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Unit 2: How Trade and Travel Changed the World

Lesson A: Costs and Benefits of Trade

Lesson Overview

Waldseemuller's 1507 world map that shows a separate western hemisphere and the pacific as a separate ocean Waldseemuller's 1507 world map that shows a separate western hemisphere and the pacific as a separate ocean

Waldseemüller's 1507 World Map that Shows a Separate Western Hemisphere and the Pacific as a Separate Ocean. [1]

The 14th century ushered in a new era of global connectedness. These changes transformed regional empires and helped spread goods and ideas across the world. Although these changes benefited some areas of Europe and Asia, the negative consequences were felt by much of the world.

Key Questions

  1. How and why did trade and interaction lead to changes in political, economic, and social systems?
  2. What factors contributed to the establishment, expansion, and decline of empires?
  3. How can there be different explanations of the same event in history?

Student Outcomes

  1. Describe how empires, such as the Ottoman Empire, Ming China, Mughal India, and Songhai Africa acquired wealth and power as a result of interregional trade.
  2. Trace the role of European involvement in interregional trade from the 14th through the 17th centuries.
  3. Analyze the origins and impact of the spread of disease through trade networks, such as the bubonic plague in Central and East Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.
  4. Identify the author or source of a historical document and explain the literal meaning of the document. (Historical Thinking Skill)

Key Terms

Student Resources

Chart of Activities

Activities to Complete Estimated Time
Key Terms
10 minutes
10 minutes
Activator: The World 1300-1550
5 minutes
Opening: Trade in the Pre-Modern Period
10 minutes
Activity 1: The Role of Trade — History vs. Today
10 minutes
Activity 2: Early Trade Networks
10 minutes
Activity 3: Early Trade and the Rise of Europe
15 minutes
Activity 4: Disease and Plague — The High Cost of Trade
15 minutes
Activity 5: Reflections on Early Trade
15 minutes
Review and Assessment
15 minutes
Lesson Summary
5 minutes

Lesson Completion Time

The total estimated time to complete this lesson is 120 minutes.


Page Notes:

[1] Source: This image from http://www.wdl.org/en/item/369/?ql=eng&t=500-1499&t=1500-1699&view_type=gallery is in the public domain.