Saturday, June 17, 2017

Ancient Chinese Life

Chinese life and Culture.
In the uncertain times of the late Zhou period, Chinese philosophers laid the groundwork for the basic philosophical schools that would be influential in later Chinese history. One of their basic ideas was the dualism, or two-sidedness, of nature. They taught that everything in the world results from a balancing of complimentary forces, called yin and yang. Through the balancing of yin and yang, people could achieve harmony. Perhaps the most influential scholar to offer a practical guide to achieving this harmony was Kongzi, known in the West as Confucius. Confucius taught about the importance of family, respect for one’s elders, and reverence for the past. These three concepts formed the basis of Confucian philosophy.

Other philosophies and religious teachings offered other ideas about China’s problems. Daoism, for example, took its name from its central idea, the Dao, or Way of Nature. Daoists believed that people should withdraw and contemplate the natural harmony of the world in order to learn from it and allow it to govern human affairs. Daosim and Confucianism eventually came to complement one another.

Legalism, on the other hand, was a school of philosophy that taught that people were basically selfish and untrustworthy and had to be controlled with harsh measures. The Legalists believed in power, not virtue, and in the importance of having harsh laws. It was in part their adherence to Legalist views that made the Qin under Shi Huangdi so unpopular. The Han, on the other hand, followed a Confucian model in their approach to government.

The family, not the individual, was the most important unit of Chinese society. The father ruled the family and women were subordinate to men although Chinese society also taught great respect for mothers and mothers-in-law. Within the household, these women held considerable power. Until she had born a son, on the other hand, a new wife might be treated almost like a servant in her husband’s family. Respect for one’s aged parents, and especially for one’s father, was an important virtue.

As civilization prospered in China, the Chinese also developed skills in the arts and sciences. The most important works of Chinese literature were the Five Classics: the Book of History; the Book of Poetry; the Book of Divination; the Spring and Autumn Annals; and the Book of Rites. The Five Classics became the basis on which all Chinese scholars were educated. We do not know who wrote these works or when they were written. The Analects of Confucius were also essential reading for all properly brought up young men. Indeed, these works became the mainstay of the imperial civil service examinations and did much to maintain the unity of imperial culture throughout the various regions of China. Most of all, the use of these texts in Chinese education emphasized respect for tradition and knowledge of the past.

In science, Chinese astronomers early on computed the year to be 36514 days long. In 28 B.C., Chinese astronomers first observed sunspots and sometime before A.D. 100 they were building special instruments to observe the movement of planets. Another scientific invention was a primitive seismograph that could detect even the faintest earthquakes. The Chinese developed paper, as well as such things as the sundial, the water clock, and a process of printing.

While China developed in relative isolation in eastern Asia, far to the west new civilizations began to develop around the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. These civilizations were the beneficiaries of earlier developments in Mesopotamia and Egypt.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Ancient Chinese Civilization Shang, Zhou, Qin & Han dynasties

Ancient Chinese Civilization
Unlike civilizations further west, Chinese civilization developed in relative isolation from outside influences. This was because China was cut off by its great distance from other centers of civilization, as well as by geographical barriers such as the Gobi desert and the towering mountains of Central Asia.

Their lack of contact with foreigners helped give the Chinese a strong sense of identity and superiority. They regarded their land as the only civilized land and called it Zhonggno, the “Middle Kingdom.” To the Chinese it represented the center of world.

Geographical and cultural influences. As elsewhere, the development of civilization in China was greatly affected by its geography. The heartland of China stretches from the coast up the valleys of the Huang He, Chang Jiang, and Xi Jiang rivers. The valley of the Huang He is particularly fertile due to the rich yellow soil known as loess. So much of this soil washes into the Huang He that it is sometimes called the Yellow River. The river is also prone to flooding, which in turn has led to another nickname, “China’s Sorrow.” In addition to being isolated by mountains and deserts, China itself is divided by the Qinling (CHIN•LING) Shandi, a range of mountains that separates north and south China. These mountains also mark the boundary between two different types of agriculture in the north, wheat was the principal crop, while in the south Chinese farmers primarily grew rice.

This heartland region, sometimes called China Proper, is surrounded by a number of outlying regions: Tibet, Xinjiang (SHIN»JYAHNG), Mongolia, Manchuria, and Korea. From these more forbidding areas, the heartland of China has sometimes been attacked by nomadic or semi-nomadic peoples. Historically, the Chinese have tried to control these areas, either to protect themselves from attack or to gain valuable trade routes. In the process of unifying or controlling all these areas, the Chinese developed a tradition of imperial rule.

The Shang dynasty. China’s first historic dynasty, the Shang, began along the Huang He sometime between 1750 B.C. and 1500 B.C. During the Shang period, many elements of later Chinese civilization began to develop, notably a writing system, and a religious tradition that combined animism a belief that spirits inhabit everything with ancestor worship. The Chinese worshiped gods of the wind, Sun, clouds, and moon. They also believed that the principal god, Shang Ti, was responsible for their destiny and controlled the forces of nature. Shang rulers tried to appeal to Shang Ti through their ancestors.

The Zhou, Qin, and Han dynasties. In 1122 B.C., the Shang were conquered by the Zhou (JOH), a powerful tribe from the northwest frontier. The Zhou claimed that their right to rule was divinely granted because Shang Ti had withdrawn his favor from the Shang dynasty. Instead, the Mandate of Heaven, as they began to call it, had passed to them. Future rulers of China would also argue that they ruled because they had this mandate, and if a dynasty lost the throne it was because they had lost the Mandate of Heaven.

Although they ruled China for about 900 years, the Zhou did not impose a centralized form of government. Instead they granted territories to members of the royal family and their allies to rule as they liked, so long as they provided the Zhou monarch with military service and tribute. Eventually, Zhou power declined and a number of warring states emerged to struggle for control of the country. One of these warring states, the Qin (CHIN), emerged victorious in 221 B.C. and founded a new dynasty.

Although the Qin dynasty only lasted a short time, until 206 B.C., it united China under a strong, central government for the first time in history. The first Qin ruler took the title Shi Huangdi, meaning “first emperor.” The Qin established the first real Chinese empire. They also standardized weights, measures, and coinage; established a uniform system of writing; and imposed a single system of taxation throughout the country. In order to maintain their rule, however, the Qin were harsh in their methods. Discontent soon grew, and in 202 B.C. Liu Bang, a commoner, raised a revolt that overthrew the Qin and established a new dynasty, the Han.

Like the Qin, the Han dynasty maintained a strong centralized government, but it ruled less harshly and more wisely. The Han improved the Qin bureaucracy and built a centralized civil service system, eventually based on an examination system tor prospective officials, to run the empire. They also increased trade, expanded and defended the frontiers, and generally tried to improve the economy of" China. Linder their rule, China prospered and many new tools and luxury goods became available including paper, a Chinese invention that later spread to the West. Eventually, however, the quality of emperors declined and in A.D. 220 the Han dynasty fell. For hundreds of years, nomadic tribes swept across northern China. Not until A.D. 589 did a Chinese general once again unify China and restore the imperial tradition.

Ancient Indian Lifestyle & Culture

Ancient Indian life and culture
The ancient Indian societes established the basic social and cultural pattems of Indian civilzation and left the world a rich legacy in art, literature, mathematics, and science. Under the Indo-Aryan influence, four distinct varna, or social classes, emerged in Indian society: the Brahmins, or priests; the Kshatriyas, or warriors; the Vaisya, which included farmers, traders, and merchants; and the Sudras, or peasants. A fifth group, known as Pariahs “untouchables,” stood at the bottom of society as virtual outcasts. As time passed, these four great varnas further subdivided into hereditary groups known as jati, each with its own fixed social position and rules about eating, marriage, labor, and worship. Westerners would later refer to this division of society as the caste system.

The social divisions of Indian society were reinforced by religious teachings. So too was the position of women, which was subordinate to that of men. Polygyny, the marriage of a man to more than one woman, for example, was accepted in Indo-Aryan society and became more widespread during the Gupta period. Another practice that became more common under Gupta rule, especially among the upper castes, was suttee, which required a widow to commit suicide by throwing herself on her husband’s funeral pyre.

Religion, in fact, was a central feature of Indian life. In addition to the Vedas, over the centuries other religious writings became important. Sometime after 700 b.c., for example, religious thinkers began to question the authority of the Brahmins. Wandering and teaching their message among the forests of the Ganges plain, these thinkers produced a new body of religious literature known as the Upanishads, complex explanations of the Vedic religion. Ordinary people, however, preferred the two great epics of Indian poetry, the Mahabharata and Ramayana, which taught the doctrines of Hinduism through historical and religious stories. The last part of the Mahabharata, known as the Baghavad Gita, or “Song of the Lord,” was especially popular. Its main teachings were devotion to God and that one should conduct oneself according to one’s dharma, or moral duty in life, so that the soul could progress toward deliverance from the cycle of reincarnation. Under the Guptas, Indians also enjoyed the Panchatantra, a series of fables that included the story of Sinbad the Sailor, which later found its way into the Persian tale of The Thousand and One Nights.

Art and architecture also developed, particularly under the Guptas, as did mural paintings in caves. These paintings are a valuable source of information about the daily life of the Indian people at that time. Buddhist architecture developed its own distinctive style in the stupa the dome-shaped shrines that held artifacts and objects associated with the Buddha.

