AP World History Exam Study Guide

Civilization
This term can be a loaded issue of historical debate. Who is civilized and who is not? Strictly speaking, a civilization is settled and agricultural. Thus it is able to produce surplus food that can support an elite class. At times, however, the term has been used to separate those cultures considered advanced from those that did not “measure up,” especially during the time of European imperialism.
Demography
The study of population dynamics. Demographics is important in the study of world history because population dynamics provide evidence of important historical trends, such as disease pandemics, and migrations.
Diffusion
The spread of items from one place to another. In world history, the phrase ‘cultural diffusion’ is used to describe the spread of ideas, such as religions and products, as with trade.
Gender
Describes the social roles that men and women adopt. Different cultures at different times have vastly different notions of gender roles. Even within a given society, gender roles may differ between different social groups, such as between the elites and the peasantry.
Historiography
The study of the way that historians write history. In one sense, it is the history of history. A person examining historiography would look at the way that a Marxist historian, for example, would frame the historical record differently than a person with an imperialist perspective.
Interregional
The connections between different regions of the world. Trade connections, for example, between South Asia and East Africa are an example of interregional contacts.
Migration
The movement of people from one area to settle in another area. Migrations can be voluntary or forced, such as with slavery.
Patriarchy
A social system in which the father is the head of the family or a system in which men dominate the social structure.
Periodization
The division of historical time into different periods. AP World History, for example, divides the course into five different periods of history. How history is divided is a matter of great debate since it, by nature, sets up different dates as the critical division points.
Technology
The way in which people adapt their knowledge to tools and inventions. The concept of technology in AP World History represents a major theme of the course.
Animism
A type of religious belief that focuses on the roles of the various gods and spirits in the natural world and in human events. Animist religions are polytheistic and have been practiced in almost every part of the world.
Caste System
The social system of the Aryans divided people into four castes, also known as Varnas. This caste system had a profound impact on the development of the Hindu religion. Each of the four main castes had specific roles to fulfill in society.
Classical
Represents a period of great cultural significance in society before the modern age. In a limited form of usage, classical refers to the age of Athens in ancient Greece and to the time of the Roman Republic and Empire. The term classical, however, can also be applied to non-Mediterranean cultures, such as the Qin dynasty of China.
Filial Piety
A form of respect shown by children to their parents.Filial piety is a crucial concept in Confucian thought, and can also be seen in the respect and veneration shown to elders and ancestors.
Monotheism
The religious belief in one God. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam all represent monotheistic religions.
Neolithic Revolution
The term ‘neolithic’ means ‘new stone age.’ During the early years of the neolithic period, which corresponds to the starting point of the AP World History course of 8000 BCE, humans discovered agriculture and settled into fixed communities.
Nomadic
A way of life in which people do not have a settled home but rather move from place to place in order to support their livelihood. Pastoral nomads move in order to find places for their animals to forage; hunter-gatherer nomads seek out new areas for finding and hunting food.
Pastoral
Refers to a group that herds domesticated animals for their livelihood. Often pastoral people are also nomadic.
Polygamy
A cultural trait in which one person is married to more than one spouse at a time.
Polytheism
Religious belief in more than one god. The ancient Greeks, for example, practiced polytheism.
Silk Roads
The trade routes that linked the Mediterranean area of the Roman Empire with the Chinese Qin dynasty. Silk textiles and other precious trade goods traveled across the silk roads about 2,000 years ago. Later, the Silk Roads flourished under the Mongol period of the 13th century.
Caliphate
Caliphs were the political- and to a certain extent religious- successors of Muhammad. The term in Arabic means ‘deputy.’ Four noble caliphs following Muhammad were themselves succeeded by the caliphs of the Umayyad and Abbasid Empires.
Crusades
Military invasions during the Middle Ages by the Christians of Western Europe with the objective of capturing the Holy Land from the Muslims. Christian crusader states were established along the eastern Mediterranean coast until later Muslim counter-attacks reconquered the area. The Crusades were also responsible for increasing the cultural and economic integration of Southern Europe with the rest of the world.
