History (1450-1750)

AP World Project, hopefully to be expanded later.


These are the people who were really important and stuff.

Zheng He

1371 - 1433

Zheng He commanded the imperial fleet for Emperor Yongle. He traveled the Indian Ocean and brought many countries under the tribute system to China. His treasure ships were huge and he had a whole lot of them. The system died when he and Yongle did.

Prince Henry the Navigator

1394 - 1460

Prince Henry, of Portugal, was a huge fan of foreign exploration. Before his time, the farthest South Europeans had been was Cape Bojador, which is in Northern Africa. During his life, they Portugal had explorers head further down the coast, and it was a continuation of his work that eventually led to the reaching of India by Portugal.

Johannes Gutenberg

1395 - 1468

Gutenberg invented the Gutenberg Press, which was a major thing in the history of printing. It made books, especially the Bible, more available, and spread knowledge. Knowledge and ideas became more universal and accessible. His invention also helped speed up the Protestant Reformation.

Mehmed II

1432 - 1481

Mehmed the Conquerer was rightly named, for he conquered Constantinople in 1453. He was a highly praised emperor and fathered Suleiman the Great. He renamed Constantinople as Istanbul.

Christopher Columbus

1451 - 1506

This famous European explorer is credited for finding the Americas in 1492. He was in search of the East Indies to give Spain an edge in trade, when he stumbled upon two whole new continents. This triggered the Columbian exchange and a new era in human history.

Bartolomeu Dias

1451 - 1500

This Portuguese explorer accidentally found the southern tip of Africa. While exploring the coast, he had to go further out to sea to avoid, you know, running on rocks and dying. When coming back towards shore, they saw the coast on the other side of their ship, indicating that they had discovered the other side of Africa. He came back after that, to let da Gama go the rest of the way to India.

Vasco da Gama

1460 - 1524

Vasco da Gama was a Portugese explorer who made it to India around Africa. This was important due to the fact that they could bypass the Islam trading center and avoid the higher prices, as well as begin to dominate Indian Ocean trade. He was following the footsteps of Bartolomeu Dias, who discovered the East Coast of Africa, and took it a few steps further. When he landed, he said he was looking for 'Christians and spices.'

Sunni Ali

1464 - 1492

Sunni Ali was the first emperor of the Songhai Empire in Africa. He was famous for his Islam faith mixed with mystical elements of local culture. He allowed people to believe he had magical powers, and built one of the outlying Islamic empires.


1466 - 1520

This Aztec Emperor brought the Empire to its highest point, or zenith, right before it fell. When Hernan Cortez came and conquered it, he had civil war and was easily conquered. Disease and civil war were his downfall.

Niccolo Machiavelli

1469 - 1527

Machiavelli was an Early Modern Era political scientist, and is even credited with founding it. He wrote many books, including The Prince, and most of which were not widely circulated until after his death. He was a believer in the idea that the ends justify the means.

Francisco Pizarro

1471 - 1541

Francisco Pizarro, a distant relative of Cortes, was a Spanish conquistador. He and his family of fellow conquistadors came to America and conquered the Inca Empire, where he became governor for Spain.

Nicolaus Copernicus

1473 - 1543

Copernicus was a scientist who originally discovered the idea of a heliocentric orbit, rather than geocentric. This was appalling, because his model gave no room for God to be orbiting Earth. He only shared this idea through a pamphlet that he shared with friends, so he wasn't, you know, executed for it.

Vasco de Balboa

1475 - 1519

Vasco de Balboa was a spanish conquistador and the first European to see the Pacific Ocean. He did so in 1513 when he crossed the isthmus of Panama.

Ferdinand Magellan

1480 - 1521

Ferdinand Magellan is the 'first person to go around the world,' which isn't quite accurate. Actually, his ships were the first to go around the world, but he died and was buried in the Philippines. This event was a major milestone, and set up Europe to become major players in ocean trade.

Martin Luther

1483 - 1546

Luther was the man who started the Protestant Reformation. In 1517, he posted his famous 95 thesis on the door of the church criticizing the church for what it did. He himself was a devout Catholic Monk, but was exiled and later convicted for what he did. Nonetheless, he translated the Bible into his vernacular and accidentally started Protestantism, more specifically Lutheranism.

