Making of a Global World
- Silk Route
- Food travels
- Conquest, disease and trade
Most of you may be under a perception that globalization is a modern phenomenon. But reality is altogether different.
Globalization was even during the days of the Indus Valley Civilization, as various artifacts from the excavation sites prove. However, the pace and degree of globalization has become much more intense than earlier eras.
The Silk Route is a good proof of globalization present during the medieval period. The trade route which linked China to the western world and to other countries is called Silk Route.
There were many Silk Routes. Some of them passed through the land while some of them passed through the oceans.
The Silk Routes existed before the Christian Era, and persisted till the fifteenth century. The Silk Route facilitated movement of goods, people, culture, cuisine, philosophy, knowledge and religion. Chinese potteries travelled from China to other countries through the Silk Route. Similarly, gold and silver travelled from Europe to Asia through this route. Religions; like Christianity, Islam and Buddhism travelled to different parts of the world through the Silk Route.
Some examples of travel of food from one part of the world to another part are as follows:
Noodles travelled from China to different parts of the world. The sevian or vermicelli, which are used in India are localized form of noodle. Similarly, spaghetti of Italy is the European version of noodles.
Many common food of today; like potato, chillies, tomato, maize, soya, groundnut and sweet potatoes were introduced in Europe after Christopher Columbus accidentally discovered the American continents.
Potato brought dramatic changes for the life of people of Europe. Because of introduction of potato, the people in Europe could eat better and could live longer. The peasants of Ireland became so dependent on potato that when disease destroyed the potato crop in the mid-1840s, hundreds of thousands died due to starvation. This famine is known as Irish Famine.
Conquest, Disease and Trade
The European sailors discovered the sea route to Asia and Americas in the sixteenth century. The discovery of new sea route not only helped in expanding the trade but also in European conquest over other parts of the world. America had vast reserves of minerals and there was abundant crop in this continent. The food and minerals from America transformed the lives of people in other parts of the world.
Effect of Small Pox
By the mid-sixteenth century, the Portuguese and Spanish colonization of America began in a decisive way. What is astonishing is a disease rather than arms and ammunition facilitated this conquest. The name of the disease is small pox. Europeans had been exposed to small pox and hence they had developed immunity against this disease. But the Americans had been isolated from the world and they had no immunity against small pox. When the Europeans reached there, they carried the germs of small pox along with them. The disease wiped off the whole communities in certain parts of America. And thus, the Europeans could easily get control of the Americas.
Europeans Go to America
Till the nineteenth century, Europe was suffering from many problems; like poverty, diseases and religious conflicts. Many religious dissenters fled to America for the fear of prosecution. Many people also left for America to escape from poverty. Those people utilized the opportunities in America and could dramatically alter their life.
Till the eighteenth century, India and China were the richest countries of the world. But from the fifteenth century onwards, China began to restrict overseas contacts and went into isolation. Because of China’s reduced role and America’s rising importance; the centre of the world trade shifted to Europe.