The Ottoman Empire was founded by Turkish Muslims who conquered throughout Anatolia and, eventually, the Byzantine Empire and further West. It was a Muslim Empire, and the people were predominantly Sunni Muslims. The empire gained most of its territory under the sultan Mehmed II, and was consolidated and modernized under Suleman the Magnificent.
The Ming Dynasty was the Chinese dynasty that replaced the Mongol Yuan Dynasty as the leaders of the state. The Ming was fixated on revitalizing the Chinese identity by running their state as China was run in the Tang and Song dynasties. This meant reinstating the Confucian education system and the civil service exam. The practice of foot-binding was popularized in the Ming Dynasty and the dynasty that followed it, the Qing. This was indicative of China's increasingly patriarchal society, rooted in the Confucian belief that women should be submissive to the will of men. The Great Wall Of China was also built during the Ming Dynasty. The Ming fell due to a combination of factors, but first among them was invasion by the Manchu people, who founded the Qing Dynasty.
Prince Henry the Navigator founded the Age of Discoveries, funding the systematic exploration of various territories. These included Africa's west coast and the islands of the Atlantic Ocean. In addition, new routes for trade were discovered during this period.
The Songhai Empire was the dominant power in the west African grasslands after the fall of the Mali Empire. It controlled the regions surrounding the Niger River, and obtained a good deal of its income from control over trade in salt, gold, and slaves in the region. The Songhai people practiced both Islam and traditional African religions. It encompassed various powerful city-states, many of which were commercial centers. Timbuktu was a center of activity for Muslim scholars, as the University of Timbuktu was there. The Songhai operated under a complicated administration and had a powerful army and imperial navy. It fell after a war over succession.
Martin Luther was a German friar and theologist who started the Protestant Reformation movement against the Roman Catholic Church. Luther was outraged by the Roman Catholic church's political involvement, materialism, corruption, and sale of indulgences. He wanted Catholicism to be more individual and more accessible, and as such wanted the bible translated into vernacular languages and priests to be educated and able to interpret the bible rather than just read it. He also opposed the seven sacraments as the basis of salvation, thinking that it should instead be based on morality. Luther's followers, the Lutherans, were especially prominent in the Holy Roman Empire, and various sects of radical reformers formed, including Lutherans, Anglicans, Anabaptists, and Calvinists.
Dias was attempting to join in the Indian Ocean Trade Network, so as to eliminate the middlemen in European involvement in the spice trade. He was successful in doing this, and allowed for the growth of European power on the global trade market.
Columbus landed on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola in 1492, after crossing the Atlantic Ocean. He was attempting to reach Asia to engage in the lucrative trade opportunities there, but miscalculated the size of the Pacific Ocean. And the existence of the Americas. He believed until his death that he had reached India, but his visit (and subsequent return trips) caused the monumental social, political, and environmental upheaval of both hemispheres called the Columbian Exchange. This included the exchange of crops, diseases, and technologies, and the establishment of Europe as the dominant power in the Americas.
The Treaty Of Tordesillas resolved the conflict between the Spanish and Portuguese, both of whom wanted to claim as much territory as possible in the Americas and the Atlantic islands. The treaty divided the world with a north/south line 370 leagues west of the Azores and Cape Verde Islands. Spain was allowed to claim any land to the west of the line (provided it was not already under Christian rule), and the same applied for the Portuguese to the east of the line.
The Portuguese slave trade began to staff the sugar plantations of South/Central America. The plantations, owned by various European countries (mainly Portugal) operated by use of slave labor. The mortality rate on engenhos (sugar mills) was high, and so there was a constant demand for cheap labor. As the indigenous population of the Americas had been greatly decreased by epidemic diseases from the Columbian Exchange, the Europeans imported slaves from Africa. This was one point of the Triangle Trade system of the time, in which Europeans exchanged firearms and other manufactured goods on the West Coast of Africa for slaves. Those slaves were then brought to the Americas in exchange for sugared molasses. Those were then shipped back to Europe, where sugar was a popular commodity. The slave trade persisted through the years and set the basis for institutionalized racism in the Americas. It also skewed the demographics of Africa.
