KEY CONCEPTS OF AP WORLD
from the College Board's course description for AP world
A key concept defines the most essential course
content knowledge particular to a given historical period. The key
concepts and concept outline that follow provide a conceptual framework
to help teachers and students understand, organize and prioritize
historical developments within each designated historical period. The
framework clearly indicates the depth of knowledge required for each
key concept. To further clarify the depth of knowledge for each key
concept, multiple supporting concepts (designated by Roman numerals in
the outline) and supporting evidence for each supporting concept
(designated by letters in the outline) are listed. By focusing the key
concepts on processes or themes rather than on specific historical
facts or events, the outline provides greater freedom for teachers to
choose examples that interest them or their students to demonstrate the
Period 1: Technological and
Environmental Transformations, to c. 600 B.C.E. Key
Concept 1.1. Big Geography and the Peopling of the Earth
The term Big Geography draws attention to the global nature of world
history. Throughout the Paleolithic period, humans migrated from Africa
to Eurasia, Australia, and the Americas. Early humans were mobile and
creative in adapting to different geographical settings from savanna to
desert to Ice Age tundra. By making an analogy with modern
hunterforager societies, anthropologists infer that these bands were
relatively egalitarian. Humans also developed varied and sophisticated
I. Archeological evidence indicates that during the Paleolithic era,
hunting-foraging bands of humans gradually migrated from their origin
in East Africa to Eurasia, Australia, and the Americas, adapting their
technology and cultures to new climate regions.
A. Humans used fire in new ways: to aid
hunting and foraging, to protect against predators, and to adapt to
B. Humans developed a wider range of tools
specially adapted to different environments from tropics to tundra.
C. Economic structures focused on small
kinship groups of huntingforaging bands that could make what they
needed to survive. However, not all groups were self-sufficient; they
exchanged people, ideas, and goods.
Concept 1.2. The Neolithic Revolution and Early Agricultural Societies
In response to warming climates at the end of the last Ice Age, from
about 10,000 years ago, some groups adapted to the environment in new
ways, while others remained hunter-foragers. Settled agriculture
appeared in several different parts of the world. The switch to
agriculture created a more reliable, but not necessarily more
diversified, food supply. Agriculturalists also had a massive impact on
the environment through intensive cultivation of selected plants to the
exclusion of others, through the construction of irrigation systems,
and through the use of domesticated animals for food and for labor.
Populations increased; family groups gave way to village life and,
later, to urban life with all its complexity. Patriarchy and forced
labor systems developed, giving elite men concentrated power over most
of the other people in their societies. Pastoralism emerged in
parts of Africa and Eurasia. Pastoral peoples domesticated animals and
led their herds around grazing ranges. Like agriculturalists,
pastoralists tended to be more socially stratified than
hunter-foragers. Because pastoralists were mobile, they rarely
accumulated large amounts of material possessions, which would have
been a hindrance when they changed grazing areas. The pastoralists’
mobility allowed them to become an important conduit for technological
change as they interacted with settled populations.
I. Beginning about 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic Revolution led to
the development of new and more complex economic and social systems.
A. Possibly as a response to climatic change,
permanent agricultural villages emerged first in the lands of the
eastern Mediterranean. Agriculture emerged at different times in
Mesopotamia, the Nile River Valley and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Indus
River Valley, the Yellow River or Huang He Valley, Papua New Guinea,
Mesoamerica, and the Andes.
B. Pastoralism developed at various sites in
the grasslands of Afro- Eurasia.
C. Different crops or animals were
domesticated in the various core regions, depending on available local
flora and fauna.
D. Agricultural communities had to work
cooperatively to clear land and create the water control systems needed
for crop production.
E. These agricultural practices drastically
impacted environmental diversity. Pastoralists also affected the
environment by grazing large numbers of animals on fragile
grasslands, leading to erosion when overgrazed.
II. Agriculture and pastoralism began to transform human societies.
A. Pastoralism and agriculture led to more
reliable and abundant food supplies, which increased the population.
B. Surpluses of food and other goods led to
specialization of labor, including new classes of artisans and
warriors, and the development of elites.
C. Technological innovations led to
improvements in agricultural production, trade, and transportation.
examples of improvements in agricultural production, trade, and
Wheels and wheeled vehicles
D. In both pastoralist and agrarian societies,
elite groups accumulated wealth, creating more hierarchical social
structures and promoting patriarchal forms of social organization.
Concept 1.3. The Development and Interactions of Early Agricultural,
Pastoral, and Urban Societies
From about 5,000 years ago, urban societies developed, laying the
foundations for the first civilizations. The term civilization is
normally used to designate large societies with cities and powerful
states. While there were many differences between civilizations, they
also shared important features. They all produced agricultural
surpluses that permitted significant specialization of labor. All
civilizations contained cities and generated complex institutions, such
as political bureaucracies, armies, and religious hierarchies. They
also featured clearly stratified social hierarchies and organized
long-distance trading relationships. Economic exchanges intensified
within and between civilizations, as well as with nomadic
pastoralists. As populations grew, competition for surplus
resources, especially food, led to greater social stratification,
specialization of labor, increased trade, more complex systems of
government and religion, and the development of record keeping. As
civilizations expanded, they had to balance their need for more
resources with environmental constraints such as the danger of
undermining soil fertility. Finally, the accumulation of wealth in
settled communities spurred warfare between communities and/or with
pastoralists; this violence drove the development of new technologies
of war and urban defense.
I. Core and foundational civilizations developed in a variety of
geographical and environmental settings where agriculture
flourished. Students should be able to identify the location of
all of the following required examples of core and foundational
• Mesopotamia in the Tigris and Euphrates
• Egypt in the Nile River Valley
• Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa in the Indus River
• Shang in the Yellow River or Huang He Valley
• Olmecs in Mesoamerica
• Chavín in Andean South America
II. The first states emerged within core civilizations.
A. States were powerful new systems of rule
that mobilized surplus labor and resources over large areas. Early
states were often led by a ruler whose source of power was believed to
be divine or had divine support and/or who was supported by the
B. As states grew and competed for land and
resources, the more favorably situated — including the Hittites, who
had access to iron — had greater access to resources, produced more
surplus food, and experienced growing populations. These states were
able to undertake territorial expansion and conquer surrounding states.
