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 Helen Nader, an expert in medieval history, argued in the article “The End of the Old World” (1992) that Europeans couldn’t just impose their ideas on others. They had to adapt to the weather, people, and the environment. This meant developing new ways of trading. From the beginning, success and profit in the Americas was about innovation. For the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella to profit from the Americas, they had to infuse it with a strong competitive spirit.
Early explorers obscured this goal by following tradition and maximizing their own wealth. But by 1504, the Spanish crown saw the need for high- volume trade, which required many investors rather than single explorers. As a result, Spanish America was full of family farms, run by households with a degree of local control, and acceptance of free trade. This brought the Spanish their wealth, at least in the short term. Their acceptance of competition, trade, and sometimes self-rule would soon be seen as a characteristic of the modern world.
Impact on the World Andre Gunder Frank challenged explanations of history that he found too centered on Europe. In ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age (1998), he argued that exploration changed the world because European capitalism provided the needed wealth (in the form of crops, silver, and gold) for Europe to rise simultaneous to the decline of the East. Ultimately, European exploration established a new world system that placed Europe at the center. This system became so much a part of the western worldview that it has taken historians the past 60 years to break with the Eurocentric tradition and explain the realities and complexities of Europe’s rise and the resulting impact.
1. Why did Europeans succeed in establishing trade networks, according to Jared Diamond? How does Helen Nader’s opinion on this issue differ?
2. Which of the historians discusses social issues in addition to economic issues?
3. Which historian’s view makes the most sense to you? Why?
MULTIPLE-CHOICE QUESTIONS
Questions 1–3 refer to the following passage.
“Because it will be necessary to use Indian labor in mining gold and other tasks We have ordered done, you are to require the Indians to work in the things of Our service, paying to each the salary that seems just to you...
Because it is necessary to found some towns on Hispaniola...you are to establish new towns in the numbers and at the sites that seem best to you, after careful inspection.
   TOPIC 1.8 COLONIAL ExPANSION AND COLUMBIAN ExCHANGE 57
























































































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