Here are text book questions and answers from Class X history chapter 4 the Making of a Modern World. You can find extra questions from this chapter here.
1. Give two examples of different types of global exchanges which took place before the 17th century, choosing one example from Asia, and one from America.
(a) Asia: The silk routes are an example of the existence of the vibrant trade relations between countries before the 17th century. Several silk routes have been identified by historians. They connected Asia, Europe and northern Africa by land and by sea. Indian spices, Chinese pottery and textiles used to be transported via these routes from India, China and South East Asia to Europe. In return, precious metals like gold and silver came from Europe to Asia. These routes were also used by Christian missionaries and later Muslim preachers. It is also worth mentioning that in ancient times, Buddhist missionaries traveled via intersections on silk routes to spread their religious ideas.
(b) Americas: After Christopher Columbus discovered America, foods such as potatoes, soya, groundnuts, maize, tomatoes and chilies used by Native Americans traveled to other countries. The vast American lands, their rich mineral resources and abundance of crops caused trade to flourish in different parts of the world. The discovery of precious metals like silver in Peru enhanced Europe’s wealth and financed its trade relations with Asia. In the 17th century, there were several legends about the fabled wealth of South America. This caused several European expeditions to set off in search of El Dorado or the fabled city of gold. Thus it is obvious that there were exchanges between countries before the 17th century.
2. Explain how the global transfer of disease in the pre-modem world helped in the colonisation of America. [CBSE 2008 (O), Sept. 2010, 2011]
Europeans had a strong army and powerful firearms. However, for colonizing America, they also used germs. Since the Continent of America was isolated from the rest of the world until Columbus discovered it, Native Americans were not immune to many contagious diseases rampant in Europe. Small pox in particular proved a deadly killer for them. Once Europeans introduced these viruses into America, they spread deeply annihilating several communities and thus facilitating their conquest. Actually, these germs proved more dangerous than firearms.
3. Write a note and explain the effects of the following:
(a) The British government’s decision to abolish the Corn Laws.
The scraping of Corn Laws facilitated free trade of food grains. Once the Corn Laws were abolished, importing food to Britain became cheaper than producing it in the country.
Consequently, British farmers were not able to compete with imports. This caused vast areas of land to go uncultivated. Consequently, thousands of men and women lost their livelihood. This encouraged them to flock to cities or migrate overseas. The fall in prices increased demand and often the supply of food grains was not sufficient to meet demand. In addition, countries such as Russia, Australia and America started exporting food grains to Britain and it was another setback to the local producers.
(b) The coming of Rinderpest to Africa.
Rinderpest arrived in Africa in the late 1880s. Within a few years, it spread across the whole continent. Cattle exported from British Asia to feed Italian soldiers invading Eastern Africa were invested by this disease. Thus the germs reached the African continent. Rinderpest killed 90% of the cattle and destroyed the livelihood of African farmers whose main source of income was their cattle. The scarce cattle resources that remained were controlled by planters, mine owners and colonial governments with the objective of acquiring more power and forcing Africans into the labour market. This control over the scare cattle resources enabled Europeans to conquer Africa.
(c) The death of men of working-age in Europe because of the World War
It mainly had two effects
(i) Reduction in workforce
Most people who were killed or injured in the war were men of working age. Consequently, the size of able bodied workforce in Europe shrank. When there were fewer working members in a family, household income also reduced in the aftermath of the war.
(ii) New Social Setup
War caused a reorganization of the entire society. As men went to war, women started performing jobs that only men were expected to do in the past.
(d) The Great Depression on the Indian economy.
Impact on trade
The depression had an immediate impact on Indian trade. India’s export and import nearly halved. As prices crashed in the international market, they fell in India as well.
Impact on farmers
The fall in prices had a deep impact on the poor farmers. Though agricultural prices fell sharply, the colonial government refused to give any relief to the farmers in taxes. Consequently, peasants producing for the international market were hit hard.
Impact on urban India
The depression had a less severe impact on urban India. Those with fixed salaries were now better off because every commodity was now cheap.
High industrial investment
Industrial investment also grew as the government extended tariff protection to industries under the pressure of nationalist opinion.
The great depression had a political impact as well. It encouraged Gandhiji to launch the Civil Disobedience Movement.
(e) The decision of MNCs to relocate production to Asian countries.
Since there was no shortage of workers in Asia, wages were relatively low there.
Most Asian countries had a low cost economic structure and they also had a huge market. This encouraged multinational companies to move to Asian countries.
4. Give two examples from history to show the impact of Science and Technology on food availability
(i) Science and technology made cheap food available in different markets. There were improvements in transport facilities as well. Lighter wagons, faster railways, and larger ships helped move agricultural produce more quickly and cheaply from distant farms to their consumers.
(ii) Impact on meat: Till the 1870s, live animals were transported from America to Europe to fulfill the meat requirements of the latter. However, live animals occupied a lot of space on the ship. When refrigerated ships were invented, it became possible to transport meat from one country to another. Now animals could be slaughtered in America, New Zealand or Australia and then transported to Europe as frozen meat. The invention of the refrigerated ships offered the following benefits.
It reduced the cost of shipping and lowered meat prices in Europe. Consequently, more and more Europeans were now able to consume meat and enjoy a more varied diet.
Better living conditions within the country promoted social harmony and greater support for imperialism abroad.
5. What is meant by the Bretton Woods Agreement?
After the Second World War, industrialized nations realized the importance of maintaining economic stability and regular employment. With this objective, the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference was held in July 1944 at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire.
The Bretton Woods Conference led to the establishment of the following international organizations.
International Monetary Fund (IMF): The objective of IMF was to deal with external surpluses and deficits of its member nations.
World Bank: World Bank or International Bank for Reconstruction and Development was instituted to finance post-war reconstruction. These institutions are known as the Bretton Woods institutions or Bretton Woods twins.
The international economic system post war is also known as the Bretton Woods system. It is based on fixed exchange rates. The dollar was anchored to gold at a fixed price of $ 35 per ounce of gold and currencies of other countries were pegged to the dollar at a fixed exchange rate.
The decisions taken by these institutions were often controlled by industrial powers in the US. The US, in fact, could effectively veto key decisions taken by IMF and World Bank.
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