C. Early regions of state expansion or empire
building were Mesopotamia, Babylonia, and the Nile Valley.
D. Pastoralists were often the developers and
disseminators of new weapons and modes of transportation that
transformed warfare in agrarian civilizations.
III. Culture played a significant role in unifying states through laws,
language, literature, religion, myths, and monumental art.
A. Early civilizations developed monumental
architecture and urban planning.
B. Elites, both political and religious,
promoted arts and artisanship.
C. Systems of record keeping arose
independently in all early civilizations and subsequently were diffused.
D. States developed legal codes, including the
Code of Hammurabi, that reflected existing hierarchies and facilitated
the rule of governments over people.
E. New religious beliefs developed in this
period continued to have strong influences in later periods.
examples of new religious beliefs:
The Vedic religion
F. Trade expanded throughout this period from
local to regional and transregional, with civilizations exchanging
goods, cultural ideas, and technology.
examples of trade expansion from local to regional and transregional:
Between Egypt and Nubia
Between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley
G. Social and gender hierarchies intensified
as states expanded and cities multiplied.
H. Literature was also a reflection of culture.
Organization and Reorganization of Human Societies, c. 600 B.C.E. to c.
Concept 2.1. The Development and Codification ofReligious
and Cultural Traditions
As states and empires increased in size and contacts between regions
multiplied, religious and cultural systems were transformed. Religions
and belief systems provided a bond among the people and an ethical code
to live by. These shared beliefs also influenced and reinforced
political, economic, and occupational stratification. Religious and
political authority often merged as rulers (some of whom were
considered divine) used religion, along with military and legal
structures, to justify their rule and ensure its continuation.
Religions and belief systems could also generate conflict, partly
because beliefs and practices varied greatly within and among societies.
I. Codifications and further developments of existing religious
traditions provided a bond among the people and an ethical code to live
A. The association of monotheism with Judaism
was further developed with the codification of the Hebrew Scriptures,
which also reflected the influence of Mesopotamian cultural and legal
traditions. The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Roman empires conquered
various Jewish states at different points in time. These conquests
contributed to the growth of Jewish diasporic communities around the
Mediterranean and Middle East.
B. The core beliefs outlined in the Sanskrit
scriptures formed the basis of the Vedic religions — later known as
Hinduism — which contributed to the development of the social and
political roles of a caste system and in the importance of multiple
manifestations of Brahma to promote teachings about reincarnation.
II. New belief systems and cultural traditions emerged and spread,
often asserting universal truths.
A. The core beliefs about desire, suffering,
and the search for enlightenment preached by the historic Buddha and
recorded by his followers into sutras and other scriptures were, in
part, a reaction to the Vedic beliefs and rituals dominant in South
Asia. Buddhism changed over time as it spread throughout Asia — first
through the support of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, and then through the
efforts of missionaries and merchants, and the establishment of
educational institutions to promote its core teachings.
B. Confucianism’s core beliefs and writings
originated in the writings and lessons of Confucius and were elaborated
by key disciples who sought to promote social harmony by outlining
proper rituals and social relationships for all people in China,
including the rulers.
C. In the major Daoist writings, the core
belief of balance between humans and nature assumed that the Chinese
political system would be altered indirectly. Daoism also influenced
the development of Chinese culture.
D. Christianity, based on core beliefs about
the teachings and divinity of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded by his
disciples, drew on Judaism, and initially rejected Roman and
Hellenistic influences. Despite initial Roman imperial hostility,
Christianity spread through the efforts of missionaries and merchants
through many parts of Afro-Eurasia, and eventually gained Roman
imperial support by the time of Emperor Constantine.
E. The core ideas in Greco-Roman philosophy
and science emphasized logic, empirical observation, and the nature of
political power and hierarchy.
III. Belief systems affected gender roles. Buddhism and Christianity
encouraged monastic life and Confucianism emphasized filial piety.
IV. Other religious and cultural traditions continued parallel to the
codified, written belief systems in core civilizations.
A. Shamanism and animism continued to shape
the lives of people within and outside of core civilizations because of
their daily reliance on the natural world.
B. Ancestor veneration persisted in many
V. Artistic expressions, including literature and drama, architecture,
and sculpture, show distinctive cultural developments.
A. Literature and drama acquired distinctive
forms that influenced artistic developments in neighboring regions and
in later time periods.
B. Distinctive architectural styles developed
in many regions in this period.
C. The convergence of Greco-Roman culture and
Buddhist beliefs affected the development of unique sculptural
Concept 2.2. The Development of States and Empires
As the early states and empires grew in number, size, and population,
they frequently competed for resources and came into conflict with one
another. In quest of land, wealth, and security, some empires expanded
dramatically. In doing so, they built powerful military machines and
administrative institutions that were capable of organizing human
activities over long distances, and they created new groups of military
and political elites to manage their affairs. As these empires expanded
their boundaries, they also faced the need to develop policies and
procedures to govern their relationships with ethnically and culturally
diverse populations: sometimes to integrate them within an imperial
society and sometimes to exclude them. In some cases, these empires
became victims of their own successes. By expanding their boundaries
too far, they created political, cultural, and administrative
difficulties that they could not manage. They also experienced
environmental, social, and economic problems when they overexploited
their lands and subjects and permitted excessive wealth to be
concentrated in the hands of privileged classes.
I. The number and size of key states and empires grew dramatically by
imposing political unity on areas where previously there had been
Required examples of key states and empires
(Student should know the location and names):
• Southwest Asia: Persian
• East Asia: Qin and Han
• South Asia: Maurya and
• Mediterranean region:
Phoenicia and its colonies, Greek city-states and colonies, and
Hellenistic and Roman Empires
• Mesoamerica: Teotihuacan,
• Andean South America: Moche
II. Empires and states developed new techniques of imperial
administration based, in part, on the success of earlier political
A. In order to organize their subjects, the
rulers created administrative institutions in many regions.
