Crash Course European History Episode #4: Age of Exploration
One of the things I love about working with Bonnie Smith, the script writer for this series and co-author of The Making of the West: Peoples and Cultures (this text is used by a lot of AP Euro classes) is how she brings to these scripts the stories of people who had been erased in the "Great White Man" version of history. Talk about literally shining light on people literally lost in the archives. Some of them played PIVOTAL (or sometimes just interesting) roles in European History, but they are not often mentioned in History books.
We have really made an effort with this series to place Europe within the context of World History, and this means there are a lot more stories of non-Europeans woven into the narrative. I think this is really important and makes context much more applicable.
Some great stories to watch for in this episode are how envy over Mansa Musa's wealth inspired European exploration, and how Malinche (known to the Spanish as Doña Maria) helped Hernán Cortés across what is now Mexico and into the capital of the Aztec empire (with an obviously devastating impact on the Aztecs!)
Of all the topics covered in this series on European History, European Exploration and Conquest might have had a bigger impact on the world than any other development. Change my mind!