Perhaps the most significant developments came in the sciences. Indian mathematicians understood abstract numbers and negative numbers, as well as the concepts of zero and infinity. Indians probably invented the numbers we call “Arabic”: the digits 1 through 9. Indian astronomers also understood the rotation of Earth on its axis and could accurately predict eclipses of the Sun and moon. Indian physicians understood the importance of the spinal column and invented the technique of inoculation infecting a person with a mild form of a disease so that he or she will not fall ill with the more serious form. They also practiced bone-setting and plastic surgery, and some understood the importance of disinfecting wounds and practicing strict cleanliness to avoid infection. By the time of the Guptas, such knowledge was passed on through the great university at Nalanda, a Buddhist institution that offered a free education to as many as 10,000 students.

Indo-Aryan Migration

Indo-Aryan migrants. What is certain, however, is that sometime around 1750 B.C., new groups of Indo- European speaking peoples, whose original homeland was probably somewhere north of the Black and Caspian Seas, began to move south through the mountain passes into northern India. Although they called themselves Aryans, scholars today refer to them as Indo-Aryans, to distinguish them from those Aryan tribes who remained in what is now Iran. The nomadic Indo-Aryans herded sheep and cows. Skillful fighters, the Indo-Aryans eventually conquered the Indus Valley and then gradually moved eastward along the great Ganges River, until after several centuries they controlled the entire Gangetic plain of northern India.

Most of what we know about early Indo-Aryan society comes from the Vedas, the great literature ot the Indo-Aryan religion. Eventually, Indo-Aryan settlements joined to form small city-states, each ruled by a raja a prince or king. Differences between the Indo- Aryans and the earlier inhabitants of India led to the development over time of a complex social system, with warriors and later priests at the top, followed by merchants, traders, farmers, and servants at the bottom.

Less influenced by the influx of the Indo-Aryans, southern India at first developed somewhat differently from the north. Separated from the Indo- Gangetic plain in the north by the forest-covered mountains of the Vindhya Range, the people of the south were able to resist conquest by the Indo- Aryans for centuries. They remained linguistically, ethnically, and culturally distinct from the populations of the north. The southern part of India is quite hilly, and this too worked against political or cultural unification. As a result, southern India remained fragmented into many different groups. Some lived as farmers, others as hunter-gatherers. Those living along the coast often turned to trade and commerce for a living and, through coastal ports, southern Indians eventually made contact with other civilizations in southeast Asia.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Ancient Indian Civilization & Harappan civilization

Ancient Indian Civilization
As far as scholars can tell, the first civilization in India developed about 4500 years ago, in the valley of the Indus River. This was several hundred years after Egypt and Sumer developed civilizations. Although our knowledge of this civilization is incomplete, the ruins of two cities, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, provide us with the best evidence. Scholars often refer to this civilization as the Harappan civilization because it was in Harappa that archaeologists first discovered its artifacts.

Harappan Civilization. Both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro show evidence of extremely sophisticated city planning and design. Both cities, for example, had wide streets laid out on a grid pattern, as well as extensive public water works, including public baths and a covered brick sewer system for private homes. The early Indus Valley people also developed their own written language, though modem scholars have not yet learned to decipher it. Scholars disagree about why this civilization declined. Some have suggested that the course of the Indus River changed dramatically, with devastating consequences for agriculture in the valley and flooding in the cities. Others have suggested invasion by migrating tribes led to the conquest and downfall of the civilization. Still others have argued that the region was subject to major earthquakes. The real reasons remain a mystery.

The Phoenicians, Lydians, and Hebrews

The Phoenicians, Lydians, and Hebrews
The peoples who lived in the western end of the Fertile Crescent and in western Asia Minor did not create large empires, but they had great influence on the modern world.

Phoenicia consisted of a loose union of city-states, each governed by a different king. The Phoenicians turned to the sea and to commerce for their living and became the greatest traders in the ancient Mediterranean world. Perhaps most important, the Phoenicians developed the alphabet, on which our own alphabet is patterned.

The Lydians of Asia Minor are remembered as the first people in history to use coined money, beginning in about 600 B.C. Through trade, they passed on the idea of a money economy to the Greeks and Persians.

As in the eastern part of the Fertile Crescent, a series of peoples inhabited Canaan, which lay south of Phoenicia along the land bridge between Asia and Africa. The Semitic-speaking Hebrews, the ancestors of modern Jews, had a great influence on this region and on all of history.

The Hebrews worshiped one god, Yahweh. They thought of their god not as a glorified human being, but as the one true god, the creator of the universe. The Torah, part of the Hebrew scriptures, outlines the Hebrew code of laws. This code set a higher value on human life than had earlier law codes. Because of its emphasis on ethics, or right conduct, Judaism, the Hebrew form of monotheism is often called ethical monotheism. It ranks as the Hebrews’ most important contribution to Western civilization.

Empires of the Fertile Crescent

Empires of the Fertile Crescent
The lack of unity among the Sumerian city-states made them vulnerable to attack not only by rival cities, but also by surrounding nomadic peoples who were attracted by the relative wealth of the cities. As these nomadic peoples interacted with the settled communities of the cities, they soon began to learn the skills of civilization. Combining this new knowledge with their own warlike skills, some began to conquer the cities of the Tigris-Euphrates and to create the first empires.

Fertile Crescent and Akkadians
Some time around 2330 B.C., the Akkadians, a people who also lived in Mesopotamia, conquered the Sumerians. The most powerful ot the Akkadian kings, Sargon, who ruled from about 2350 to 2300 B.C., established a great empire that extended as far west as the Mediterranean Sea. Although it only lasted about a hundred years, the Akkadian Empire was the first of many to take control of the area.

Around 1792 B.C., a powerful ruler named Hammurabi (ham»uh*RAUB»ee) came to power in the city of Babylon and conquered most of the upper Tigris-Euphrates Valley. More than just an outstanding military leader, Hammurabi was an outstanding political leader as well. He is best known for the Code of Hammurabi, a collection of laws compiled under his direction. Like the Akkadians, the Babylonians copied many aspects ot Sumerian culture, including their religious beliefs.

Sometime in the 1600s B.C., yet another group of warlike peoples, an Indo-European speaking group known as the Hittites, invaded the Tigris-Euphrates Valley from Asia Minor. The Hittites were among the first to use iron weapons. They also introduced a new, more reasonable set of laws than the harsher ones laid down in Hammurabi’s code. Yet, while they conquered Babylon, the Hittites were unable to hold the region for long and eventually withdrew to their new home base in Asia Minor.

After a prolonged period of further invasions by migrating peoples, about 900 B.C. the Assyrians, a Semitic-speaking people, began to expand their rule throughout the Fertile Crescent. Eventually, they conquered a vast empire that stretched from Egypt to the Iranian Plateau.

The Assyrians excelled in warfare. They were the first to make extensive use of cavalry units of soldiers mounted on horses. They also waged war ferociously, frequently killing their war captives and sometimes massacring the inhabitants of cities they conquered to instill terror in others. They ruled their empire through an efficient system of imperial bureaucracy. Governors ruled conquered territories and made regular reports to the king. To ensure loyalty, secret inspectors checked up on the governors and reported on their activities to the king directly. Like other conquerors before them, the Assyrians were influenced by the earlier patterns of Sumerian civilization. In fact, it was while excavating the great library of the Assyrian capital of Nineveh that modern archaeologists found a copy of the ancient Sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh, one of the oldest works of literature known.

The Assyrians’ tactics won them many enemies. Finally, in 612 B.C., an alliance of their foes, led by the Medes and the Chaldeans, captured and totally destroyed the Assyrian capital of Nineveh and put an end once and for all to Assyrian power.

Under the leadership of king Nebuchadnezzar (neb*uh«kuhd»NEZ»uhr), the Chaldeans conquered most of the Fertile Crescent. Babylon, their capital, once again became a large and rich city. After Nebuchadnezzar’s death, however, this brief revival of Babylonian power faltered and in 539 Babylon fell to yet another Indo-European speaking people from the Iranian Plateau, the Persians. Under their great rulers, Cyrus the Great and Darius I, the Persians created the largest empire yet seen, ruling the peoples of southwest Asia and Egypt with an efficient and generally tolerant imperial bureaucracy.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Kingdoms of the Tigris-Euphrates & Sumerian Civilization

Kingdoms of the Tigris-Euphrates
The ancient Egyptians developed a civilization that reflected the generally bountiful nature of the Nile. In the Tigris-Euphrates Valley sometimes called Mesopotamia, after the later Greek term for “land between the rivers,” or the Fertile Crescent civilization developed along rather different lines. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers begin in the hills of modern Turkey and flow south to the Persian Gulf. The flooding of the Tigris and Euphrates, unlike that of the Nile, cannot be easily predicted. Not only is the exact time of year unpredictable, but the extent of the flood cannot be estimated. Not surprisingly, the people of the valley viewed nature and the gods as angry and unreasonable. Even so, the two rivers provided water and rich soils for agriculture, particularly in Sumer in the southern region.

Sumerian Civilization
Sumerian civilization. In Sumer, Neolithic people settled, grew crops, and over time created what we call Sumerian culture in a number of small city-states. A city-state included not only the city itself but also the land and fields around it. By 3000 B.C., the Sumerians knew how to use metal and had developed a new form of wedge- shaped writing, known as cuneiform from the Latin word for wedge.