Required examples of
• Elaborate legal
systems and bureaucracies
B. Imperial governments projected military
power over larger areas using a variety of techniques.
examples of such techniques:
Developing supply lines
Building fortifications, defensive walls, and roads
Drawing new groups of military officers and soldiers from the local
populations or conquered peoples
C. Much of the success of the empires rested
on their promotion of trade and economic integration by building and
maintaining roads and issuing currencies.
III. Unique social and economic dimensions developed in imperial
societies in Afro-Eurasia and the Americas.
A. Cities served as centers of trade, public
performance of religious rituals, and political administration for
states and empires.
B. The social structures of empires displayed
hierarchies that included cultivators, laborers, slaves, artisans,
merchants, elites, or caste groups.
C. Imperial societies relied on a range of
methods to maintain the production of food and provide rewards for the
loyalty of the elites.
D. Patriarchy continued to shape gender and
family relations in all imperial societies of this period.
IV. The Roman, Han, Persian, Mauryan, and Gupta empires created
political, cultural, and administrative difficulties that they could
not manage, which eventually led to their decline, collapse, and
transformation into successor empires or states.
A. Through excessive mobilization of
resources, imperial governments caused environmental damage and
generated social tensions and economic difficulties by concentrating
too much wealth in the hands of elites.
B. External problems resulted from security
issues along their frontiers, including the threat of invasions.
Concept 2.3. Emergence of Transregional Networks of Communication and
With the organization of large-scale empires, the volume of
long-distance trade increased dramatically. Much of this trade resulted
from the demand for raw materials and luxury goods. Land and water
routes linked many regions of the Eastern Hemisphere. The exchange of
people, technology, religious and cultural beliefs, food crops,
domesticated animals, and disease pathogens developed alongside the
trade in goods across far-flung networks of communication and exchange.
In the Americas and Oceania localized networks developed.
I. Land and water routes became the basis for transregional trade,
communication, and exchange networks in the Eastern Hemisphere.
A. Many factors, including the climate and
location of the routes, the typical trade goods, and the ethnicity of
people involved, shaped the distinctive features of a variety of trade
examples of trade routes:
Eurasian Silk Roads
Trans-Saharan caravan routes
Indian Ocean sea lanes
Mediterranean sea lanes
II. New technologies facilitated long-distance communication and
A. New technologies permitted the use of
domesticated pack animals to transport goods across longer routes.
B. Innovations in maritime technologies, as
well as advanced knowledge of the monsoon winds, stimulated exchanges
along maritime routes from East Africa to East Asia.
III. Alongside the trade in goods, the exchange of people, technology,
religious and cultural beliefs, food crops, domesticated animals, and
disease pathogens developed across far-flung networks of communication
A. The spread of crops, including rice and
cotton from South Asia to the Middle East, encouraged changes in
farming and irrigation techniques.
B. The spread of disease pathogens diminished
urban populations and contributed to the decline of some empires.
C. Religious and cultural traditions were
transformed as they spread.
examples of transformed religious and cultural traditions:
Regional and Transregional Interactions, c. 600 C.E. to c. 1450
Concept 3.1. Expansion and Intensification of Communication and
Although Afro-Eurasia and the Americas remained separate from one
another, this era witnessed a deepening and widening of old and new
networks of human interaction within and across regions. The results
were unprecedented concentrations of wealth and the intensification of
cross-cultural exchanges. Innovations in transportation, state
policies, and mercantile practices contributed to the expansion and
development of commercial networks, which in turn served as conduits
for cultural, technological, and biological diffusion within and
between various societies. Pastoral or nomadic groups played a key role
in creating and sustaining these networks. Expanding networks fostered
greater interregional borrowing, while at the same time sustaining
regional diversity. The prophet Muhammad promoted Islam, a new major
monotheistic religion at the start of this period. It spread quickly
through practices of trade, warfare, and diffusion characteristic of
I. Improved transportation technologies and commercial practices led to
an increased volume of trade, and expanded the geographical range of
existing and newly active trade networks.
A. Existing trade routes flourished and
promoted the growth of powerful new trading cities.
examples of existing trade routes:
The Silk Roads
The Mediterranean Sea
The Indian Ocean basins
B. New trade routes centering on Mesoamerica
and the Andes developed.
C. The growth of interregional trade in luxury
goods was encouraged by significant innovations in previously existing
transportation and commercial technologies, including more
sophisticated caravan organization; use of the compass, astrolabe, and
larger ship designs in sea travel; and new forms of credit and
D. Commercial growth was also facilitated by
state practices, trading organizations, and state-sponsored commercial
infrastructures like the Grand Canal in China.
E. The expansion of empires facilitated
Trans-Eurasian trade and communication as new peoples were drawn into
their conquerors’ economies and trade networks.
Required examples of
The Byzantine Empire
II. The movement of peoples caused environmental and linguistic effects.
A. The expansion and intensification of
long-distance trade routes often depended on environmental knowledge
and technological adaptations to it.
B. Some migrations had a significant
examples of migration and their environmental impact:
The migration of Bantu-speaking peoples who facilitated transmission of
iron technologies and agricultural techniques in Sub-Saharan Africa
The maritime migrations of the Polynesian peoples who cultivated
transplanted foods and domesticated animals as they moved to new islands
C. Some migrations and commercial contacts led
to the diffusion of languages throughout a new region or the emergence
of new languages.
III. Cross-cultural exchanges were fostered by the intensification of
existing, or the creation of new, networks of trade and communication.
A. Islam, based on the revelations of the
prophet Muhammad, developed in the Arabian peninsula. The beliefs and
practices of Islam reflected interactions among Jews, Christians, and
Zoroastrians with the local Arabian peoples. Muslim rule expanded to
many parts of Afro-Eurasia due to military expansion, and Islam
subsequently expanded through the activities of merchants and
B. In key places along important trade routes,
merchants set up diasporic communities where they introduced their own
cultural traditions into the indigenous culture.
