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Adrienne Dang 1/15/11 History Why Europe?

Europes domination in the past has paved the way for the present. There had been few contenders, but Europe was not given the place by default. Europe had undergone a time of stagnation and darkness. As empires work through cycles, other powers fell to the dark ages while European kingdoms flourished. Ming China returned to its isolationist ways, while the Ottomans did not have the resources. Europeans then dominated in the age of exploration. As a result, the gap between these empires grew to the point that they could colonize and conquer them. Between 1400 and 1750, Europes move toward centralization and expansion as well as the geography of disease allowed it to dominate, while the Ming and Ottomans struggled internally, leaving Europe as the sole contender. The early climatic, geographic, and disease conditions determined Europes domination. The distribution of food was essential to early development, and the favorable conditions of Eurasia allowed such. There had not been a insuperable barrier for early Europeans. Other areas had been less fortunate in terms of climate and geography. Later, Europeans would be able to domesticate animals and plants. Infectious diseases ultimately originated from the livestock and these epidemics would give them immunity. These diseases would be exploited to exterminate indigenous populations, as demonstrated by the conquest of the Inca and Aztecs. The early geographic circumstances lay the foundation for better communication and political structure and eventual European conquest; they had given Europe the tenacity or stomach that would be needed. Europe broke away from the dark ages at a time that would be crucial to their progression. The Crusades had previously shown them how advanced the Arab world was, while Europe remained stagnant under feudalism. The government was decentralized, so exploration would serve no purpose. The Hundred Years War would ultimately bring feudalism to an end as the Renaissance gained prominence. The Reformation as well as the Renaissance diminished the power if the Church. Because the Churchs

blessing was crucial to centralized authority, monarchs proclaimed exploration for God, Gold, and Glory! To aid in exploration, navigation ideas were taken from the Vikings, Chinese, Greeks, as well as the Arabs. The school of navigation (founded by Prince Henrique of Portugal) amassed these ideas and aided in the progress of exploration. As Europe moved towards centralization and expansion, the age of exploration would solidify its position in international affairs. There had not been other interested and capable contenders to compete with the European kingdoms in exploring. At some point, Ming China and the Ottomans were more technologically and politically advanced than the Europeans. (For example, the Chinese had come up with sails and the axial rudder much earlier than the Europeans had. Both the Ottomans and Chinese had an effective political system.) Later, Ming China would fall back to its isolationist ways. The inadequate tax system as well as the need for lumber also accounted for Chinas failure to dominate during the era of exploration. Neo-Confucianism gained popularity, and it advocated suppression of desire for worldly desires. Private traders took over and China downsized by commissioning smaller trips. The Ottomans had no interest in exploration when they had the resources, yet had no resources when they were interested. For an empire to dominate, the government must be supporting such exploration, and the empire must have the capital to fund it. Europe was superior due to its great resources and extremely favorable conditions. The plague had given them the upper hand in conquering indigenous peoples. The Renaissance began and the Church was empowered with such exploration. Monarchs centralized power and justified exploration for God, Gold, and Glory. The Chinese fell back to its isolationist was and internal problems decreased exploration. The Ottomans did not have the resources to explore. All such conditions led to Europeans domination during the age of exploration.