1450-1750 (Early Modern Era)- Chase Pridgen


Zheng he

1371 - 1433

A Chinese sailor that sailed around the Indian Ocean looking for people willing to pay tribute to China and trade with China.

Prince Henry the Navigator

1394 - 1460

He sent many sailing expeditions along the West Coast of Africa to map it (1420-1460). He started the first school for Oceanic navigation (1418)

Johannes Gutenberg

1395 - 1468

He invented the printing press with replaceable/moveable wooden or metal letters (1436-1440)

Sunni Ali

1400 - 1492

Start date is really UNKNOWN...Ruler of Songhai (1464), the basis of trade at this time was the trans-Saharan trade route. The primary export of this area was gold and salt.

Mehmed II

1432 - 1481

A statesman and a military leader. He took the name “conqueror” after the conquest of Istanbul (1453). Mehmed capture much more land around the Western Black Sea and was always on the front line of battle.

Bartolomeu Dias

1450 - 1500

He was given the mission to find a route around Africa to the Indian Ocean (1487) He founded the Cape of good hope on the southern tip of Africa.

Christopher Columbus

1451 - 1506

In 1492 Columbus sailed With the Niña, Pinta, and the Santa Maria to find an alternate trade route to East Asia. As he was sailing, he discovered the Americas by accident.

Vasco da Gama

1460 - 1524

Found a maritime trade route to India (1497). This started the European existence in the Indian Ocean trade network.


1466 - 1520

A successful ruler of the Aztecs until Cortés came along and imprisoned him. He was a harsh ruler which allowed Cortés to gain allies to overthrow him.

Niccolo Machiavelli

1469 - 1527

Wrote The Prince, a handbook for pliticians on the use of ruthless, self-serving cunning, inspiring the term "machiavellian".

Nicolaus Copernicus

1473 - 1543

Suggested the sun was the center of the universe (1543). Also suggested Earth was just another planet.

Francisco Pizarro

1474 - 1541

He claimed Peru for Spain, captured the Incan leader Atahualpa, conquered the Inca city of Cuzco, and founded Lima.

Vasco de Balboa

1475 - 1519

He led the first European expedition to the Pacific Ocean in 1513.

Ferdinand Magellan

1480 - 1521

With the help of Charles V, Magellan set out to circumnavigate the globe in 1519. He proved the world was round.

Hernán Cortés

1485 - 1547

A Spanish conquistador who overthrew the Aztec empire (1519-1521) and claimed Mexico for Spain.

Ignatius Loyola

1491 - 1556

Founded society of Jesuits with high standards in education.


1495 - 1566

One of the greatest rulers of the Ottoman Empire. He was known as the Lawgiver. The Ottoman empire was at its peak with Suleyman in charge.

Shah Ismail

1501 - 1526

The founder of the Safavid Empire and proclaimed himself Shah, or king.


1502 - 1533

1532- winner of civil war against his brother for land. Francisco Pizarro captured Atahualpa and killed him after Atahualpa generously let him into his kingdom.

John Calvin

1509 - 1564

A theologian and ecclesiastical statesman, he was the leading French Protestant Reformer and the most important figure in the second generation of the Protestant Reformation. He organized a Protestant community in Geneva (1530). He founded Calvinism.


1542 - 1605

Expanded the Mughal Empire. He is known for his religious tolerance for the Hindus and Muslims.

Tokugawa Ieyasu

1543 - 1616

1603- founded the shogunate in Edo that endured for more than 260 years. Ieyasu encouraged learning among the warrior class and adopted many measures to secure the lord’s allegiance to the new government such as by establishing norms of conduct.

Matteo Ricci

1552 - 1610

A Catholic Jesuit missionary that went to China. In China, he was famous for his math skills, his memory, and his knowledge of astronomy.


1564 - 1642

He demonstrated planetary orbits to be elliptical with Johannes Kepler. He saw sunspots, moons of Jupiter, mountains on the moon with a telescope and created 3 laws of motion.

Thomas Hobbes

1588 - 1679

He is known for his views on how humans could thrive in harmony while avoiding the perils of fear of societal conflict.

John Locke

1632 - 1704

Wrote about topics like political philosophy, epistemology, and education. Locke's writings helped found modern western philosophy.