The ancient Sumerians established many of the patterns of civilization that would be adopted by later civilizations in the Tigris-Euphrates region. They built their houses and other buildings from sun-dried clay bricks. They may have also invented several important architectural designs, including the arch. The most striking buildings were temples, known as ziggurats, which formed the central feature of a city- state. Ziggurats were built up like a layered wedding cake, with each story a bit smaller than the one on which it sat. At the top was a shrine to one of the Sumerian gods.

In addition to their architectural advances, the Sumerians also made many other important discoveries. Some scholars think they were the first to develop and use the wheel. In mathematics they used a number system based on 60, and divided the circle into 360 degrees, with each degree made up of 60 minutes, and each minute further subdivided into 60 seconds.

Sumerian civilization religion
Religion was at the heart of Sumerian civilization. Like the ancient Egyptians, the Sumerians were polytheists, believing in many gods. They believed that each city was the property of a god or goddess, who were also associated with the forces of nature and with heavenly bodies like the moon and the Sun. Unlike the Egyptians, however, the Sumerians viewed their gods as unpredictable and cruel rather like the natural environment around them. Consequently, they had little conception of an elaborate afterlife. Indeed, competition among the city-states over water rights along the rivers was often interpreted as a battle between the gods of the respective city-states.

Egypt was the gift of the Nile

Kingdoms of the Nile
Egypt was “the gift of the Nile"
The ancient Greek historian Herodotus once observed that all Egypt was “the gift of the Nile.” Each year rain caused the river to flood, bringing rich silts down from the Ethiopian Highlands and depositing them over the lower parts of the river valley. From the earliest times, Egyptian farmers planned their work around the flood, not only taking advantage of the richness of the soil it left behind, but also using its waters for irrigation.

Over the centuries, strong leaders united early Egyptian farming settlements to create two kingdoms, Lower Egypt in the north, and Upper Egypt in the south. Then, sometime after 3200 B.C., a king of Upper Egypt, known as Menes (MEE»neez), united the two kingdoms. He and his successors eventually took the title pharaoh. They crushed rebellions, gained new territory, regulated irrigation, and encouraged trade, bringing increased prosperity. From the time of Menes to almost 300 B.C., about 30 Egyptian dynasties, or families .of rulers, rose and fell. Historians divide this time span into three kingdoms: the Old Kingdom, which lasted from about 2650 to 2180 B.C.; the Middle Kingdom, from about 2040 to 1780 B.C.; and the New Kingdom, which was established about 1570 B.C. The periods between the kingdoms are referred to as intermediate periods.

The Hyksos 
During the second intermediate period, about 1650, much of Egypt fell under the control of an Asiatic people the Hyksos (HIK*sohs) whose horse-drawn chariots overwhelmed the Egyptians. Eventually, a new leader emerged in the city of Thebes who drove the Hyksos out of Egypt and proclaimed the New Kingdom under his own dynasty. Adopting the battle techniques of the Hyksos, the pharaohs of the New Kingdom conquered new territories in Nubia and along the eastern Mediterranean coast, in the process establishing an empire.

From about 1380 to 1362 B.C., Egypt was ruled by the pharaoh Amenhotep (ahm»uhn»HOH»tep) IV. Amenhotep IV tried to replace the traditional Egyptian belief in many gods, a practice known as polytheism, with his own belief in only one god, a practice known as monotheism. The new god was symbolized by the disk of the Sun, called the Aton, and Amenhotep even changed his name to Akhenaton (ahk«NAHT#uhn), or “he who is pleasing to Aton.” Akhenaton’s religious revolution stirred up resentment and the end of his reign was marked by strife between the pharaoh and the priests of the old religious cults. After Akhenaton’s death, the priests regained power and, under the boy- king Tutankhamen (too • tang»KAHM#uhn), they restored the old polytheistic religion in Egypt.

After Akhenaton, few strong pharaohs ruled Egypt. Perhaps the most important exception was Ramses II, sometimes called Ramses the Great, who ruled from about 1279 to 1213 B.C. Ramses’ successors could not hold the empire together, however, and eventually Egyptian power declined.

With the prosperity provided by the Nile’s bounty and protected for the most part from invaders by its geographical location, Egyptian civilization was remarkably stable over the course of its long history.

Anxious to keep track of the Nile floods, the Egyptians developed a remarkably accurate calendar based on the rising and setting of the star Sirius. They also developed a number system based on 10, remarkably similar to the decimal system we use today. They used geometry to calculate how to restore the boundaries of fields after floods, and also to build the pyramids. Egyptian architects and engineers ranked among the best of the ancient world. The Egyptians also learned a great deal about the human body and used this knowledge to treat illnesses and to preserve the bodies of the dead.

At the heart of Egyptian civilization was the Egyptians’ concern with religion. Egyptians believed in many gods, including the idea that the pharaoh himself was a god. The most important of these gods was Amon, or Amon-Re, the king of the gods. They also came to believe in an afterlife and the possibility of achieving immortality after death by preserving the body of someone who had died. To do this, they developed a process known as mummification, which involved removing internal organs and treating the body with chemicals so that it would remain preserved for centuries. Although at first only the pharaoh was treated in this fashion, eventually even ordinary Egyptians hoped to survive after physical death. In later periods, they included copies of the Book of the Dead hymns, prayers, and spells that acted as a kind of guide to the afterlife in people’s tombs. It was largely in an effort to preserve bodies and to safeguard all the articles with which they were buried for the needs of the afterlife that Egyptians spent so much time constructing elaborate tombs like the pyramids. Much of Egyptian art was also devoted to religious themes and to decorating the tombs in which people expected to spend eternity.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Ancient World and the First Civilizations & Prehistoric peoples

The First Civilizations

The Emergence of Civilization
“In the beginning human history is a great darkness.” This observation, made twenty-five years ago by a leading world historian, is still true today. Despite great efforts by archaeologists the scientists who study ancient fossils, settlements, and artifacts and other researchers, over the years, we are still forced to reconstruct the story of early human beings before the development of writing from very little evidence. It is a story that depends upon little more than a basketful of human bones, fossils, and artifacts. Yet despite these limitations, through research and new scientific techniques scholars have been able to unearth a great deal of information about the emergence and early development of civilization. Most scholars refer to this period before the invention of writing as prehistory.

Prehistoric peoples. Archaeologists have found evidence that humanlike creatures first appeared on Earth millions of years ago. At some point, probably between 300,000 and 200,000 years ago, the species known as Homo sapiens, which includes Neanderthal and Cro-Magnon people as well as all people living today, appeared in Africa. Over thousands of years, the first prehistoric people migrated to many parts of the world.

Scientists today often classify the stages ot human development according to the kinds of tools people 8M used. The Stone Age, the period in which people used tools made primarily of stone, is divided into three parts: the Old Stone Age, or Paleolithic Age; the Middle Stone Age, or Mesolithic Age; and the New Stone Age, or Neolithic Age. These periods lasted different lengths of time in different parts of H the world, depending on when people developed H newer and better stone tools. In general, however, H the Old Stone Age lasted from about 2 million years H ago until about 12,000 years ago. The Middle Stone H Age lasted from about 12,000 to about 10,000 years H ago, and the New Stone Age lasted from about to about 5,000 years ago.

At first, early humans were nomads, moving from I place to place in search of food. These early peoples I seem to have been greatly affected by climatic I changes, particularly the long periods of extremely I cold weather known collectively as the Ice Age. I During the Ice Age, Neanderthals and later Cro-Magnons learned to use fire and to make warm clothing, which helped them survive in colder regions.

During the Ice Age the sea level dropped because so I much water was frozen in the icecaps. As the sea level I fell, land bridges emerged between the continents.

People and animals crossed the land bridges into new territories. In this way, humans spread into all parts of the world.

As people adapted to the changes in their environment, they discovered new ways of living. During the Middle Stone Age, for example, they tamed the dog, and invented the bow and arrow, fishhooks, fish spears, and harpoons made from bones and antlers. More important changes occurred during the New Stone Age. During this period, some Neolithic peoples began settling in permanent villages. Some people learned to grow their own plants, which led to the development of agriculture, and to domesticate, or tame, herd animals such as cattle, goats, sheep, and pigs. Depending on local conditions, some people became primarily farmers, while others survived by herding animals.

Agriculture and the domestication of animals changed the basic way people lived. While farmers had to settle in one area, herders often remained partly nomadic, moving with their herds in search of grazing land. In addition, the kind of agriculture people practiced varied from region to region as different plant species were domesticated in different parts of the world. Wheat and barley, for example, originated in Southwest Asia and rice developed in South Asia.

Corn was first cultivated in the Americas, bananas in Southeast Asia, and potatoes in South America. The shift from food gathering to food producing is often called the Neolithic Revolution.

The foundations of civilization. As people learned to farm and began to settle down, they also began to establish towns. Eventually, where conditions were right, people organized themselves on an even larger scale into what we today call civilizations. Most civilizations have at least three characteristics: (1) People have been able to produce surplus food. (2) People have created large towns or cities with some form of government. (3) A division of labor exists, in which different people perform different jobs, instead of each person doing all kinds of work. Some historians also consider the development of a calendar or some form of writing to be characteristic of civilization.

