bestowed the Tibetan ruler the universal teacher title of their Buddhism religion.
The Silk Road commerce also declined during this same era. Innovations in technology and control of the European countries led to increased trade by water thus making the land-based trade to drop. Religion sparked up rivalries which strengthened the English, French and the Dutch while weakening the Spanish people.

Cultures which showed the most religious toleration

The Mongol and Persian empires condoned religious pluralism whereas China’s Sui dynasty and the Holy Empire of Rome encouraged a single religion. The Ottoman and Abbasid empires in the Muslim states, Islam was the primary faith, but other religions such as Christianity were tolerated (Walsham, 2014). The sixteenth-century reforms led to the rupture of the Catholic Church and each European nation chose to continue with Catholicism or was to pick one selection of the Protestant religions (Eire, 2016).

Tensions between religious faiths contributed to the shaping of states in Europe zones of Protestants and Catholics. In the earlier decades after 1453, the Roman Catholic church with the start of world colonialism led to Christian expansion waves into Eastern Asia and the western hemisphere (Trivellato et al., 2014). Both the Protestants and the Catholics strived to push their religions to the newly acquired territories.

The increased aggressiveness and expansion among Turkic groups from central Eurasia as well as increased Muslim naval activity especially in the Indian Ocean led to growth in south-east Asia-subcontinent and the south (Walsham, 2014). Islam was brought to the gates of Western Europe after the Ottoman’s empire land conquest of the Eastern Orthodox Churches (Trivellato et al., 2014). In the meantime, the Muslim traders pushed their faith into India, Southeast Asia, and central Eurasia. Islam to the south was thriving in Africa which undermined Christianity efforts in those areas.

A formal rule was established in the Indian subcontinent by Turkic and Afghan armies who were based in Afghanistan where they penetrated the Ganges and Indus valleys (Eire, 2016). During this era, Islam spread across the Indian subcontinent and won over many converts mainly in Bengal and Punjab. There existed a dynamic relationship between Islam and Hinduism which included both conflicts and synthesis. Islam has been an integral part of the Indian culture. Buddhism exerted its dominance in China and also become Japan’s and Korea’s state philosophy (Billows, 2015).

Origin and creation of the empires

The Han Empire was established in 31 B.C.E the Roman Empire in 220 B.C.E and the Ancient Babylonian Empire lasted from the 18th century to 6 B.C.E (Billows, 2015. The Roman and Han empires lasted approximately 400 years, and both had populations of about 50 million people. In ancient Babylonia, there were about 15 cities which had around 50000 inhabitants. The Han dynasty developed directly from formerly dynastic activity in traditional China (Billows, 2015) whereas the Romanian empire’s origin had to do more with the patrician landlords and certain democratic elements. The height Babylonian empire began in the 18th century and had a great deal of power.

Expansion of the empires

Both Rome and Han empires were emphasized on territorial expansion. Threats to the empires led to conquest and battles which helped them increase the border lengths of the empires. The Romans need for territory expansion was fuelled by various factors such as the need to pay their soldiers and due to its militaristic culture. The Babylonian empire underwent expansion under King Hammurabi’s rules and legal codes The king used a combination of both political and military advances to expand the empire up and down Euphrates and Tigris rivers.

Efforts in maintaining political stability within the empires

In Ancient Babylonia, the kings came up with legal codes such as the Hammurabi’s code, to enhance political stability. The leaders also ensured the empire had an aggressive military wing that would help in maintaining political balance. The rulers in Babylon united several kingdoms for a more robust political base and traded with many cities. The Roman and Han empires had great military power that helped in political stability. In the Roman Empire, there was the integration of the territories acquired through infrastructures such as roads which facilitated communication and transport. This aided in the movement of leaders and the military within the empire. These empires also emphasized greatly on codes of law and a standard legal structure. These empires actively engaged in economic activities aimed at ensuring a stable political and social order.

Technological and scientific innovations in development of the world’s civilizations


The extensive knowledge and skills regarding medicine in Mesopotamia contributed to ensuring good health to the people hence leading to a productive empire. The form of writing known as cuneiform was used in science, literature, and math (McClellan & Dorn, 2015). The Hammurabi’s code that governed the Babylonians was recorded in this way. Creation of a comprehensive calendar that could predict seasons well which favored agriculture leading to the empire’s growth. The wheel is believed to have come from Mesopotamia. It has been used in pottery in the Qin dynasties and also in making war chariots mobile and efficient during battle and for transport (McClellan & Dorn, 2015).

Ancient Egypt

Irrigation systems helped to increase the agricultural productivity of the domain since it is situated in a desert. Some of the modern day innovations regarding oral hygiene were first developed in Egypt such as toothpaste and the toothbrush. Through these advancements, the Egyptians were able to preserve their heritage through hieroglyphics and inscriptions in the tombs of pharaohs and monuments such as pyramids. Creation of a significant culture in the ancient world that helped others can adopt for development. Their literature and art forms were comprehensive and facilitated writing in the modern world.

Classical/Hellenistic Greece

The Greeks have various innovations that are significant in influencing other world civilizations. The invention of the steam engines helped countries to build ships that would be used in trade and territorial conquests, primarily by the imperialist nations. Military technology from armor, ships, catapults and radioactive weapons had helped civilizations grow as they could use these weapons to conquer or intimidate their enemies such as in the first and second world wars (McClellan & Dorn, 2015). Elaborate measurements in weight, standards, distances, and calendars which had helped some civilizations to create magnificent marvels such as the Great Wall among others.

The Romans (imperial period)

Ancient Rome boasts of impressive technological feats using advancements which had vanished in the Middle-Ages (McClellan & Dorn, 2015). The Romans had extensive knowledge and skills in the military and civil engineering technology. This led to the construction of many roads, bridges, arenas, and theaters among others. Their architectural skills have been adopted by various world civilizations such as the arcs. The use of concrete started in Rome had garnered widespread application such as the construction of the Great Wall of China and roads (McClellan & Dorn, 2015). Individuals and armies could use their military technology. This technique has been embraced by most ancient and new world civilizations.

Billows, R. (2015). The Spread of Power: Empires East and West. Asia in Western and World History: A Guide for Teaching: A Guide for Teaching.
Eire, C. M. (2016). Reformations: The Early Modern World, 1450-1650. Yale University Press.
McClellan III, J. E., & Dorn, H. (2015). Science and technology in world history: an introduction. JHU Press.
Trivellato, F., Halevi, L., & Antunes, C. (Eds.). (2014). Religion and trade: cross-cultural exchanges in world history, 1000-1900. Oxford University Press.
Walsham, A. (2014). Migrations of the Holy: Explaining Religious Change in Medieval and Early Modern Europe. Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, 44(2), 241-280.

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