The Exploration Times
Just recently, the battle for Mughal India has been 'settled.' It finally has been claimed by the British troops, who managed to drive out the French and take control over the empire.
Mughal India had been thriving for centuries, enjoying the peace in their land along with their empire's strength and wealth. It was the center of spice trade, and the world leader in textile manufacturing, and exporting silk and cotton cloth. It was larger, richer, and more powerful than any kingdom in Europe. Since the Mughal emperors were peaceful people, they didn't see why they shouldn't let Europeans settle in Indian costal towns for trading purposes. But gradually, the empire weakened.
Mughal was drained of it's resources after years of civil wars. The economy got worse as taxes increased, causing disagreements among the people. Mughal power faltered, and the British and French took action. They had both East India companies, and fought for power. Different companies made alliances and organized their own army of sepoys, which are Indian troops. Both countries used their sepoys and their land in Asia and America to gain control. Finally, the British troops ended up driving out the French. Now, Mughal is just another one of the newly acquired territories in Asia.
With the exploration of the new world, many colonies are being made. As the most powerful country right now, Portugal has made many colonies along the African coast. We know that they were established for trading purposes, but how do the natives feel about this?
I interviewed a woman named Hyacintia in the Portuguese colony of Mozambique in Africa. She said, “I wouldn’t say that the Portuguese were overly cruel at first. Of course, we didn't feel free as Africans living under European rule.” She went on to speak about how the Portuguese went about spreading their culture. “They made Portuguese the official language. They taught it to our children, to us, to mostly everyone. Then they went about missions to convert us all to Christianity.”
Despite these seemingly decent conditions, Hyacintia says that life was terrible. “After a while, they started to take our husbands off to be enslaved, and before long, others were leaving. They tore families apart. I do not know what made them think they had the right to do this.” She also said that every day she lives in fear that she might be the next to leave.
After interviewing this woman, I realized firsthand what colonization is really like. It is not as fair as Europeans think it is. We only think of ourselves and not about the people that may be being affected. No one would have ever thought that Portugal, one of the most powerful empires of this time, would have such sinister actions towards the people of their colonies.
One of the greatest trades of today is slave trading. This trade has been going on for decades, even centuries, all over the world. Slaves are still as important as they were back then. But lately, the business has really been booming. People nowadays have slaves working on their plantations, whether around the house or in farms or fields.
Let's get a little into why slaves are slaves to begin with. Most of them started out as captives from war or from nearby cities and towns. Also, soldiers sometimes trade goods such as gunpowder, metalwork, rum, tobacco, weapons, and textiles, with African leaders for the slaves. Rarely, the explorers will go in and raid the town theirselves. Children born to these slaves will also be slaves.
Some African leaders even tried to put a stop to this. For example, Affonso I, who ruled over Kongo in west-central Africa. He recently tried to convert Africans to Christianity, calling on the Portuguese to help. But he wasn't in favor of the slave trade, and trying to conserve his relations with Europe, tried to end it, and failed.
During all of this, new African states are rising, such as the Asante kingdom and the Oyo empire. These states are using their power to conquer neighboring kingdoms, too.With all these new places being discovered, many changes are happening with kingdoms and their economy.
Born: c. October 31,1451
Died: May 20, 1506
A very well educated Italian navigator who is best known for his discovery of North and South America. He wanted to reach the East Indies by sailing west although he underestimated the Earth's size. He knew that the Earth was round, contrary to popular belief, although many other well educated people knew so too. After his failed attempts at getting Portugal so sponsor his trip, he asked Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain and they agreed. Sailing west on the Niña, Pinta, and the Santa María through terrible storms, thinking he had reached India, and calling the natives "Indians", he learned he discovered new land of what we now call America and the islands of the Caribbean. He later arrived back in Spain with a warm hero's welcome and continued to travel the Earth. He recently died of possibly heart failure or reactive arthritis. We look back on his discoveries in awe.
Born: c. 1480
Died: April 27, 1521
Magellan only wanted to reach the Balboa's South Sea, but went through much more. Battling terrible storms and stopping at each bay hoping find the pacific. He found a passage that we today call the "Strait of Magellan" after him. His ships finally moved into Balboa's South Sea, and he renamed it the pacific, which was Latin for peaceful. He named it that because it was more peaceful than that of the other waters he experienced. He underestimated the size of the pacific and thought that he and his crew would make it to the spice islands in under a few weeks. They were wrong and traveled for many more months until his recent death when the natives of the Philippines killed him. But his dream lived on when his crew circumnavigated the world for him.
Birth: c. 1456
Death: c. 1542
Affonso I king of Kongo is best remembered for his standing up against the buying and selling of slaves. He called the Portuguese to help make Kongo a modern Christian state. He was worried when many Portuguese went to Kongo to purchase more slaves. He wanted to stay in contact with Europe, but his main concern was to end the slave trade. Although his intentions failed, we learn from him that no matter how hard we try, it is alright if we fail sometimes because we can try again later.
Technology is a major part of this time because it allows us to learn and discover more. First, ships are of main importance as many travel the Earth. The ships are very large and have big sails. Second, in order to circumnavigate the globe, sailors have compasses. The compass is fairly large, though. Last, another thing in technology are the many new maps that are being made by sailors out in different places of the world. Technology is becoming highly needed in a world where we are advancing so quickly.
"Christopher Columbus." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 01 Dec. 2014.
"Ferdinand Magellan." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.
"Affonso I, King of Kongo." N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.
Ellis, Elisabeth Gaynor., Anthony Esler, and Burton F. Beers. Prentice Hall World History: The Modern Era. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2007. Print.