NCERT Notes Class 10 Social Science History Chapter 3 The Making of a Global World

NCERT Notes Class 10 Social Science History Chapter 3 The Making of a Global World

Chapter 3 The Making of a Global World NCERT Notes

Chapter Name

The Making of a Global World Notes


CBSE Class 10

Textbook Name

India and the Contemporary World II Class 10

Related Readings

  • Notes for Class 10
  • Notes for Class 10 History
  • NCERT Solutions for The Making of a Global World  

The Pre-modern world

We live in a modern world where everyplace is connected to each other. But it should not be mistaken that the ancient people were not so connected and lived lives being ignorant of the ways others lived.

  • There are many accounts of various travellers and priests who travelled large distances; former to attain insight of the ways of the world, while latter to attain knowledge and spirituality.
  • Trade relations were also active and can be dated back to as early as 3000 BCE. Indian currency cowdi (plural cowdies) could be found in china and East Africa.
  • Evidences of disease and germs spread across the world have also been found.

Silk Routes Link the World

  • Silk routes are a very important example of confirming relations of different parts of the world with each other.
  • Silk routes are the path covered for the transfer of Chinese silk cargoes. These routes have been identified to link Asia with Europe and northern Africa.
  • Apart from silk, Chinese pottery, Indian spices and textiles were also traded to Europe in exchange of gold and silver.

It is believed that trade exchange is accompanied by cultural exchange. This was also the case in ancient world as well. Many Buddhist and Christian missionaries along with Muslim preachers travelled vast distances in various directions to preach and spread their knowledge and culture.

Food Travels: Spaghetti and Potato

  • Relations between different parts of the world can also be drawn from the food present in the regions. It is assumed that travellers and traders carried crops to different regions and introduced them to those people.
  • Noodles from China Became spaghetti in the west
  • Potatoes, soya, groundnuts, tomatoes, chillies were introduced to us after the discovery of the American continent.
  • Introduction of new crops was beneficial in some areas. Humble potato became the food n which European’s poor people survived. They were so dependent on potatoes that when crop production got destroyed, many poor people died due to starvation.

Conquest, Disease and Trade

  • With the discovery of sea routes that connected Europe to America via Asia was a turning point in the pre-modern world’s trading activity.
  • The native inhabitants of America were tribal people, living simple lives. Its discovery led paved the way to abundant minerals and crops grown in the region.
  • Present day Peru and Mexico became centres for mining activities, especially silver.
  • This helped the European powers to expand their trade, thus enabling them to become powerful, financially and politically.
  • The American continent (North America, South America and the Caribbean), became a target of capture for growth of power. Portuguese and Spanish colonisation was its mid-way till the mid-sixteenth century.
  • One of the major weaknesses of the native Americans was their lack of immunity against various diseases. Even before conquest of the region, the place was infected with deadly disease carried by the Europeans during trading activities.
  • Small pox was one such disease which proved to be very fatal, killing out entire communities. This opened the path of the Europeans to acquire land without much war and fighting.
  • People that carried such disease were either slaves that worked in Africa plantations and were carried to America for the same, or some were those who fled Europe in search of something better. As the people of Europe were immune to such diseases, it affected the most to the native Americans.
  • Till eighteenth century, China and India were considered to be the richest countries. But China’s restriction of overseas trade and India’s colonisation by the European powers, made the Europe the centre of world trade.

The Nineteenth Century (1815–1914)

The nineteenth century world faced dramatic changes in spheres of finance, politics, culture and technology. There are three factors/ movements which contributed to this effect:

  • movement of goods or products
  • movement of labourers or workers
  • movement of capital, for both short and long term basis.

A World Economy Takes Shape

One can say that in-sufficiency of food production in Britain played a major role in shaping the world’s economy in the nineteenth century.

Britain’s Food Demand

  • With the growth of population alongwith industrial sector, demand for food increased. As demand increased, so did the prices. Also, government banned the import of corn under the laws commonly known as “Corn Laws”.
  • This high increase in prices for food was opposed by the industrialists, which forced the government to scrap the “Corn Laws”.
  • As large section of the population got involved in the industrial sector, import of food became cheaper than its production. Food grain prices fell and its consumption increased. There was a high demand for increase in production of food in many parts of the world to meet the demand of Britain.