Dar al-Islam
A term meaning ‘house of Islam’ in Arabic. The Dar al-Islam is the expanse of the Islamic world. In the centuries that followed the death of Muhammad, Dar al-Islam stretched from the Iberian Peninsula of Western Europe to the far islands of Southeast Asia.
Feudalism
A social and political system in which lords are granted landed estates by a monarch in exchange for their loyalty, especially in military matters. Feudalism existed during the Medieval period in Western Europe and also in Japan during the age of the Shoguns.
Indian Ocean Trade System
A network of trade established between the Indian subcontinent and the Swahili trade cities of Eastern Africa. Ocean-going merchants from the Arabian Peninsula used the regular patterns of the monsoon winds to travel back and forth carrying cargoes of textiles, spices, and precious metals. The domination of the Portuguese in the Indian Ocean during the 16th century ended the previous dynamics of the trade system.
Manorialism
A type of social structure in which a lord has control over the labor on his agricultural estate. Typically serfs were bound to the land and required to work for the lord.
Missionary
A person who spreads his or her religious belief to others. In several of the major world religions, such as Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam, missionaries were vital in the spread of the faith.
Pandemic
A widespread outbreak of disease. Disease pandemics, such as the bubonic plaque of the 14th century and the smallpox pandemic in the Americas after contact with the Europeans, caused global transformations.
Papacy
Referring to the authority of the Roman Catholic Pope, who is seen as the spiritual successor to Saint Peter. During the Medieval period, the papacy had great religious and some political power over almost all of Western Europe.
Absolutism
A style of government that came about in Europe during the 17th century, Absolute monarchs generally ruled a highly centralized state by concentrating power in thier own hands. State-run armies, religions, and economic policy often supported the absolutist state. Louis XIV of France represents what many historians consider to be the epitome of absolutism.
Coercive Labor
Any labor system that involves force, such as various forms of slavery, serfdom, and indentured labor. Almost all civilizations relied on some form of coercive labor up to the 19th century.
Columbian Exchange
The biological exchange that occurred as a result of European involvement with the Americas following Columbus’s voyage. Diseases, animals., and plants were transmitted from the Old World to the New World, vastly changing both.
Empire
A political unit in which groups of people, often in different countries, are controlled by a single ruler. Imperial systems are by nature expansionist.
Enlightenment
An intellectual movement centered in Western Europe during the 18th century. The Enlightenment focused on rational thought, order, and logic. These concepts had widespread impacts, such as on the American Revolution and the emancipation of slavery.
Harem
Strictly defined, a harem is the place within a Muslim palace where women were housed. Harems also refer to the women, typically concubines, who are attached to a powerful political ruler.
Neo-Confucianism
A movement to return to traditional Confucian values that occurred especially during the Song dynasty.
Reformation
The religious movement for reform of the Roman Catholic Church during the 16th century. The Reformation led to the creation of new Protestant Christian churches that sought authority separate from the Pope.
Renaissance
The period of intellectual and artistic “rebirth” that occurred first in Italy during the 14th and 15th centuries. During the Renaissance, many elite people sought inspiration in the ideals of classical times and focused on the ideas of humanism and individualism.
Scientific Revolution
A major period of change in scientific thought that occurred in Europe beginning in the 16th century. The scientific revolution was characterized by the use of observation and experimentation using the rational tools of the scientific method.
Bourgeoisie
The middle class in European industrial society. During the French Revolution, the social group of mostly wealthy professionals and businessmen, who helped lead the initial phases of the revolution, were known as the bourgeoisie. Later Karl Marx would consider the bourgeoisie to be the social class most responsible for the capitalist exploitation of industrial society.
Colonialism
Rule by one country over another country. In colonialism raw materials and markets of the colony are often used to enrich the mother country.
Communism
A political philosophy best represented by the thinking of Karl Marx during the 19th century. In communism a violent revolution is needed in order to overthrow capitalism and create a society based on social equality.
Emancipation
The liberation of a group of people from the control of other people. Typically emancipation relates to the liberation of people under a coercive labor system, such as slavery or serfdom. Emancipation may also refer to female emancipation, in which women achieve rights equal to those of men.
