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do so brought them into contact with previously unknown lands and peoples. Invariably, these lands were overtaken, and these peoples were subjugated. Colonization in Asia, Africa, and the Americas brought riches to Europe, new converts to the Christian church, and warfare and new diseases to the indigenous populations. The consequences of colonization differed vastly between those who colonized and those who were colonized. Colonization also led to the trade in enslaved people from Africa, as European settlers in the Americas sought an inexpensive labor source for their new American plantations.
Economic Power and Rising Capitalism As the establishment of colonies shifted Europe’s gaze from east to west, causation is again seen clearly at work. Europe’s focus and its centers of power began to shift from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. As a result, trading powers such as Venice waned while England and the Netherlands began to take the lead. Additionally, the booming trade in goods between the old world and the new brought increasing riches into Europe, spurring the spread of commercial capitalism. Cities such as London and Amsterdam became banking powers. The influx of capital from colonial trade also helped cause changes in agriculture in many parts of Europe. Increasing land ownership among the economic elite caused changes in agriculture and the demographics of rural and urban areas.
Political Power and Increasing Secularism The increase in trade and the competition between nations for colonies and wealth caused changes in who held political power, why they held it, and how it was gained. In medieval Europe, members of the nobility who owned land held most of the wealth and power. But in nations that became involved in increased trade, wealth and power began to shift to people with education and skills who were not necessarily nobles. The waning of power among the nobility helped monarchs gain power, giving rise to more recognizably modern states. The bureaucratic structures of capitalism could be exercised by the educated, skilled middle class to benefit these new monarchies. Organized systems of taxation, increasingly professional armies, and structured legal systems took shape.
1. How was religion one of the causes of the Age of Exploration?
2. How are the rediscovery of Classical ideas and shift of power from the Mediterranean world to the Atlantic causally linked?
3. How did the establishment of colonies help lead to the new monarchies that began to arise in Europe?

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