C. The writings of certain interregional
travelers illustrate both the extent and the limitations of
intercultural knowledge and understanding.
D. Increased cross-cultural interactions
resulted in the diffusion of literary, artistic, and cultural
E. Increased cross-cultural interactions also
resulted in the diffusion of scientific and technological traditions.
IV. There was continued diffusion of crops and pathogens throughout the
Eastern Hemisphere along the trade routes.
A. New foods and agricultural techniques were
adopted in populated areas.
B. The spread of epidemic diseases, including
the Black Death, followed the well established paths of trade and
Concept 3.2. Continuity and Innovation of State Forms and Their
State formation in this era demonstrated remarkable continuity,
innovation and diversity in various regions. In Afro-Eurasia, some
states attempted, with differing degrees of success, to preserve or
revive imperial structures, while smaller, less centralized states
continued to develop. The expansion of Islam introduced a new concept —
the Caliphate — to Afro-Eurasian statecraft. Pastoral peoples in
Eurasia built powerful and distinctive empires that integrated people
and institutions from both the pastoral and agrarian worlds. In the
Americas, powerful states developed in both Mesoamerica and the Andean
I. Empires collapsed and were reconstituted; in some regions new state
A. Following the collapse of empires, most
reconstituted governments, including the Byzantine Empire and the
Chinese dynasties — Sui, Tang, and Song — combined traditional sources
of power and legitimacy with innovations better suited to the current
B. In some places, new forms of governance
emerged, including those developed in various Islamic states, the
Mongol Khanates, city-states, and decentralized government (feudalism)
in Europe and Japan.
C. Some states synthesized local and borrowed
D. In the Americas, as in Afro-Eurasia, state
systems expanded in scope and reach: Networks of city-states flourished
in the Maya region and, at the end of this period, imperial systems
were created by the Mexica (“Aztecs”) and Inca.
II. Interregional contacts and conflicts between states and empires
encouraged significant technological and cultural transfers.
Required examples of technological and
• Between Tang
China and the Abbasids
• Across the
• During the
Concept 3.3. Increased Economic Productive Capacity and Its Consequences
Changes in trade networks resulted from and stimulated increasing
productive capacity, with important implications for social and gender
structures and environmental processes. Productivity rose in both
agriculture and industry. Rising productivity supported population
growth and urbanization but also strained environmental resources and
at times caused dramatic demographic swings. Shifts in production and
the increased volume of trade also stimulated new labor practices,
including adaptation of existing patterns of free and coerced labor.
Social and gender structures evolved in response to these changes.
I. Innovations stimulated agricultural and industrial production in
A. Agricultural production increased
significantly due to technological innovations.
B. In response to increasing demand in
Afro-Eurasia for foreign luxury goods, crops were transported from
their indigenous homelands to equivalent climates in other regions.
C. Chinese, Persian, and Indian artisans and
merchants expanded their production of textiles and porcelains for
export; industrial production of iron and steel expanded in China.
II. The fate of cities varied greatly, with periods of significant
decline, and with periods of increased urbanization buoyed by rising
productivity and expanding trade networks.
A. Multiple factors contributed to the
declines of urban areas in this period.
examples of these factors:
The decline of agricultural productivity
The Little Ice Age
B. Multiple factors contributed to urban
examples of these factors:
The end of invasions
The availability of safe and reliable transport
The rise of commerce and the warmer temperatures between 800 and 1300
Increased agricultural productivity and subsequent rising population
Greater availability of labor also contributed to urban growth
C. While cities in general continued to play
the roles they had played in the past as governmental, religious, and
commercial centers, many older cities declined at the same time that
numerous new cities emerged to take on these established roles.
III. Despite significant continuities in social structures and in
methods of production, there were also some important changes in labor
management and in the effect of religious conversion on gender
relations and family life.
A. As in the previous period, there were many
forms of labor organization.
examples of forms of labor organization:
Free peasant agriculture
Craft production and guild organization
Various forms of coerced and unfree labor
Government-imposed labor taxes
B. As in the previous period, social
structures were shaped largely by class and caste hierarchies.
Patriarchy persisted; however, in some areas, women exercised more
power and influence, most notably among the Mongols and in West Africa,
Japan, and Southeast Asia.
C. New forms of coerced labor appeared,
including serfdom in Europe and Japan and the elaboration of the mit’a
in the Inca Empire. Free peasants resisted attempts to raise dues and
taxes by staging revolts. The demand for slaves for both military and
domestic purposes increased, particularly in central Eurasia, parts of
Africa, and the eastern Mediterranean.
illustrative example of regions where free peasants revolted, either
from the list below or an example of your choice:
The Byzantine Empire
D. The diffusion of Buddhism, Christianity,
Islam, and Neoconfucianism often led to significant changes in gender
relations and family structure.
Global Interactions, c. 1450 to c. 1750
Concept 4.1. Globalizing Networks of Communication and Exchange
The interconnection of the Eastern and Western hemispheres made
possible by transoceanic voyaging marked a key transformation of this
period. Technological innovations helped to make transoceanic
connections possible. Changing patterns of long-distance trade included
the global circulation of some commodities and the formation of new
regional markets and financial centers. Increased transregional and
global trade networks facilitated the spread of religion and other
elements of culture as well as the migration of large numbers of
people. Germs carried to the Americas ravaged the indigenous peoples,
while the global exchange of crops and animals altered agriculture,
diets, and populations around the planet.
I. In the context of the new global circulation of goods, there was an
intensification of all existing regional trade networks that brought
prosperity and economic disruption to the merchants and governments in
the trading regions of the Indian Ocean, Mediterranean, Sahara, and
II. European technological developments in cartography and navigation
built on previous knowledge developed in the classical, Islamic, and
Asian worlds, and included the production of new tools, innovations in
ship designs, and an improved understanding of global wind and currents
patterns — all of which made transoceanic travel and trade possible.