Ideology
A system of ideas or ways of thinking that guides the decisions of a group of people. Ideology generally involves issues of politics, but it also has economic, social, and cultural implications.
Imperialism
The process by which mostly European countries established political and economic control over other parts of the world starting in the 16th century and reaching its height in the 19th century.
Industrialism
The development of a complex economic system using the factory system of production. Industrialism is one of the main characteristics of a society becoming modernized.
Marxism
A system of political and economic thought developed first by Karl Marx in the mid-19th century, Marxism emphasizes class struggle as the dominant aspect of social change and historical transformation.
Nationalism
A political belief that people should have pride and loyalty to their nation and/or ethnic group. Often in nationalism, people see their own nation as having special aspects that separate and elevate their people in relation to people of other nations.
Social Darwinism
An intellectual movement that used Charles Darwin’s biological ideas of natural selection and the “survival of the fittest” to human societies. European Social Darwinism of the 19th century saw other parts of the world as weak and thus justifiably exploited.
Apartheid
A government policy of racial separation that arose in South Africa during the middle of the 20th century. It was dismantled in the 1990s when black South Africans gained political representation.
Cold War
The period of conflict between the United States and its allies, and the Soviet Union and its allies. The cold war began soon after World War II and ended in the last years of the 20th century.
Consumer Society
A society, especially in modern times, that expresses itself through the process of consumption of material goods. Issues such as the globalization of corporate brands and the role of multinational corporation, in countries around the world are both indicators of the diffusion of the values of consumer society.
Deforestation
The elimination of vast numbers of trees by logging operations as in Brazil and Indoneasia or by individuals for firewood and construction material as in Haiti Deforestation can have dramatic local environmental impacts, such as soil erosion. Widespread deforestation has been linked to broader ecological issues of a global nature.
Demographic Transition
The shitf to both lower birthrates and lower death rates, thus leading to stable population dynamics. Demographic transitions occur with countries that experience modernization, and the advantages of modern medicine and lower child mortality.
Developing World
Parts of the world that have an economic system in which the process of industrial development is not advanced. Much of Africa, Asia, and Latin America is part of the developing world.
Fascism
A political system that emerged in Europe following World War II. Fascism combines ideas of extreme nationalism with authoritarian rule to oppose both liberal democracy and communism. Mussolini’s Italy was the first fascist country.
Feminism
A social and political movement that views women as equal to men. Feminists demand equal rights and the elimination of patriarchal control.
Globalization
The process by which national boundaries become increasingly less important, as a result of economic, social, and cultural interactions between parts of the world.
Guerrilla War
A style of warfare that emphasizes irregular fighting units that us surprise attacks and unconventional methods.
Multinational Corporation
A company with operations in a variety of different countries. The late-20th century, with its rapid move toward globalization, saw a rise in influence of multinational corporations.
Non-Aligned Nations
Countries that remained neutral during the cold war conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union. For years, India was the symbolic leader among the non-aligned nations.
Pacific Rim
Those areas that surround the Pacific Ocean. The term is typically used to describe the new economic influence of the nations of East and Southeast Asia.
Popular Culture
Cultural issues of common identity that bind a group of people together. Film, music, and sports are all important aspects of modern popular culture. In recent years, popular culture has become increasingly globalized.
Third World
Strictly speaking, the Third World was the term used during the Cold War to describe those countries that were not part of Western allies of the United States or allies of the Soviet Union. Generally, it is applied to countries of the developing world, especially in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
Urbanization
The process involved in the growth of cities and the areas surrounding them. Typically, urbanization occurs as part of the processes of industrialism and modernization. People migrate from rural areas or from other countries into rapidly growing urban centers so that they can take advantage of economic opportunity.
Slash-and-Burn Agriculture
Slashing the bark and burning the trees to the ground in order to provide room for agriculture and fertile land.
Steppe
A tall feathery grass that grew in areas where there was not much rainfall, something ideal for animal grazing.
Copper
The earliest metal made for jewelry and simple tools. It was later heated to become more workable and was made into knives, axes, hoes, and weapons. Copper was the foundation for the later developments of gold, bronze, and iron.
