The Pre-modern World

‘Globalisation’ began with trade, human migration in search of work, and capital mobility, among other things.

Silk Routes link the World

Chinese pottery, spices and textiles from India and Southeast Asia travelled by land and sea over multiple silk routes.

Several silk routes helped link Asia with Europe and northern Africa, allowing rich commodities such as silver and gold to move from Europe to Asia. Buddhism, which originated in eastern India, spread around the world via interconnected locations along the silk routes.

Food Travels

New crops were introduced to the areas by traders and travellers.

Spaghetti with noodles, for example. Noodles are thought to have travelled from China to the west and became spaghetti.

Arab pasta made its way to Italy. After America was found, many of our familiar foods, such as soya, potatoes, tomatoes, groundnuts, maize, chilies, and sweet potatoes, were imported to Europe and Asia.

Conquest, Disease and Trade

The introduction of a new sea route to Asia through the Indian Ocean, discovered by European sailors in the sixteenth century, had a negative impact on Indian Ocean trade.

The conquest of America by the Europeans was not solely due to better firepower. In reality, viruses like smallpox that they carried on their bodies were responsible for a high number of deaths among America’s first residents.

Poverty and famine were common in Europe until the nineteenth century. Cities were overcrowded, with terrible diseases, religious disputes, and religious dissenters aplenty. As a result, tens of thousands of Europeans migrated to the United States.

China and India were among the world’s wealthiest countries until the eighteenth century. In Asian trade, they were unmatched. China, on the other hand, is supposed to have reduced outside contacts and withdrawn into isolation beginning in the fifteenth century.

As time went on, trade shifted westwards, and Europe became the world trade center.

The Nineteenth  Century (1815-1914)

Economists identify three forms of movement or ‘flows’ within international economic exchanges: trade flow, labour flow, and exchange flow.

A World Economy takes Shape

Food insecurity in nineteenth-century Britain resulted in decreased living conditions and social unrest. It was due to uncontrolled population growth and the spread of urban centres and industries.

The Corn Laws, which restrict the import of corn, were opposed by businessmen and city people, who asked that they be repealed. Finally, the Corn Laws were repealed, resulting in significant changes in the British economy.

As food prices declined, so did consumption in the United Kingdom. It also resulted in faster industrial expansion, higher earnings, and more food imports in the United Kingdom.

By 1890, a worldwide agricultural economy had emerged, followed by plenty of complicated changes in labour patterns, capital flows, ecologies, and technologies.

The British Indian government developed irrigation canals to convert desert lands into fertile agricultural lands so that wheat and cotton could be grown for export. Cotton farming spread across the world to supply British textile manufacturers.

Role of Technology

In the nineteenth century, major inventions such as railways, steamships, and the telegraph sparked economic growth. Colonization sparked additional investments and transportation improvements.

The development of a new technology, refrigerated ships, allowed for the long-distance transport of perishable foods. In Europe, this resulted in decreased shipping costs and lower meat prices.

Late nineteenth-century Colonialism

The late-nineteenth-century European conquests resulted in many of the tough economic, social, and environmental transformations that brought colonised states into the world economy.

In the late nineteenth century, trade prospered and marketplaces grew. In the late 1800s, Britain and France expanded their foreign colonies dramatically. In the late 1890s, Belgium and Germany, as well as the United States, became new colonial powers.

Rinderpest, or the Cattle Plague

Rinderpest, a fast-spreading cattle plague that ravaged Africa in the 1890s, had a terrible impact on people’s livelihoods and the local economy.

Europeans were attracted to Africa because of its huge territory and mineral resources.

Rinderpest began in East Africa and quickly spread throughout the continent. It arrived on Africa’s Atlantic coast in 1892, and five years later, it arrived at the Cape (Africa’s southernmost tip). It was spread by sick livestock brought in from British Asia to feed Italian soldiers attacking Eritrea in East Africa.

Rinderpest claimed the lives of 90% of the cattle. Cattle loss ruined African livelihoods. It increased the power of the colonial government, and Africans were forced into the labour market, which they had previously avoided due to the abundance of land and animals.

Indentured Labour Migration from India

During the nineteenth century, thousands of Chinese and Indian labourers arrived from all over the world to work on plantations, mines, and road and railway building projects.

Indentured labourers from India were engaged for plantation work in the Caribbean Islands (primarily Guyana, Trinidad and Surinam), Mauritius, and Fiji, under five-year contracts. They used to originate from areas such as eastern Uttar Pradesh, central India,  Bihar, and Tamil Nadu’s arid districts.

Indenture has been referred to as a “new system” of slavery in the nineteenth century.

