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-Unit III Reading Guide: 1450-1750

AP World history

U3/1450-1750 Reading Guide


The Early Modern Period, 1450-1750:

The World Shrinks—Chapters 16-19


WEEK ONE:  Chapter 16, The World Economy




  • Maritime Revolution (348-55)
  • Toward a World Economy (355-59)
  • Colonial Expansion (359-366)


Study Questions:


1.      Why did the world trade network that was established during the Postclassical period develop into a “global” economy during the Early Modern period?


2.      Give two reasons why Europeans gained knowledge of Asia, encouraging them to seek trade with that region.


3.      What problems did Europeans face as they began to seek new trade.?


4.      List the technological innovations that helped Europeans venture further from home.


5.      Where did Portugal first devote its exploration efforts and why?  Who was Prince Henry the Navigator?


6.      What lucky stroke did Vasco da Gama enjoy that helped get his fleet to India?


7.      Why were Muslim merchants not happy to see the Portuguese?


8.      What did da Gama later use to get Indian merchants to trade?


9.      In what year and by whose efforts did Spain claim the Americas?


10.   Who gave Spain permission to control the New World?


11.   What did Magellan do for Spain and in what year?


12.   How did technology give the Dutch and the British an edge over Spain?


13.   The British and French could not take the gold and silver rich areas of Mexico and South America from the Spanish but they did take one area from Spain. What was it and what very valuable item did it produce?


14.   What was the primary motive for Northern European exploration?


15.   Although the English did explore part of North America in 1497, they didn’t do much else until when and in what area of North America?

16.   Why was a Dutch colony in South Africa created?


17.   Describe the power held by North European trading companies.


18.   Where was the British East India Company most active?


19.   What was the major negative impact of the Columbian Exchange?


20.   How did sweet potatoes end up in China?


21.   What was a negative side effect of sweet potatoes, potatoes, and corn on China and Europe?


22.   Why did even the most isolationist countries such as Japan or some of the most powerful Muslim countries like the Ottoman Empire grant Europeans access to their trade networks?


23.   When China refused to meet European demand for porcelain, what did Europeans do to make up for it?


24.   What happened in India as a result of greater involvement in the world trade system?


25.   What role did Eastern Europe play in the world trade system?


26.   What empire did Francisco Pizarro conquer?


27.   Where did France focus its colonization efforts?


28.   What about Britain and Holland?


29.   Describe the conflict known as the Seven Years War by identifying the main opponents, the treaty that ended it, and what the winner gained


30.   How did the value of North American colonies compare to colonies in the Caribbean or Latin America?


31.   What power placed a colony on the southern tip of Africa? What were their farmers called and who did those farmers come into conflict with up until the end of the 20th century?





British/Dutch East India Company                Caravel

Cape Colony                                                   Mercantilism

Prince Henry the Navigator                            Boers

John Locke                                                    

Vasco da Gama

Vasco de Balboa

World Economy

Christopher Columbus

Amerigo Vespucci










WEEK TWO:  Chapter 17, The Transformation  of the West




  • Italian Renaissance (368-372)
  • Protestant and Catholic Reformations (372-376)
  • Science and Politics (376-381)
  • The West by 1750 (381-86)


Study Questions:


1.      The word “Renaissance” means “rebirth” and describes Europe, esp. Western Europe, from 1300 into the 17th and 18th centuries. Why did Western Europe need to be reborn?


2.      What common influence did Machiavelli share with artists like da Vinci and Michelangelo?


3.      Define “Humanism” –


4.      The Black Death killed about 1/3 of Europe’s population, more in some areas, during the 14th and 15th centuries. How could the plague have led to humanism?


5.      How did new trade routes and the Americas cause the Renaissance to decline in Italy?


6.      How was Johannes Gutenberg important to both the Renaissance and literacy?


7.      What are “indulgences”?


8.      List some of the demands Luther included in his 95 Theses.


9.      Why did German princes support Luther’s ideas?


10.   What is “Protestantism” and what is the key difference with Catholic beliefs?


11.   Where was the Anglican Church based, who set it up, and for what primary reason?


12.   What was the key idea of John Calvin?


13.   What part of Europe did the Catholic Church manage to hang on to


14.   In England in the mid 1600s, King Charles I was Catholic. This contributed to the English Civil War. What was the result?


