A History of European Empires: 1400–1522

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Overview

It’s the encounters that occurred beyond European borders that shaped Europe itself.

In this course, you will explore the history of the first encounters modern Europe has had with the rest of the world. You will become familiar with the origins and nature of European interactions with the lands and people beyond its borders across the 15th and early 16th centuries. This includes investigating the discovery of a westward route to the Americas and the building of European empires in the New World.

Syllabus

The course is three weeks long; each week is organised chronologically:

  • Week 1: The Rise of Europe. We trace Europe’s rise from a comparatively insular and isolated continent in the Middle Ages to the very beginnings of its colonial empires in the early modern period.
  • Week 2: Global Exploration. We take a closer look at the extensive overseas exploration of Portugal and Spain.
  • Week 3: The Conquest of Latin America. We examine in detail the invasion of the Aztec Empire. We consider the views of Europeans and First Peoples in our discussion.