The annual Muharram march in Trinidad became a riotous carnival known as ‘Hosay’ (for Imam Hussain), with workers of all races and religions participating. Another innovative modern manifestation of the post-indenture experience is chutney music, which is popular in Trinidad and Guyana.

Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipaul, West Indies cricketers Shivnariane Chanderpaul and Ramnaresh Sarwan are all descendants of Indian indentured labour migrants. Indentured labour migration was opposed by India’s nationalist leaders, who called it abusive and cruel, and it was eventually abolished in 1921.

Indian Entrepreneurs Abroad

Many groups of bankers and traders, such as the Shikaripuri Shroffs and Nattukottai Chettiars, sponsored export agriculture in Central and Southeast Asia with their own money or money borrowed from European banks.

Indian traders and moneylenders travelled to Africa with European colonists.

Indian Trade, Colonialism and the Global System

The flow of good Indian cotton started to decrease as a result of British economic policy putting taxes on fabric imports into Britain, and British manufacturers flooded the Indian market with British cloth.

India’s exports of foodgrains and raw materials to the United Kingdom and the rest of the globe grew. As a result, the United Kingdom had a trade surplus with India.

The Inter-war Economy

The First World War (1914-18) was fought mostly in Europe. During this time, the globe endured significant economic and political insecurity, as well as another devastating war.

Wartime Transformations

The First World War had a far-reaching influence on the world. The war was fought between two power blocs: the Allies (Britain, Russia and France, subsequently joined by the United States) and the Central Powers (Germany, Italy, and Japan) (Germany, Ottoman Turkey and Austria-Hungary).

This was the first modern industrial war, since it featured the widespread usage of machine guns, aircraft, chemical weapons, tanks, and other weapons systems. Millions of men from all over the world had to be recruited and transported to the frontlines on big ships and railways. The extent of death and damage was unimaginable.

Britain borrowed significant sums of money from US banks as well as the American people. As a result of the conflict, the United States went from being an international debtor to an international creditor.

Post-war Recovery

Following the war, Britain was unable to reclaim its former supremacy in the Indian market or compete with Japan on a worldwide scale. The United Kingdom was saddled with massive foreign obligations owed to the United States.

Because of the closure of enterprises producing military equipment, unemployment increased after the war. Many agricultural economies were in distress as well.

Wheat output increased considerably in Canada, Australia, and America  while declining in Eastern Europe. Grain prices decreased, rural incomes fell, and farmers were farther in debt.

Rise of Mass Production and Consumption

In the United States, recovery was faster. The conflict aided the US economy. • Mass manufacturing was an important feature of the 1920s US economy. Henry Ford, a well-known pioneer of mass manufacturing, was a vehicle maker.

In the United States, car output increased from two million in 1919 to more than five million in 1929. In 1923, the United States became the world’s biggest exporter of money and the largest foreign lender.

The Great Depression

The Great Depression lasted from 1929 through the mid-1930s. Agriculture areas and communities were heavily damaged since the drop in agricultural prices was bigger and more sustained than the drop in industrial products prices.

Agricultural overproduction was exacerbated by dropping farm prices, which further reduced agricultural revenues.

When the crisis began, the United States withdrew the loans, affecting the rest of the world. To defend its economy during the Great Depression, the United States raised import taxes, causing a serious blow to world trade.

As a result, the Great Depression had an impact on society, politics, and international relations.

India and the Great Depression

The Great Depression had a wide-ranging influence on India. The Great Depression had an immediate impact on Indian trade. Despite substantial drops in agricultural prices, the colonial authority did not cut income expectations. It gradually had an impact on the peasantry.

When Mahatma Gandhi started the civil disobedience campaign at the height of the depression in 1931, rural India was seething with agitation.

Rebuilding a World Economy: The post-war Era

During World War II (1939–45), the Axis powers (primarily Nazi Germany, Italy and Japan) battled against the Allies (France, Britain, the Soviet Union and the US).

The rise of the United States as the leading economic and political force in the Western world, as well as the Soviet Union’s supremacy, impacted post war rebuilding. Post-war Settlement and the Bretton Woods Institutions

Post-war Settlement and the Bretton Woods Institutions

The postwar international economic system (Bretton Woods system) was designed to provide economic stability and full employment in the industrialised nations. In July 1944, the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference met in Bretton Woods, USA, New Hampshire, to carry out the same task.

The Bretton Woods Conference created the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to solve its member nations’ external surpluses and deficits.

The International Bank for Rebuilding and Development (abbreviated the World Bank) was founded to support post-war reconstruction. • The US was handed veto authority over key IMF and World Bank decisions.

