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Japan is a country made up of four different islands:

Kyshu, Shikoku, Honshu, and Hokkaido. These islands
were made when undersea volcanoes erupted and formed
them, naturally. Japan society started when a group of
people, called the Ainus, came from Siberia and finally
settled in Hokkaido, after many battles for land. The Ainu
eventually became Japan. People of Japan believed that
the tribe leader descended from nature spirits called
kami, and those ideas and rituals became the traditional
religion of Japan, Shinto. Japan was also very influenced
by its surrounding countries, Korea and China. In the
beginnings, Japan learned how to write in Chinese. Over
time, the Japanese created their own writing based on
Chinese called kanji. Then they started to accelerate in
art, poetry, and architecture. As time went on, Japan
developed classes, and the bushido was born. Samurais,
warriors of Japan, used the bushido as their guidelines to
be honorable. In 1274, the Mongols, a group of raiders
invaded Japan and caused much chaos. Over time Japan
has faced much hard work, but has survived as a
successful country.

China is a country that takes up a big percentage of

modern Asia today. China started when the Han dynasty
ended, and split into many different kingdoms, which
caused the period of disunion. During this time, people
started settling in China and more and more people
learned the Chinese ways. After centuries and man named
Yang Jian ended the chaos, and unified Chinas making the
Sui dynasty. During this dynasty, China began the Grand
Canal, a canal that linked northern and southern China. In
618, a former Sui official overthrew the government, and
made the Tang dynasty, and took over most of eastern
and central Asia. During the Tang, two of Chinas greatest
rulers Taizong and Xuanzong, led the Tang to great
accomplishments. The best poets were known at the time
of Xuanyongs rule. Although, the Tang included the only
female ruler in China’s history, Empress Wu. Like the
Song, the Tang had many achievements. As China
continued to grow, so did a religion with it, Buddhism.
Buddhism originated in India, and made its way to China.
From about 400 to 845, this time would be called the Age
of Buddhism. The age of Buddhism ended when the Tang
emperor launched an attack against the religion, where a
lot of the temples and texts were destroyed on Buddhism.
Buddhism was weakened in China, but not fully
destroyed. During the Tang and song, China had many
great achievements. In agriculture, they invented the
dragon backbone pump, a pump that helped take water.
And pour it into an irrigation canal. China also became a
large, busy central area of trade. At that time they
invented porcelain, woodblock printing, gun powder, the
magnetic compass, and paper money. During the time,
Confucianism was the most popular philosophy in China.
Scholars taught their students about Confucianism, and it
was required to pass the civil service exam to become a
scholar official. In 1206, Genghis Khan, leader of the
Mongols, invaded most of Asia. At the time of Genghis
Khan’s death, all of northern China was under Mongol
command. Kublai Khan, Genghis Khan’s grandson,
became the Mongol ruler. Kublai continued the Yuan
dynasty, and commanded the Chinese. He placed many
heavy taxes on the Chinese, and built the capital, Dadu,
near what is now Beijing. The Mongols craved more
power, so attacked Japan twice, depleting most of their
army ending the Yuan dynasty. A man named Zhu
Yuanzhang, became emperor and started the Ming
dynasty. During this time, the Ming built the Forbidden
City, a place where common people were not allowed.
They also started building the Great Wall of China. China
went into isolation, and banned foreign trade. In 1644,
the Ming was overthrown.

West Africa is very large. Africa itself is the second

largest contingent on earth. It has long deep valleys,
called riffs. The earliest civilizations arose in West Africa,
along the Niger River. The Niger River was a great place
for food, water, and transportation. The region along the
Niger River had swamps and marshes, full with many
animals and fish. Africa was made of savannah, rain
forests, semiarid, and deserts, a very versatile area. The
first people in West Africa were people that traveled, and
started villages with their extended families. Eventually,
the people made a system that helped them accomplish
daily tasks in the villages. Religion was also a big aspect,
such as the belief of animism. Animism is the belief that
all natural objects have a spirit. They believed that the
spirits would protect them, so offered many different
goods. Eventually, the Africans learned to heat and shape
metal. The earliest people in West Africa to use this
technology were the Nok. Iron tools helped the Noks with
hunting and farming. As the farms kept growing, so did
the population. The Africans started trading gold and salt,
and a trading capital, Timbuktu, was made and became
bustling with merchants. As time progressed, Ghana
started controlling the trade of West Africa. Ghana’s
empire used their wealth to begin a powerful army to
conquer their neighbors, but eventually fell because of
invasions, overgrazing, and internal rebellions. According
to beliefs, in Africa, the Empire Mali was created when a
ruler named Sundiata started it. Sundiata conquered the
gold and salt routes, and eventually brought Mali to
power, according to the legend. Sudiata took power away
from local leaders he conquered, to keep a stable
kingdom. Mali’s most famous ruler was Mansa Musa.
Mansa Musa ruled for 25 years and conquered many
important cities, such as Timbuktu and Gao. Mansa Musa
encouraged the education of the Qur’an, and hoped
others would accept the Islamic faith. Mansa Musa took a
pilgrimage, and encouraged greatly the Islamic belief.
Mansa Musa died, and Mali fell, with no ruler to depend
on, ended Mali’s great success. Songhai was a part of
Mali, but when saw Mali weaken, they rose up and
overthrew Mali. The Songhai used the same trading
routes that Mali used, so became very rich. Sunni Ali,
ruler of the Songhai conquered cities such as Timbuktu.
Sunni died, and his son Sunni Baru took command. A man
named Muhammad Ture rebelled, and took the title Aksia
the Great. Songhai was very powerful, and controlled
much of trade, but fell when the Moroccans attacked
Songhai with their guns and cannons, destroying the
empire. Over the centuries Africa developed many
different arts and stories. Proverbs were made, short
stories and sayings of wisdom. Over time, Africa has made
many great achievements.

