U.S. History
Material Type:
Ohio Open Ed Collaborative
  • History
  • Ohs0432
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Media Formats:

    Early Globalization: The Atlantic World 1492-1650

    Early Globalization: The Atlantic World 1492-1650


    Introduction: The race was on!  The Spanish and Portuguese were the first to search for whatever wealth the “New” World might have, and found many “new” foodstuffs in addition to gold that changed the population of Europe. The Spanish and other Europeans shared new things with the native populations as well. Horses, metal tools, and different types of cloth were traded. Small pox, various colds, and other diseases were also exchanged, and wiped out large portions of the native populations.

    France, the Netherlands and England also wanted the riches the New World had to offer. Each country had its own ideas of what the Americas could provide for them, and by the end of the time period, the age of colonization had begun.

    Learning Objectives

    • Describe the new inventions that allowed Portugal to successfully navigate the open seas.
    • How did the Portuguese facilitate trade in West Africa?
    • Explain the importance of Spanish exploration of the Americas in the expansion of Spain’s empire and the development of Spanish Renaissance culture.
    • Compare the Portuguese exploration of the Atlantic and Spanish exploration of the Americas. How did these two countries impact the developing Atlantic World?
    • Analyze the impact of the Reformation on Germany, France, and Spain. Did the Reformation change ideas about conquest in the New World?
    • Describe how the Spanish and French reacted to peasant Protestantism. Did this change the idea of the divine right of kings?
    • Describe the growth of English power during the Reformation. How did this growth change the conquest of the New World?
    • Describe how the different European colonies related to the native populations. What led to the massive death count among natives?
    • Define mercantilism. How did European countries and their colonies use this theory of wealth and power?
    • Analyze the flow of goods in the Columbian exchange. Create lists of the positive and negative things that were part of the Columbian Exchange.

    Module Supplemental Readings/Videos

    Dutch New Netherland and Henry Hudson in the New World

    The Black Legend, Native Americans, and Spaniards Crash Course: US History # 1 

    Columbus, de Gama, and Zheng He! 15th Century Mariners - Crash Course: World History #21

    The Spanish Empire, Silver, & Runaway Inflation: Crash Course World History #25

    Expansion and Consequences: Crash Course European History # 5

    Luther and the Protestant Reformation: Crash Course World History #218

    The Columbian Exchange: Crash Course World History #23

    The Columbian Exchange: Crash Course History of Science #16

    John Green Natives and the Spanish

    John Green Natives and the English

    1492: An Ongoing Voyage Section Europe Claims America



    Glossary of Key Terms

    Columbian Exchange: The transfer of goods, crops, and diseases between New and Old World societies after 1492.

    conquistadores: Sixteenth-century Spaniards who fanned out across the Americas, from Colorado to Argentina, eventually conquering the Aztec, Incan, and Mayan empires.    

    primogeniture: Legal principle that the oldest son inherits all family property or land.

    Reformation: Movement to reform the Catholic Church launched in Germany by Martin Luther. Reformers questioned the authority of the Pope, sought to eliminate the selling of indulgences, and encouraged the translation of the Bible from Latin.

    Roanoke Island: Sir Walter Raleigh's failed colonial settlement off the coast of North Carolina.  

    smallpox: Disease brought by Europeans to the New World and eventually killed off about 90 percent of the native population. 

    Spanish Armada: Spanish fleet defeated in the English Channel in 1588. The defeat of the Armada marked the beginning of the decline of the Spanish Empire.

    Treaty of Tordesillas: Signed by Spain and Portugal, dividing the territories of the New World. Spain received the bulk of territory in the Americas, compensating Portugal with titles to lands in Africa and Asia.     

    Instructor Resources

    Cortes and Montezuma II Activity

    1. Assign students to review the website below, focusing on how the Aztecs reacted to the coming of Cortez:
    2. Have students write a short conversation (approximately 300-500 words) that might have occurred between two of these people:
      • Montezuma II and the soothsayers explaining the signs?
      • Cortes and Montezuma II when they first meet?
      • Montezuma II and Teudile after he returns from Cortes’ Ships?
      • Between 2 trades people when Cortes enter Tenochtitlan?

    Optional: Have best of each submissions for each conversations perform/role play their dialog in class or on camera for the class.