Louis XIV

1643 - 1715

The Sun king of France. He created a model of royal absolutism: the court at Versailles, he had ordered a large army, and promoted economic development.


1654 - 1722

(reigned from 1654-1722)- Enlisted the help of Chinese populace – the elite scholary class- to help build China effectively. He made twelve scrolls talking about his visits to the South of China.

Peter the Great

1672 - 1725

He created a strong navy, reorganized his army according to Western standards, secularized schools, had great control over the reactionary Orthodox Church, and introduced new administrative and territorial divisions of the county in an attempt to establish Russia as a great nation.


1694 - 1778

Chapion of religion liberty and individual freedom. He was a prolific writer; wrote 70 volumns in a life, often bitter satire.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

1712 - 1778

He was known for discussing how science and arts had casued the corruption of virtue and morality. He was also a composer and music theorist.

Adam Smith

1723 - 1790

He created laws of supply and demand to determine price.


1736 - 1796

(reigned from 1736-1796)- He made 12 more scrolls and 6 more journeys to the South. Under his reign, the Chinese empire grew to a size unprecedented in Chinese history. He saw himself the “universal ruler” and tried to make everyone believe he was.

Catherine The Great

1762 - 1796

Followed Peter the Great in seeing Russia as an European Power. She was one of the most successful European Monaorchs. She added 200,000 sq miles to Russia.


Holy Roman Empire

800 - 1806

Originally it was known as the Empire in the West. It adopted the name Holy Roman Empire in the 13th century. Charles V (reigned 1519-1556), a Holy Roman emperor, was unable to establish a unified state due to the religion differences and the pressure from the Ottomans and the French.


1200 - 1532

Located on the Andes mountains on the west side of South America. They spoke Quecha and combined the Chavín, Moche, Nazca, and Chimu. The Inca had a bureaucratic empire with an absolute ruler at the top. That ruler was a descendent of the creator god Viracocha, and the son of the sun god Inti. Gender parallelism was practiced. This is that women and men operate in two separate but equivalent spheres, each gender enjoying autonomy in its own sphere.


1300 - 1922

The creation of Turkic warrior groups at a base area in northwestern Anatolia. Claimed to be "the strong sword of Islam" and serving as chief defender of the faith. 1453- they took over Constantinople and renamed it Istanbul. The Ottomans practiced devshirme which was the gathering of young boys who were required to learn Turkish, usually converted to Islam, and trained for the military.


1325 - 1525

Settled in a Mexican Valley and grew corn. They worshiped many gods and sacrificed humans because they thought the sun was in a constant struggle with the darkness and human blood helped it.

Ming Dynasty

1368 - 1644

A recovery time after the Mongols. The Mind dynasty rulers discouraged Mongol influence and promoted Confucian learning. The capital was moved to Beijing and a billion trees were planted to restore the forests. Emperor Yongle sent out Zheng he's sailing expeditions.


1450 - 1750

A major player in the fur trade. They got the fur from the Mississippi river, the great lakes, Quebec, and the St. Lawrence river. Traded with the Indians for the furs. The French gave weapons and European clothes in return for the furs.


1450 - 1750

Spain had control of the largest silver mine in Bolivia (Potosi) which put them at the top due to the high demand of silver and it being a medium for exchange. 85% of the silver dug out of this time came from Potosi.


1464 - 1612

It was the most recent and the largest in a series of impressive states that operated at a crucial intersection of the trans-Saharan trade routes and that derived much of their revenue from taxing that commerce.


1498 - 1750

Portugal was the first Europeans in the Indian Ocean. They created a "trading post empire" in which they aimed to control commerce, not large territories or populations. The Portuguese sought to monopolize the spice trade and they tried to put a cartaz/pass on all merchant vessels.


1501 - 1722

Turkic leadership that emerged form a Sufi religious order founded several centuries earlier. The Safavids forcibly imposed a Shia version of Islam as the official religion of the state.

France (Protestant Reformation)

1517 - 1750

Absolute monarchies that were based on the theory of the divine right of kings. Absolute France was a model for rulers in Spain, Austria, Prussia, and in Russia. France protestants were called Huguenots. All of the rulers persecuted the Huguenots and St. Bartholomeus's day massacre involved the killing of many Huguenots.