The Early Post-war Years

The Bretton Woods System began in a period of unprecedented growth in trade and revenue for the Western industrial countries and Japan.

World trade growth was consistent, with few peaks and valleys. Developing nations spend large sums of money in importing advanced industrial equipment and equipment.

Decolonisation and Independence

Many sections of the world remained under European colonial administration after WWII, and it took two decades for the colonies in Asia and Africa to become fully independent nations.

Because of extended periods of colonial authority, economies and societies were hampered. The IMF and the World Bank were created to satisfy the financial demands of the industrial nations.

Because most developing countries did not gain much from rapid development, they established a group known as the Group of 77. (or G-77). They desired a New International Economic Order (NIEO) in which they would have true authority over their natural resources.

End of Bretton Woods and the Beginning of Globalisation

The US dollar no longer commands trust as the world’s major currency, which finally led to the collapse of the fixed exchange rate system and the introduction of a floating exchange rate system.

Since the 1949 revolution, China has been cut off from the postwar international economy. China’s new economic policies, as well as the fall of the Soviet Union and Soviet-style communism in Eastern Europe, brought numerous nations back into the world economy.

Industry transfer to low-wage nations (India and China) boosted global trade and financial flows. However, during the past two decades, the world’s economic geography has shifted, and as a result, low-wage nations have seen fast economic transition.

NCERT Solved Question Answer CBSE Class 10 History Chapter 04 – The Making of a Global World

Question. 1

Give two examples of different types of global exchanges which took place before the seventeenth century, choosing one example from Asia and one from the Americas.

Answer :

  1. Exchange of food: Food is a common medium of cross-cultural communication. It is widely believed that spaghetti originated in China and made its way west.
  2. Exchange of Germs: The colonisation of the Americas by the Portuguese and Spanish had already begun by the middle of the sixteenth century. To conquer Europe required more than just a technological edge in weaponry. The most effective weapon used by the Spanish invaders was not even a firearm. Infectious diseases such as smallpox were carried by their bodies. Due to their long period of isolation, the ancient Americans were not protected against the diseases that were brought to the continent by Europeans. In particular, smallpox has proven to be fatal. As soon as it was introduced, it quickly spread across the continent, way before the Europeans arrived. Whole populations were obliterated, and the way was cleared for conquest.

Question. 2 

Explain how the global transfer of disease in the pre-modern world helped in the colonisation of the Americas.

Answer: First Europeans arrived in the Americas around the middle of the sixteenth century. However, this was not because of the superior military might of the Spanish conquerors. In the colonisation of the Americas, the most effective tool used by the Spanish conquerors was not a conventional military weapon at all but rather the global spread of disease. When the Spaniards arrived in the Americas, they brought with them the germs of diseases like smallpox and others. This is because the locals had no chance to develop immunity to these illnesses during their long isolation. This caused the epidemic to sweep across the continent. Smallpox wiped out entire populations, paving the way for Europeans to invade and colonise the Americas. This was not a battle. According to John Winthrop, the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay colony in New England, “the Indians…. were near all dead of smallpox, so that the Lord has cleared our right to what we possess.” This was written in May 1634. Because of this, conquerors could use acquired or captured weaponry to fight back against invaders, but diseases like smallpox, to which they were typically immune, would do little to no good.

Question. 3

Write a note to explain the effects of the following :

(a) The British government’s decision to abolish the Corn Laws.

Answer: The reasons why the British government decided to do away with the Corn Laws were as follows:

It’s possible that the cost of importing food into the UK would be less than producing it domestically.

Many acres were set aside as wilderness. Consequently, the employment of thousands of men and women was impacted negatively. They left the countryside and made their homes in the cities. For many, that meant looking for work in foreign countries.

(b) The coming of rinderpest to Africa.

Answer: In the late 1880s, Africa was hit by a new plague—rinderpest, which had previously only affected cattle. Feeding Italian troops assaulting Eritrea in East Africa included supplying them with infected cattle supplied by British Asia. In 1892, the rinderpest famine swept across Africa from the east to the west ‘like forest fire.’ Its final destination was the continent’s Atlantic coast.

As follows, it had a terrible influence on people’s livelihoods and the local economy:

  1. Ninety percent of the roadside wildlife perished.
  2. The loss of cattle caused severe economic damage in Africa.
  3. By controlling the remaining cattle population, plantation owners, mining magnates, and colonial governments were able to solidify their positions of power. Forcing Africans to join the workforce was one of their main tactics.
  4. The remaining cattle resources were the key to European conquest and subjugation of Africa. How a disease that only affected cattle, like rinderpest, arrived and changed the lives and fortunes of thousands of people and their relationships with the rest of the world during a time of conquest is demonstrated by this disease’s arrival.