Hernan Cortez

1485 - 1547

Cortez was a Spanish conquistador and distant relative of Pizarro. He is famous for his conquest of the Aztec Empire in Mesoamerica.

Shah Ismail

1487 - 1524

Shah Ismail was the founder of the Safavid Empire in Persia, one of the Four main Islamic Empires at the time. This is significant because this Empire was Shia ruled while the others were Sunni.

Suleiman the Magnificent

1494 - 1566

Suleiman was an Ottoman ruler who was also known as Suleiman the Lawgiver. He was a jack of all trades, and was successful militarily as well as culturally and politically.


1497 - 1533

Atahualpa was the last real emperor of the S. American Inca Empire. He came to power after killing his brother, ending a civil war. This conflict came about when their father, a great ruler, died from European disease. The civil war and disease weakened the empire, making it easy for Pizarro to conquer his empire.

John Calvin

1509 - 1564

John Calvin was, like Luther, an early outsider of the church. He spoke out against the church starting in 1536. He believed strongly in the idea that eternal life is found through predestination, and through these ideas he founded Calvinism.

Akbar the Great

1542 - 1605

Akbar the Great was a Mughal Emperor in India who intelligently was very open to other religions and culture in his Empire. This, since the majority of his subjects were Hindu in an Islamic Empire, kept uprisings down and the people under control. He also successfully expanded the Mughal Empire militarily.

Tokugawa Ieyasu

1543 - 1616

Tokugawa Ieyasu was a Japanese Emperor who, fearing the Christians in Japan, expelled Europeans and began persecuting Christians. The Tokugawa Shogunate brought all the Shoguns into one area under Alternate Attendance in order to keep rebellions to a minimum.

Matteo Ricci

1552 - 1610

Ricci was a Christian Missionary, and who was specifically from the Catholic Jesuit society. He founded the Jesuit mission in China, and used unorthodox methods there. He liked Chinese culture and explained Catholicism as a more perfect version of their own faiths. The Pope didn't like this and made him come back.

Galileo Galilei

1564 - 1642

Galileo was a scientist in the Enlightenment era who was put on house arrest later in his life for his beliefs. He supported Copernicus's ideas about the heliocentric orbit, and also found Jupiter's moons and speculated about tides.

Thomas Hobbes

1588 - 1679

Thomas Hobbes had a theory of social contract that differed from that of John Locke. He believed, as stated in his book Leviathan, that human life was crazy until people got together and agreed to give up rights if others did the same (I'll stop stealing if you do). When this happens, you have government. He also believed that absolute control was the key to peace.

John Locke

1632 - 1704

John Locke was a philosopher who is very influential even today. You may recognize some of his ideas. Every one has the basic rights of life, liberty, and property is an idea put into the US Declaration of Independence and in the UN Constitution. He also had the idea of social contract, believing that the governor derives their power with the consent of the governed.

Louis XIV

1638 - 1715

Louis XIV was a french monarch who was also known as the sun king. He 'is the state,' or so he famously said. He was successful in creating a highly centralized government, and had one of the longest reigns in France's history (72 years).


1654 - 1722

Kangxi was arguably China's greatest ruler. He was the 4th ruler in the Qing dynasty , and also affirmed its rule as separate from Ming officially. He was very cultured, however eventually kicked all of the Christian Missionaries out of China.

Peter the Great

1672 - 1725

Peter the Great was a Russian ruler who had an obsession with western culture. He was bent on adopting their traditions and employing them in Russia. He made his boyars (nobles) shave their beards and changed peoples clothing, as well.


1694 - 1778

François-Marie Arouet, or Voltaire, was a satirist in the early modern era. His ideas got him put on a 'vacation' out of France to England for 3 years, until England also kicked him out and he returned. He is famous for his ideas of freedom of religion, expression, and separation between the church and state.


1711 - 1799

Qianlong was the grandson of Kangxi who ruled for 71 years, and then retired to not rule longer than his grandfather. He remained in control afterwards until his death, however. He doubled the size of the empire through military expansion, and was very cultured. He loved Europeans and brought much influence inside, despite his anti-foreign policy.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau

1712 - 1778

Rousseau was a philosopher who disagreed with Hobbes in his idea that humans were basically savage. He believed that humans were born innocent, and become more savage and unpure due to their surroundings. He also had a Social Contract theory, that humans needed government that kept them free. His solution was a Republic, and more specifically a direct democracy. He strongly opposed a representative democracy, which is kinda funny because that is what the majority of the western world, including America, is currently.

