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WATCH: Era 5 Overview

By the early thirteenth century, the Afro-Eurasian trading system was stronger and larger than ever, with the Mongol Empire at its heart. Other networks existed in the Americas. That Eurasian system collapsed under the weight of diseases spread along the same routes as trade, but then recovered. However, with the Mongol state fractured, it was now harder for Europeans to get the goods they wanted Asia. Going in search of new routes, they encountered the Americas. This collision led to the first truly global network—the Columbian Exchange. American silver, valued in Asia and carried by Europeans, helped to permanently transform the world.

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Created by World History Project.

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Video transcript