III. Remarkable new transoceanic maritime reconnaissance occurred in
A. Official Chinese maritime activity expanded
into the Indian Ocean region with the naval voyages led by Ming Admiral
Zheng He, which enhanced Chinese prestige.
B. Portuguese development of a school for
navigation led to increased travel to and trade with West Africa, and
resulted in the construction of a global trading-post empire.
C. Spanish sponsorship of the first Columbian
and subsequent voyages across the Atlantic and Pacific dramatically
increased European interest in transoceanic travel and trade.
D. Northern Atlantic crossings for fishing and
settlements continued and spurred European searches for multiple routes
E. In Oceania and Polynesia, established
exchange and communication networks were not dramatically affected
because of infrequent European reconnaissance in the Pacific Ocean.
IV. The new global circulation of goods was facilitated by royal
chartered European monopoly companies that took silver from Spanish
colonies in the Americas to purchase Asian goods for the Atlantic
markets, but regional markets continued to flourish in Afro-Eurasia by
using established commercial practices and new transoceanic shipping
services developed by European merchants.
A. European merchants’ role in Asian trade was
characterized mostly by transporting goods from one Asian country to
another market in Asia or the Indian Ocean region.
B. Commercialization and the creation of a
global economy were intimately connected to new global circulation of
silver from the Americas.
C. Influenced by mercantilism, joint-stock
companies were new methods used by European rulers to control their
domestic and colonial economies and by European merchants to compete
against one another in global trade.
D. The Atlantic system involved the movement
of goods, wealth, and free and unfree laborers, and the mixing of
African, American, and European cultures and peoples.
V. The new connections between the Eastern and Western hemispheres
resulted in the Columbian Exchange.
A. European colonization of the Americas led
to the spread of diseases— including smallpox, measles, and influenza —
that were endemic in the Eastern Hemisphere among Amerindian
populations and the unintentional transfer of vermin, including
mosquitoes and rats.
B. American foods became staple crops in
various parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Cash crops were grown
primarily on plantations with coerced labor and were exported mostly to
Europe and the Middle East in this period.
C. Afro-Eurasian fruit trees, grains, sugar,
and domesticated animals were brought by Europeans to the Americas,
while other foods were brought by African slaves.
D. Populations in Afro-Eurasia benefited
nutritionally from the increased diversity of American food crops.
E. European colonization and the introduction
of European agriculture and settlements practices in the Americas often
affected the physical environment through deforestation and soil
VI. The increase in interactions between newly connected hemispheres
and intensification of connections within hemispheres expanded the
spread and reform of existing religions and created syncretic belief
systems and practices.
A. As Islam spread to new settings in
Afro-Eurasia, believers adapted it to local cultural practices. The
split between the Sunni and Shi’a traditions of Islam intensified, and
Sufi practices became more widespread.
B. The practice of Christianity continued to
spread throughout the world and was increasingly diversified by the
process of diffusion and the Reformation.
C. Buddhism spread within Asia.
D. Syncretic and new forms of religion
VII. As merchants’ profits increased and governments collected more
taxes, funding for the visual and performing arts, even for popular
A. Innovations in visual and performing arts
were seen all over the world.
B. Literacy expanded and was accompanied by
the proliferation of popular authors, literary forms, and works of
literature in Afro-Eurasia.
Concept 4.2. New Forms of Social Organization and Modes of Production
Although the world’s productive systems continued to be heavily
centered on agricultural production throughout this period, major
changes occurred in agricultural labor, the systems and locations of
manufacturing, gender and social structures, and environmental
processes. A surge in agricultural productivity resulted from new
methods in crop and field rotation and the introduction of new crops.
Economic growth also depended on new forms of manufacturing and new
commercial patterns, especially in long-distance trade. Political and
economic centers within regions shifted, and merchants’ social status
tended to rise in various states. Demographic growth — even in
areas such as the Americas, where disease had ravaged the population —
was restored by the eighteenth century and surged in many regions,
especially with the introduction of American food crops throughout the
Eastern Hemisphere. The Columbian Exchange led to new ways of humans
interacting with their environments. New forms of coerced and
semi-coerced labor emerged in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, and
affected ethnic and racial classifications and gender roles.
I. Traditional peasant agriculture increased and changed, plantations
expanded, and demand for labor increased. These changes both fed and
responded to growing global demand for raw materials and finished
A. Peasant labor intensified in many regions.
B. Slavery in Africa continued both the
traditional incorporation of slaves into households and the export of
slaves to the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.
C. The growth of the plantation economy
increased the demand for slaves in the Americas.
D. Colonial economies in the Americas depended
on a range of coerced labor.
II. As new social and political elites changed, they also restructured
new ethnic, racial, and gender hierarchies.
A. Both imperial conquests and widening global
economic opportunities contributed to the formation of new political
and economic elites.
B. The power of existing political and
economic elites fluctuated as they confronted new challenges to their
ability to affect the policies of the increasingly powerful monarchs
C. Some notable gender and family
restructuring occurred, including the demographic changes in Africa
that resulted from the slave trades.
D. The massive demographic changes in the
Americas resulted in new ethnic and racial classifications.
Concept 4.3. State Consolidation and Imperial Expansion
Empires expanded and conquered new peoples around the world, but they
often had difficulties incorporating culturally, ethnically, and
religiously diverse subjects, and administrating widely dispersed
territories. Agents of the European powers moved into existing trade
networks around the world. In Africa and the greater Indian
Ocean, nascent European empires consisted mainly of interconnected
trading posts and enclaves. In the Americas, European empires moved
more quickly to settlement and territorial control, responding to local
demographic and commercial conditions. Moreover, the creation of
European empires in the Americas quickly fostered a new Atlantic trade
system that included the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Around the world,
empires and states of varying sizes pursued strategies of
centralization, including more efficient taxation systems that placed
strains on peasant producers, sometimes prompting local rebellions.
