World Before 1492
Universalis cosmographia secundum Ptholomaei
traditionem et Americi Vespucii alioru[m]que lustrationes.
Martin. Library of Congress. G3200 1507 .W3
The World Before 1492
may wish to view our Digital Story
about the World before 1492 by Michael Ray as
an introduction to this section.
to an older historical view, Europe was uniquely suited to lead
the world into the modern age. It alone possessed the navigational
expertise the compass, the astrolabe, and mapmaking skills to
launch the great nautical explorations which resulted in the colonization
of the Western Hemisphere and the development of the world economy.
In fact, it was not clear in 1400 that Europe
was poised to enter into an era of unprecedented expansion. Famine,
pestilence, war, and death ravaged Europe from the 14th and to
the mid 15th century. The
Bubonic plague killed 25 million, a third of Europe's population.
The Hundred Years War, a series of armed conflicts between 1337
and 1453, was only the worst of the rebellions and social unrest
that marred European life.