Cultural interaction is the basis for the world today. Without cultural interaction, the Americas would still be filled with Native Americans. The whole world would be isolated from other cultures. For example, America would not have certain foods and animals, such as bananas and cows; likewise, Europe would not have corn or turkeys. Between the years 600 and 1450 C. E, Cultural interaction was very beneficial due to the expanding of trade, spreading of religion and cultures, and strengthening nations.However, in many cases, cultural interaction was a destructive force, killing thousands, taking what people owned, and spreading diseases to other areas.
The main reason for culture interaction is to spread ideas and acquire new materials. In some cases, cultural interaction could completely change the trading system in that area (document 2). This document shows how European trade was completely changed after the Crusades. Before the Crusades, Europe’s main trading items were items solely made in Europe. This is because of their system of feudalism.
After the Crusades they traded a variety of items from other areas, such as China or India.These items include a variety of things, such as silk from China, and spices and cotton from India. In this case, cultural interaction was very beneficial to Europe, bringing in goods and lots of wealth to the area. Not only did the interaction of cultures between 600 and 1450 bring in wealth, it also helped the spread of religion. Between the years of 632 and 750, Islamic lands spread from the Arabian Peninsula as far west as Spain (document 4).
By conquering new lands, the ideas and culture of Islam was spread as well. Even today, Muslim culture still heavily influences past Muslim lands such as North Africa.In East Africa, cultural interactions with trade in the Middle East, China, and other areas had large effects in East Africa (document 6). Some of the immediate effects in East Africa from these interactions include “Thriving commerce… Rise of strong East African city-states… Introduction of crops and animals from Middle East and Asia”. All of these things were very beneficial to this area. By establishing strength in these city-states, East Africa was able to continue trade with these other areas, with methods such as the Indian Ocean. Cultural interactions also played a major role in the spread of ideas.One Arab historian says, “As regards the Indians, they are among the leaders in astronomy, mathematics – in particular, they have Indian numerals…” (document 7). By being so intrigued by Indian mathematics, Arabs too adopted the Indian numerals. These were later introduced to Europeans, whom called them Arab numerals. This was very beneficial because Indian/Arab numerals are used globally today, and serves almost as a common language. Although cultural interaction was very beneficial, at many times it had a very negative impact. In document 1, the interaction between the Franks and the Arabs during the Crusades led to mass destruction. …The Franks slaughtered more than 70,000 people, among them a large number of Imams (religious leaders) and Muslim scholars…” The Franks also stripped the famous mosque, the Dome of the Rock of silver and gold. Excerpted from Arab Historians of the Crusades, this passage exemplifies how terrible this interaction was, and because Arabs wrote it, goes into detail on how much they lost because of the Franks. This Arab writer completely blames the destruction in the Franks, most likely because he is in fact Arab, and even gives the Franks a barbaric image by using words such as ‘slaughtered’.Document 5 also deal with destruction due to people. It was written by Genghis Khan and says “The greatest joy is to conquer one’s enemies, to pursue them, to seize their belongings, to see their families in tears, to ride their horses. ” Because of interaction between cultures, he was able to do these terrible things. Genghis Khan said this in a time where he was attempting to conquer other lands, and also to motivate his troops to fight, which explains why it seems so harsh and cruel. Nevertheless, this led to a negative effect of destruction and death for the conquered people during this time period.Not only did cultural interaction between people cause destruction, another negative effect due to cultural interaction was disease. The bubonic plague, which originated near China, spread to Europe due to interactions between merchants (document 3). The disease, spread by rats and fleas, ended up killing off approximately one-third of the population. This was due solely because of trading between areas, and ended up having a very negative effect. Even today, cultural interaction can be perceived as positive or negative. Importing and exporting goods can be seen as beneficial; however, wars are generally seen as negative.Between 600 and 1450, cultural interaction had a positive effect in things such as increase in trade, but had a negative effect in things such as the bubonic plague. A document from a merchant from the Middle East would have been helpful because he would have been to many different areas, and show how trade has had a positive or negative effect on those areas. Also, a map of the world that showed products that were gained to certain areas would have been useful. This would clearly show the positive impacts of cultural interaction such as the introduction of new food, but also the negative impacts like the introduction of certain diseases.