Rulers used public displays of art and architecture to legitimize state
power. African states shared certain characteristics with larger
Eurasian empires. Changes in African and global trading patterns
strengthened some West and Central African states — especially on the
coast; this led to the rise of new states and contributed to the
decline of states on both the coast and in the interior.
I. Rulers used a variety of methods to legitimize and consolidate their
A. Rulers used the arts to display political
power and to legitimize their rule.
B. Rulers continued to use religious ideas to
legitimize their rule.
C. States treated different ethnic and
religious groups in ways that utilized their economic contributions
while limiting their ability to challenge the authority of the state.
D. Recruitment and use of bureaucratic elites,
as well as the development of military professionals, became more
common among rulers who wanted to maintain centralized control over
their populations and resources.
E. Rulers used tribute collection and tax
farming to generate revenue for territorial expansion.
II. Imperial expansion relied on the increased use of gunpowder,
cannons, and armed trade to establish large empires in both hemispheres.
A. Europeans established new trading-post
empires in Africa and Asia, which proved profitable for the rulers and
merchants involved in new global trade networks, but these empires also
affected the power of the states in interior West and Central Africa.
B. Land empires expanded dramatically in size.
examples of land empires:
C. European states established new maritime
empires in the Americas.
examples of maritime empires:
III. Competition over trade routes, state rivalries, and local
resistance all provided significant challenges to state consolidation
Industrialization and Global Integration, c. 1750 to c. 1900
Concept 5.1. Industrialization and Global Capitalism
Industrialization fundamentally altered the production of goods around
the world. It not only changed how goods were produced and consumed, as
well as what was considered a “good,” but it also had far-reaching
effects on the global economy, social relations, and culture. Although
it is common to speak of an “Industrial Revolution,” the process of
industrialization was a gradual one that unfolded over the course of
the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, eventually becoming global.
I. Industrialization fundamentally changed how goods were produced.
A. A variety of factors led to the rise of
examples of factors leading to the rise of industrial production:
Europe’s location on the Atlantic Ocean
The geographical distribution of coal, iron and timber
European demographic changes
Improved agricultural productivity
Legal protection of private property
abundance of rivers and canals
Access to foreign resources
The accumulation of capital
B. The development of machines, including
steam engines and the internal combustion engine, made it possible to
exploit vast new resources of energy stored in fossil fuels,
specifically coal and oil. The “fossil fuels” revolution greatly
increased the energy available to human societies.
C. The development of the factory system
concentrated labor in a single location and led to an increasing degree
of specialization of labor.
D. As the new methods of industrial production
became more common in parts of northwestern Europe, they spread to
other parts of Europe and the United States, Russia, and Japan.
E. The “second industrial revolution” led to
new methods in the production of steel, chemicals, electricity and
precision machinery during the second half of the nineteenth century.
II. New patterns of global trade and production developed and further
integrated the global economy as industrialists sought raw materials
and new markets for the increasing amount and array of goods produced
in their factories.
A. The need for raw materials for the
factories and increased food supplies for the growing population in
urban centers led to the growth of export economies around the world
that specialized in mass producing single natural resources. The
profits from these raw materials were used to purchase finished goods.
B. The rapid development of industrial
production contributed to the decline of economically productive,
agriculturally based economies.
C. The rapid increases in productivity caused
by industrial production encouraged industrialized states to seek out
new consumer markets for their finished goods.
D. The need for specialized and limited metals
for industrial production, as well as the global demand for gold,
silver and diamonds as forms of wealth, led to the development of
extensive mining centers.
III. To facilitate investments at all levels of industrial production,
financiers developed and expanded various financial institutions.
A. The ideological inspiration for economic
changes lies in the development of capitalism and classical liberalism
associated with Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill.
B. Financial instruments expanded.
C. The global nature of trade and production
contributed to the proliferation of large-scale transnational
IV. There were major developments in transportation and communication.
Required examples of developments in
transportation and communication:
V. The development and spread of global capitalism led to a variety of
A. In industrialized states, many workers
organized themselves to improve working conditions, limit hours, and
gain higher wages, while others opposed capitalist exploitation of
workers by promoting alternative visions of society.
B. In Qing China and the Ottoman Empire, some
members of the government resisted economic change and attempted to
maintain preindustrial forms of economic production.
C. In a small number of states, governments
promoted their own state-sponsored visions of industrialization.
D. In response to criticisms of industrial
global capitalism, some governments mitigated the negative effects of
industrial capitalism by promoting various types of reforms.
VI. The ways in which people organized themselves into societies also
underwent significant transformations in industrialized states due to
the fundamental restructuring of the global economy.
A. New social classes, including the middle
class and the industrial working class, developed.
B. Family dynamics, gender roles, and
demographics changed in response to industrialization.
C. Rapid urbanization that accompanied global
capitalism often led to unsanitary conditions, as well as to new forms
Concept 5.2. Imperialism and Nation-State Formation
As states industrialized during this period, they also expanded their
existing overseas colonies and established new types of colonies and
transoceanic empires. Regional warfare and diplomacy both resulted in
and were affected by this process of modern empire building. The
process was led mostly by Europe, although not all states were affected
equally, which led to an increase of European influence around the
world. The United States and Japan also participated in this process.
The growth of new empires challenged the power of existing land-based
empires of Eurasia. New ideas about nationalism, race, gender, class,
and culture also developed that facilitated the spread of transoceanic
empires, as well as justified anti-imperial resistance and the
formation of new national identities.
I. Industrializing powers established transoceanic empires.
A. States with existing colonies strengthened
their control over those colonies.
B. European states, as well as the Americans
and the Japanese, established empires throughout Asia and the Pacific,
while Spanish and Portuguese influence declined.
C. Many European states used both warfare and
diplomacy to establish empires in Africa.
D. In some parts of their empires, Europeans
established settler colonies.
E. In other parts of the world, industrialized
states practiced economic imperialism.
II. Imperialism influenced state formation and contraction around the
A. The expansion of U.S. and European
influence over Tokugawa Japan led to the emergence of Meiji Japan.