Bronze
A mixture, or alloy, of copper and tin that created a harder stronger metal. Bronze was used to make weapons such as swords, spears, axes, shields, armor, and bronze-tipped plows for farming.
Wheel
Allowed the transport of heavier loads and much longer distance travel and trade. This important technology spread like wildfire and within a few centuries was the standard mean of overland transport.
Fertile Crescent
The “land between the waters” in Southwest Asia.
Marketplace
A large economic center in cities that was extremely influential to the surrounding regions.
Sumer
A “country” in Mesopotamia that had a population of 100,000. Temples, public buildings, defensive walls, and irrigation systems were built by laborers recruited by government authorities. By 3000 BCE, the cities had kings with absolute authority, each ruling his own city-state.
Hammurabi
One of the most famous emperors of Mesopotamia who ruled from 1792 to 1750 BCE. He used an organized central bureaucracy and regular taxation to aid in ruling his empire. He is most famous for his legal code of laws, which he promulgated on stone stele [columns] throughout his empire; the first documented attempt in ancient history to detail crimes with specific punishments.
Hieroglyphics
The Egyptian written language made up of pictographs.
Abbas the Great
Shah of Iran [r. 1587-1629]. The most illustrious ruler of the Safavid Empire, he moved the imperial capital to Isfahan in 1598, where he erected many palaces, mosques, and public buildings.
Abbasid Caliphate
Descendants of the Prophet Muhammad’s uncle, al-Abbas, the Abbasids overthrew the Umayyad Caliphate and ruled an Islamic empire from their capital in Baghdad [founded 762] from 750 to 1258.
Abolitionists
Men and women who agitated for a complete end to slavery. British abolitionists pressed for the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade in 1808 and slavery in 1834. In the United States, the activities of abolitionists were one factor leading to the Civil War [1861-1865].
Absolutism
the theory popular in France and other early modern European monarchies that royal power should be free of constitutional checks.
Acheh Sultanate
Muslim kingdom in northern Sumatra. Main center of Islamic expansion in Southeast Asia in the early seventeent century, it declined after the Dutch seized Malacca from Portugal in 1641.
Acculturation
The adoption of the language, customs, values, and behaviors of host nations by immigrants.
Acllas
Women selected by Inca authorities to serve in religious centers as weavers and ritual participants.
Aden
Port city in the modern south Arabian country of Yemen. It has been a major trading center in the Indian Ocean since ancient times.
African National Congress
An organization dedicated to obtaining equal voting and civil rights for black inhabitants of South Africa. Founded in 1912 as the South African Native National Congress, it changed its name in 1923. Though it was banned and its leaders were jailed for many years, it eventually helped bring majority rule to South Africa.
Afrikaners
South Africans descended from Dutch and French settlers of the seventeenth century. Their Great Trek founded new settler colonies in the nineteenth century, Tough a minority among South Africans, they held political power after 1910, imposing a system of racial segregation called apartheid after 1949.
Agricultural Revolution [ancient]
The change from food gathering to food production that occurred between ca. 8000 and 2000 BCE. Also known as the Neolithic Revolutions.
Agricultural Revolution [18th century]
The transformation of farming that resulted in the eighteenth century from the spread of new crops, improvements in cultivation techniques and livestock breeding, and the consolidation of small holdings into large farms from which tenants and sharecroppers were forcibly expelled.
Emilio Aguinaldo
Leader of the Filipino independence movement against Spain [1895-1898]. He proclaimed the independence of the Philippines in 1899, but his movement was crushed and he was captured by the United States Army in 1901.
Akbar I
Most illustrious sultan of the Mughal Empire in India [r. 1556-1605]. He expanded the empire and pursued a policy of conciliation with Hindus.
Akhenaten
Egyptian pharaoh [r. 1353-1335 BCE]. He built a new capital at Amarna, fostered a new style of naturalistic art, and created a religious revolution by imposing worship of the sun-disk. The Amarna letters, largely from his reign, preserve official correspondence with subjects and neighbors.