England (Protestant Reformation)

1517 - 1750

With the Protestant Reformation, England had a constitutional monarchy that had limited powers, individual rights, and representative institutions. The English Reformation sparked by King Henry VIII's desire for divorce which created the Church of England. England is protestant and was in the 30 years war against Catholic Spain.

Russia (Protestant Reformation)

1517 - 1750

Home of the Russian Orthodox Church. Jesuits came in and converted many people to Christians. Due to the diversity of Russia, people fought all the time with rebellions and murders.

Mughal Empire

1526 - 1857

Located in India and had a rare period of relative political unity from 1526-1707. Akbar (ruled 1556-1605) accommodated the Hindu majority and supported them. Aurangzeb (1658-1707) reversed Akbar's policy of accommodation and sought to impose Islamic supremacy. Aurangzeb fractured the Mughal empire which allowed the British to come in and takeover in the second half of the 18th Century.


1600 - 1708

England formed a private east trading company that was focused most on India. The British were less well financed and less commercially sophisticated than the Dutch. They ran into some trouble when they attacked a Mughal ship and the British could not "trade by warfare".

Qing Dynasty

1644 - 1912

Had a foreign and nomadic origin, hailing from Manchuria, north of the great wall. The Chinese army was so strong that it easily conquered Eurasia but allowed them to keep their culture. They also campaigned against the Mongols. The Qing dynasty established the treaty of Nerchinsk (1689) which stated where the Russia/China border was.

Tokugawa Shogunate

1650 - 1850

Military figures that had unified Japan politically were called shoguns. The Tokugawa clan saw Europeans as a threat so they expelled Christian missionaries and violently suppressed the practice of Christianity. They also forbade Japanese people from traveling abroad.


Joint-Stock company


The joining in of stock holders to invest in companies and they become a partnerships. The earliest examples of this is the Dutch and English East Indian companies. They both got their governments and elites in their home country to grant them monopolies and give them money.


1368 - 1912

A blending of Buddhism, Daoism, and confucianism during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The Ming took up Neo-Confucianism to expel Mongol influence and the Qing rulers took up Neo-Confucianism to woo the Chinese intellectuals to support the new dynasty. Neo-Confucianism said withdrawal from the world was not necessary which was similar to Martin Luther's idea that salvation was achieved through "faith alone".

Forbidden City


The Chinese imperial palace from the Ming dynasty to the Qing dynasty. It served as the home of the emperors as well as the ceremonial and political center of Chinese government.



This marked the final demise of Christian Byzantium and allowed Ottoman rulers to see themselves as successors to the Roman Empire. The Ottomans changed the name of Constantinople to Istanbul.

Spanish Inquisition

1478 - 1834

A Catholic court of close examination intended to discover secret Muslims and Jews. Also used by Spanish monarchy to detect Protestant heresy and political dissidents.

Columbian exchange


The process of bringing in enslaved Africans and European influence to the Americas. They brought their germs, goods, and animals. All of these things caught on in the Americas and improved the natives diet. Food from the Americas such as the potato and corn spread to Europe which increased the European's diet as well. This exchange gave rise to something wholly new in world history: an interacting Atlantic world connecting four continents.

Treaty of Tordesilles

June 7, 1494

Pope Alexander VI issued a decree which established an imaginary line running north and south through the mid-Atlantic. Spain would have possession of any unclaimed territories to the west of the line and Portugal would have possession of any unclaimed territory to the east of the line.

Battle of Chaldiran


Fought in Northwest Persia. The Ottomans (Sunni) fought the Safavids (Shi'a). The Ottomans won and decided not to campaign into the Safavid Empires.

Protestant Reformation

1517 - 1648

Brought Catholic Church corruption to the surface. This caused new branches of Christianity to be formed.

Catholic (Counter) Reformation

1545 - 1648

The reforming of the Catholic Church by the Council of Trent which put many Catholics at ease.

Coucil of Trent

1545 - 1563

The Council of Trent directed the reform of the Roman Catholic Church.


1600 - 1880

The African diaspora was occurring very quickly. Due to the high demand of women in the Middle east and Men in the Americas, Africans were being spread out all over the place.

