1500 A.D. (C.E.) Political, Cultural, and Economic Conditions

Standard(s) of Learning


The student will demonstrate an understanding of the political, cultural, geographic, and economic conditions in the world about 1500 A.D. (C.E.) by


locating major states and empires;


describing artistic, literary, and intellectual ideas of the Renaissance;


describing the distribution of major religions;


analyzing major trade patterns;


citing major technological and scientific exchanges in the Eastern Hemisphere.


Analyze trends in human migration and cultural interaction.                                                   

Explain that by 1500 A.D. (C.E.) major states and empires had developed in various regions of the world.
Map of Persia, 1611

Identify on a world political map the location of the following major states and empires in the Eastern Hemisphere around 1500 A.D. (C.E.):
•    England
•    France
•    Spain
•    Russia
•    Ottoman Empire
•    Persia
•    China
•    Mughal India
•    Songhai Empire

Identify on a world political map the location of the following major states and empires in the Western Hemisphere around 1500 A.D. (C.E.):
•    Incan Empire
•    Mayan Empire
•    Aztec Empire

Explain that new intellectual and artistic ideas that developed during the Renaissance marked the beginning of the modern world.                                                                                            

Summarize the artistic, literary, and intellectual ideas of the Renaissance.                               

Summarize the nature and progression of the Renaissance, using the following information as a guide:
•    “Rebirth” of classical knowledge, “birth” of the modern world                                         
•    Spread of the Renaissance from the Italian city-states to northern Europe                        

Summarize the following contributions of the Renaissance:
•    Accomplishments in the visual arts—Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci                            
•    Accomplishments in literature (sonnets, plays, essays)—Shakespeare                              
•    Accomplishments in intellectual ideas (humanism)—Erasmus                                          

Explain that by 1500 A.D. (C.E.), the five world religions had spread to many areas of the Eastern Hemisphere.                                                                                                                      

Identify the location and importance of the following five world religions in 1500 A.D. (C.E.):
•    Judaism—Concentrated in Europe and the Middle East                                                   
•    Christianity—Concentrated in Europe and the Middle East                                              
•    Islam—Located in parts of Asia, Africa, and southern Europe                                         
•    Hinduism—Located in India and part of Southeast Asia                                                  
•    Buddhism—Located in East and Southeast Asia                                                             

Explain that by 1500 A.D. (C.E.) regional trade patterns had developed that linked Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and Europe.                                                                                                               

Identify the following traditional regional trading patterns around 1500 A.D. (C.E.) that linked Europe with Asia and Africa:
•    Silk roads across Asia to the Mediterranean basin                                                          
•    Maritime routes across the Indian Ocean                                                                       
•    Trans-Saharan routes across North Africa                                                                     
•    Northern European links with the Black Sea                                                                   
•    Western European sea and river trade                                                                           
•    South China Sea and lands of Southeast Asia                                                                 

Summarize the importance of the regional trading patterns around 1500 A.D. (C.E.) as a means of providing an exchange of products and ideas.                                                                                     

Explain that by 1500 A.D. (C.E.) technological and scientific advancements had been exchanged among cultures of the world.                                                                                                          

Describe the following technological and scientific advancements that were made and exchanged along trade routes by 1500 A.D. (C.E.):
•    Paper, compass, silk, porcelain (China)                                                                          
•    Textiles, numeral system (India and Middle East)                                                           
•    Scientific transfer—Theories and discoveries in medicine, astronomy, mathematics          

Sample Resources

Below is an annotated list of Internet resources for this organizing topic. Copyright restrictions may exist for the material on some Web sites. Please note and abide by any such restrictions.

“Education Place.” Outline Maps. Houghton Mifflin Co. <http://www.eduplace.com/ss/maps/>. This site provides outline maps to be printed and used in the classroom.

“The Mona Lisa.” The Louvre. Paris, France. <http://www.louvre.fr/anglais/collec/peint/inv0779/peint_f.htm>. This site provides an image of the painting as well as a brief analysis and history.

“Leonardo da Vinci.” Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York. <http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/leon/hd_leon.htm>. This site provides an image of “The Last Supper” and a brief description of that painting and the “Mona Lisa.”

“Michelangelo Images.” College at Oneonta. State University of New York. College at Oneonta. Oneonta, NY. <http://employees.oneonta.edu/farberas/arth/arth213/michelangelo_images.html>. This site contains images of sculptures and paintings by Michelangelo, including David, the Pieta, and portions of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

“Silk Roads Big Map.” AskAsia. The China Project/Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE). <http://www.askasia.org/teachers/lessons/plan.php?no=45&era=&grade=&geo=>. This site contains lesson plans and related teacher essays related to the Silk Roads.

“Sites on Shakespeare and the Renaissance.” Internet Shakespeare Editions. University of Victoria. British Columbia, Can. <http://web.uvic.ca/shakespeare/Annex/ShakSites1.html>. This site provides links on Shakespeare and the Renaissance, such as gateways, teaching resources, criticism, and history.

“WEB Gallery of Art.”<http://www.wga.hu/index.html>.  This site provides good quality pictures of the works of many artists.

“Art History Resources on the WEB.” Sweet Briar College. <http://arthistoryresources.net/ARTHrenaissanceitaly.html>  <http://arthistoryresources.net/ARTHrenaissanceeurope.html>. This site provides links to many works of Renaissance and other art time periods.

Virginia Standards of Learning Assessments, Selected Items for World History II. Spring 2003. <http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/released_tests/history_social_science/2003/world_history2.pdf>.

Virginia Standards of Learning Assessments for the 2008 History and Social Science Standards of Learning. World History and Geography: 1500 A.D. (C.E.) to the Present Test Blueprint. Virginia Department of Education, 2009. <http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/sol/blueprints/history_socialscience_blueprints/2008/ . . .pdf>.

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