Shaping of Economy

  • To meet the demands of Britain, lands in Eastern Europe, Russia, America and Australia were cleared.
  • After agricultural production, there was a need to transfer the goods to the desired location. For this, railways were constructed. Railways connected the agricultural regions to the ports, from where the food was shipped. Sea trade increased, leading to building of new ports and expansion of old ones.
  • As lands were cleared for production, people needed to settle down there for regular supply. This required construction of houses and other facilities.
  • With the requirement of settlement came need for labour and investment; investment came from good financial centres such as London.
  • Lack of work force in the regions of development led to migration of people from many parts of the world, especially Europe. It is estimated that nearly 150 million people migrated to different regions in search of a better future.

Similar pattern was observed in India, where Canal Colonies were established in western parts of Punjab. These were semi-deserted areas which were converted into fertile lands with the help of irrigation. Such initiative was taken by British Indian government to increase production of wheat and cotton. The peasants who were employed in these areas were labourers who were from nearby places.

Role of Technology

Technology played a major role in nineteenth century. For instance, railways and steamships helped in transfer of food, livestock and humans from one place to another. There were many factors that stimulated this growth in many parts of the world, one being colonisation.

European power’s colonisation of many areas had many side effects to the place, but also it to evolve in terms of technology. The colonists built railways, developed ports, and introduced policies which helped the region to get rid of its ancient ways of living.

Trade in meat also flourished due to advancement in technology, especially with the invention of refrigerated ships. Initially animals were transported live from America to Europe. But this led to a lot of wastage, as some died in the journey, some fell it, others became unfit for use. With the invention of refrigerated ships, animals are slaughtered as the origin place and transported as frozen meat.

Due to transportation of live animals, meat prices were usually high and poor were not able to afford it. With the introduction of frozen meat, more amount is transferred as place occupied is less and also the price was less. So many poor people were also able to afford the luxury of meat eating.

Late Nineteenth Century Colonialism

On the one hand where world trade flourished and a new economy was taking shape, there were many places in the world that faced serious drawbacks. One of the reasons for this was colonisation.

Colonisation of a particular region led away the freedom and basic human rights of the people. The colonists were only interested in meeting their demands, treating people as mere objects.

One such example is Africa. European power’s conquest for the same was very rigour that in 1885, the main European powers met at Berlin to discuss the distribution of Africa between them.

Rinderpest or the Cattle Plague

Africa before Rinderpest

  • Africa was a continent with vast resources and less population. People led simple lives owning land livestock. Africans did not bother to earn through wages as they had sufficient to live.
  • The Europeans who went to Africa to capture land and own it were successful in doing so. But they were not able to force the Africans to work in the plantations or in the mining.
  • Many measures were taken by the Europeans to force the people to work for wages, such as, introduction of inheritance laws which enabled only one member of the family to inherit land; or imposition of heavy taxes which were only be paid it people worked for wages.


  • The cattle disease arrived in Africa in 1880s when the Europeans brought infected cattle to Africa to feed its soldiers.
  • The disease spread very rapidly through the entire African continent. It killed almost 90 percent of the livestock.
  • With maximum number of livestock gone, the Africans were force to take up wage work, which was now strictly regulated. As the Europeans knew that people were helpless, they exploited the situation for their own benefit.

The Rinderpest situation shows us that though globalisation helped in shaping economy, it also disastrously affected the lives of the people. A cattle disease changed the fortune of a large number of people.

Indentured Labour Migration from India

Indentured labour was referred to as “new system of slavery”. The indentured labour shows us how on one side some sections of the world saw prosperity in trade and economy, while other sections of the society faced oppression and poverty.

