Age of Exploration Vocab

Atlantic Slave Trade

The buying and selling of Africans for work in the Americas.

Triangle Trade

Trade network by which African slaves were captured and traded/sold for goods in Africa, the Americas, and Europe.

Middle Passage

The voyage that brought captured Africans to the Americas.

Treaty of Tordesilla

1494 agreement between Portugal and Spain that divided their New World land claims.

Dutch East India Company

Company established to direct trade in Asia. Could mint money, make treaties, and even raise an army.

Ming Dynasty

Chinese dynasty that ruled from 1368-1644

Qing Dynasty

Dynasty begun by the Manchus. Ruled China for more than 260 years.


Invaders from the north of China who invaded and caused the Ming Dynasty to collapse.


An outbreak of a contagious disease that spreads rapidly and widely.


A very serious and contagious disease that was introduced to the New World by explorers. (Gets its name from the pus-filled blisters or pocks that form during the illness.)


The body’s ability to protect itself against certain diseases.


To sail around the world.


To travel for the purpose of discovery.


Spanish conqueror


A succession of rulers from the same family or line.


The overthrow of one government and its replacement with another


Lands controlled by another nation.


A policy of not making agreements or working with other countries.


An estate or large farm where cash crops are grown on a large scale.

Cash Crop

A crop grown for sale rather than for subsistence.


Another word for trade.

Cottage Industry

A small business where goods are made in a person’s home.

Encomienda System

Forced Native American labor by the Spanish.


An economic system where businesses are privately owned by individuals or groups of individuals.


An economic system to increase a nation’s wealth by a government regulating all of the nation’s imports and exports.

Joint Stock Company

Worked like a corporation with investors buying shares of stock of a company.

Balance of Trade

The difference in value between the total exports and the total imports of a nation.


A person who starts or organizes a business.

Columbian Exchange

The exchange of plants, animals, and diseases caused by contact between the Old World (Europe, Asia, Africa) and the New World (the Americas).