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Organizing Topic Age of Discovery Standard(s) of Learning



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Organizing Topic

Age of Discovery

Standard(s) of Learning


WHII.4 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the impact of the European Age of Discovery and expansion into the Americas, Africa, and Asia by

a) explaining the roles and economic motivations of explorers and conquistadors;

b) describing the influence of religion;

c) explaining migration, settlement patterns, cultural diffusion, and social classes in the colonized areas;

d) defining the Columbian Exchange including its impact on native populations;

e) mapping and explaining the triangular trade;

f) describing the impact of precious metal exports from the Americas.

Essential Understandings, Knowledge, and Skills

Correlation to

Instructional Materials

Skills (to be incorporated into instruction throughout the academic year)


Use maps, globes, artifacts, and pictures to analyze the physical and cultural landscapes of the world and to interpret the past.

Identify geographic features important to the study of world history.

Analyze trends in human migration and cultural interaction.

Content


Explain that the expanding economies of European states stimulated increased trade with markets in Asia. With the loss of Constantinople in 1453, European nations fronting the Atlantic sought new maritime routes for trade.

Summarize the following factors contributing to the European discovery of lands in the Western Hemisphere:



  • Demand in Europe for gold, spices, and natural resources

  • Support for the diffusion of Christianity


  • Political and economic competition between European empires

  • Innovations of European and Islamic origins in navigational arts

  • Pioneering role of Prince Henry the Navigator

Explain the roles of important explorers and conquistadors in the establishment of overseas empires and decimation of indigenous populations, using the following information as a guide:

  • Portugal: Vasco da Gama

  • Spain: Christopher Columbus, Hernando Cortez, Francisco Pizarro, Ferdinand Magellan

  • England: Francis Drake

  • France: Jacques Cartier

Explain that one motive for exploration was to spread the Christian religion.

Explain how the expansion of European empires into the Americas, Africa, and Asia affected religion in those areas.

Summarize the means of diffusion of Christianity, using the following information as a guide:


  • Migration of colonists to new lands

  • Influence of Catholic and Protestant colonists, who carried their faith, language, and cultures to new lands

  • Conversion of indigenous peoples

Explain that Europeans migrated to new colonies in the Americas, creating new cultural and social patterns.

Explain that Europeans established trading posts and colonies in Africa and Asia.

Summarize the effect of European migration and settlement on the Americas, Africa, and Asia, using the following information as a guide:


  • Americas

  • Expansion of overseas territorial claims and European emigration to North and South America
  • Demise of Aztec and Inca empires


  • Legacy of a rigid class system and dictatorial rule in Latin America

  • Forced migration of Africans who had been enslaved

  • Colonies’ imitation of the culture and social patterns of their parent countries

  • Africa

  • Asia

  • Colonization by small groups of merchants (India, the Indies, China)

  • Influence of trading companies (Portuguese, Dutch, British)

Explain that the discovery of the Americas by Europeans resulted in an exchange of products and resources between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres.

Describe the Columbian Exchange between European and indigenous cultures, using the following information as a guide:



  • Western Hemisphere agricultural products, such as corn, potatoes, and tobacco, changed European lifestyles.

  • European horses and cattle changed the lifestyles of American Indians.

  • European diseases, such as smallpox, killed many American Indians.

Summarize the impact of the Columbian Exchange, using the following information as a guide:

  • Shortage of labor to grow cash crops led to the use of African slaves.

  • Slavery was based on race.

  • European plantation system in the Caribbean and the Americas destroyed indigenous economies and damaged the environment.

Explain that the European nations established a trade pattern known as the triangular trade and exported precious metals from the Americas.

Explain that the triangular trade linked Europe, Africa, and the Americas through the trade of slaves, sugar, and rum.

Describe the impact of precious metal exports from the Americas, using the following information as a guide:


  • Gold and silver exported to Europe and Asia

  • Impact on indigenous empires of the Americas

  • Impact on Spain and international trade

Sample Resources


Below is an annotated list of Internet resources for this organizing topic. Copyright restrictions may exist for the material on some Web sites. Please note and abide by any such restrictions.

Age of Exploration Time Line. The Mariners Museum. http://www.mariner.org/educationalad/ageofex/. This site contains information on exploration from ancient times to the present.

Conquistadors. Public Broadcasting System. http://www.pbs.org/opb/conquistadors/home.htm. This site about the conquistadors in the Western Hemisphere includes links to a timeline and a teaching guide. Links within the site will take students to information on the cultures of the Americas before and after European conquest. Web site timelines require Flash® technology, but the text information can stand on its own.

Historical Maps of the World. The University of Texas at Austin. http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/historical/history_world.html. This site provides access to historical maps.

“The Middle Passage.” Africans in America, PBS online. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p277.html. This site provides information and pictures on the middle passage.

Schuessler, Raymond. Ferdinand Magellan: The greatest voyager of them all. http://muweb.millersville.edu/~columbus/data/art/SCHUES01.ART. This site provides another historical account of Magellan’s voyage.

“The Sea-Route to India and Vasco da Gama.” The European Voyages of Exploration. http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/applied_history/tutor/eurvoya/vasco.html. This site about da Gama and Portuguese traders includes interactive maps and extensive information.

Strassmann, Patty. The Influence of Spice Trade on the Age of Discovery. http://muweb.millersville.edu/~columbus/papers/strass-1.html. This is an extensive discussion of the spice trade that goes well beyond the SOL.

The Trading Game. Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension Service. http://agweb.okstate.edu/fourh/aitc/lessons/less3-4/trading.pdf. This game is designed for fourth graders but could be altered for older students.

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