Meanwhile, people were also improving their tools. In particular, they learned to use metals. With the discovery of copper and bronze, some people moved into the Bronze Age. People in the Nile and Tigris-Euphrates River valleys knew how to make bronze jewelry and weapons as early as 5,000 years ago. By about 3,200 years ago, people in southwestern Asia had learned to make iron and to craft tools from it, thereby launching the Iron Age.

Improved farming, made possible by techniques such as irrigation and better tools, caused a surplus ot higher quality food and therefore a healthier and more comfortable life for each person. Improvements in agriculture also led to an increase in population, and some of the early village communities grew to become cities. The large number of people living in cities provided the labor to create great palaces, temples, and other public buildings.

The development of agriculture had significant consequences for family life in early human settlements. At first, women did much of the farming, both planting and harvesting crops. With steady food supplies from agriculture, men hunted less. As women became responsible for much of the food supply, their authority and independence seems to have increased. When the plow was invented, however, men again became the primary food providers and assumed their former dominance in the family.

As farming methods improved, fewer people had to work in the fields in order to produce enough food for all. Some could specialize in other kinds of work. Those skilled in making tools and weapons, for example, could devote all their time to such work, trading their products for the food they needed. Thus a skilled class of craft workers called artisans appeared. Other people became traders and merchants. Traders not only transported goods for sale, but also passed along ideas. We call the spread of aspects of culture from one area to another cultural diffusion. People in the river valleys also developed calendars early in their histories, as they sought to know when to plant and harvest their crops. Writing too developed as civilizations expanded their trade and discovered the need to keep records. By developing written language, the early river valley civilizations created a record of their culture and society  the era of recorded history had begun.

The first civilizations that we know of developed in or around four great river valleys: the Nile Valley in Africa; the Tigris-Euphrates Valley in southwest Asia; the Indus Valley in south Asia; and the Huang He, or Yellow River Valley in east Asia. Farming in these river valleys depended on irrigation. Farmers had to get water from the rivers to their fields during the dry season. They had to control floods, so that their crops were not washed away. Building large irrigation and flood control projects required a high level ot cooperation. Governments may have developed gradually as a result of such cooperation. To work together effectively, people made rules to govern their behavior and to plan, direct, and regulate their work.

Geography and World History

Geography and World History: An Introduction
World History: People and Nations tells the story of the world's people from the very earliest times to the present. History describes the events that make up this story, while geography describes the places in which the events take place. History, then, represents the unfolding drama of people and events through the ages. Geography describes the stage on which this drama is played out. History and geography are so intertwined that to separate them would leave the story only partially told.

History and Geography
Even though history and geography are closely related, they are still two distinct subjects. The basic difference between them may be stated quite simply. As you study history, you acquire an orientation to time; as you study geography, you acquire an orientation to space. Geographers organize their thoughts with respect to spatial arrangements and distributions over Earth's surface. Historians, on the other hand, organize their ideas with respect to time.

Although history is mostly concerned with time, and geography mostly with space, each subject employs aspects of the other as analytical tools. Historians know full well that events occur in places as well as in time. Events, like people, are widely distributed across Earth. In other words, events have a spatial, or geographic, dimension. And geographers, in examining distributions and arrangements throughout the world today, find that they often must look back to a period in time in order to explain these current patterns.

World History: People and Nations tells the story of the world's history. Geography helps to bring this story into focus. Therefore, understanding the special themes and tools of geography will be of great value to you as you read and think about the great personalities and events of the past.

Map Projections Definition

Map Projections Meaning and Facts 
Literally thousands of map projections exist. Each one distorts one or more of the four major map attributes. The projection that a cartographer chooses depends on the size and location of the area to be projected and on the purpose of the map.

Cartographers often choose the Robinson projection. This projection is unique because it is a compromise projection. It maintains no single property but minimizes overall distortion.

If true shape is the most important objective of the cartographer, he or she will select a conformal projection, such as the Mercator projection.  On a map that uses such a projection, land masses are shown in their true shapes. Size relationships, however, are distorted. If the purpose of the map is to show correct relative size, an equal-area projection, such as the Molleweide projection or the Peters projection, will be used. Maps whose projections show correct distances between places are called equidistant maps. Equidistant maps work well for projecting areas of limited size, such as a city or a state. A map of the entire world could never be equidistant, however, because it is impossible to show the lengths of lines of latitude and longitude on a flat map as accurately as they appear on a globe. Finally, maps that show true distances and direction measurements from a central point on the map are called azimuthal maps.  These maps are often used to show the Polar Regions.

Each kind of projection has its strengths and weaknesses. On a conformal map, for example, angles and directions are correct, but size relationships are quite distorted. Compare, for example, the relative sizes of Africa and Greenland on the Mercator projection with their relative size on the Molleweide or Peters projection or on a globe.

Equal-area maps, on the other hand, are especially useful for comparing factors that may be affected by an area's size, such as temperature patterns, population size, or mineral production. The greatest drawback of equal-area maps is that they distort the shapes of the areas shown.

Equidistant projections are used for road maps because they allow the driver to get a clear and accurate picture of the distances to be traveled. Certain types of azimuthal maps, in contrast, are especially useful to pilots because they show the shortest distance between two places on Earth as a straight line.

In spite of their drawbacks, then, there is indeed a map projection to meet every need. In studying maps, however, always remember to note the type of projection that was used so that you will be aware of how it is different from a globe, the one precise model of Earth. To aid you in this task, each of the maps in this book identifies the map projection used.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Tools of Geography

The Tools of Geography (5 tools of geography)
To develop these five basic themes, geographers use a wide variety of tools. These tools include such modern and sophisticated items as aerial photographs, satellite images, and extremely intricate computer programs. However, a geographer's most basic and essential tools globes and maps have been used for centuries. Globes and maps, of course, are very familiar objects. You have seen them in your classroom or in the school library, and perhaps also in your home. Globes and maps are essential to the study of geography because they provide fairly accurate representations of Earth. However, globes and maps are not perfect models of Earth, and, therefore, each has advantages and disadvantages as a geographical tool.

The most important advantage of a globe is its shape. It is the only model of Earth that is spherical. Because a globe's shape follows the shape of Earth, the landmasses and bodies of water shown on it are correct in terms of shape and relative area. A globe also accurately shows distance and direction from one place to another.

In spite of its accuracy, the globe has some limitations. To begin with, a globe is bulky and awkward to carry. In addition, a globe does not allow you to see the entire Earth at once. For example, if you look at South America, Australia is hidden from your view. When you turn the globe to find Australia, South America is not visible. A globe's greatest problem, however, is that it lacks detail. Even the largest globes could not show the detailed features of the ancient Nile Valley. There would be no way to indicate the location of each of the 35 major pyramids that stand near the Nile River, the huge stone figure of the Sphinx, or the numerous irrigation channels and reservoirs used by the farmers of the region.

In contrast, the intricate details shown on maps make them useful to geographers. Through the use of symbols and colors, a huge range of information can be shown clearly on a map. By comparing maps, geographers can see movements, the effects of human-environment interactions, and the locations of various physical and cultural regions. In addition, maps are far more manageable than globes. They can be rolled or folded, and therefore they are easy to carry.

Still, maps do have one serious drawback: they are never totally accurate. Regardless of the skill of the cartographer, or map- maker, no map can accurately show the qualities of shape, area, distance, and direction at the same time because mapmaking involves recording on a flat surface what is curved on Earth's surface.

To appreciate the problems faced by cartographers, place a piece of paper directly over one of the Great Lakes of North America on a globe. Now trace the outline of the lake onto your paper. You should be able to trace its outline accurately without once bending or twisting your paper. Next, try tracing the outline of the entire North American continent. You can see immediately that some cutting or folding of the paper is required. Otherwise, you will drastically distort the outline of the continent. On the other hand, in cutting or folding the map, you create other distortions.

Distortion, then, is a major problem for cartographers when depicting large areas of Earth's curved surface on a flat map. Since maps cannot accurately show all four kinds of map information shape, area, distance, and direction at the same time, cartographers must decide which information they want their maps to distort least. Cartographers use a variety of projections methods by which Earth's surface is recorded, or projected, onto paper to create flat maps.

The European Union History

The European Union
Europe is made up of many different countries and cultures, all located in a small region. Each country has its own money, laws, and economic policies. Because people and goods are constantly moving across their national borders, these countries have joined together to form a trading and economic association known as the European Union (EU).

The idea of European countries joining is not new. Several western European nations formed a common market, a group of countries that has free trade among its members and a single trade policy, in 1957. The purpose of the European common market, called the European Economic Community (EEC), was to make sure that  the economic policies of its members did not work against one another. The EEC set as its goal the creation of the European Union. In 1993 the European Union became a reality.The European Union is divided into five branches. Four of these branches  the European Council, the European Commission, the Council of Ministers, and the European Parliament decide policy and make laws for the EU. The fifth branch, the European Court of Justice, sees that the branches follow the rules and laws of the EU.

Today the EU is the world's largest trading power, with 15 trading partners.

EU members do not add tariffs to goods they import from one another. Future goals of the EU include a common unit of money and a central bank.

What is the European Union?

Oligarchy Meaning

The Meaning of Oligarchy 
Not all dictatorships are run by one individual. Sometimes a small group of people controls the government of a country Such a governing system is called an oligarchy.

