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Global Trade 16th to 18th Centuries (10th grade History and AP World)

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Johnny Walker
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Global Trade 16th to 18th Centuries (10th grade History and AP World)

Walker, Johnny.  “Mini Unit- Global Trade in the 16th to 18th Centuries” 

A rationale for the proposed unit

We will have covered the Aztec and Inca Empires, the Spanish Conquest, the Columbian Exchange and The Atlantic Slave Trade. This is a week-long mini unit that analyzes the expansion of global trade following the Spanish Conquest of the Americas. Students will research and write an essay that argues “Why were China and Japan able to resist European colonization in the 16th through 18th centuries while the Americas were not?” 

The skills we will be engaging in will be a scaffolded essay that the students write over the course of the week. It will use skills in a Document Based Question that analyzes maps, charts, primary source documents, secondary sources and documentary film for students to gather evidence and Students will practice specific skills of an AP DBQ which requires writing a thesis, writing a historic context, and describing, analyzing and evaluating the reliability of primary source documents. Students will practice analytical skills of cause and effect, supply and demand, and contrast.

Skill and content objectives


AP World History: Modern Standards (2020):


TOPIC 4.4 Maritime Empires Established


Thematic Focus

Governance: A variety of internal and external factors contribute to state formation, expansion, and decline. Governments maintain order through a variety of administrative institutions, policies, and procedures, and governments obtain, retain, and exercise power in different ways and for different purposes.


Learning Objective: Explain the process of state building and expansion among various empires and states in the period from 1450 to 1750.


Historical Developments:

KC-4.3.II.A.i  Europeans established new trading posts in Africa and Asia, which proved profitable for the rulers and merchants involved in new global trade networks. Some Asian states sought to limit the disruptive economic and cultural effects of European-dominated long-distance trade by adopting restrictive or isolationist trade policies.


KC-4.2II The demand for labor intensified as a result of the growing global demand for raw materials and finished products. Traditional peasant agriculture increased and changed in nature, plantations expanded, and the Atlantic slave trade developed and intensified.



1.B Explain a historical concept, development, or process.    

2.C  Explain the significance of a source’s point of view, purpose, historical situation, and/or audience, including how these might limit the use(s) of a source.

3.D  Explain how claims or evidence support, modify, or refute a source’s argument.

Detailed lesson plan

Day 1:  Question Generation, Organization, and Historic Context

Students generate questions, categorize them and prioritize an open-ended question based on the Focus: “China and Japan were able to resist European domination in the 16th through 18th centuries”

Students summarize the last week’s content: “What factors allowed the Spanish to defeat and dominate the Aztec and Inca societies.” 

Analyze Chinese influence in European Technology from a chart.  Contrast Chinese technology with Aztec technology. Explain how Chinese technology and environmental factors allowed for more successful resistance to European domination.

Analyze patterns of global trade and evaluate China and Japan’s role in 16th and 18th century global trade from a map. Contrast the Chinese role with the Aztec and Inca. Explain how that role in global trade gives them an advantage to resist European colonization. 

Write a historic context paragraph that incorporates the summary, map, and chart. (This becomes Paragraph 1 of the essay)

Day 2: Evaluate winners and losers in the Global Silver Trade
Analyze factors of supply and demand that affected the global silver trade in the 16th and 17th centuries and evaluate positive and negative consequences in China, Spain, and the Americas.

Annotate secondary source Strayer (AP textbook). “Silver and Global Commerce”
Annotate secondary source, Charles Mann. 1493. “Shiploads of Silver”. Pages 177-191

Complete a Graphic Organizer of Supply, Demand and Effects with locations in Spanish America, China, and Spain.

Write a paragraph that explains how factors affecting supply and demand influenced the global silver trade and the economies of China, New Spain, and Spain. Evaluate the extent to which the global trade increased or harmed the quality of life of Spanish, Chinese and Native Americans.  (paragraph 2 of essay)

Day 3:

Evaluate the extent to which the Chinese Qing Dynasty was successful at limiting European influence.

Annotate secondary source textbook chapter, “China Limits European Contacts”.

Analyze Qinglong Emperor’s letter to King George III for tactics used by the Chinese to limit European influence.
Evaluate the source for bias.

Write paragraph with claim, sufficient and relevant evidence and reasoning using secondary source and primary source evidence to argue how China was able to resist European colonization. Contrast China’s success with the Aztecs in final sentence of paragraph. (Paragraph 3 of essay)

Day 4:

Evaluate the extent to which the Japanese Tokugawa Dynasty was successful at limiting European influence.

Annotate secondary source textbook chapter, “Japan Returns to Isolation”
Take notes on film excerpt, “Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire- The Way of the Samurai (PBS)” from 7:30 to 11:48. Use a graphic organizer to compare POV of Japanese and Europeans and contrast European encounters with Japanese to European encounters with Aztec or Inca.

Write paragraph with claim, sufficient and relevant evidence and reasoning arguing how Japan was able to restrict European influence. Contrast Japan’s success with the Aztec or Inca at resisting European influence. 

Day 5: Summative Assessment

Write a simple thesis based on the week’s research that responds to the prompt in the first paragraph.

Write a conclusion that includes a complex thesis and synthesis of the week’s research.

Revisit questions generated from Day 1 and write responses to them on a shared document.

Works Cited:

Emperor Qianlong Letter to George III 1793. Accessed from USC-China link and copied to this google document.

Holt McDougal World History: Patterns of Interaction., 19.2 “China Limits European Contacts”, Chapter 19.3 “Japan Returns to Isolation”

Mann, Charles. 1493: Uncovering the New World Columbus Created. 2011. Excerpt from chapter, “Shiploads of Money” pages 177-191

Nelson, Eric and Strayer, Robert W. 1200 Update Ways of the World with Sources for the AP Modern Course. MacMillan Learning. 2020. “Silver and Global Commerce” pages 258-261

PBS. Japan: Memoirs of a Secret Empire- The Way of the Samurai (PBS). 


 A plan for assessing student achievement

  1. Summative Assessment:  5 paragraph essay (scaffolded by a paragraph a day throughout the week)

  2. Formative Assessments:

    1. Day 1- paragraph 1 (on a shared google doc)

    2. Day 2- paragraphs 2 (on a shared google doc)

    3. Day 2- Annotations of Strayer textbook and Mann secondary source

    4. Day 3- paragraph 3 (on a shared google doc)

    5. Day 3- Annotations of McDougal textbook and Qianlong primary source

    6. Day 4- paragraph 4 (on a shared google doc)

    7. Day 4- Annotations of McDougal textbook

    8. Day 4- EdPuzzle film excerpt

    9. Day 5- Thesis