The Crucible of the Millennium | 2001
Documentary that focuses on the years and events surrounding 1500 and the relevance to our time. Historians call this period the beginning of the Modern Age, the beginning of globalization. Before the 15th century, different cultures could inhabit the same globe, live separate lives and be oblivious of one another.
Part 1 tells the story of Calicut, a bustling port city on the coast of southwest India that was a crossroads for many cultures, a place that gave rise to the beginnings of trade on a global scale. The program captures the experiences of three 15th-century visitors to Calicut -- the first, a royal visitor from China who led a maritime expedition; the second, an ambassador from an Ottoman court; and the third, a Portuguese explorer whose visit to this city changed the course of history. The program reveals how encounters that took place in South Asia more than 500 years ago continue to affect our politics, attitudes and economics.
Part 2 explores the legacy of 15th and 16th century interactions between Europeans and the people of the Americas and Africa. During this period, cultures collided and grappled with each other, their responses ranging from romanticism to attempted annihilation. The program follows the exploits of the early explorers and shows how their explorations, their conquests and their trade in everything from sugar to human beings that ultimately brought the entire world, often reluctantly, into permanent contact, and raised issues of colonial domination that remain unresolved to this day.