  • In India, due to failure of domestic cotton industries, capture of land by renters due to failure of payment of debts, and clearance of land for plantations and mining forced the people to migrate out of the place in search of something better.
  • People were hired by agents for a contract period of five years, where they had to go to the plantations or mining areas to work. People of present day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Central India and Tamil Nadu were prominent among those who were hired for indentured labour. They were usually taken to Caribbean islands, Mauritius and Fiji. Some were also taken to Assam plantations.
  • Many a time agents gave false information to the labourers about work and living conditions. They were also not informed about the time and type of journey they were to endure. There were also instances when labourers were forcibly taken to work at far way lands.
  • Labourers were shocked when they arrived at their work locations, seeing harsh working and living conditions. But many labourers survived, either by escaping into the wilds or accepting their situations. The labourers formed their own associations. Many workers stayed on after their contract period while others returned back to their work place after their short trip to India.
  • Indentured labour was banned in India in 1921, after Indian nationalists opposed the system labelling it abusive and cruel.

The associations formed by the labourers had new impact on the culture of the region. It is a good example to visualise how culture from different origins mixed and formed something unique or new.

  • ‘Chutney music’ is a famous art form in Trinidad and Guyana, which expresses creatively the post-indenture experience.
  • ‘Hosay’ was a carnival celebrated in Trinidad, which was attended by all the workers of the region, irrespective of their race and religion.

Indian Entrepreneurs Abroad

Indians also invested in the global trade and earned profits. They usually played the role of bankers who invested in plantations as well as in its export. Indians developed a system to regulate transfer of money nationally as well as internationally.

Indians also reached the colonies of Europe to earn money by utilising their resources. With increase in trade, by the 1860s, many Indians had established retail shops ay busy ports selling to the tourists local and imported varied items.

  • Nattukottai Chettiars, Shikaripuri shroffs, Hyderabadi sindhis are some of the examples.

Indian Trade, Colonialism and the Gate Global Trade

Initially, fine variety of cotton cloth produced in India was exported to Britain and other counties. But with the development of factories and industries in Britain, trade barriers were imposed which led to the banishment of imported fine cotton cloths.

With the decrease in export from India, import of manufactured goods from Britain in India increased. This led to increased competition faced by Indian textiles, whose export business fell dramatically. The share of cotton textiles in export dropped from 30 percent in 1800 to below 3 percent by the 1870s.

With the decrease in export of fine cotton cloth, export of food grains and raw materials increased. The raw materials for the Britain factories were exported from India, especially raw cotton. Indigo was another raw material whose export increased. Britain also exported opium from India to China, and with the money earned imported tea and other items from China.

Consequently, British manufactured goods increased in the Indian market. Britain imported raw cotton and exported manufactured goods to India. But the money it invested in imports was much less than the profit it earned through its export in India. Thus Britain was termed to have ‘trade surplus’ over India. This helped Britain to cover its expenses in trade with countries with whom it did not share good margin of profit.

Britain trade surplus over India also helped Britain to cover its expenses of colonisation that included pensions of British officials, payments of interest of debts of trade and various others.

The Inter-war Economy

The First World War started from 1914-1918. It was mainly fought in Europe. As till the nineteenth century, Europe was the centre for trade and commerce, the war brought about many changes in the lives of the people, impacting them socially, politically and financially.

Wartime Transformations

  • The First World War was fought between two important powers: Allies-which included Britain, France and Russia- and the Central Powers-which included Germany, Hungary-Austria and Ottoman Turkey.
  • The war is said to be the first war of modern age, where many important industrial nations took part. They used technologies and weapons which had the possibility of damaging the opponents on a large scale. Death toll increased, with an estimation of 9 million people dead and 20 million people injured after the First World War. Many of the soldiers were from working age, thus declining the labour force dramatically after the war.
  • As the war continued, more people were recruited from across the world to participate in the war. Many people travelled large distances, covering seas and oceans to reach the destinations.
  • Male members in the family declined, leading to decline in the family income. And as more were sent to war, females were forced to step up and take jobs which were meant to be executed by only men.
  • Industries in the world also reshaped, producing goods for war. Industrial nations, who once controlled the economy, then borrowed money from many nations, especially US. After the war, US went from debtor to being a creditor.

