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Unit 2: How Trade and Travel Changed the World

Lesson E: Rise of Early Europe

Activity 5: Small States, Big Impact

In the previous activity, "The European Challenge," you learned about the challenges posed by emerging European states to the larger empires of Afro-Eurasia, such as the Ottomans, during the 15th century. In this activity, you will learn more about the states of Italy and Portugal, and the way they allowed Europeans improved access to luxury goods from Africa and Asia.

Directions: In order to get a clearer understanding of the significance of these changes, first review the following examples of current day developments. The following newspaper headlines reflect changes to economic and political conditions in the world during the last fifty years of history. Some of these changes are similar to the political and economic developments of the 15th and 16th centuries in Europe. Read the newspaper headlines below.

White house prepares for new president End of cold ware rewrites map of europe People cheer fall of communism China emerging as world's strongest economy World faces new terrorist threat
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Written Activity - Notebook

In your notebook, answer the following questions.

  • How do the events reflect important economic and political changes?
  • How might the changes challenge existing economic and political conditions?

Now you will learn about changes to economic and political conditions in and around Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. Use your responses to these questions as you complete the following activity.