Spartan Oligarchy
You have read that in Sparta a small group of landowners controlled the government. At many other times in history, small groups have ruled countries. Sometimes the rulers have been members of one class of people or one political party. Perhaps the most famous oligarchy of all time was the government of the former Soviet Union. Only members of the Communist party could take part in governing.

Today's communist-controlled People's Republic of China fits the definition of an oligarchy. The Chinese government has executive, legislative, and judicial branches. However, the real power of Chinese government is in the hands of a few committees which are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, or CCP China's constitution divides the government into four main parts. The largest of these is the National People's Congress, which has over 1,900 members elected from regions all over China. The next-largest part of the government is the Central Committee. Its 300 members are elected by the National People's Congress. The Central Committee, in turn, elects 20 members for another committee the Politburo. Part of the Politburo is made up of a committee of important party leaders. This committee elects the members of the five-member Chinese troops march in a parade in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen. China is the largest communist country in the world today.

Secretariat. Much of the power to make government decisions rests with the Politburo and the Secretariat. The amount of power that these small groups have is what makes the Chinese government an oligarchy.

Oligarchy in China
Although China is an oligarchy, often one person has steered China's course. From 1980 until his death in 1997, Deng Xiaoping (DUHN.GSH.HPING) was the real leader of China, even after he retired in 1990. Since Deng's death, President Jiang Zemin (JEEAHNG zuhMIN) has taken over leadership in China. Deng personally trained Jiang to follow him.

Why is China considered an oligarchy?

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Revolution in Technology

Working Together in Today's World
Working together has been important through the many different time periods of world history. Ancient people depended on one another to survive in their natural environment. In the modern world, working with others is still an important part of life.

Revolution in Technology
Today, technology affects the lives of people in most parts of the world. Electronic communication, once just a dream, is now a reality almost everywhere. Keeping in touch around the world is faster and easier than ever before.

The word that describes all the electronic ways of sending and receiving information is telecommunications. Tele is from a Greek word that means "far away." It makes sense, then, that telecommunications means "communications over a distance." Telephones, fax machines, e-mail, and computer networks are all used in telecommunications.

One kind of telecommunications that is growing in use is the Internet. The Internet is a large computer network made up of thousands of smaller networks that are all linked with each other. People use the Internet to buy things, conduct business, gather information, and communicate.

In many ways new technology has brought the people of the world closer together. People in different countries and on different continents can communicate quickly and easily by computer. Letters and documents can be sent from one place to another in seconds. News that happens far away can be heard in the United States almost instantly. All this has helped to make cultures more aware of each other than at any other time in the past.

New technologies are also affecting the way we explore the world and beyond. Since 1981, the United States has used space shuttles for many kinds of missions. One of these missions was to repair the Hubble telescope, which orbits the Earth. In 1996, a different kind of spacecraft carried a remote-control vehicle to Mars. The United States, Russia, Canada, Europe, and Japan are now working together to build an international space station for scientific research.

How is telecommunications bringing people closer together?

World Trade Organization OPEC

World Trade
Today it is not unusual to find products from all over the world right in your own home. This is possible because countries all over the world are trading with one another. Telecommunications and other new technologies have made international trade much easier.

It might seem that every country in the world would trade with every other country. Sometimes, however, countries cut back or cut off trade with another country because of that country's actions or beliefs. For example, many countries stopped trading with South Africa because of its policy of apartheid.

Sometimes a country uses a policy of protectionism in its dealings with other countries to help the sale of its own products. It may add a tariff, or import charge, to the price of another country's product, such as cars. This protects its own market for that product. For example, cars made within the country will cost less than cars from other places. This influences buyers to choose the country's own cars.

Lately countries have found it better to work with one another. Many countries have come together to form the World Trade Organization (WTO). This group has the authority to decide trading disagreements between member countries.

In recent years many countries have also joined to form groups that trade freely with one another. Often the groups are made up of countries in the same region of the world. Some of these groups are the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the Latin American Integration Association (ALADI), and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) members.

At times countries might also form a group because they share a common interest. The countries that make up the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, formed their organization to gain control of the price of their oil in other parts of the world. The greater part of the world's oil is located in countries such as Algeria, Libya, Kuwait, Iran, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Venezuela, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Ecuador are also OPEC members. OPEC allows member countries to set standard prices for oil.

Why did OPEC form?

Dictatorship Definition

The Definition of Dictatorship 
Though the age of the absolute monarch is over, there are still leaders who want to rule in this way. A governing system in which one person claims absolute authority is called a dictatorship. The difference between absolute monarchs and dictators is that dictators do not inherit their power. Instead they take power for themselves, often violently and suddenly.

Dictatorship in Ancient Rome
Dictatorship began in ancient Rome. At first, Roman dictators served for only brief times during emergencies. Later, however, some Roman dictators refused to give up their control.

Dictators do not belong only to the past. Several have ruled in the twentieth century.
Adolf Hitler in Germany, Pol Pot in Cambodia, and the Ayatollah Khomeini (eye»uh»TOH»luh koh»MAY»nee) in Iran are all examples of dictators in recent history.

Most dictatorships are examples of the kind of government called totalitarianism (toh»ta*luh*TAIR»ee»uh»nih»zuhm). That is, the government has total authority over people's lives. In many dictatorships the government controls all land, schools, and newspapers. Dictators, like absolute monarchs, often rule until their deaths or until they are overthrown.

Dictatorship in Cuba
The only dictatorship in the Americas is in Cuba, an island nation located less than 100 miles (161 km) off the coast of Florida. In 1959 Fidel Castro took over Cuba's government. Soon after, Castro began to make Cuba into a communist country, like the Soviet Union.

In 1962 the world came close to war when United States pilots discovered that Soviet missile launching sites were being built in Cuba. President John F. Kennedy demanded that Nikita Khrushchev who was then the communist leader of the Soviet Union remove the sites. When he finally did, war was prevented. Castro continues to rule in Cuba as a communist dictator, even though communism collapsed in the Soviet Union.

Cuba is not the only dictatorship in the world. A few countries that claim to be republics are actually dictatorships. Though they may have elections and a legislative branch of government, all real power is in the hands of n single person. One such country is Iraq.

How is a dictatorship like an absolute monarchy?

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Democracy Meaning

Meaning of Democracy
Democracy is a governing system in which the people of the country take part. You have read about democracy as it was in ancient days. The Greek city-state of Athens had the first democracy in the history of the world.

Greek democracy was a direct democracy.
Everyone who was a citizen could attend meetings to help make the laws. Women, slaves, and others, however, were not allowed to participate in Greece's democracy.

For many years, Rome, too, had a government based on the ideas of democracy. Rome's democracy was more like present-day democraciesit was a representative democracy. In a representative democracy, citizens elect people to make laws and decisions for them. Another name for this kind of democracy is republic.
In the first century A.D., the Roman government changed from a democracy to a monarchy and later to a military dictatorship. For centuries after, democracy was not used as a governing system.

Then, in 1215, the government of England began developing in a democratic direction with the signing of the Magna Carta. As time passed, the number of people allowed to take part in English government increased. A group of lawmakers known as a parliament was set up, and it began to gain more authority. This was important because the parliament was a branch of government separate from the king.

Today democracy has spread around the world. More than 140 countries have some form of democracy. Present-day democracies include the United States, Venezuela, Australia, Argentina, Canada, Mexico, Israel, Egypt, India, and Germany.
United States President Abraham Lincoln spoke of "Government of the people, by the people, and for the people." By this, Lincoln meant a government created by citizens and run by citizens for the good of citizens. Lincoln's words described the democracy of the United States of America and all democracies.

Like ancient Rome, the United States has a representative democracy. The United States' democracy is also a constitutional democracy. In a constitutional democracy,
the goals of the government and the ways it will work to achieve them are laid out in a constitution, or plan for governing. Today most countries have constitutions.
Yet not all countries with constitutions are democracies.

Many countries now are democracies, but not all democracies are alike. For example, Canada's democracy differs in many ways from that of the United States. Unlike the United States, Canada has a democracy with a parliament. In Canada the prime minister and the members of the Cabinet are part of the government's executive branch, just as the President and the Cabinet are in the United States. At the same time they are also members of Parliament, the legislative branch. The Canadian Parliament, like the United States Congress, has two houses. Members of one house, the Senate, are appointed. Members of the other house, the House of Commons, are elected.

Democracies require effort on the part of the citizens of a country. For a democracy to work well, citizens need to participate, stay informed, and vote. A democracy can be overthrown by a dictator, can be voted out of existence, or can last for centuries as the United States' democracy has.

Governments of the World
Governments are frameworks of societies. They run the countries and make the laws. Governments also see that the laws are obeyed, control business, and protect citizens. All governments do these things, but different governing systems do them in different ways. Today there are four main governing systems in the world: democracy, monarchy, dictatorship, and oligarchy.democracy meaning

How would you describe the democracy of the United States?

Monarchy Meaning

As you have already read, a monarchy is any government that is ruled by a monarch, such as a king or queen or an emperor. In fact, the word monarchy means "rule by one." A monarch usually inherits power and rules for life.

For many centuries monarchy was the most common governing system. The governments of ancient Egypt, China, and India were all monarchies.

There are still some monarchies, but most monarchs today do not have as much power as monarchs did in the past. Long ago every monarchy was an absolute monarchy. The monarch had absolute, or complete, authority. Today very few countries have absolute monarchies. One present-day absolute monarchy is in the country of Oman (oh»MAHN) in southwestern Asia.