Adam Smith

1723 - 1790

Adam Smith was a Scottish philosopher who was and is very influential in the area of economics and politics. One of his most notable ideas is that of 'laissez faire,' or a hands off policy. The idea is that government is good a politics and businesses are good at business, and therefore government shouldn't interfere with business.

Catherine the Great

1729 - 1796

Catherine the Great came to power after her unpopular husband, Peter III, was assassinated. She was successful in revitalizing Russia and making it one of Europe's Biggest powers. She gave the serfs more power and rights and expanded Russia.


Yupp. Important.

Holy Roman Empire

962 - 1806

The Holy Roman Empire was a very influential part in European history. They weren't very holy or roman, but they were great at meddling with European events. The Pope chose the emperor. They were effective in stopping the Islam advance into Europe.


985 - 2013

France started off as a Kingdom and became one of the most influential countries today. It has a long history with the HRE and England, and has been very empirical in the past. It was one of the major contenders in the Americas.


1095 - 1910

Portugal was a small country next to Spain. It was very influential during the age of exploration, and was one of the major founders of it. They found the routes to india and built a trade based empire.


1215 - 1707

The dates listed are those for the Magna Carta and when it joined to make Great Britain. This small island nation was very powerful and built a large empire across the world. They were trade based and had a powerful military, and became a constitutional monarchy early on. Their reformation from the church was very controversial and started because the king wanted an annulment.

Ottoman Empire

1299 - 1922

The Ottoman Empire was the largest of the Islamic Empires. It was traditionally Sunni, and was constantly at war with its Shi'ite neighbors the Safavids. They accomplished conquering Constantinople, forcing the Europeans to begin their Age of Exploration.

Safavid Empire

1301 - 1736

The Safavid Empire was a Shi'ite Islamic Empire in the Persian Area. It was stuck between the Ottoman and Mughal Empires and could never grow much, as well as participate in much trade.


1340 - 1591

Songhay was the Westernmost Islamic Empire, taking place in Africa. It was in the same area as Ghana and Mali were previously. It took up a strong education role in Islam, and had excellent trade both Trans Saharan and Sub Saharan.

Ming Dynasty

1368 - 1644

The Ming Dynasty was the last cultural Chinese Empire, surrounded by the Yuan and Qing. It was very focused on 'Chinifying' China and getting rid of outside influence. It was very influential in Asia, especially under Yongle, and eventually fell to the Manchurians.

Aztec Empire

1428 - 1521

The Aztec Empire was a group of three peoples, primarily the Mexica, who conquered much of Mesoamerica. They controlled the land with a tribute style system, and were very bent on human sacrifices. They had an excellent inside trade system and were more of a collection of city states than anything.

Inca Empire

1438 - 1572

The Inca Empire was the biggest Native American empire in S. America, along the Andes Mountains. It had a very intricate governmental system, with representatives moving up to the Emperor. They also had long-distance and interior trade. They fell after a civil war to the spanish.

Spanish Empire

1492 - 1975

The Spanish Empire actually began with its acquisition of American colonies in 1492 and ended when it lost its last African colonies in 1975. Ferdinand and Isabella were the monarchs at the start, and they based their conquests largely off of naval power. They were largely Catholic, which drove most of their endeavors.

Mughal Empire

1526 - 1857

The Mughal Empire was a Sunni Islamic Empire in India. They had a hard time because the majority of the population was Hindu. Some rulers were very tolerant whereas others were less successful. During this Empire, trade flourished, the Peacock Throne and Taj Mahal were built.


1547 - 1917

The Russian Empire was influential via Kievan Rus and Moscow before it became a Tsardom. This northern empire was very large and very cold, and also adopted many cultural traits of the west. They expanded out east towards Siberia and bordered Europe on one side and China/America on the other.

Tokugawa Shogunate

1600 - 1868

The Tokugawa Shogunate was a strange and paranoid Japanese shogunate. The period that it was in power, called the Edo period, kept Japan cut off from the outside world. It had a very strict social structure and Christianity was outlawed.

