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Online Textbook for History 1112

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Europe didn't exist in a vacuum; the actions of various imperial nation-states such as Great Britain had significant effects in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. This lesson focuses on "what's happening in the rest of the world" and how such events, in turn, affected western civilization. The time period the lesson covers is roughly 1650-1900.


Learning Objectives

Upon successful completion of this lesson, students should be able to:

  • Detail the slow decline of the once powerful Ottoman Empire and what ramifications this decline had for Europe and the Middle East.
  • Explain the decline of the imperial monarchy in both China and Japan from the 17th to the 20th centuries.
  • Describe the 18th and 19th century encounters between Europeans and the people of China, India, Japan, and nations in Africa and the Americas, and how the groundwork for turning many of these cultures into colonial holdings occurred.
  • Discuss the spheres of influence European nations developed in Asia and Africa.

Terms to Know

  • Abbas the Great
  • Akbar
  • Amritsar Massacre
  • Balfour Declaration of 1917
  • Benin
  • Boxer Rebellion
  • Commodore Matthew Perry
  • Daimyo
  • Dutch East India Company
  • Ethiopia
  • Factory fort
  • Faisal (son of Hussein ibn-Ali)
  • Francis Xavier
  • Gandhi
  • Gazi
  • Hokusai
  • Hussein ibn-Ali
  • Janissary
  • Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kai-shek)
  • Manchus
  • Mao Zedong
  • Mehmet II
  • Suleiman I
  • Meiji Restoration
  • Mughal Dynasty
  • Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk)
  • Palestine
  • Qing
  • Reza Shah
  • Safavids
  • Satyagraha
  • Senegambia
  • Shi'ite
  • Songhay
  • Sun Yatsen
  • Taiping Rebellion
  • The Dream of Red Mansions
  • Tokugawa Shogunate
  • Treaty of Nanjing
  • Ultranationalism
  • Young Turks

Thought Questions

1. Consider the history of the Ottoman Empire/Turkey. What contributions did this nation make to the culture and politics of the Middle East? Speculate why Turkey remains a secular state politically while remaining an Islamic state culturally.

2. Compare and contrast European efforts to “open” China and Japan to Western influence. How would you explain the ability of the Japanese to resist European domination?

3. Describe India's culture and politics during the reign of Akbar. What social policies did he try to implement? Were they successful? Give detailed examples and evidence to support your answer.

4. Explain the rise of the Manchu Dynasty and the struggles of China to modernize in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Discussion Questions

  1. Read the excerpts from Heart of Darkness (link in syllabus). How does Conrad describe the people and geographical setting of the Congo? 
  2. The English ambassadors to the Emperor in China had to behave in specific ways. Describe both their personal behaviors and the expectations of "tribute" that the emperor expected when he received foreign ambassadors (based on the reading, "Reception of the First English Ambassador to China."
  3. Summarize the events of the Boxer Rebellion. How did this affect British involvement in China's affairs?
  4. How did the Japanese receive Commodore Perry's "gunboat diplomacy" when he sailed to Japan? What were his opinions of the Japanese people?
  5. How does Sir Monier-Williams describe his life in camp in India? 
  6. Most of the accounts in this lesson's reading are from the "western" perspective. Take the point of view of someone living in India, China, Japan, or the Congo. If they were to describe the visitors from the west, how would their accounts differ?

Further Explorations

The following websites may be useful to you in finding terms, studying for exams, and expanding your knowledge of this lesson's content.

NOTE: From time to time, these web pages may "disappear." Please send an email to if you find broken links, so they may be replaced.