The Magna Carta, signed in 1215, cut back the power of monarchs for the first time. Later, the British Bill of Rights and the American and French revolutions all helped end the absolute authority of monarchs.

In most present-day monarchies, the monarch is limited by laws. Such a monarchy is called a constitutional monarchy.

A constitutional monarchy is actually run by a prime minister and a cabinet, and its laws are passed by the legislative branch of the government. Instead of controlling their governments, most modern monarchs represent the history of their country. King Hussein of Jordan and Queen Elizabeth II of Britain are two such monarchs.

Who makes the laws in a constitutional monarchy?

Arab & Israeli Conflict

Arab-Israeli Conflict
Both Jews and Arabs claim the piece of land that is present-day Israel. No way of living together peacefully has been accepted by both sides.

The Jewish Israelis and the Muslim Arabs were already in conflict when Israel became a country in 1948. During one of several wars between Israel and the Arab countries, Israel captured much Arab land. With the new land, 1 million Arabs came under Israeli control. A group called the Palestine Liberation Organization, or PLO, headed by Yasir Arafat (AH»ruh«faht), was formed to gain a homeland for these Arabs.

In the late 1980s the Palestinians began an intifada (in• tee«FAH»duh), or uprising, in the Arab land occupied by Israel. The intifada gave many Palestinians a sense of unity. At the same time, it caused many Israelis to want an end to the fighting.

Many countries, including the United States, urged both sides to compromise.

In 1992 Yitzhak Rabin (rah»BEEN) was elected prime minister of Israel. Soon the Israelis and the Palestinians began secret peace talks.

In August 1993 an agreement was reached. Under the terms of the agreement, Israelis and Palestinians had a five-year period in which to settle the major disagreements that divided them. As part of the agreement, the Palestinians would gain control of some land.

In 1995 Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli who was against the peace process. The country, and the entire world, were stunned. In 1996, Benjamin Netanyahu (neh»tahn»YAH«hoo) was elected as Israel's prime minister.

In recent years, progress toward a compromise has been slow. Terrorist attacks have increased in Israel, and Israeli pullouts from areas planned for Palestinian control have been delayed. Many countries are now involved in searching for a solution to this conflict.

How has land affected the relationship between the Israelis and the Palestinians?

Friday, June 9, 2017

Mikhail Gorbachev & New Countries on the Map

New Countries on the Map
The late 1980s and early 1990s saw changes that no one could have guessed just a few years earlier. Some European countries ceased to exist, and others that had been taken over were restored to their former state. Among these restored countries is the Federal Republic of Germany.

A major event in Europe was the collapse of communism after more than 70 years.

The Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. Fifteen independent European nations now exist where the former Soviet Union was.

Mikhail Gorbachev
One of the most important figures in this historical drama was Mikhail Gorbachev (mee»kah»EEL gawr»buh*CHAWF).

Gorbachev served as the president of the Soviet Union from 1985 until 1991. During these years he brought many changes to Soviet society Gorbachev put into action a new economic plan that he called perestroika (pair*uh*STROY*kuh), or "rebuilding." Perestroika took some of the economic decision-making power away from the central government and gave it to local manufacturers and consumers.

Gorbachev also began a new political plan called glasnost (GLAHS»nohst), which means "openness." Glasnost gave Soviet citizens the freedom to speak out without fear of being punished. It also gave a certain amount of religious freedom to Soviet citizens. The news media gained the freedom to report information that had been hidden. As part of glasnost, Gorbachev freed political dissidents  people who had spoken out against the government.

People in the Soviet Union and around the world watched the changes in amazement. "Our jaws cannot drop any lower," wrote one journalist.

Boris Yeltsin was the president of Russia, which at that time was still a part of the Soviet Union. In December 1991, he and the presidents of other Soviet republics made a startling announcement. They declared that the Soviet Union no longer existed. In its place they set up a loose association, or group, called the Commonwealth of Independent States, or CIS.

From its beginning, the CIS set out to build a market economy for its member countries. By 1995,12 of the 15 former Soviet republics had joined the CIS as independent countries. These countries are Armenia, Azerbaijan (a»zer»by»JAHN), Belarus (byehvluhvROOS), Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova (mahl*DOH*vah), Russia, Tajikistan (tah»jih*kih*STAN), Turkmenistan, Ukraine (yoo»KRAYN), and Uzbekistan.

What loose association of independent states replaced the Soviet Union?

Yugoslavia ,Balkan, Serbs, Croats and Bosnian War

On the other side of Europe, cultural and religious differences have also caused conflict. After World War I, some countries in the Balkan region were forced to become republics of Yugoslavia. After World War II, Yugoslavia came under communist control. Differences among the country's three main ethnic groups Muslims, Serbs, and Croats (KROH»ats) made it difficult for these people to settle down together in one country.

In 1991, people in the Yugoslavian republics of Slovenia (sloh*VEE»nee*uh) and Croatia (kroh*AY»shuh) voted to break away from Yugoslavia. The Serbs in Croatia feared living under the rule of the Croats. They called on the Yugoslavian republic of Serbia for help. In 1991, Serbia attacked Croatia and eventually took over about one-third of Croatia's territory.

In 1992 the republic of Bosnia also declared its independence. Right away, people from each ethnic group in Bosnia  Muslims, Serbs, and Croats began using violence to drive out people from other groups. Sometimes the Serbs killed large numbers of their enemy ethnic group, the Muslims. They thought of this type of killing as ethnic cleansing, or "cleaning" their area of the "wrong" people.

The United Nations sent troops to Bosnia to restore peace. Leaders representing Serbs, Croats, and Muslims agreed to stop fighting in 1995. However, much work remains to be done to form a truly lasting peace. Though a new democratic government has been formed in Bosnia, many of the same problems still exist between the Serbs, Croats, and Muslims.The fighting in the region has also led to many economic problems.

What happened when the republic of Bosnia declared independence?

England & Ireland Conflict History from 1500 to 1922

England & Ireland History
History has shown that when two groups claim the same piece of land, a struggle may result. When differences in religious beliefs are involved, emotions become even stronger.

The conflict between England and Ireland 
The conflict between Ireland and England is an example of a political and religious struggle. Today England is a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. As this name tells you, Northern Ireland is also part of this country. The rest of Ireland is an independent country

A look back in history can explain much about the conflict between the Irish and the English. In the 1500s the kingdom of England invaded Ireland. For 400 years the mostly Catholic Irish lived under the rule of the mostly Protestant English. Then, in 1920, Ireland began to seek independence. After years of on-and-off fighting, much of the Irish land became independent Ireland in 1922. Just six northern counties remained a part of Britain. Today these counties are known as Northern Ireland.

For many years fighting has taken place over the question of freedom for Northern Ireland. Sometimes terrorism, or acts of violence to further a cause, has been used in this conflict. The Irish Republican Army, or IRA, has been responsible for several of these terrorist attacks. The main goal of the IRA is to reunite the two parts of Ireland. Many people in Northern Ireland, however, want to remain part of Britain.

As a result of peace talks, the Irish Republican Army declared a cease-fire, an order to stop fighting, on August 31,1994.

In spite of flare-ups of violence, more peace talks were held in 1998. The agreements reached in these talks are believed by many to be meaningful steps toward peace.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The South African Freedom Struggle & Nelson Mandela

South African Freedom Struggle
In 1990, African peoples faced their own struggle for human rights. The South African government was made up of white South Africans. These people were mostly Afrikaners (a»frih»KAH«nerz), or descendants of Dutch settlers. In 1948 the Afrikaners began a policy of apartheid (uh»PAR»tayt), or "apartness." Under this policy white people and black people were to have as little contact with one another as possible.

Life under apartheid was hard for black South Africans. Although they made up more than two-thirds of South Africa's population, they had few rights.

Black South Africans had long dreamed of making changes in the way they were treated. The African National Congress (ANC) was founded in 1912 to work for the rights of black South Africans. In 1960, however, the South African government banned the ANC and jailed many of its leaders.

Many countries stopped trading with South Africa because of the policy of apartheid. Even so, the government of South Africa continued apartheid.

Nelson Mandela
At last things changed after Frederik Willem de Klerk, an Afrikaner, became president of South Africa in 1989. De Klerk met with black leaders to work out a way to share power. By November 1993 the leaders agreed to open South African elections to all races. The election held on April 27,1994, resulted in victory for the ANC and its leader, Nelson Mandela. In one of his first speeches as president of South Africa, Mandela described a new South Africa, in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts."

Democracy Movement
Democracy had also won out across the Atlantic in Latin America. During much of the twentieth century the peoples of many Latin American countries lived under the rule of military dictators. One by one these dictatorships began to fall in the 1980s and 1990s. Today, every Latin American country but Cuba is a democracy.

Not all struggles for rights have been successful. In 1989, college students across China were calling for democracy and more human rights. Thousands of them gathered at Tiananmen Square in Beijing to protest against their government. Many people around the world believed that the Chinese government would make some political changes to give its people greater freedoms.

On June 4,1989, the Chinese government did take action, but not the kind many people had hoped for. It ordered Chinese soldiers to remove the students. When the students did not leave, the troops began firing on them. As many as 5,000 students were killed. Many others were put in prison.