15.   Cite evidence of growing class tension in Europe.


16.   How were women singled out for punishment in Western Europe and America during the 17th century?


17.   Define “Scientific Revolution”


18.   Copernicus developed the heliocentric theory of planetary motion. What is that theory?


19.   How was Kepler a product of both the new and old ways of thinking about the universe?


20.   Who did Galileo get into trouble with because of his support for Copernicus’ ideas?


21.   Francis Bacon tied scientific study to advancements in what other area?


22.   Rene Descartes was skeptical of “received wisdom”. From the context, what do you think that terms means?


23.   Newton described a system that all scientists today use and you learn in your science classes. What is it?


24.   What was the basic difference between the Christian view of human nature and the humanist intellectuals of the Scientific Revolution?


25.   How did the relationship between nobles and monarchs change following the religious wars in Europe?


26.   Describe the mercantilist system:


27.   The Glorious Revolution in England (shortly after the English Civil War) led to who assuming the dominate role in government?


28.   John Locke argued that power comes from where?  If a government fails to protect the natural rights of the people, the people had the right to do what, according to Locke?


29.   Define what a nation-state is.  How did the role of government change as the notion of nation-states emerged?


30. In what country was the Enlightenment centered?

31. What were some of the public policy changes as a result of Enlightenment ideas?

32. What was Adam Smith’s book called?  What did smith say about competition and government?

33. What was Mary Wollstonecraft’s contribution to the Enlightenment?




Renaissance                                                    95 Theses                                Jesuits

Niccolo Machiavelli                                       predestination

Humanism                                                      indulgences

Johannes Guttenberg                                      Henry VIII

Martin Luther                                                 Edict of Nantes                                  

Protestant Reformation                                  Absolute Monarchy

John Calvin                                                     Louis XIV












WEEK 3: Chapter 18, The Rise of Russia




  • Russia’s expansion/politics/westernization  (390-98)
  • Themes in early modern Russia  (398-402)


Study Questions:


1.      What service did Russian princes provide to the Mongols? What Russian prince gained Russian its independence from the Mongols?


2.      What negative consequences were the result of Mongol domination?


3.      How did Ivan III tie Russia to the Byzantine Empire in the minds of his people and gain control over the Orthodox Church?


4.      What was Ivan IV’s other name and how did he gain mastery over the Russian nobles, called boyars?


5.      What were “cossacks” and how did both Ivans use them?


6.      What did the tsars realize the effects of the Mongols were on Russia?


7.      Peter the Great: describe the both the man and his policies to justify why he is called “the Great”.


8.      What group did Peter focus on to try to bring Russia’s image up to Western standards? Identify the changes he brought to this group.


9.      When peasants rebelled, what was Catherine’s response?


10.   What was Catherine’s impact on the serfs?


11.   Who did Catherine send to the West to be educated?


12.   What happened to serfs throughout the 17th and 18th centuries in their relationship to both the land and landlords?


13.   Slavery is a continuity in world history. It has appeared in many different societies across all parts of the world in every period. However, the Russian serf/slavery system was unique. How?


14.   How did Pugachev appeal to peasants?


15.  Where and how did Russia expand?





Romanov Dynasty




WEEK 4:  Chapter 19, Early Latin America




  • Portuguese and Spanish conquest of Latin America (407-413)
  • Destruction of Amerindian societies (413-415)
  • Colonial Economies and Government (416-420)
  • Brazilian Plantation Colony/Multiracial Societies (421-426)
  • 18th Century Reforms (426-430)


Study Questions:


  1. How did the Iberian peninsula’s proximity to Africa lead to the institution of African slavery in the Americas?


  1. How did prior conflict between the Spanish and Muslims lead to greater Church involvement in the Americas?


  1. What 2 areas in the Americas did Spain focus on and why?


  1. What was an “encomienda”?


  1. Why did the Caribbean lose its value to Spain early on?


  1. How were Spanish cities laid out and what influenced them?


  1. Once the hunt for gold ended in the Caribbean, what replaced it?


  1. What replaced the Indians on the land once they died off??????


  1. What was the “mita”?


  1. What disease may have come from the Americas to Europe?


  1. What was the labor source in Spanish silver mines?


  1. What metal was needed to extract silver?


  1. What were haciendas and who did they serve?


  1. What was the Treaty of Tordesillas?


  1. What were viceroys and where were they located?


  1. What was Portugal’s interest in Brazil?


  1. How did Portugal’s ties to Brazil differ from Spain to Spanish America?


  1. What were mulattos? What were Creoles? Peninsulares?


  1. What sort of reforms did the “enlightened despots” of Spain make and for what purpose?


  1. What group in the Spanish colonies was most affected by these reforms and what do you think this may lead to?





Ferdinand and Isabella


Bartolome de Las Casas

Hernan Cortes

Montezuma II

New Spain

Columbian exchange



Treaty of Tordesillas

Council of the Indies




War of Spanish Succession

Francisco Pizarro