East India Company

1600 - 1873

The Dutch and English both had one. They both received charters from their respective governments granting them trading monopolies and the power to govern people. The Dutch seized many spice producing islands and were able to monopolized nutmeg, mace, and cloves. The British was never able to monopolize anything but they were prominent transporters of good.

Triangle Trade

1600 - 1880

The triangular trade was trade between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Europe shipped manufactured goods and weapons to Africa in exchange for slaves. The slaves were then transported along the middle passage to the Americas. Then from the Americas, molasses and sugar was transported to Europe.


May 1607

This was the first successful colonization of the new world. A group of ill-suited gentlemen were sent to colonized this area. They did not know much about the wilderness. Close to extinction, Captain John Smith kept the town from dissolving. A supply ship came and put the colony on its feet again.



A very important city during the Fur Trade time. This city is located on the saint Lawrence River and was owned by the French. This city sent many furs over to Paris during the "Little Ice Age"


1650 - 1750

A period when thinkers sought natural laws that governed human society in the same way that Newton's laws governed the universe.

7 Years' War

1756 - 1763

Also known as the French and Indian war. It begins when England declares war on France. The French were expanding down the Ohio river which put them in hand to hand combat with the British quite often. The Treaty of Paris ended this dispute and In the Treaty of Paris, France lost all claims to Canada and gave Louisiana to Spain, while Britain received Spanish Florida, Upper Canada, and various French holdings overseas.

"Dutch Learning"


Also known as Rangaku in Japanese. It is was a concentrated effort by Japanese scholars during the late Tokugawa period to learn the Dutch language to be able to learn about western technology. Since the closing of Japan to many Europeans except for the Dutch, Dutch was the only language they could learn.

Must Know Dates

Ottomans capture Constantinople


This marked the final demise of Christian Byzantium and allowed Ottoman rulers to see themselves as successors to the Roman Empire. The Ottomans changed the name of Constantinople to Istanbul.

Dias rounded the Cape of Good Hope


Dias was given the mission to find a route around Africa to the Indian Ocean (1487). On in way, he founded the Cape of good hope on the the southern tip of Africa.

Columbus/Reconquista of Spain


This brought the Americas into the Global Trade network.

1st slaves to Americas


Most of the native slaves had died and the Europeans needed a new source of slaves. They went to Africa and brought slaves back.

Martin Luther/ 95 theses


This starts the Protestant Reformation which brings the Catholic Churches corruption to the surface for all to see.

Cortez conquered the Aztecs


This is the end of the Aztecs. This also claims the Mesoamerican area for the Spanish. Cortes had the upper hand because he has superior weapons and the Spanish had diseases that the Aztecs did not have immunities to.

Pizarro toppled the Inca


Also claimed the Mesoamerican area for Spain. He had horses and superior weapons along with diseases.

Battle of Lepanto


This battle's outcome was the defeat of the Ottoman navy by Christian powers that saw the Ottomans becoming too powerful.

Defeat of the Spanish Armada by the British


The British was blessed with a storm that took out many of the ships. The rest of the ships were able to be taken out by flaming ships. These ships were British ships that were set on fire and sent into the other ships. The defeat of the Spanish Armada signaled the decline of Spain's military dominance in Europe.

Battle of Sekigahara


The beginning of the Tokugawa rule and the unification of Japan.

Foundation of Jamestown


Jamestown was the first successful colony in the New World. Due to the ill-prepared people, it almost vanished but captain John Smith kept it from disappearing. Then a supply ship came and revived the colony.

30 years war

1618 - 1648

Between Protestant English and the Catholic Spanish. It was also a continuation of the Bourbon-Hapsburg rivalry. It was the most destructive European war up to WWI; the Holy Roman Empire lost 1/3 of its population.

Unsuccessful Ottoman siege of Vienna


The Ottomans besieged Vienna and Vienna was close to surrender but then another army came in with the Polish king, Jan Sobieski and together they defeated the Ottomans.

Treaty of Nerchinsk


The treaty determining the Russia and China border.

Glorious Revolution/English Bill of Rights


Set clear limits on royal power and established its power over the monarch.