Overview of Course
The so-called Columbian Age, ushered in by the explorations and conquests of Europeans such as Christopher Columbus and others from Portugal, Spain, and northwestern Europe, is still heavily influencing global relations and affairs today. This course will begin with an examination of Portuguese and Spanish exploration, looking at the causes and consequences of each in their similarities and differences. It will move to an analysis of the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment and how these served to create a wedge between Western Europe and most other global regions, leading to east-west as well as north-south tensions. The industrial revolution will be considered in terms of its causes and effects on peasants, workers, and specifically women. As the voyage progresses from east to west from East Asia, into the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and through Suez into the Mediterranean and southern Europe, the course will identify major geographic and historical issues specific to these countries and regions. Colonial and anti-colonial movements will be explored as well as factors leading to the two devastating world wars of the early 20th century. This course will conclude by analyzing major developments in the second half of the 20th century, including the Cold War, and major threats and opportunities in the 21st century still in its early stages and featuring its own set of challenges.