The Safavid Empire was founded by Shah Ismail, who conquered throughout the Middle Eastern region previously occupied by the original Islamic empires. The Safavid was one of the three Islamic empires of the time, alongside the Ottoman Empire and the Mughal Dynasty. Ismail founded his empire on the presumption that Twelver Shiism was the one true religion, and he based his policy on religious precepts. The capital of his empire was at Isfahan, where Ismail and the following Safavid emperors constructed various buildings as displays of the empire's wealth and power. The Safavids frequently warred with the Ottoman Empire, as the majority of its population were Sunni Muslims, and because both empires wished to further expand their territories.
The Aztec Empire was one of the two prominent empires that existed in South/Central America prior to Columbus' arrival there in 1492. It was located in and around modern Mexico. The Aztecs were in decline at the time due to internal revolts among several Aztec tributary states. The diseases brought to the Americas by the Columbian Exchange also had devastating effects on the Aztec population, which made it easier for Spanish conquistadors to defeat them. This advantage, combined with the conquistador's horses, gunpowder technology, steel weaponry, and alliances with some of those rebellious tribute states, meant the Aztecs fell fairly easily to Spain. When the conquistadors took the Aztec capital at Tenochtitlan, they renamed it Mexico City. It is still the capital of modern Mexico.
The Mughal Dynasty was established by a Muslim people who claimed to be the descendants of Tamerlane, and, by extension, Genghis Khan. They first conquered Northern India and expanded South. As Muslim leaders of a predominantly Hindu population, internal religious conflict was a large problem throughout the empire's existence. The empire reached it's high point during the reign of Emperor Akbar. The Mughal empire was involved in most of the major trade networks of the time, but was not focused on trade as an economic foundation. It was displaced as the primary power in India by European trade empires.
The Spanish conquest of the Incas was very similar to their conquest of the Aztec. Both were powerful South/Central American empires that fell fairly easily to Spanish conquistadors because of a combination of unfortunate occurrences. These include the severe demographic damage European diseases introduced to the region by Columbus had on indigenous American people, and Spain's technological advances over the Inca. Foremost among these are Spain's firearms and cavalry forces.
Akbar was emperor of India's Mughal Empire at the height of its power. He worked to maintain balance between conflicting religious communities in India; the Muslim rulers and the large Hindu population. He was also interested in theology, and began the creation of a syncretic religion that could unite his people. Akbar also led various military campaigns, absorbing large portions of India from the regional leaders who previously controlled them. He also consolidated his holding with a centralized administrative system.
Galileo Galilei was an influential figure of the Scientific Revolution in Europe. He was from Pisa, Italy, and is best known for his work in astronomy and his promotion of Copernican theory. This got him in trouble with the Roman Catholic authorities of the time, who subscribed to heliocentric thought. Galileo theorized using the scientific method, in which observations are made and data is collected, and conclusions are drawn from analysis of that data.
The Tokugawa shogunate marked the establishment of the bakufu, or tent government, as the system of power distribution in Japan. It made shoguns the rulers of the country, with the emperor and imperial family as ruling figureheads. The establishment of the shogunate under Tokugawa Ieyasu meant controlling the regional rulers, the daimyos, to consolidate the power of the shogunate. During the Tokugawa shogunate, Chinese Confucianism influenced Japanese society, and Japan was closed to foreign trade in an attempt to retain the Japanese identity (but really just to keep Christianity from taking hold in Japan).
religious and a political conflict that started when the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire attempted his Bohemian subjects to rejoin the Roman Catholic Church. After various alliances and ulterior motives came into play, the war was the most destructive pre-20th century European conflict. The war damaged societies and economies throughout Europe
The war was primarily fought between the British and the French, but other European countries became involved as allies on both sides. The fighting occurred both in the Americas and in Europe, and was over a number of things, but especially ownership of territory in the Americas. The war ended with England acquiring most of the land, putting Britain in a position of global power and paving the way for the British empire.
The Haitian Revolution was the only slave revolt that led to the establishment of a new state. Slaves in the French colony of Saint Domingue overthrew their owners to establish Haiti. The revolt terrified slave owners in other European colonies in South/Central America and the Caribbean.
The Atlantic Slave Trade ended mostly because the cost of importing slaves became higher than the cost of paying workers wage. In addition to the expense of the middle passage (slave ships' journey across the Atlantic), slaves had to be housed and fed, but there were no such obligations attached to paid workers. This does not mark the end of slavery as an institution, however; slavery continued to be practiced for a while longer, and slave populations mostly sustained themselves in the Americas.