(c) The death of men of working-age in Europe because of the World War.

Answer: The death of men of working age in Europe because of the world war had the following effects : 

The number of healthy people available to work in Europe has dropped as a result of the disaster.

The war had claimed the lives of members of nearly every family. After the war, the family unit was smaller, which meant less money coming in from each individual.

(d) The Great Depression on the Indian economy.

Answer: The effects of the Great Depression on the Indian economy were as given below: 

  1. By the beginning of the 20th century, the economies of the world were deeply intertwined. An issue that began in one part of the world quickly spread to other parts, impacting the lives, livelihoods, and communities of people everywhere. In the course of colonial rule, India had shifted its economy to one of exporting agricultural goods and importing manufactured goods. Because of this decline, business in India suffered. Half of both exports and imports were reduced between 1928 and 1934.
  2. The economy of India experienced a dramatic price drop. The price of wheat, for instance, fell by half between 1928 and 1934.
  3. More people in the countryside were impacted than in the cities. The government has not reduced land revenue despite falling agricultural prices. Farmers who supply goods for international trade took the biggest hit as a result of factors such as the collapse of gunny exports, which caused a sixty percent drop in the price of raw jute.
  4. There was a general increase in the debt levels of peasants. They had to use their savings, take out a mortgage on some of their land, and sell some of their jewellery and precious metals to pay the bills.
  5. By contrast, India started exporting gold. The world economy was helped along by Indian gold exports, famous economist John Maynard Keynes said.
  6. However, people living in urban India fared better as a result of the price drop, allowing them to buy more with their regular incomes. Nationalists’ push for tariff protection for industries resulted in increased industrial investment. Therefore, while the Great Depression severely damaged India’s rural economy, it had much less of an effect on India’s urban centres.

(e) The decision of MNCs to relocate production to Asian countries.

Answer:The decision of MNCs to relocate production to Asian countries had the following effects:

  1. It stimulated global capital and trade flows.
  2. For example, China and other countries with low wages have become popular investment destinations for MNCs. The Indian market, for instance, is flooded with Chinese-made electronics like televisions, cellphones, and toys. Because of the low-cost structure of the Chinese economy, especially the low wages, this is the case.
  3. The world’s economic geography is shifting as countries like India, China, and Brazil undergo rapid economic transformations. Liberalization and globalisation policies have been adopted, for instance, by India.

Question. 4 

Give two historical instances to illustrate the impact of technology on food supply.

Answer: Technology had a tremendous impact on food supply. Railways, steamships, and the telegraph were all significant inventions that changed the globe in the nineteenth century, as listed below:

  1. Railways, lighter waggons, and larger ships made it easier and faster to transport food from remote farms to final markets.
  2. Live animals used to be shipped from the Americas to Europe for slaughter. Some of the system’s drawbacks include the following:
  • The animals on board the ship required more space.
  • Many people lost their lives on the voyage.
  • Quite a few people fell ill and lost a lot of weight.
  • A lot of people stopped being able to keep food down their throats. Given the above, beef was a rare and expensive luxury that the working class in Europe could not afford.
  1. Previously, demand was lower because of high prices. Since the animals were slaughtered at the origin and then transported as frozen meat, new technologies, especially refrigerated ships, allowed the movement of perishable commodities across great distances.

The price of meat fell as a result. Although they may not be able to afford it regularly, the poor may choose to include meat in their diet. Increased social harmony within the nation and abroad is a direct result of imperialism’s success in raising people’s standard of living. The expansion of food distribution networks is a direct result of technological advancements that have allowed for the storage and transport of perishable goods to be sent to previously inaccessible locations.

Question. 5

What is meant by the Bretton Woods Agreement?

Answer: The postwar international economic system aimed primarily to ensure full employment and economic stability in the industrialised world. In July 1944, at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, the framework was ratified.

As a direct result of the Bretton Woods Conference, the following organisations came into being:

  1. The IMF was established to help balance the trade surpluses and deficits of its member countries.
  2. Established to “fund post-war reconstruction,” the World Bank is also known as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD).
  3. These aforementioned bodies are collectively referred to as the Bretton Woods institutions or the Bretton Woods twins. A different name for the international economic order that emerged in the wake of World War Two is the Bretton Woods system. It relied on predetermined rates of exchange. Many different countries’ currencies were pegged to the US dollar at a predetermined exchange rate. Dollars were pegged to the price of gold, which was set at $35 per ounce.
  4. The Western industrial powers are in complete control of these organisations. America has a de facto veto over major decisions made by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
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