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Unit 2: How Trade and Travel Changed the World

Lesson E: Rise of Early Europe

Activity 7: The Impact of Italy

Italian City-States in 1494Italian City-States in 1494
Italian City-States in 1494 [1]
expansion of Geneva map expansion of Geneva map

Expansion of Genoa [2]

The Italian city-states were ruled by republican governments, and expanded their influence throughout the Mediterranean region. States such as Genoa controlled coastal areas and ports and increased the flow of luxury goods to and from the Middle East, Asia, and Europe. Venice and Genoa specialized in production of luxury items, such as glassware, and improved access to Asian goods, such as ceramic pottery and fabrics.

Florence also aided access to the East, creating thriving markets for silk, wool, and jewelry, and became a capital of banking. Italians became so wealthy during this period that they funded the Crusades against Muslim enemies. Eventually the greed and aggression of the republics put them at war with each other and their neighbors, and were soon overshadowed by more powerful nation-states that emerged during the 19th century.

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Classroom Activity - Portugal and Italian City States

Discussion Icon Discussion

Directions: Prepare a response to the discussion questions based on the information you learned about Portugal and Italian city-states. You will use information from your discussion in the activity that follows.

  • How did the Portuguese and Italian city-states challenge the economic and political power of existing empires?
  • How did the Portuguese and Italian city-states impact trade and the availability of luxury goods during the period 1300-1550?
  • How did the rise of the Portuguese and Italian city-states represent significant changes for travel and trade in the region?

Download Icon Select the link to review the Discussion Scoring Tool (pdf).


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Directions: Once you have finished the discussion, complete the following assignment based on the previous information about Portugal and the Italian city-states of the 15th and 16th century. In the text box that appears, create at least three headlines that reflect the role of Portugal and the Italian city-states in travel and trade during the period 1300-1550. Use your responses to the discussion questions to guide your completion of the headlines. You may also return to the headlines and your notebook responses from the start of Activity 4. When you have finished, select "submit" to view feedback on your headlines.

Use what you have learned about the rise of Portugal and Italian city-states as you complete the next activity on the specific luxury goods made available to Europeans.


Page Notes:

[1] Source: This image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Italy_1494_v2.png is licensed under the terms of the GNU License Agreement.

[2] Source: This image from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Espansione_di_Genova.png is in the public domain.