Modern History

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Modern History describes the history of the world after 1500. The present date is 1650.


During the 16th century, Spain and Portugal explored the Indian Ocean and opened worldwide oceanic trade routes, after Vasco da Gama was given permission by the Indian Sultans to settle in the wealthy Bengal Sultanate. Large parts of the New World became Spanish and Portuguese colonies, and while the Portuguese became the masters of Asia's and Africa's Indian Ocean trade, the Spanish opened trade across the Pacific Ocean, linking the Americas with India.

This era of colonialism established mercantilism as the leading school of economic thought, where the economic system was viewed as an effort to maximize the exports and minimize the imports for an economy. This promoted imperialism, tariffs and subsidies on traded goods. The world map was updated to show the classical continents of the world, as well as a yet undetermined Terra Australis. In the last 40 years, the Dutch East India Company, the first megacorporation, has begun to supplant the Portuguese in Asia, with many small wars and conflicts that are still ongoing.

European colonization of the Americas began in earnest, beginning with the fall of Mexico and Peru and reaching forward to the establishment of colonies from Georgia to Lower Canada. Peace was agreed upon with Algonquin and Elvish tribes in the interior Appalachian region following brief skirmishes in the 1630s.


The Protestant Reformation gave a major blow to the authority of the papacy and the Catholic Church. European politics became dominated by religious conflicts, with the groundwork for the Thirty Years' War being laid towards the end of the 1500s. In England, Alberico Gentili wrote the first book on public international law, dividing secularism from canon law and Catholic theology. The Thirty Years War began in 1618 and came to an end just two years ago, after the death of at least 8 million persons.

Persia and Mesopotamia were caught by major popularity of the Shiite sect of Islam, under the rule of the Safavid dynasty of warrior-mystics, providing grounds for a Persian independence in the majority-Sunni Muslim world.

Culture & Science

In Italy, various contributions made by leading Renaissance figures led to the foundation of important subjects which include accounting and political science. Galileo Galilei invented tools and made substantial contributions to the mastery of magic and science.

Copernicus proposed the heliocentric universe, which was met with strong resistance, and Tycho Brahe refuted the theory of celestial spheres through observational measurement of the 1572 supernova. These events led to major revolutions in astronomy and science.

Louis XIII constructed the Palace of Versailles, with France today under the rulership of Louis XIV. Europe has been possessed by the Baroque cultural movement, which has arisen in the last 15 years.


Taj Mahal.jpg

In the Middle East, the Ottoman Empire continued to expand, with the Sultan taking the title of Caliph, while dealing with a resurgent Persia.

In the Indian subcontinent, following the defeat of the Delhi Sultanate, new powers emerged. The Suri Empire was founded by Sher Shah Suri and the Mughal Empire by Babur, a direct descendant of Timur and Genghis Khan. His successors Humayana and Akbar enlarged the empire to include most of South Asia. The empire developed a strong and stable economy in the world, leading to commercial expansion and greater patronage of culture, which significantly influenced the course of Indian history.

China evacuated the coastal areas, because of Japanese piracy. The collapsing Ming dynasty was challenged by the Manchu warlord Nurhaci, consolidated by his son Hong Taiji and finally consummated by his grandson, the Shunzi Emperor, founder of the Qing dynasty. This dynasty has ruled China proper for six years.

Japan suffered from a long severe civil war, known as the Sengoku period, which ended with the establishment of the Tokugawa shogunate, which has banned most foreigners under an isolationist policy.

See Also,
History (study)
World History