Here are some discussion questions to consider: When historians compare different societies, the intent
is not to create a hierarchy between the societies, but to see the diversity and the commonality of the
300 words and address the big picture questions listed below or analyzing one of the primary sources in
the Working with Evidence Section about Islam and Renaissance Europe.
From chapter 12:
1. Assume for the moment that the Chinese had not ended their maritime voyages in 1433. How
might the subsequent development of world history have been different? What value is there in
asking this kind of what if or counter factual question?
2. How does this chapter distinguish among the various kinds of societies contained in the world of
the 15th century? What are the ways of categorizing the world's peoples might work as well or
3. What common patterns might you notice across the world of the 15th century? And what
variations in the historical trajectories of various regions can you identify?
4. What would surprise a knowledgeable observer from 500 or 1000 CE, were he or she or they to
make a global tour in the 15th century? What features of that earlier world might still be
5. What role did the Islamic world play in the emerging identity of European civilization?