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    World History Since 1500

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    If, as we've been told, the longest journey begins with the first step, then the first step of our journey through time will place us at the threshold of an era known as the Renaissance and the year 1500, the date chosen by numerous scholars as the dividing line between modern and pre-modern times. It was a time when civilization, particularly European civilization, was emerging from the stagnation of the dark ages where life was often described as being, violent, brutal, and short. And it would be the scholars of the Renaissance who, seeing their own time and that of the ancient Greeks and Romans as eras of great enlightenment, would brand those centuries of the dark ages with the Latin "Medieval", from which we get "Middle Ages"

    What we will see as we move through these centuries are how the historical forces released by the Renaissance and the factious competition unleashed during the Reformation during the late sixteenth and seventeenth centuries affected not only the lives of those involved at the time, but our modern-day era as well. For this was a time not only of discovery and expansion, but also the first steps toward a global economy. It was an age unprecedented in human achievement, opportunity, exploration, danger, discovery, conquest and, many would argue, exploitation and destruction.

    Driven by ambition, the desire for empires and wealth, and aided by significant advances in military and maritime technology, Portuguese and then Spanish explorers navigated new seaways around Africa, India and the Far East eventually crossing the Atlantic and discovering the Americas. In short order, European empires would appear around the world as all of the nations of Europe were scrambling to compete for trade routes and foreign colonies. And by 1800, the Europeans had succeeded in dominating, both economically and culturally, much of the world.

    Initially the Europeans only sought wealth through very tightly controlled, and often brutally enforced, systems of colonial expansion where the colonies were required to trade only with the mother country. But over time, this system of mercantilism was superseded by global interdependencies that were still under European hegemony.

    European empires around the world where often established and maintained literally on the backs of the native peoples in Africa, Asia, and the Americas who would be subjugated, sometimes enslaved, and robbed of their culture. And even though the Europeans may have long departed their former colonies, our own time is still marked with the consequences of these first encounters with a wider world.

    Two interesting aspects of history should become readily apparent in our initial search of the past:

    1) Even though the players and costumes have changed, humankind itself has changed very little over the last 500 years-greed, avarice and lust for wealth and power still abound.

    2) There is a striking similarity between empires and human life. For much like life, empires are conceived, born, nurtured and grow in size and strength. And also like life, they reach that point where suddenly they their youth is long behind them and the period of collapse and deterioration begins. For some empires the process was slow, but irrevocable, as with the Romans.For others, such as the Aztecs, the end was swift but merciless.

    Before we begin our journey, we will first take a look at this thing we call "history" and discuss why study it in the first place.From there we will examine some historical characters and discuss what they did, and could they have done it differently.

    Deliverable Length: 3-4 Paragraphs

    In the early dawn of August 4, 1914, Sir Edward Grey was standing in a foreign office window with a friend watching the lamps being extinguished around St. James's Park. As they watched, he made the sadly prescient comment, "The lamps are going out all over Europe; we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime" (Terraine, 1965).

    What do you think he meant?

    In light of Sir Edward Grey's statement discuss how World War I changed European political institutions, ruling classes, economic affairs and social life?

    Remember to cite your sources (using APA style) and be specific in your responses.

    For more information on APA, please visit the APASTYLE Lab.

    In your own words, please post a response to the Discussion Board and comment on other postings. You will be graded on the quality of your postings.


    Terraine, J. (1965). The great war 1914-1918: A pictorial history. New York: The Macmillan Company.

    © Copyright 2007 Colorado Technical University Online. All Rights Reserved.


    Discuss major topics linking certain historical events, the consequences of which have influences our past, present, and future.

    Explain how social, religious, military-political, and cultural differences of specific societies as well as individuals have created challenges, conflicts and opportunities all of which have made up, and continued to make up, the course of world history.
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    Instructor Comments:
    In light of Sir Edward Grey's comment, discuss how WWI changed the map of Europe, European political institutions, ruling classes, economic affairs, & social life. This is a 1-2 page Individual Project.

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    Individual Project: World History Since 1500

    Sir Edward Grey was a British ornithologist and politician. Grey was chosen as a Liberal member to Parliament, in the year1892. Grey had become a Foreign Secretary in the year 1905, and worked for eleven years. Grey had also played a major role during crisis leading to the outbreak of World War I, in 1914. In the year 1914, when Sir Edward Grey was standing in a window of his foreign office with his friend, he watched the lamps turning off around St. James's Park, at that moment he made the unhappily perceptive statement that the lamps were going ...

    Solution Summary

    555 Words, APA Format