Alexander
King of Macedonia in northern Greece. Between 334 and 323 BCE, he conquered the PErsian Empire, reached the Indus Valley, founded many Greek-style cities, and spread Greek culture across the Middle East. Later known as Alexander the Great.
Alexandria
City on the Mediterranean coast of Egypt founded by Alexander. It became the capital of the Hellenistic kingdom of the Ptolemies. It contained the famous Library and Museum- a center for leading scientific and literary figures. Its merchants engaged in trade with areas bordering the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.
Salvador Allende
Socialist politician elected president of Chile in 1970 and overthrown by the military in 1973. He died during the military attack.
All-India Muslim League
Political organization founded in India in 1906 to defend the interests of India’s Muslim minority. Led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah, it attempted to negotiate with the Indian National Congress. In 1940, the League began demanding a separate state for Muslims, to be called Pakistan.
Amulet
Small charm meant to protect the bearer from evil. Found frequently in archaeological excavations in Mesopotamia and Egypt, amulets reflect the religious practices of the common people.
Anasazi
Important culture of what is now the southwest of the United States [1000-1300]. Centered on Chaco Canyon in New Mexico and Mesa Verde in Colorado, the Anasazi culture built multistory residences and worshiped in subterranean buildings called kivas.
Aqueduct
A conduit, either elevated or under ground, using gravity to carry water from a source to a location- usually a city- that needed it. The Romans built many aqueducts in a period of substantial urbanization.
Arawak
Amerindian peoples who inhabited the Greater Antilles of the Caribbean at the time of Columbus.
Richard Arkwright
English inventor and entrepreneur who became the wealthiest and most successful textile manufacturer of the early Industrial Revolution. He invented the water frame, a machine that, with minimal human supervision, could spin many strong cotton threads at once.
Armenia
One of the earliest Christian kingdoms, situated in eastern Anatolia and the western Caucasus and occupied by speakers of the Armenian language.
Asante
African kingdom on the Gold Coast that expanded rapidly after 1680. Asante participated in the Atlantic economy, trading gold, slaves, and ivory. It resisted British imperial ambitions for a quarter century before being absorbed into Britain’s Gold Coast colony in 1902.
Ashikaga Shogunate
The second of Japan’s military governments headed by a shogun [a military ruler]. Sometimes called the Muromachi Shogunate.
Ashoka
Third ruler of the Mauryan Empire in India [r. 270-232 BCE]. He converted to Buddhism and broadcast his precepts on inscribed stones and pillars, the earliest surviving Indian writing.
Ashur
Chief deity of the Assyrians, he stood behind the king and brought victory in war. Also the name of an important Assyrian religious and political center.
Asian Tigers
Collective name for South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Singapore- nations that became economic powers in the 1970s and 1980s.
Atahualpa
Last ruling Inca emperor of Peru. He was executed by the Spanish.
Atlantic System
The network of trading links after 1500 that moved goods, wealth, people, and cultures around the Atlantic Ocean basin.
Augustus
Honorific name of Octavian, founder of the Roman Principate, the military dictatorship that replaced the failing rule of the Roman Senate. After defeating all rivals, between 31 BCE and 14 CE he laid the groundwork for several centuries of stability and prosperity in the Roman Empire.
Auschwitz
Nazi extermination camp in Poland, the largest center of mass murder during the Holocaust. Close to a million Jews, Gypsies, Communists, and others were killed there.
Australopithecines
The several extinct species of human-like primates that existed during the Pleistocene era.
Autocracy
The theory justifying strong, centralized rule, such as by the tsar in Russia or Haile Selassie in Ethiopia. The autocrat did not rely on the aristocracy or the clergy for his or her legitimacy.
Ayllu
Andean lineage group or kin-based community.
Aztecs
Also known as Mexica, the Aztecs created a powerful empire in central Mexico [1325-1521]. They forced defeated people to provide goods and labor as a tax.
Babylon
The largest and most important city in Mesopotamia. It achieved particular eminence as the capital of the Amorite king Hammurabi in the eighteen century BCE and the Neo-Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century.
Balance of Power
The policy in international relations by which, beginning in the eighteenth century, the major European states acted together to prevent any one of them from becoming too powerful.
