Regional webs of the Old World web and the regional webs of the Americas and Oceania came into contact and began forming global webs

Overview of the Assignment

  • The paper presents a historical argument of at least 1300 words on an assigned topic using assigned sources. It must be an organized presentation of an argument stating a claim or main idea based on historical evidence. It must be written in formal English language and tone. It must also cite sources appropriately using Chicago Style footnotes and bibliography. Footnotes and bibliography will not be included in the word count for the essay.
  • The paper must use all the assigned sources for the topic. A thesis or historical claim must be presented with supporting arguments and evidence in an organizational structure with: (1) an introduction containing general context, thesis, and at least 3 points supporting the thesis; (2) paragraphs with supporting argument and evidence for each of the points supporting the thesis; and (3) a conclusion.
  • The rubric for grading should be used as a checklist to make sure all parts of the assignment are completed satisfactorily. The guiding expectation is satisfactory performance of each task. Before the paper is graded, it must meet the requirements in the rubric to be accepted for grading. Submissions that fail to satisfy any of those requirements will receive a grade of zero.

Topic: Chapter 16— Oceanic Voyaging and Biological Globalization


  • Chapter 16 of McNeill highlights two themes as part of explaining how the regional webs of the Old World web and the regional webs of the Americas and Oceania came into contact and began forming global webs. The first part of the chapter emphasizes the role of maritime navigation by Ming and European mariners, which led to developing contacts with webs in the Americas and Oceania. The second half of the chapter focuses on the many forms of biological exchange that resulted from those voyages, which altogether are called biological globalization.
  • The paper will focus on chapter 16 as the starting point and will add a few additional sources. Since the chapter is divided between two parts of the beginning of globalization, students will have a choice between two topics. Each topic will have its own set of sources to be used in addition to chapter 16.
  • The choices for paper topics are based on the focus questions in the introduction to chapter 16.
    • Choice 1. Discuss and evaluate the most significant differences in oceanic voyaging conducted by China’s Ming dynasty and the Atlantic Europeans.
    • Choice 2. Discuss and evaluate the most significant effects of the biological globalization initiated by the oceanic voyaging of Atlantic Europeans.

Oceanic Voyaging Topic:

  • This topic requires developing an overall thesis based on critical thinking to identify the most important differences, discussing why they were significant, and evaluating them as well as basing a conclusion on your evaluation.
  • Listing and describing innovations is not an adequate response to the assignment. Recounting biographies of the navigators is also not an adequate response to the assignment.

Sources for Choice 1:

Biological Globalization Topic:

  • This topic requires a thesis that leads to explaining what biological globalization was, determining the most important effects generated by Atlantic European voyages, evaluating them, and drawing conclusions. Keep in mind that evidence from historical events is required, not just general descriptions of types of impacts.
  • Be careful to avoid just listing a series of impacts and events without relating them to a central thesis.

Sources for Choice 2:

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