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Unit 2: How Trade and Travel Changed the World

Lesson I: Old and New World Exchanges

Lesson Overview

The initial colonization of the Americas by Portugal and Spain started a wave of European settlement in the New World. Further exploration and contact between European and native peoples created new American cultures. The economic changes that resulted from American colonization affected global trade, increasing the trade of natural and human resources and the growth of the plantation economies. These exchanges dramatically altered life for African slaves and Native American populations.

brazilian plantation, 1806 brazilian plantation, 1806

Brazilian Plantation, 1806 [1]

Key Questions

  1. How and why did trade and interaction lead to changes in political, economic, and social systems?
  2. How did geography and location significantly impact events in history?
  3. What factors contributed to the establishment, expansion, and decline of empires?


Student Outcomes

  1. Assess the ways in which the Columbian Exchange and the Transatlantic African slave trade affected European, Asian, African, and American indigenous societies.
  2. Explain how plantation production spread from the Mediterranean to the Americas and the impact of the production of sugar and tobacco on the world economy and global labor systems.
  3. Compare the conditions of slave life on plantations in the Caribbean, Brazil, and British North America, including resistance and cultural exchanges.
  4. Assess the uses and credibility of a source by examining personal and contextual influences and by corroborating with other historical sources. (Historical Thinking Skill)

Key Terms

Student Resources

Chart of Activities

Activities to Complete Estimated Time
Key Terms
5 minutes
5 minutes
Activator: The World 1300-1550s
15 minutes
Opening: Out with the Old World and in with the New
10 minutes
Activity 1: Transatlantic Exchange
10 minutes
Activity 2: Global Impact of the Transatlantic Exchanges
20 minutes
Activity 3: The Plantation System of the Americas
15 minutes
Activity 4: The Impact of Labor Systems in the Americas
40 minutes
Review and Assessment
15 minutes
Lesson Summary
5 minutes

Lesson Completion Time

The total estimated time to complete this lesson is 140 minutes.


Page Notes:

[1] Source: This image from http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Jos%C3%A9_Mariano_da_Conceicao_Velloso_-_O_fazendeiro_do_Brazil_-_cultivador.jpg is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.