Post War Recovery

  • After the First World War, Europe faced major repercussions. As Britain was engaged in war, India and Japan’s industries flourished and they took hold of the market. After the war, it became difficult for Britain to take back their positions.
  • The interest for the money, which was borrowed by Britain during the war, grew rapidly. Britain went under enormous debts.
  • War also led to increase in jobs- as demand in production increased. After the war ended, many people were left jobless.
  • Government also decreased post war expenditures to balance with peace revenues which further led to loss of jobs. This caused anxiety and panic among the people.
  • War effects can also be seen in agriculture. With Europe being engaged in war, wheat supplies from Europe diminished, which were made up by increase in production in Canada, America and Australia. After war, the wheat production in Europe bloomed again; the prices of wheat fell all over the world. This led to decrease in rural income.

Rise of Mass Production and Consumption

US economy boosted after the First World War. It longer was a country that was under the rule of the European powers. After a short crisis after the war, US resumed to grow in status of finance and power.

One of the major features of the US economy after the First World War was the system of mass production. Mass production led to increase in goods available in the market, leading to decrease in their prices. The decrease in price was comparative to the other contemporary products available, but it brought profit to the workers and to the company that produced them.

  • Henry Ford was a car manufacturer that maybe said to have started the practice of mass production.
  • He introduced conveyer belts for the transfer of car parts in his company. He named them ‘assembly lines’ which he thought would enable workers to perform a work repeatedly at a faster rate. The rate will depend on the speed of the conveyer belt.
  • This introduction forced the workers to work hard to meet the pace, for example, fix a part of the car coming with the help of conveyer belt to another part. The workers then were under the pressure to fix the part at hand before another arrives from the conveyer belt.
  • This method caused the production of parts at a much faster rate than the previous methods employed.
  • Initially, the workers were not able to cope with the pressure of work. Many began to quit the job. Seeing this, Henry Ford doubled the salaries of the workers.
  • Increasing the salaries of the workers did not come as a loss to the company. Henry increased the production rate and again forced the workers to work much harder.
  • His profit earned from the production was so high that he termed his decision of increasing the salaries of the workers as his best ‘cost cutting decision’.

The practice of Henry Ford’s mass production was soon adopted by many industrialists, leading to rise in production of refrigerators, washing machines, radios, etc.

Another feature observed was purchasing goods on ‘hire purchase’ which allowed people to pay the prices of the goods in instalments, either weekly or monthly. As the purchase of electronic items increased, so did the requirement of house building and its ownership, which was again facilitated through the loan system or ‘hire purchase’.

The requirement of house ownership and building led to more employment. With the increase in demands, came more investments which created more employment – leading to an overall prosperity in the US in the 1920s.

US also became one of the largest capital investor. Its trade with the European countries helped them recover from the post war effects to a large extent.

The Great Depression

The Great Depression started in 1929 till the mid 1930s. Its effects were seen in every sector of economy, but the worst affected was the agricultural sector. Many revived after the depression, but the effects on the agriculture sector was prolonged and very prominent.

There were many factors that contributed to the cause of the Great Depression:

  • There was an overproduction of agricultural goods after the First World War. This caused the prices to fell. The decrease in income of the farmers led them to produce more goods to balance their overall income, further deteriorating the scenario.
  • Many countries of the world were dependent on US for investment. But seeing the early signs of depression, US backed out from lending further loans to the countries, thus severely affecting their economies.
  • Also, US imposed duties on import trade to deal with the effects of Depression. This also caused a blow to the countries’ economies.

Effects of Depression

  • The major effect was seen on farmers, whose income declined on a very large scale. They were unable to pay off their interests and further went down under the debts.
  • Due to cut off of loans from US, many major banks collapsed leading to disruption of currencies such as British pound sterling.
  • US also faced the blow of depression. As the prices of commodities fell, US banks backed out from giving loans and demanded the money lend back. With this, came failure of businesses, households where people were forced to sell their homes and other assets to pay off their debts.
  • Unemployment reached a high value, causing people to leave their homes and travel far off distances in search of any available work.
  • US banks also went bankrupt and collapsed, as they were not able to collect the money that was given as loan: 110,000 companies collapsed during 1929 and 1932.