B. The United States and Russia emulated
European transoceanic imperialism by expanding their land borders and
conquering neighboring territories.
C. Anti-imperial resistance led to the
contraction of the Ottoman Empire.
D. New states developed on the edges of
E. The development and spread of nationalism
as an ideology fostered new communal identities.
III. New racial ideologies, especially Social Darwinism, facilitated
and justified imperialism.
Concept 5.3. Nationalism, Revolution, and Reform
The eighteenth century marked the beginning of an intense period of
revolution and rebellion against existing governments, and the
establishment of new nation-states around the world. Enlightenment
thought and the resistance of colonized peoples to imperial centers
shaped this revolutionary activity. These rebellions sometimes resulted
in the formation of new states and stimulated the development of new
ideologies. These new ideas in turn further stimulated the
revolutionary and antiimperial tendencies of this period.
I. The rise and diffusion of Enlightenment thought that questioned
established traditions in all areas of life often preceded the
revolutions and rebellions against existing governments.
A. Thinkers applied new ways of understanding
the natural world to human relationships, encouraging observation and
inference in all spheres of life.
B. Intellectuals critiqued the role that
religion played in public life, insisting on the importance of reason
as opposed to revelation.
C. Enlightenment thinkers developed new
political ideas about the individual, natural rights, and the social
D. The ideas of Enlightenment thinkers
influenced resistance to existing political authority, as reflected in
Required examples of
• The American
Declaration of Independence
• The French
Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen
E. These ideas influenced many people to
challenge existing notions of social relations, which led to the
expansion of rights as seen in expanded suffrage, the abolition of
slavery and the end of serfdom, as their ideas were implemented.
II. Beginning in the eighteenth century, peoples around the world
developed a new sense of commonality based on language, religion,
social customs and territory. These newly imagined national communities
linked this identity with the borders of the state, while governments
used this idea to unite diverse populations.
III. Increasing discontent with imperial rule propelled reformist and
A. Subjects challenged the centralized
B. American colonial subjects led a series of
rebellions, which facilitated the emergence of independent states in
the United States, Haiti, and mainland Latin America. French subjects
rebelled against their monarchy.
Required examples of
• Latin American
C. Slave resistance challenged existing
authorities in the Americas.
D. Increasing questions about political
authority and growing nationalism contributed to anticolonial movements.
E. Some of the rebellions were influenced by
religious ideas and millenarianism.
F. Responses to increasingly frequent
rebellions led to reforms in imperial policies.
IV. The global spread of European political and social thought and the
increasing number of rebellions stimulated new transnational ideologies
A. Discontent with monarchist and imperial
rule encouraged the development of political ideologies, including
liberalism, socialism, and communism.
B. Demands for women’s suffrage and an
emergent feminism challenged political and gender hierarchies.
Concept 5.4. Global Migration
Migration patterns changed dramatically throughout this period, and the
numbers of migrants increased significantly. These changes were closely
connected to the development of transoceanic empires and a global
capitalist economy. In some cases, people benefited economically from
migration, while other people were seen simply as commodities to be
transported. In both cases, migration produced dramatically different
societies for both sending and receiving societies, and presented
challenges to governments in fostering national identities and
regulating the flow of people.
I. Migration in many cases was influenced by changes in demography in
both industrialized and unindustrialized societies that presented
challenges to existing patterns of living.
A. Changes in food production and improved
medical conditions contributed to a significant global rise in
B. Because of the nature of the new modes of
transportation, both internal and external migrants increasingly
relocated to cities. This pattern contributed to the significant global
urbanization of the nineteenth century.
II. Migrants relocated for a variety of reasons.
A. Many individuals chose freely to relocate,
often in search of work.
B. The new global capitalist economy continued
to rely on coerced and semicoerced labor migration.
Required examples of coerced
and semicoerced labor migration:
• Chinese and
Indian indentured servitude
• Convict labor
C. While many migrants permanently relocated,
a significant number of temporary and seasonal migrants returned to
their home societies.
III. The large-scale nature of migration, especially in the nineteenth
century, produced a variety of consequences and reactions to the
increasingly diverse societies on the part of migrants and the existing
A. Due to the physical nature of the labor in
demand, migrants tended to be male, leaving women to take on new roles
in the home society that had been formerly occupied by men.
B. Migrants often created ethnic enclaves in
different parts of the world
which helped transplant their culture into new environments and
facilitated the development of migrant support networks.
C. Receiving societies did not always embrace
immigrants, as seen in the
various degrees of ethnic and racial prejudice and the ways states
to regulate the increased flow of people across their borders.
Accelerating Global Change and Realignments, c. 1900 to the Present
Concept 6.1 Science and the Environment
Rapid advances in science altered the understanding of the universe and
the natural world and led to the development of new technologies. These
changes enabled unprecedented population growth, which altered how
humans interacted with the environment and threatened delicate
ecological balances at local, regional, and global levels.
I. Researchers made rapid advances in science that spread throughout
the world, assisted by the development of new technology.
A. New modes of communication and
transportation virtually eliminated the problem of geographic distance.
B. New scientific paradigms transformed human
understanding of the world.
C. The Green Revolution produced food for the
earth’s growing population as it spread chemically and genetically
enhanced forms of agriculture.
D. Medical innovations increased the ability
of humans to survive.
E. Energy technologies including the use of
oil and nuclear power raised productivity and increased the production
of material goods.
II. As the global population expanded at an unprecedented rate, humans
fundamentally changed their relationship with the environment.
A. Humans exploited and competed over the
earth’s finite resources more intensely than ever before in human
B. Global warming was a major consequence of
the release of greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the
C. Pollution threatened the world’s supply of
water and clean air. Deforestation and desertification were
continuing consequences of the human impact on the environment. Rates
of extinction of other species accelerated sharply.
III. Disease, scientific innovations, and conflict led to demographic
A. Diseases associated with poverty persisted,
while other diseases emerged as new epidemics and threats to human
survival. In addition, changing lifestyles and increased longevity led
to higher incidence of certain diseases.