Balfour Declaration
Statement issued by Britain’s Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour in 1917 favoring the establishment of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine.
Bannermen
Hereditary military servants of the Qing Empire, in large part descendants of peoples of various origins who had fought for the founders of the empire.
Bantu
Collective name of a large group of sub-Saharan African languages and of the peoples speaking those languages.
Batavia
Fort established ca. 1619 as headquarters of Dutch East India Company operations in Indonesia; today the city of Jakarta.
Battle of Midway
U.S. naval victory over the Japanese fleet in June 1942, in which the Japanese lost four of their best aircraft carriers. It marked a turning point in World War II.
Battle of Omdurman
British victory over the Mahdi in the Sudan in 1898. General Kitchener led a mixed force of British and Egyptian troops armed with rapid-firing rifles and machine guns.
Beijing
China’s northern capital, first used as an imperial capital in 906 and now the capital of the People’s Republic of China.
Bengal
Region of northeastern India. It was the first part of India to be conquered by the British in the eighteenth century and remained the political and economic center of British India throughout the nineteenth century. The 1905 split of the province into predominantly Hindu West Bengal and predominantly Muslim East Bengal sparked anti-British riots.
Berlin Conference
Conference that German chancellor Otto von Bismarck called to set rules for the partition of Africa. It led to the creation of the Congo Free State under King Leopold II of Belgium.
Bhagavad-Gita
The most important work of Indian sacred literature, a dialogue between the great warrior Arjuna and the god Krishna on duty and the fate of the spirit.
Bipedalism
The ability to walk upright on two legs, characteristic of hominids.
Otto von Bismarck
Chancellor of Prussia from 1862 until 1871, when he became chancellor of Germany. A conservative nationalist, he led Prussia to victory against Austria [1866] and France [1870] and was responsible for the creation of the German Empire in 1871.
Black Death
An outbreak of bubonic plaque that spread across Asia, North Africa, and Europe in the mid-fourteenth century, carrying off vast numbers of persons.
Simon Bolivar
The most important military leader in the struggle for independence in South America. Born in Venezuela, he led military forces there and in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.
Bolsheviks
Radical Marxist political party founded by Vladimir Lenin in 1903. Under Lenin’s leadership, the Bolsheviks seized power in November in 1917 during the Russian Revolution.
Borobodur
A massive stone monument on the Indonesian island of Java, erected by the Sailendra kings around 800 CE. The winding ascent through ten levels, decorated with rich relief carving, is a Buddhist allegory for the progressive stages of enlightenment.
Bourgeoisie
In early modern Europe, the class of well-off town dwellers whose wealth came from manufacturing, finance, commerce, and allied professions.
Joseph Brant
Mohawk leader who supported the British during the American Revolution.
Breech-loading Rifle
Gun into which the projectiles had to be individually inserted. Later guns had magazines, a compartment holding multiple projectiles that could be fed rapidly into the firing chamber.
British Raj
The rule over much of South Asia between 1765 and 1947 by the East India Company and then by a British government.
Bubonic Plaque
A bacterial disease of fleas that can be transmitted by flea bites to rodents and humans; humans in late stages of the illness can spread the bacteria by coughing. Because of its very high mortality rate and the difficulty of preventing its spread, major outbreaks have created crises in many parts of the world in many countries.
Buddha
An Indian prince named Siddhartha Gautama, who renounced his wealth and social position After becoming “enlightened,” he enunciated the principles of Buddhism. This doctrine evolved and spread throughout India and to Southeast, East, and Central Asia.
Business Cycles
Recurrent swings from economic hard times to recovery and growth, then back to hard times and a repetition of the sequence.
Byzantine Empire
Historians’ name for the eastern portion of the Roman Empire from the fourth century onward, taken from “Byzantium,” an early name for Constantinople, the Byzantine capital city. The empire fell to the Ottomans in 1453.
Caliphate
Office established in succession to the Prophet Muhammad, to rule the Islamic empire; also the name of that empire. Examples include the Abbasid, Sokoto, and Umayyad Caliphates.