Qing Dynasty

1644 - 1912

The Qing Dynasty was the last Chinese dynasty, ruled by outside Manchurians. It reached a cultural and land height in China. It came into power when the Ming Dynasty needed the Manchurian army to help defend the capital, so while there they simply assumed command. Many of China's greatest Emperors reigned in this dynasty, including Kangxi.


This is what happened.



Neo-Confucianism started in the Tang Dynasty and was very prevalent in the Ming Dynasty. It was a modern confucianism twist that took the older confucianism and made it more applicable for their dynasties. It had some blends from other religions, as well.

Forbidden City


The Forbidden City was built by the Yongle Emperor in Beijing and became the Imperial Palace, as well as capital of China, for 500 years.



The diaspora was when Europeans began to spread around the world. This started with the migration out to the East Indies to take up trade outposts there, and continued in the Americas and Africa. It was a beginning of an age of exploration and imperialism.

Constantinople -> Ottomans


Mehmed II, or Mehmed the Conqueror, conquered the unconquerable city in 1453. He did this through the use of cannons and siege technology. The ottomans were largely successful in their military conquests, like the other Islamic Empires, with their advanced uses of gunpowder that other empires didn't have.

Spanish Inquisition

1481 - 1834

The Spanish Inquisition was a period of time when the Spanish got all crazy and started interrogating people to see if they were Christians, and specifically, Catholic. This process kicked Jews and Muslims out of Spain. Lots of torture.

Triangle Trade


The trade between Europe, Africa and the Americas went in a triangular pattern. Europe gave Africa finished goods, Africa gave the Americas slaves, and the Americas gave Europe unfinished goods. Its the triangle of trade (similar to circle of life).

Treaty of Tordesillas


This treaty the Pope made pretty much split up the world between Portugal and Spain. This is why Spain was so prominent in the Americas while Portugal got Brazil and the West Indies.

Columbian Exchange


This was the exchange of goods and services across the Atlantic to the new world, and still technically happens today. Both sides of the world got new things, like tobacco and potatoes, as well as new bad things, like disease. This marked a new era in history.


1500 - 1900

This period of time featured philosophes, or intellectuals, who began thinking a lot. They questioned the power of the church, the role of government, and other important things we have a use of now.

Battle of Chaldiran


This battle between Selim I and Shah Ismail was a battle between Sunni Ottomans and Shi'ite Safavids, who hated each other. It began a long standing pattern of Ottoman wins over the Safavids.

Protestant Reformation


Started by Martin Luther when he posted his 95 thesis, this revolution pulled people away from the Catholic faith and into newer Christian faiths. This brought about the Peace of Augsburg as well as several wars later on. The Pope lost a lot of power.



This territory in modern day Canada was a trading post for France. It was fur trade based and the French got all buddy-buddy with the Indians to get more fur.

Catholic Counter Reformation


After the Protestant Reformation, Catholics saw the wisdom in Luther's words and decided to reform, except not. They ignored most of what he said and did a few things, like educate the clergy, which they decided at the Council of Trent. This was an attempt to keep Catholicism prominent.

Council of Trent

1545 - 1563

The Council of Trent started the Counter Reformation. The Catholics were all like 'Yo, we gotta do something about them Protestants,' to which the other Catholics were like, 'Let us get educated!' And there was much rejoicing and everyone decided that they should reform their ways. Do you even read these?

Joint Stock Company


This idea allowed a business to be owned by several people, reducing the risk for each of them if the business fails. This was done in England and Portugal, as well as other states, during this age of expanding globalization.

East India Company

1600 - 1874

This company was an English Joint Stock Company that dealt with trade in India, the center of the Indian Ocean Trade Network. It put England into a position of power in India so that when the Mughals fell, England was ready to take its place as rulers of India.



Jamestown was the first SUCCESSFUL english colony. It started in Virginia, and although it had a rough start, it really took off. It started a period of English trade and dominance along the Eastern coast of the New World.

"Dutch Learning"

1640 - 1720

This Japanese system was the way that the Tokugawa Shogunate remained 'with the times' during the Edo period. They kept contact with the Netherlands, and no one else, and the Dutch taught them things like medicine.

7 Years War

1756 - 1763

The Seven Years War is known as an early world war, because it involved the majority of Europe and took place over several continents. The war itself was largely between France and England, however was started between the HRE and Prussia.