This section tests your knowledge on important world events, people, and ideas from the past.
Let’s talk about what you need to know about each time period in World history.
First, you have to know how humankind evolved, both physically and culturally, from the Paleolithic era (Stone Age) to the agricultural revolution. Remember, the agricultural revolution occurred from about 10,000 B.C. to 2,000 B.C. It describes the transition from hunting and gathering to farming.
Also, be able to critically think about how early humans interacted with the environment and how those interactions impacted the development of several ancient civilizations like the Fertile Crescent, Persia, Egypt, Kush, Greece, India, China, Rome, and pre-Columbian America.
For each major ancient civilization, you need to know its religious, social, economic, and political structure and its major accomplishments and contributions. You also need to be able to identify some modern western thinking that originated from those specific ancient civilizations.
Finally, take time to research ancient Chinese and Indian traditions, like Taoism and Hinduism, that form the foundation for Asian political and philosophical structures.
Those are some really (really) broad concepts to think about and study.
Medieval and Early Modern Times
For these questions, you need to know the impact of geography on the development of medieval and early-modern civilizations. Think about water. Most major cities founded during these times are by a river or water source. This is because humans need freshwater and water was the fastest and easiest form of transportation until the invention of the steam engine and railroads.
Be sure to know the major events that led to the fall of the Western Roman Empire and the rise of the Byzantine Empire. Investigate these two civilization’s views on religion, culture, society, and politics.
Think about the religions of Christianity and Islam. Be able to describe the expansion of Christianity during this time and the basic tenets of Islam.
Know what feudalism is and how it developed in Europe and Japan.
You also need to know about the geographic, political, economic, religious, and social structures of North and South America, Asia, and Africa between A.D. 500 and the end of the 18thcentury.
Finally, be really familiar with the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific Revolution, and the Enlightenment.
Modern World History
For these questions, you need to know about these events, time periods, and/or ideologies and their lasting impacts on the world:
- Age of Exploration
- The Enlightenment
- American Revolution
- French Revolution
- Industrial Revolution
- Russian revolutions of 1905 and 1917
- World War I
- World War II
- Cold War
- Genocide (the Holocaust, Armenian genocide)
- Conflict in the Middle East
Important note! The critical thing to know about these events, time periods, and ideologies is their lasting impact on society, politics, culture, the economy, etc. Just knowing what these are and when they happened is not enough. Think super deep!
Specific Concepts for World History
Right now, I’m going to give you five specific concepts to be familiar with because they will most likely appear on the test.
Notable Contributions of Ancient Egypt
The most notable contributions from Ancient Egypt are their advancements in mathematics, written language (hieroglyphics), and agricultural and military technology.
Their most famous achievement is the creation of the Great Pyramids. The pyramids epitomize Egyptian cultural advancements because they are geometrically perfect, the labor force was sustained through agricultural advancements that allowed large amounts of land to be cultivated with less labor, and they were not under threat of attack.
In A.D. 622, Muhammad was born in the city of Mecca. He prophetically founded a new religion, Islam, meaning “submission to the will of God.” Muhammad and his followers were positioned to spread the new religion because they were travelers and a people of trade.
Eventually a religious army of followers spread the faith through the Middle East and to North Africa and into Spain. Towards the east, Islam spread to India, Malaysia, and Indonesia. The teachings of Islam are studied in the Koran.
Check out this resource on the Five Pillars of Islam.
The Renaissance, which means “rebirth”, was a philosophical and artistic movement that began in northern Italy. It was an era of renewed interest in the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome.
The Crusades led to an opening of trade routes with the Arabic nations; the Arabic nations had preserved manuscripts of the ancient cultures and shared these documents with traders. The wealth gained in trading brought power to the merchant class, and a few Italian families grew rich as bankers. They became patrons of the arts and saw art as a social status icon.
The renewed interest in science and scientific truths led to the founding of universities for further academic study. The increase of scientific experimentation and the discovery of laws governing the natural world reduced belief in the church; “mystical events” could now be explained through science.
The American Revolution
The American Revolution of 1776 was an uprising of the colonies in America and greatly influenced by the philosophy of John Locke. The grievances of the colonists centered around being taxed without have legal representation in Parliament. The taxes imposed on the colonists resulted from the French and Indian Wars. The cost of the wars was very high, and the English wished to pay the expenses by taxing the colonists.
Additionally, the crown forbade the colonies from migrating to the land west of the Appalachian Mountains and into the Ohio Valley. The colonists wanted to trade with other countries in order to get a better price for their goods but were barred from trading with other countries because the idea of mercantilism viewed colonists as being created for the benefit of the parent countries and trading with other nations was harmful to the parent nations.
The French Revolution
The French Revolution of 1789 was to some degree inspired by the American war for independence. In the French government, the king was absolute. He had unlimited powers over all of his countrymen. The class system was divided into three groups called estates. The first estate was the rich nobility who paid no taxes, as did the second estate. The third estate made up 97 percent of the population and paid the taxes.
After the taxes, there was little income left for citizens in the third estate to purchase basic necessities. The French middle class, the bourgeoisie, led the fight for the ideas of the philosophers Rousseau, Voltaire, and Montesquieu. They called for a separation of powers, just like the colonists in the United States.
The fight began with the storming of the Bastille and ended with the ascension of Napoleon to power. The significance of the war was the establishment of democratic ideals- liberty, equality, and fraternity- throughout the continent of Europe.
You need to be able to compare and contrast the American Revolution and the French Revolution and identify their lasting impacts on the world.
That’s it for World History. Are you overwhelmed? Is it becoming clear that a thorough study guide is exactly what you need to succeed?
Let’s move on to World Geography.