India and the Great Depression

  • The Great Depression of the US had its effect on Indian economy as well. This can also be seen as an example how the economies of the world were intricately intermixed.
  • With the start of the depression, export of raw materials declined, as prices fell. The fall in prices internationally caused an increase in prices in India, thus causing more suffering.
  • Farmers were the worst affected, as export declined. But the decline in export did not lower the revenue taxes that were to be paid. The farmers that produced for the international market were the worst to suffer.
  • To clear off their loans and debts, Indians started selling off their jewellery or any other precious metals. India became an exporter of the precious metals in the depression years. It is said that India’s export of gold helped Britain revive its economy in the depression years.
  • Urban dwellers of India were the least affected. With fix salaries and falling of prices of goods, they lived comfortable lives comparatively. As government granted tariff protection to the industries, investment in the industrial sector also increased.

Rebuilding a world Economy: The Post-war Era

Second World War was fought in the year 1939 to 1945 between Axis powers- that included Nazi Germany, Japan and Italy- and the Allies- which included Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the US).

Second World War brought more devastation and havoc than the First World War. It is estimated that more than 60 million people lost their lives. But this time, along with soldiers, civilians were also killed due to air attacks on different cities. This caused many parts of Europe and Asia turn to ashes.

Two important outcomes of the Second World war was: one, US came out to be a powerful force in political, economic and military sphere. Secondly, Soviet Union also emerged out as a world power, from an agricultural backward country.

Post-War Settlement and the Bretton Woods Institutions

Two key points were drawn from various economic cultures:

  • If one is to base its industrial sector on mass production, then there should be a constant demand for the goods produced, which in turn required stable incomes, which was possible from stable jobs or employment. Also, it was proposed that government should control prices and provide opportunities for employment.
  • A country’s economic links with other countries was also important to control employment. A government can control employment by controlling flow of goods in and out of the country, capital and labour.

Bretton Woods Institutions

After the Second World War, United Nations was formed, to ensure peace between different countries. United nations work in different sectors to help needy and poor and help them cope with the competitive work. After the Second World War, emphasis was given on economic and political stability.

A system was worked out at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference held at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, USA in 1944 and so, the name, Bretton Woods.

Bretton woods institutions, also known as Bretton Woods twins, consisted of two units: the International Monetary fund (IMF), which dealt with a member country’s excess and deficit resources. The other unit was the International Bank for Reconstruction and development (also known as World Bank). It was set up to finance post war reconstruction.

The International Monetary system was one in which a country’s currency was pegged or fixed at a certain exchange rate with other country’s currency.

The Early Post-War Years

The post war years saw rapid growth in trade and income in the Western industrial nations. The growth was steady and on an average, unemployment was less than 5 percent in the industrial nations.

Developing nations invested in large amounts in industrial equipments and machinery to catch up with the advanced nations. This also caused increase in employment and incomes in the developing nations.

Decolonisation and Independence

After the Second World War, many countries freed themselves from the colonial rule. But after years of being controlled, the people were under enormous pressure to bring them out of poverty and develop a system that would ensure employment, food and security. Along with it, it also had to cope with the advancement which led to the development of other countries.

The Bretton Woods Institutions were initially focused on meeting the needs of the industrial countries, but as they were self-sufficient in rebuilding their economies, the focus of the institution shifted to the developing countries.

The Bretton Woods was mainly regulated by the colonial powers, and so, even after independence, they had control over a country’s natural resources. And also, powerful countries were able to exploit the resources of the less developed countries for their own benefit.

In the 1950s and 1960s, a group of developing countries came together to form a union of their own called as the Group of 77 or G-77. It was done so to avoid exploitation from the developed countries: by having control over their own resources, by having control over the prices of raw materials and finished products in the international market. These demands were collectively called a new international economic order (NIEO).

End of Bretton Woods and the Beginning of 'Gobalisation'

By the fall of the 1960s, US trade overseas fluctuated, causing the value of dollar to decline. This rendered the system of fixed exchange rates useless. In place of it, a new system of floating exchange rates was introduced.

Also, with the formation of Bretton Woods twins, developing countries financed its growth by taking loans from the twins initially. But later on, the loans had to be taken from the banks and money lenders of the developed nations. This led to higher interest rates, and many a times pushed the developing countries further back into debts.

China emerged out as a platform where MNCs were attracted to the most. This was because of the low cost structure of the Chinese economy- its low wage income. This stimulated the world’s trade and capital investment.

World’s economy faced major transformations with the economic transformations of countries like India, China and Brazil.

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