These actions quickly ended many demands for democracy in China. Today China seems to be changing economically to include more free enterprise. Politically, however, the country remains a long way from becoming a democracy.

How did South Africa change in the 1990s?

Berlin Wall Fall & New Democracies

Recent Events in the World
Recent history has been about people wanting to change their lives for the better. People around the world have searched for ways to gain more personal and economic freedom. Some, but not all, of the recent changes in the world have been peaceful.

New Democracies
In the closing days of World War II, the Soviet Union set up communist governments in many eastern European countries. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Bulgaria all came under communist rule. The end of the war also saw a split in Germany. The newly formed East Germany became communist, while West Germany became democratic. The city of Berlin also divided, with East Berlin being ruled by communists.

In 1961, East German soldiers were ordered to build a concrete barrier to separate East Berlin from West Berlin. The goal was to stop East Germans from escaping to freedom in West Berlin. This barrier, the Berlin Wall, showed plainly the division between democratic western Europe and communist eastern Europe.

For almost 30 years, the two parts of Europe remained divided. Then, in the late 1980s, democracy began to appear in eastern Europe. Poland held free elections in June 1989.

Hungary declared itself a noncommunist republic in October of that same year.

Berlin Wall Fall 
For a while the leaders of East Germany stood solidly against the idea of change. In October 1989, these leaders were forced from power. On November 9,1989, the East German government said that it would open its borders. In Berlin joyous demonstrators gathered at the hated wall that had divided the city. They climbed on top of it, breaking off chunks of concrete, as if they would tear it down with their bare hands. Openings were made in the wall which allowed people to travel freely between East and West Germany once again. In October 1990 the two countries united to form the Federal Republic of Germany, with a democratic government.

- How did South Europe change in the 1989s?

Causes of World War II & International Conflicts

International Conflicts
By early August 1914 most of Europe was at war. In time, other countries all over the world joined the conflict. On one side were the Allies, which included Britain, France, Russia, and the United States. On the other side were the Central Powers, which included Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire.

Causes of World War II
The Great War, as it was called at the time, was a new kind of war. For the first time deadly weapons such as machine guns, tanks, and poison gas were used.

More than 8 million soldiers from several countries lost their lives.

On November 11,1918, Germany signed an armistice (AR»muh»stuhs), or agreement to stop fighting. In 1919 the Treaty of Versailles (ver«SY) brought an end to the war.
In the 1920s and 1930s most countries of the world suffered through a period of economic hard times called the Great Depression. Things were especially bad in Germany. The German people wanted a strong leader who would make Germany a powerful country again.

Adolf Hitler quickly took control of Germany as a dictator. He told the Germans that their political and economic troubles were the fault of the Jewish people. Hitler passed laws taking away the rights and property of Jewish citizens.

During this time, Germany, Italy, and Japan began building empires. At first, European leaders did little to stop this.

They did not want to risk starting another world war. This policy of not opposing the takeovers by Germany, Italy, and Japan became known as appeasement.

As Germany continued to attack and conquer its neighbors, it became clear that appeasement would not work. Once again many countries of the world entered into war. During World War II the Allies  Britain, France, the Soviet Union (formerly Russia), and the United States faced the Axis Powers Germany, Italy, and Japan.
War quickly spread through Europe, Asia, and northern Africa. The United States entered the war when Japan attacked a United States naval base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii in December 1941. Over time, the Allies began to get ahead. On May 7,1945, Germany surrendered, ending the war in Europe. On August 6,1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima (hir»uh»SHEE»muh), Japan.

Two days later a bomb was dropped on Nagasaki (nah»guh»SAH»kee), Japan. The Japanese surrendered soon after.

After the war ended, the terrible effects of Hitler's time of rule became clear. Under his command European Jews had been shipped to prison camps and killed. This mass killing of the Jewish people is known as the Holocaust. In addition to 6 million Jews, Hitler ordered the killing of 6 million others.

- What two twentieth-century conflicts affected the entire world?
- What is main causes of world war II

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Causes of the Cold War

Main Causes of Cold War
World War II took 50 million lives and left Europe in ruins. As the war ended, world leaders began to plan for the future. The Soviet Union, however, had its own plans.

It had already begun to set up communist governments in several eastern European countries which had been freed from Hitler's control. Americans and Europeans feared that the Soviets wanted to force communism on the rest of the world.

With the recent invention of the atomic bomb, people worried that any outward conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States might result in nuclear war. Therefore, the two countries did not fight each other directly. Instead, they became rivals in an arms race, or competition to have the most weapons. This conflict became known as the Cold War. The Cold War finally ended in December 1991, when a chain of events led to the breakup of the Soviet Union.

What was the reason for the Cold War?

Industrial Revolution History

Industrial Revolution
In the late 1700s another kind of Industrial revolution began to take place. The change this revolution caused was not in government but in the way people lived and worked. Machines came into the lives of people in this period, which is known as the Industrial Revolution.

Industrial Revolution in England
The Industrial Revolution began in Britain with the textile, or cloth, industry. Until the Industrial Revolution the textile industry had been a cottage industry. This meant that families worked together in their own homes, or cottages, to spin thread and weave cloth.

Soon people looked for ways to produce these goods faster. Machines were invented that made it possible to weave cloth more quickly. However, families could not afford to buy these machines. Also, the machines were too big to fit into a house. Rich textile merchants bought many machines and put them in large buildings, creating the first factories. Workers were forced to move to be near these workplaces.

By the middle of the 1800s, the Industrial Revolution was well under way in Britain. Huge factories produced more and more goods. Cities became crowded because many people came from the country in search of work. They jammed into poorly built houses. The streets were filthy, and the air was full of smoke from the factory chimneys. People faced difficult working conditions as well. Many men, women, and children worked at least 12 hours a day, six days a week, for very low pay.

The Industrial Revolution did improve the lives of workers in some ways, however. Although wages were low, they were steady. Workers could buy meat and vegetables once in a while to go with their daily bread and cheese. They also had enough money to buy better clothes.

Over time the Industrial Revolution spread to such places as the United States, Japan, Germany, France, and Belgium. In all these industrialized countries, cities became centers of industry and grew quickly. The wave of invention and the shift to factory work brought many new inventions. Among these inventions were the telephone, the automobile, and the radio.

How did the Industrial Revolution affect people's lives?

Monday, January 30, 2017

Imperialism and Nationalism History

Imperialism and Nationalism
To keep their factories producing, the industrialized countries needed many kinds of raw materials, such as wood and rubber. To get these materials, European countries began colonies in Africa and Asia. As time passed, the Europeans took control of more lands in the two continents to protect their trading interests. Soon the European countries began to compete with one another to add more lands to their colonial empires. Many people in Asia and Africa came under the rule of European governments. Such empire building is called imperialism.

As imperialism grew, so did another idea nationalism.
Nationalism is loyalty to one's nation or country, based on religious or cultural ties. In the 1800s, nationalism brought some people together, but it also created many conflicts.

European leaders began to build up their nations' armies and create alliances with each other.

The alliances were not strong enough to keep peace in Europe, however. When Archduke Francis Ferdinand, the future ruler of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated on June 28,1914, it started what is known as World War I.

What effect did imperialism and nationalism have on the world's people?

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Worlds Collide History

Worlds Collide
Increasing contact between cultures brought new trade goods and new ways of thinking to many peoples. This contact, however, also brought conflict.

One important conflict arose between the people of Europe and the Seljuk (SELjook) Turks, a Muslim people from southwestern Asia. Even though western Europe was no longer part of a single empire, most Europeans still felt connected to one another. They shared the same religion Christianity. Beginning in 1095, Christian Europeans joined together to fight the Muslim Seljuk Turks, who had captured the city of Jerusalem. This city was holy to Christians, Muslims, and Jews. The battles that were fought to free Jerusalem from Muslim control are known as the crusades.

The crusades caused much loss of life for both Christians and Muslims. Yet they also brought the two peoples closer together. During the crusades the Christians and the Muslims learned about each other's ways of life and resources. Europeans returned from the crusades with spices, silks, and other goods from Asia. A demand for these goods developed, and trade began between Europe and Asia.

As trade continued, Europeans began to look for new water routes to Asia. Christopher Columbus was sure that he could reach Asia by sailing west across the Atlantic Ocean. On October 12,1492, he landed on the island of San Salvador in the Caribbean Sea. Columbus believed that he had reached the Indies, in Asia, so he called the island's people Indians. Columbus made three more trips, never realizing that he had reached the Americas.

After Columbus's voyages several other Europeans traveled to, explored, and settled in the Americas. The Europeans and the native peoples introduced each other to new foods, animals, ideas, and ways of doing things. For example, the Europeans learned about corn, beans, and potatoes.

The peoples of the Americas saw cattle and horses for the first time. Today, historians call the movement of people, animals, plants, and ideas between Europe and the Americas the Columbian exchange.

In the Americas some Europeans created huge farms called plantations. Others started gold and silver mines. Plantation and mine owners turned to the continent of Africa for the many workers they needed. Africans were enslaved and brought to the Americas to work.

Slavery had long been known in Africa. Enemies captured in wars between rival African peoples were often enslaved. They usually regained their freedom at a later time. Slavery in the Americas was different. Slaves in America were thought of as property, to be bought and sold as their owners wished. A slave in the Americas had little hope of ever becoming free.