Capitalism
The economic system of large financial institutions- banks, stock exchanges, investment companies- that first developed in early modern Europe. ‘Commercial capitalism,’ the trading system of the early modern economy, is often distinguished from ‘industrial capitalism,’ the system based on machine production.
Caravel
A small, highly maneuverable three-masted ship used by the Portuguese and Spanish in the exploration of the Atlantic.
Lazaro Cardenas
President of Mexico [1934-1940]. He brought major changes to Mexican life by distributing millions of acres of land to the peasants, bring representatives of workers and farmers into the inner circles of politics, and nationalizing the oil industry.
Carthage
City located in present-day Tunisia, founded by Phoenicians ca. 800 BCE. It became a major commercial center and naval power in the western Mediterranean until defeated by Rome in the the third century BCE.
Caste War
A rebellion of the Maya people against the government of Mexico in 1847. It nearly returned the Yucatan to Maya rule. Some Maya rebels retreated to unoccupied territories where they held out until 1901.
Catholic Reformation
Religious reform movement within the Latin Christian Church, begun in response to the Protestant Reformation. It clarified Catholic theology and reformed clerical training and discipline.
Celts
Peoples sharing a common language and culture that originated in Central Europe in the first half of the first millennium BCE. After 500 BCE, they spread as far as Anatolia in the east, Spain and the British isles in the west, and later were overtaken by Roman conquest and Germanic invasions. Their descendants survive on the western fringe of Europe [Brittany, Wales, Scotland, Ireland].
Champa
A state formerly located in what is now southern Vietnam. It was hostile to Annam and was annexed by Annam and destroyed as an independent entity in 1500.
Champa Rice
Quick-maturing rice that can allow two harvests in one growing season. Originally introduced into Champa from India, it was later sent to China as a tribute gift by the Champa state.
Chang’an
City in the Wei Valley in eastern China. It became the capital of the Zhou kingdom and the Qin and early Han empires. Its main features were imitated in the cities and towns that sprang up throughout the Han Empire.
Charlemagne
King of the Franks [r. 768-814]; emperor [r. 800-814]. Through a series of military conquests he established the Carolingian Empire, which encompassed all of Gaul and parts of Germany and Italy. Though illiterate himself, he sponsored a brief intellectual revival.
Chartered Companies
Groups of private investors who paid an annual fee to France and England in exchange for a monopoly over trade to the West Indies colonies.
Chavin
The first major urban civilization in South America [900-250 BCE]. Its capital, Chavin de Huantar, was located high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. Chavin became politically and economically dominant in a densely populated region that included two distinct ecological zones, the Peruvian coastal plain and the Andean foothills.
Chiang Kai-shek
General and leader of Nationalist China after 1925. Although he succeeded Sun Yat-sen as head of the Guomindang, he became a military dictator whose major goal was to crush the communist movement led by Mao Zedong.
Chiefdom
Form of political organization with rule by a hereditary leader who held power over a collection of villages and towns. Less powerful than kingdoms and empires, chiefdoms were based on guild giving and commercial links.
Chimti
Powerful Peruvian civilization based on conquest. Located in the region earlier dominated by Moche. Conquered by Inca in 1465.
Chinampas
Raised fields constructed along lake shores in Mesoamerica to increase agricultural yields.
City-State
A small independent state consisting of an urban center and the surrounding agricultural territory. A characteristic political form in early Mesopotamia, Archaic and Classical Greece, Phoenicia, and early Italy.
Civilization
An ambiguous term often used to denote more complex societies but sometimes used by anthropologists to describe any group of people sharing a set of cultural traits.
Empress Dowager Cixi
Empress of China and mother of Emperor Guangxi. She put her son under house arrest, supported antiforeign movements, and resisted reforms of the Chinese government and armed forces.
Clipper Ship
Large, fast, streamlined sailing vessel, often American built, of the mid-to-late nineteenth century rigged with vast canvas sails hung from tall masts.
Cold War
The ideological struggle between communists [Soviet Union] and capitalism [United States] for world influence. The Soviet Union and the United States came to the brink of actual war during the Cuban missile crisis but never attacked one another. The Cold War came to an end when the Soviet Union finally dissolved in 1991.