B. More effective forms of birth control gave
women greater control over fertility and transformed sexual practices.
C. Improved military technology and new
tactics led to increased levels of wartime casualties.
Concept 6.2 Global Conflicts and Their Consequences
At the beginning of the twentieth century, a European-dominated global
political order existed, which also included the United States, Russia,
and Japan. Over the course of the century, peoples and states around
the world challenged this order in ways that sought to redistribute
power within the existing order and to restructure empires, while those
peoples and states in power attempted to maintain the status quo. Other
peoples and states sought to overturn the political order itself. These
challenges to, and the attempts to maintain, the political order
manifested themselves in an unprecedented level of conflict with high
human casualties. In the context of these conflicts, many regimes in
both older and newer states struggled with maintaining political
stability and were challenged by internal and external factors,
including ethnic and religious conflicts, secessionist movements,
territorial partitions, economic dependency, and the legacies of
I. Europe dominated the global political order at the beginning of the
twentieth century, but both land-based and transoceanic empires gave
way to new forms of transregional political organization by the
A. The older land-based Ottoman, Russian, and
Qing empires collapsed due to a combination of internal and external
B. Some colonies negotiated their independence.
C. Some colonies achieved independence through
II. Emerging ideologies of anti-imperialism contributed to the
dissolution of empires and the restructuring of states.
A. Nationalist leaders in Asia and Africa
challenged imperial rule.
B. Regional, religious, and ethnic movements
challenged both colonial rule and inherited imperial boundaries.
C. Transnational movements sought to unite
people across national boundaries.
D. Movements to redistribute land and
resources developed within states in Africa, Asia, and Latin America,
sometimes advocating communism and socialism.
III. Political changes were accompanied by major demographic and social
A. The redrawing of old colonial boundaries
led to population resettlements.
B. The migration of former colonial subjects
to imperial metropoles maintained cultural and economic ties between
the colony and the metropole even after the dissolution of empires.
C. The proliferation of conflicts led to
various forms of ethnic violence and the displacement of peoples
resulting in refugee populations.
IV. Military conflicts occurred on an unprecedented global scale.
A. World War I and World War II were the first
“total wars.” Governments used ideologies, including fascism,
nationalism and communism, to mobilize all of their state’s resources,
including peoples, both in the home countries and the colonies or
former colonies, for the purpose of waging war. Governments also used a
variety of strategies, including political speeches, art, media, and
intensified forms of nationalism, to mobilize these populations.
B. The sources of global conflict in the first
half of the century varied.
Required examples of the
sources of global conflict:
expansion by European powers and Japan
• Ethnic conflict
• Great power
rivalries between Great Britain and Germany
• The economic
crisis engendered by the Great Depression.
C. The global balance of economic and
political power shifted after the end of World War II and rapidly
evolved into the Cold War. The United States and the Soviet Union
emerged as superpowers, which led to ideological struggles between
capitalism and communism throughout the globe.
D. The Cold War produced new military
alliances, including NATO and the Warsaw Pact, and promoted proxy wars
in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
E. The dissolution of the Soviet Union
effectively ended the Cold War.
V. Although conflict dominated much of the twentieth century, many
individuals and groups — including states — opposed this trend. Some
individuals and groups, however, intensified the conflicts.
A. Groups and individuals challenged the many
wars of the century, and some promoted the practice of nonviolence as a
way to bring about political change.
B. Groups and individuals opposed and promoted
alternatives to the existing economic, political, and social orders.
C. Militaries and militarized states often
responded to the proliferation of conflicts in ways that further
D. More movements used violence against
civilians to achieve political aims.
E. Global conflicts had a profound influence
on popular culture.
Concept 6.3 New Conceptualizations of Global Economy, Society, and
The twentieth century witnessed a great deal of warfare and the
collapse of the global economy in the 1930s. In response to these
challenges, the role of state in the domestic economy fluctuated, and
new institutions of global governance emerged and continued to develop
throughout the century. Scientific breakthroughs, new technologies,
increasing levels of integration, changing relationships between humans
and the environment, and the frequency of political conflict all
contributed to global developments in which people crafted new
understandings of society, culture, and historical interpretations.
These new understandings often manifested themselves in, and were
reinforced by, new forms of cultural production. Institutions of global
governance both shaped and adapted to these social conditions.
I. States responded in a variety of ways to the economic challenges of
the twentieth century.
A. In the Communist states of the Soviet Union
and China, governments controlled their national economies.
B. At the beginning of the century in the
United States and parts of Europe, governments played a minimal role in
their national economies. With the onset of the Great Depression,
governments began to take a more active role in economic life.
C. In newly independent states after World War
II, governments often took on a strong role in guiding economic life to
D. At the end of the twentieth century, many
governments encouraged free market economic policies and promoted
II. States, communities, and individuals became increasingly
interdependent, a process facilitated by the growth of institutions of
A. New international organizations formed to
maintain world peace and to facilitate international cooperation.
B. New economic institutions sought to spread
the principles and practices associated with free market economics
throughout the world.
C. Humanitarian organizations developed to
respond to humanitarian crises throughout the world.
D. Regional trade agreements created regional
trading blocs designed to promote the movement of capital and goods
across national borders.
E. Multinational corporations began to
challenge state authority and autonomy.
F. Movements throughout the world protested
the inequality of environmental and economic consequences of global
III. People conceptualized society and culture in new ways; some
challenged old assumptions about race, class, gender, and religion,
often using new technologies to spread reconfigured traditions.
A. The notion of human rights gained traction
throughout the world.
B. Increased interactions among diverse
peoples sometimes led to the formation of new cultural identities and
C. Believers developed new forms of
spirituality and chose to emphasize particular aspects of practice
within existing faiths and apply them to political issues.
IV. Popular and consumer culture became global.
A. Sports were more widely practiced and
reflected national and social aspirations.
B. Changes in communication and transportation
technology enabled the widespread diffusion of music and film.