The sale of human life was part of a system called the triangle trade. First, traders sailed from Europe to Africa with iron, cloth, guns, and liquor. In Africa the traders exchanged these goods for enslaved people. Next, during what is sometimes called the Middle Passage, the enslaved people were carried across the Atlantic to the Americas. There the traders sold the Africans for products from the plantations. The traders took these goods back to Europe, completing the triangle.

In time many people in the Americas began to feel that slavery was cruel and wrong. However, it was not until the 1860s that slavery ended in much of the Americas.

How did European settlement in the Americas affect the peoples of Africa?

Thursday, January 26, 2017

What way were the American and the French Revolution a like ?

A Call for Freedom
As people moved from place to place, their ways of thinking changed. The thoughts of many people began to focus on freedom.

In Britain in 1215, a group of nobles presented King John with a list of 63 demands and forced him to sign it. This document came to be called the Magna Carta, or "Great Charter." By signing it, King John agreed that he, too, had to obey the laws of the land. The Magna Carta was a first step in moving power from rulers to citizens.

By the 1700s, a new time of thought called the Enlightenment was changing people's ideas about art, science, religion, and law. People began to believe that governments should protect the rights of individuals.

In the British colonies in North America, Thomas Jefferson was well aware of the ideas of the Enlightenment. Jefferson and other colonists wrote the Declaration of Independence in 1776. In this document the colonists declared themselves independent of Britain. The British, they felt, did not care about the rights of the American colonists.

To win independence from Britain, the colonists fought a long war. That war is remembered as the American Revolution. In 1781 the former British colonies in North America became the United States of America. The first United States President, George Washington, was elected in 1789. The creation of the United States led other peoples to dream of greater freedom.

In France, many people suffered under the French system of government. Peasants and workers paid heavy taxes but had little voice in how the government was run. In 1789 the middle class of French society created its own government body called the National Assembly. Soon the French government was overthrown. By 1793 the monarch, Louis (LOOee) XVI, and Queen Marie Antoinette (an»twuh«NET) had been executed. France had become a republic.

By 1800, however, France was once again controlled by a single person the leader of the French army, Napoleon Bonaparte.

In the early 1800s the desire for freedom had spread to Mexico, Central America, and South America. People in these places fought for independence from their
European rulers. By 1830 many independent countries had formed in these regions.

In what way were the American Revolution and the French Revolution alike?

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

History Government, and Economy (A World of Trade)

History Government, and Economy
During the centuries that followed the Roman Empire, people became more aware of other peoples and other places. Peoples who lived far from each other began trading and affected each other's ways of life.

A World of Trade
Between 500 and 1500, empires based on trade grew up around the world. You have read that the Roman Empire split into two parts. The western part fell to Germanic invaders. In contrast, the eastern part became the Byzantine (BIH'Zubin*teen) Empire, beginning in the 500s. Its capital, Constantinople, became a crossroads for travel, trade, and the exchange of technology and ideas.

In the 600s another empire the Muslim Empire rose in southwestern Asia. This empire, which was based on the religion of Islam, grew to include Egypt and Persia as well as ancient Arabia.

Farther east in Asia lay still another large empire, the Mongol Empire. Under the leadership of Genghis Khan, the Mongol people conquered China in the 1200s. Genghis Khan's sons and grandsons continued to claim more lands. In just 50 years the Mongol Empire spread across much of Asia. The European explorer Marco Polo visited China during the time of Mongol control. After Polo's return to Europe, reports of his travels caused much interest in China. Soon European merchants began searching for ways to trade with Asia.

The people of Africa, too, took part in world trade and empire building. Between the years 700 and 1500, powerful kingdoms based on trade developed iin western Africa.
The Ghana (GAH»nuh) Empire ruled over many peoples of western Africa. This empire was followed by the Mali Empire, which, in turn, was replaced by the Songhay (SAWNG»hy) Empire. Contact with the Muslim Empire brought many changes to the peoples of western Africa, including the introduction of Islam.

Meanwhile, unknown to the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Europe, the Aztecs and the Incas were conquering their neighbors to build empires in the Americas. All through the Aztec Empire and the Inca Empire, native peoples of the Americas traded goods and ideas.

What important empires rose up in the world between the years 500 and 1500?

What is a metropolitan area?

Cities of the World
Cities are not a new development. As long ago as 3500 B.C., the ancient Sumerians built the world's first cities. Today only the remains of those cities can be found. Some ancient cities, however, are still alive with people and activity. Rome, in Italy, has grown from its ancient beginnings to a modern city with a population of about 2,800,000 people. The ruins of its early times stand side by side with its modern buildings. In North America, Mexico City is built over the ancient Aztec city of Tenochtitlan.

History does not run so deep in other cities. Brasilia, the capital of Brazil, is only about 50 years old. The sprawling city of Miami, Florida, was just a small settlement in 1895.

Today many cities have grown amazingly large. Japan, a very small country, has the world's largest city Tokyo. About 27 million people live and work in this city Other very large cities around the world include Buenos Aires (BWAY»nohs EYE*rays) in Argentina; Shanghai (shang*HY) in China; New York City, New York, and Los Angeles, California, in the United States; and Lagos (LAY*gahs) in Nigeria.
Many large cities have areas around them that have been developed as well. These areas where many people live are called suburbs. A city and its surrounding suburbs make up a metropolitan area.

A metropolitan area usually has at least 50,000 people.
Some metropolitan areas are so close to one another that they blend together. The term megalopolis (meh»guh»LAH»puh*luhs) describes a region where this has happened. One megalopolis stretches from Boston, Massachusetts, to Washington, D.C., on the east coast of the United States.

What is a metropolitan area?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

World Religions History

World Religions
Many of the world's major religions had their roots in ancient times. The Israelites in southwestern Asia were the first to practice Judaism. Today about 14 million Jewish people live in all parts of the world. Almost 6 million Jews live in North America, many of them in the United States.
Many people consider the country of Israel to be the homeland of the Jewish people.
More than 80 percent of Israel's 5 million people are Jewish.

The beginnings of Hinduism and Buddhism can be traced to the continent of Asia. Most of the world's 322 million Buddhists live in Asia, but Buddhists can be found in most parts of the world.

Almost 1 million people in North America alone follow the Buddhist religion.
The Hindu religion is followed mainly in Asia, where about 790 million Hindus live. Another 6 million Hindus live in other parts of the world.

The religion of Christianity has grown since the days of Jesus Christ and his early followers. Today almost 2 billion Christians live around the world. More than 700 million Christians live in North and South America. In the rest of the world, Christians include about 361 million Africans, 303 million Asians, and 555 million Europeans.

The religion of Islam (is»LAHM) is practiced by over 1 billion people. Followers of Islam are called Muslims. About half of all Muslims live in southern, central, and southeastern Asia. Many others live in Europe. In Africa, Muslims make up about half of the total population. About 6 million Muslims live in the United States.
Muslims believe that a man named Muhammad (moh»HA»muhd), born in A.D. 570, was the last in a series of messengers from God. Among the first messages that Muhammad gave people was that there is only one God, or Allah in Arabic. The
messages of Muhammad form the holy book of Islam, known as the Qur'an (kuh»RAN).

Muslims follow five basic acts of worship, known as the five pillars. The first pillar is belief in one God, and that Muhammad is the last of many messengers from God.
The second pillar is the Muslim practice of praying five times a day and visiting a mosque, or house of worship, on Fridays. The third pillar is the act of giving a fixed part of yearly savings to the needy. The fourth pillar is the Muslim practice of fasting, or not eating and drinking, in the daytime during Ramadan (RAH»muh»dahn), the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

The fifth pillar is the making of at least one pilgrimage, or religious visit to Mecca, a holy Islamic city in Saudi Arabia. All Muslims face toward the city of Mecca when they pray.

What five religions that began long ago are still followed today?

What are some of the cultures of Asia?

World Cultures
Cultures around the world have very different beliefs, customs, and languages. The almost 4 billion people who live in Asia belong to many different cultures. Japanese, Chinese, Arab, Israeli, Indian, Turkish, and Tibetan are only a few of these cultures. Many of these cultures have continued unchanged in the same areas for centuries. Thousands of different languages and dialects are spoken in Asian lands.

Africa is home to more than 750 million people and at least 800 different cultures. In northern Africa, many people are Arab or have Arab ancestors. South of the Sahara, most people are descendants of native Africans, though some are descendants of European and Asian settlers. Today almost
 languages are spoken in Africa. Among these are many African Bantu languages. Ever since the time of the European colonies in Africa, English, French, and Afrikaans  a language created by early Dutch settlers have also often been spoken.

Europe's 500 million people also belong to many different cultural groups. Some, such as the French, the Greeks, the Italians, and the Germans, have their own country. Not all the different peoples of Europe have their own countries, however, and in some cases this has led to conflict. In the United Kingdom, for example, fighting has often flared between the English and the people of Northern Ireland.

North America and South America have been affected by several cultures. Early European migrations led to large European populations in both places. Both places also have rich native cultures.

In North America, many people have British ancestors. Many others have an African heritage. In South America and Latin America, many people have Spanish ancestors.
Today the cultures of the world are in closer contact than ever before because of improved communication and transportation. In some ways many of the world's cultures are blending. At the same time, many are seeking ways to preserve their own heritages.

What are some of the cultures of Asia?


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