Voyage of the Peacock and the Treaty of Friendship with the Sultan of Muscat

Author: Susan L. Douglass, Aisa Martinez, Azhar Al Fadl
The history of the United States is inseparable from the global history of the pre-modern and modern eras. Those very historical processes that made possible the settlement of the Americas, colonialism and industrialization, such as scientific discovery and exchange, advancements in technology and navigation, and especially, the expansion of trade to encircle the globe, are global processes that cannot be effectively studied in isolation.

The Indian Ocean Basin is another relative newcomer to the history curriculum. It is finally being recognized as a major zone of interaction of continuous importance throughout human history. This set of lessons is part of a major resource on the Internet that highlights the geography and the economic, political, and cultural history of a tremendously diverse and largely peaceful region of the world. The enormous arc of the Indian Ocean Basin, stretching from the southern tip of Africa across the southern rim of Asia to the Indonesian archipelago and Australia, is also the gateway to the Pacific Ocean and the Far Eastern lands of China, Japan, and Korea. This lesson on American trade during a brief period in the early nineteenth century is very much connected to both the region’s ancient and its modern history.

This set of lessons is designed to help with the task of globalizing the teaching of United States history. Realizing that history teachers are faced with the huge and growing task of incorporating both new research and up-to-date teaching methods, this unit provides a bridge toward meeting the latest goal of expanding the scope of US history education. Using the lesson format developed by the National Center for History in the Schools, students are given access to a collection of primary source documents that relate to a specific event in history—one that illuminates a larger concept of importance. The lesson provides a minimum of contextual information, consisting of the primary source excerpts, their documentation, and a set of activities and questions that were carefully considered and researched to bring out the larger points in the lesson. In addition, of course, these activities are designed to enhance historical thinking skills in dealing with primary source documents, and to sensitize students to the historical issues raised in the research.

Beginning with the “Dramatic Moment,” students are drawn into a time when sea travel was perilous, and a ship far from home was both in danger from and dependent upon those with whom it shared the seas and ports. The three lessons provide primary source materials that introduce students to US political and economic diplomacy, to the ships and sailing personnel that made such journeys possible, and to the shape of American and foreign commerce during the early 19th century.

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Time: 3 Class Periods

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