Hist/Inst 106: Converging Worlds: The World Since 1400                     UIC, Spring 2014

Essay assignment one.

The European "discovery" of the New World in 1492 was not a random event. Rather, it was the result of much larger world-historical processes that were under way long before 1492, and the cause of processes that continued long after.

Using these sentences as your thesis statement, and drawing only on class lectures, readings, and films, discuss how the discovery and settlement of the Americas was a continuation of earlier historical processes and patterns, and how the discovery of the Americas continued to effect world-historical processes in the centuries after 1500. You may wish to divide your essay into two more or less equal parts with part one examining earlier world-historical developments that led to 1492 (and the ability of Europeans to colonize the Americas), and part two considering what world-historical developments stem from the opening of the New World.

Note that you are not asked to do outside research for this paper. Rather, the aim is for you to synthesize many different issues raised in class, readings, and films into one basic story or narrative that considers the world-wide historical processes that made 1492 (and the colonization of the Americas) possible, and then traces some of the impacts of this discovery on subsequent world history. Rather than discuss specific issues in detail, your essay should weave in as many issues as possible, emphasizing their interconnections.

INSTRUCTIONS: Please read and follow all of the instructions below. If you have questions, talk to the professor or your teaching assistant immediately.

Due date: Please submit an electronic copy to the Blackboard site (under assignments) by noon, Friday Feb. 21. (Your syllabus says that the essay is due on Wed. 2/19 but since that day is during the faculty union strike, I’m extending the due date to that Friday. Please print out a hard copy to...