RTTP Module 3: World Trade, Expansion, & Europeans in the New World

**NOTE: this module is part of the RTTP (Reacting to the Past) sequence**


Consider the title of WTWA Chapter 12: “Contact, Commerce, and Colonization, 1450-1600” As you read the chapter think about how these activities shaped global interaction during this period. Pay specific attention to the goods, or products, involved in these encounters. Objects can also be historical sources and are excellent “lenses” into world history. For example see the BBC History of the World in 100 Objects Podcast “Pieces of Eight

Objectives: After completing Module 3, you will be able to

  • Explain the impact of Europeans on the Indian Ocean trade routes.
  • Evaluate the significance of silver as a global commodity and its effects on local, regional, and global economies
  • Utilize historical thinking skills to evaluate encounters between Native Americans and Europeans in Central and South America.
  • Construct a world historical narrative using an object as a lens.


Section 1: Reading and Historical Thinking

  1. Read Worlds Together, Worlds Apart Chapter 12
  2. Listen to the 15-Minute History podcast “Indian Ocean Trade and European Dominance
  3. Go to the WTWA Norton Study Space site and read Chapter 12, Document 2 “Bartolomé de las Casas, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indie”

Section 2: Alfred Crosby and Ecological Imperialism

  1. Read the Gilder Lehrman Institute article on the Columbian Exchange by Alfred Crosby.
  2. Choose one item or object exchanged after Columbus’ 1492 voyage to the Americas. Examples include: specific animals, diseases, commerce items, crops etc.
  3. Create a Sway that illustrates the global consequences of this object’s journey. Be sure to answer the following questions: Where did the item or object originate? What is it? Where did it end up? Why is it significant to world history and, in particular, the narrative of the Columbian Exchange?
    • Be sure to cite all information in your Sway; including the WTWA textbook and the Crosby article.
    • NOTE: Evaluate all sources for your Sway according to the “T is for Thinking ICYouSee Guide” criteria for evaluating internet materials. Be sure to consider Authority, Accuracy, Objectivity, Currency, Coverage, and Value when you choose sources to include in the Sway. You will be graded based on your ability to discern useful internet sources from unreliable materials.
    • As always, post a pdf of your Sway to Blackboard to receive full credit. Sways must also be published to the course discussion board.

Congratulations! You have completed Module 3.

Go to Module 4