Setting the Starting Line of Global History: The Case for 1400

Cassandra Painter


Recent decades have seen a move away from traditional narratives of the “rise of the West” in History courses and publications, and toward a “Global History” paradigm. This paper provides an overview of this shift and the issues at stake before making the case for ca. 1400 as a good chronological starting point for Global History courses and textbooks. Starting the narrative here provides a crucial fifteenth-century context of nomadic empires and crusading religious ecumenes, which not only enriches understanding of the more extensive global connections to follow, but also opens the narrative of globalization at a moment when it was by no means obvious or inevitable that Europe would come to dominate the globe.


global history; chronology; teaching

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The Graduate History Review EISSN 1925-2455

Formerly Preteritus: 2009-2010