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Bubonic plague is a terrible disease, which people in Europe called the Black Death. Without doubt, it negatively influenced the population. This disease took millions of human lives. Areas of its extension were: Western China, Central Asia, Southwest Asia, North Africa, and Europe. One will think that this terrible disease brought only negative effects, but it also had positive effects on Europe.

 Bubonic plague emerged in the eastern hemisphere, and spread from the Yunnan region. In the 14th century this devastating disease went from Yunnan to the interior regions of China. In 1331 bubonic plague killed 90% of the Chinese population. In 1340, the disease spread to the West. By 1346, it had reached the Black Sea ports of Caffa and Tana. In 1347, bubonic plague was spread throughout the Mediterranean basin. By 1348, it had influenced people in most of Western Europe.

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The Black Death killed 60 to 70% of its human victims, and “in some small villages and towns, disease wiped out the entire population” (Bentley, Ziegler & Salter). It was so horrifying that “a spate of new births generally followed outbreaks of plague as societies tried to replenish their numbers, but plague also returned and claimed new victims” (Bentley, Ziegler & Salter). In Europe, plague erupted from time to time (from the 1340s to the 17th century).

However, there are some positive effects of bubonic plague in Europe. First of all, bubonic plague influenced the development of the medicine; physicians were trying to find a cure for this disease, and in 1940 antibiotic drugs, which controlled the disease, were invented. The other positive effect is that the death of a great amount of people created a labor shortage, and landlords had to pay higher wages to their workers and offered those better conditions of work.  The disease produced a need for technological innovation, workers started to look for a job in the skilled craft industries, and the nobility lost its powers. Bubonic plague also undermined the power of church, and as a result it accelerated the Renaissance in England. People started thinking in other ways.

 In conclusion, there were both positive and negative results of bubonic plague. This disease took millions of lives and changed lives of those, who survived. The most positive result of the bubonic plague was the rise of the Renaissance and consequently, the emergence of a variety of works of art.

Until 1492, people from eastern and western hemispheres had little contact with each other. Sometimes Europeans travelled to North America, and vice versa, but these were rare cases. The sustained interaction happened in the 15th century, there were many travels between the eastern hemisphere, the western hemisphere, and Oceania. After 1492, European travelers established a permanent contact with people from these areas.

On 8 July 1497, Vasco da Gama, the Portuguese mariner, made his voyage to India. In Calicut he found markets of different goods and products, such as pepper, ginger, cinnamon, spices, rubies, emeralds, gold jewelry, and cotton textiles. This proves that India was a wealthy country. Motives for the exploration of oceans were as follows: the need to find resources and lands, which will be suitable for the cultivation of crash crops, the desire to establish new trade routes to Asian markets, and to convert people of Asia to Christianity. Though, the main motives of these explorations were material ones, which were justified by the aim of spreading Christianity. In 1498, in Calicut Vasco da Gama told about his goal of exploring India, they were “Christians and spices”.

Manila, the city of Philippines, was a multicultural port city, where the trade flourished, and especially popular trading product was silk. Manila became a hub for commercial activity for Spain, and Chinese people supplied silk. Then Spanish traders shipped silk to Mexico. Spanish missionaries tried to convert Filipinos to Christianity, and by the 19th century the Philippines became a Roman Catholic land. Portugal and Spain also wanted to find new sea routes to the east.

In 1415, Prince Henry of Portugal helped to conduct voyages to the West African coast. After that Portuguese merchants established trading posts in modern Ghana. They exchanged European horses and goods for slaves and gold. In 1488, Bartolomeu Dias entered the Indian Ocean. The sea route to the Indian Ocean was very valuable, because merchants could buy silk, spices, and pepper without intermediaries.

As one can see, Chinese and Iberian mariners wanted to establish a presence in the Indian Ocean during the 15th century, because for a number of reasons, such as: the promotion of Christianity, a trade without intermediaries, the need of lands for the cultivation of crash crops, and the opportunity for Chinese people to sell silk. Portuguese explorers, such as Vasco da Gama and Bartolomeu Dias were exploring the Indian Ocean and established a successful trade with Asia.

At the time of cross-cultural interactions people exchanged goods, technologies, diseases, and religious faiths. The exchange of religious faiths influenced the development of societies throughout the eastern hemisphere. There were Sufi and Christian missionaries, who tried to convert people to their faith. Expatriate communities of China demanded Roman Catholic services, and European priests traveled to China to provide these services. The religion played a very significant role in the cross-cultural interactions, it helped people to find a common ground and it promoted trade between different regions.

Sufism was a popular faith in Southeast Asia, India, and sub-Saharan Africa. Sufis converted a lot of people to their faith from the period of 1000 to 1500. Sufism was not “a doctrinally correct understanding of Islam but, rather, emphasized piety and devotion to Allah” (Bentley, Ziegler & Salter). That is why this faith became popular among different nations. Sufis took “a flexible approach to their missions, and as a result the Sufis spread Islamic values without facing the resistance that unyielding and doctrinaire campaigns would likely have provoked”.

Roman Catholic missionaries tried to spread Christianity; they “accompanied the crusaders and other forces to all the lands where Europeans extended their influence after the year 1000” (Bentley, Ziegler & Salter). In the Baltic lands, Sicily, the Balkan region, and Spain missionaries fascinated a lot of people, but in the eastern Mediterranean region they could not do the same thing, and as a result, there were few Christians there. Mongols and Chinese were also converted to Christianity.

The main advantage of the religion was that it helped to conduct different diplomatic missions. When people share the same beliefs, same ideas, consequently, it is easier for them to find the common ground and solve problems if there are any. The religion plays a very significant role in different aspects of life, and it helped to establish many important business contacts between different countries.

 In 1493, Christopher Columbus wrote the letter about his voyage to the Indies to sovereigns. In this letter, Columbus describes native people of the Indies, their behavior, speaks about beautiful nature in the Indies and different materials, which one can find there. Christopher Columbus speaks about the new lands with commercial intentions. These lands have to be colonized, and native people should be conversed to the holy faith.

Firstly, Columbus has his own attitude to these people. He says that they are very friendly people and are ready to give anything one asks for. According to Columbus, these people are generous and unsuspicious in such a way that it is hard to believe this. He gives an example of how the king of that country treated him, “I am so friendly with the king of that country that he was proud to call me his brother and hold me as such” (Bentley, Ziegler & Salter). Columbus also says that native people are uneducated, have no religion and idolatry, they only believe that power and goodness are in heaven. As a result, native people of the Indies thought that Columbus, his men and his ships came from heaven.

Columbus admires the beauty of the new lands; he speaks about magnificent rivers, mountains and peaks, endless varieties of trees and birds, woods, a meadow land, and fruits. He says, “Hispaniola is a marvel” (Bentley, Ziegler & Salter). Columbus implies that new lands are worthy of admiration, “There were palm trees of six or eight varieties, the graceful peculiarities of each one of them being worthy of admiration as are the other trees, fruits and grasses”.  

Columbus’s descriptions of the new lands very distinctly show for what purposes these lands have to be used (colonization of new lands and the usage of its natural resources). According to him, there are plains and open country, which are rich and fertile for planting and pasturage. These new lands will be a good place for building towns and villages. Columbus talks about mines of metals and rivers with gold.

The Indies are lands full of very kind and friendly people, who are, unfortunately, uneducated. The great discoverer aims to subdue these people and to use their lands for the benefit of the Spanish crown. Lastly, Columbus reached a very beautiful land with different natural resources, which are worthy of admiration.

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