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From http://www.studentsfriend.com/aids/curraids/articles/1pgsumm.html With annotations by Mr. Francisco X. Z. Reyes
Summary of Experiences World history is the story of human experience. It is a story of how people, ideas, and goods spread across the earth creating our past and our present. To help us better understand this experience, we will divide history into four main eras: prehistory, ancient times, middle ages, and modern times. Our story begins during prehistory in east Africa where human life began. From Africa humans spread to Eurasia (Europe and Asia), to Australia, and finally to the Americas. Human migration was one of the great waves of history. During most of history, most humans made their living by hunting and gathering. Then about 12,000 years ago, people in the Middle East learned how to raise a wild wheat plant, and agriculture was born -another great wave of history. No longer were humans constantly on the move searching for food. People could settle in one place, build cities, and make inventions like the plow, wheel, and writing. The complex societies that resulted are what we call civilization, another wave of history and the start of ancient times. In terms of a human lifetime, waves of change moved slowly, and much stayed the same amid the changes. Waves of history were channeled over the earth by geography. The first civilizations arose in river valleys where rivers provided fresh water for raising crops and transportation for moving crops to market. Beginning in Mesopotamia, civilization spread west to Egypt and east to India. These three civilizations formed an early international trading network that eventually extended across the connected lands of Eurasia and North Africa, a vast region that lies in a temperate climate zone where most of the world's people have lived since prehistoric times. More people meant more ideas, more inventions, and more diseases than in 1
Key ideas History is made by critically studying written sources and artifacts. History created our past and our present, but the future is up to us. There is no instruction manual for the future, but we do have a guide that shows how the world works and how humans behave. That guide is history.
Hunters and gatherers pursue a nomadic existence because they have no control over their supply of food. Plant and animal domesticators allowed people to settle in sedentary groups that enabled them to master their environment to suit their needs. Early civilizations started a whole network of systems to provide people with a sense of security and a means to survive, to mobilize people towards a collective endeavor, and to develop shared symbols, meanings and ideas that contribute to a sense of identity. Human efforts to transcend geographical limitations contributed to the creation of the first civilizations. The first civilizations witnessed the first examples of warfare and epidemics.
many civilized city-states co-existed and warred against each other. As society’s capacity to store surplus food increases. and major world religions -. The survival or resilience of civilizations depends on how well they are able to cope with disease. human population increased. Because there were no natural barriers.other parts of the world. math. Civilizations heralded the evolution of social inequality. The Romans created a civilization that contributed the concept of a republic. while others avoided change and tried to maintain traditional ways. China. The middle ages followed and lasted a thousand years. the beginnings of military science.to name a few. so does its social distinctions. democracy. In the grasslands of central Eurasia. developed cavalry skills. and technological advancement. nomadic people chose not to settle down and raise crops. people had developed the concept of entitlement and appropriation--important concepts leading to our modern concept of political authority and property ownership. and coastal areas. and models of civil engineering Change spread to new places mostly through trading contacts. Eventually civilizations grew beyond river valleys (Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa in India. Wealthy landowners collected rent payments from poor farmers. Yangtze and Yellow river civilizations) into those of other regions--mountainous (Inca).000 years. its geography lent itself to a single state. Some people welcomed change. iron. literature. During ancient times people in Eurasia invented many things that still define civilization today such as money. the sea to its north and mountains in the south. men came to dominate women. arid plains (Pueblo Indians) and plateaus. Ancient times lasted for roughly 4. People in civilized societies divided themselves into unequal social classes with priests and kings at the top. Owing to the natural barriers of the desert on either side. In the late middle ages. war. Latin which became the language of Science and the Church. They lived by herding animals from pasture to pasture with the seasons. Egypt arose along the narrow strip of land straddling the Nile River. Christianity. They learned to ride horses. Mesopotamia refers to the civilization originally located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Sometimes these nomadic raiders conquered great civilizations. . As agriculture replaced hunting and gathering. By this time. Feudalism created a social relationship between peasants and warriors that later defined new social structure. armies. and attacked settled communities. Waves of change took longer to reach sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas because they were separated from Eurasia by physical barriers of desert and ocean. ending about 500 AD after nomadic raiders brought down great classical civilizations in India. and slavery became common. an ordered way of life based on grid city planning. and the Mediterranean. China was a superpower with the greatest navy in the 2 The Dark Ages serves as an example of how civilizations can collapse.
through music. Europeans used their machines to dominate other peoples of the world who lacked advanced technology. the current issues of world poverty. This choice opened the door for Europeans to make the great voyages of discovery that connected the world and began the modern era around the year 1500. Then Europeans turned their machines on each other. launching two suicidal world wars that ended European world dominance. The Cold War pit the US as the bulwark of the democracy and capitalism and the Soviet Union for dictatorship and communism. we humans face challenges to our survival. unleashing the Industrial Revolution -another great wave of history. The expansion of worldwide trade known as the Commercial Revolution was driven the by the Renaissance spirit of experimentation to seek more lands and more goods and profit from the ventures by improving their standard of living.world until China's rulers chose to reduce contact with the outside world and dismantled the fleet. Colonial conquest by the Europeans in Asia and Africa not only made Europeans dominate politically and economically. 3 . Long-distance trading networks enabled not just products but also ideas to be spread. Communication systems. environmental protection and sustainable development call the attention of countries worldwide hoping to find solutions that can produce lasting peace. but also culturally. European culture. religion. Europeans learned how to power machines by burning fuels. Modern technology is consuming the world's resources. language was spread and at times imposed or dictated on other cultures. African and Asian response to these provoked the rise of nationalist groups seeking to define their identities and work towards the realization of their national goals. Change was moving faster now. but in our time the challenges are global. and it has produced weapons that could end human life. Nevertheless. At first. inventions found their way across continents. religions. threatening the earth's environment." As Globalization opened up new markets for people to exploit. The world wars have been made more lethal with the rise of more efficient killing machines and militarist ideologies. Change moved even faster. As always. it also brought in new cultural threats as it slowly shifts the markets towards a new economic world order. The world is tied together through communications and trade. The fall of the Berlin wall symbolically ends the ideological conflict and signified the break-up of the Soviet Union Three centuries later. lifestyle. but the world remains divided between the "haves" and the "have-nots. The stream of time flows on. dance.