The Origins of Islam start with a man named Muhammad.

Muhammad was a man who lived in Mecca, and heard the
word of God while meditating in a cave. The message
Muhammad received was the basis of the religion called
Islam. The followers of the religion Islam, were known as
Muslims, and followed the holy book of Islam, called The
Qur’an. Muhammad taught things that were similar to
Judaism and Christianity, but it focused on the main
concept that there is only but one god, Allah. The
teachings that Muhammad taught changed the people of
Arabia’s’ thoughts forever. The Arabians thought that
there were many gods and goddesses, and worshipped
them in shrines, and took pilgrimages to the Kaaba, a
shrine in Mecca, every year. Muhammad’s teachings
slowly began to influence people, and the Mecca rulers
started worrying. Muhammad fled from Mecca, and their
rulers, and lived in Medina, which is now known as the
Prophets city. In Medina, Muhammad started to become a
spiritual and political leader, and made his house the first
mosque, or place of Muslim prayer. Arabians started
believing Muhammad’s teachings, and destroyed their old
ideas of many gods. In 632, Muhammad died in his house,
and Islam started spreading everywhere. The book of
Islam, the Qur’an taught all Muslims the five important
pillars to allow you to be a successful Muslim. The Muslim
empire started spreading everywhere, thanks to the
merchants. The merchants took Muslim beliefs to new
lands, and taught many ideas that Muslims value. The
ideas of Islamic beliefs spread everywhere between 1200
and 1600. Muslims also practiced tolerance, and believed
all religions were allowed in their territory. Two very
important trade and religious cities rose up, Baghdad and
Cordoba. These cities greatly influenced trade. During the
time that Islamic beliefs were spreading, the Ottoman,
Safavid, and Mughal empires rose . The Safavid Empire
rose up once the Ottoman empire was reaching its peak.
The Savfavids believed that you were either Shia or
Sunni. Shia was that you believed that Muslims were only
part of Muhammad’s family, and Sunni is that anyone can
be Muslim. The Safavid’s capital was Esfahan and made
the civilization last till the 1700s. The Mughal empire
were Turkish Muslims who were violent. Their strict rules
and beliefs caused much chaos, making the Mughal
empire fall apart. Muslims studied astronomy, geography,
math, medicine, philosophy, an arts. The Muslim
population achieved a lot.

The Early American Civilizations took up the regions

we now call the Americas. The two continents they take
up are the North and South Americas. The southern part
of North America is called Mesoamerica. Mesoamerica had
very fertile soil that made growing crops very easy.
People believe that the first Americans arrived in 12,000
B.C. when a land bridge connected Asia and North
America. The first civilization were the Olmec. The Olmec
lived in many different villages that had temples, plazas,
and many different religious sculptures. The Olmec were
the first to build pyramids, and studied writing and
science. The Olmec had a huge trading route oand traded
with many other people in Mesoamerica, and today the
Olmec traditions still live in people of Mesoamerica. Later,
the Maya developed in small villages, and discovered
obsidian, and used it to make weapons and for trade. The
Mayan civilization reached its height between 250 and
900 AD. Maya had beautiful buildings for worship, but
they often had many battles for land with other tribes.
The Mayan had different classes in society. They believed
that there was a god, and the god took on many forms.
The Mayan would make many sacrifices and have
ceremonies to the gods. Although, the Mayan declined as
crops were getting scarce because of warfare, and
historians believe that internal rebellions and climate
issues might have also helped the decline of Maya.
Another empire, the Aztecs rose around 1100, and
conquered many of the towns they came across. The
Aztecs capital, Tecnochtitlan, was a huge trading capital,
and used floating gardens called chinampas, to use for
farming goods for their limited land. A man named Hernan
Cortes arrived in Mexico in 1519, and caused much chaos
to the Aztec’s ruler Moctezuma, by taking him prisoner.
Cortes wanted gold, so that drive helped him take down
the Aztecs with their weapons, alliances, and disease. All
these factors helped lead to the fall of the Aztec. While
the Aztec were rising in North America, the Incas were
rising in the south. The Incas developed around 900 B.C.,
which is now modern day Peru. The Inca’s capital was
Cuzco, and started expanded their empire, until 12 million
people were in the population. The Incas established their
own language, Quechua, and kept records with chords
called quipus. In 1530, the son of the deceased Incan
ruler, Atahualpa became the new king. When Atahualpa
was being crowned, Spaniards, including a man named
Fransico Pizzaro, tried converting Atahualpa to
Christianity. He refused, and the Spaniards attacked. The
Spanish defeated both Aztecs and Incas, the Spanish then
took over the land for the next 300 years.

Eric Lee
Aaron Brill
Social Studies Period 6