Colonialism
Policy by which a nation administers a foreign territory and develops its resources for the benefit of the colonial power.
Columbian Exchange
The exchange of plants, animals, diseases, and technologies between the Americas and the rest of the world following Columbus’s voyages.
Christopher Columbus
Genoese mariner who in the service of Spain led expeditions across the Atlantic, reestablishing contact between the peoples of the Americas and the Old World and opening the way to Spanish conquest and colonization.
Confederation of 1867
Negotiated union of the formerly separate colonial governments of Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia. This new Dominion of Canada with a central government in Ottawa is seen as the beginning of the Canadian nation.
Confucius
Western name for the Chinese philosopher Kongzi [551-479 BCE]. His doctrine of duty and public service had a great influence on subsequent Chinese thought and served as a code of conduct for government officials.
Congress of Vienna
Meeting of representatives of European monarchs called to reestablish the old order after the defeat of Napoleon I.
Conquistadors
Early-sixteenth century Spanish adventurers who conquered Mexico, Central America, and Peru.
Constantine
Roman emperor [r. 312-327]. After reuniting the Roman Empire, he moved the capital to Constantinople and made Christianity a favored religion.
Constitutional Convention
Meeting in 1787 of the elected representatives of the thirteen original states to write the Constitution of the United States.
Constitutionalism
The theory developed in early modern England and spread elsewhere that royal power should be subject to legal and legislative checks.
Contract of Indenture
A voluntary agreement binding a person to work for a specified period of years in return for free passage to an overseas destination. Before 1800, most indentured servants were Europeans; after 1800 most indentured laborers were Asians.
Hernan Cortes
Spanish explorer and conquistador who led the conquest of Aztec Mexico in 1519-1521 for Spain.
Cossacks
Peoples of the Russian Empire who lived outside the farming villages, often as herders, mercenaries, or outlaws. Cossacks led the conquest of Siberia in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Cottage Industries
Weaving, sewing, carving, and other small-scale industries that can be done in the home. The laborers, frequently women, are usually independent.
Cotton
The plant that produces fibers from which cotton textiles are woven. Native to India, cotton spread throughout Asia and then to the New World. It has been a major cash crop in various places, including early Islamic Iran, Yi Korea, and nineteenth-century Egypt and the United States. A related species was exploited for fiber in pre-Columbia America.
Council of the Indies
The institution responsible for supervising Spain’s colonies in the Americas from 1524 to the early eighteenth century, when it lost all but judicial responsibilities.
Creoles
In colonial Spanish America, term used to describe someone of European descent born in the New World. Elsewhere in the Americas, the term is used to describe all non-native peoples.
Crimean War
Conflict between the Russian and Ottoman Empires fought primarily in the Crimean Peninsula. To prevent Russian expansion, Britain and France sent troops to support the Ottomans.
Crusades
Armed pilgrimages to the Holy Land by Christians determined to recover Jerusalem from Muslim rule. The crusades brought an end to western Europe’s centuries of intellectual and cultural isolation.
Crystal Palace
Building erected in Hyde Park, London, for the Great Exhibition in 1851. Made of iron and glass, like a gigantic greenhouse, it was a symbol of the industrial age.
Cuban Missile Crisis
Brink-of-war confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union over the latter’s placement of nuclear-armed missiles in Cuba.
Cultural Imperialism
Domination of one culture over another by a deliberate policy or by economic or technological superiority.
Cultural Revolution [China]
Campaign in China ordered by Mao Zedong to purge the Communist Party of his opponents and instill revolutionary values in the younger generation.
Culture
Socially transmitted patterns of action and expression. ‘Material culture’ refers to physical objects, such as dwellings, clothing, tools, and crafts. Culture also includes arts, beliefs, knowledge and technology.
Cuneiform
A system of writing in which wedge-shaped symbols represented words or syllables. It originated in Mesopotamia and was used initially for Sumerian and Akkadian but later was adapted to represent other languages of western Asia. Because so many symbols had to be learned, literacy was confined to a relatively small group of administrators and scribes.
Cyrus
Founder of the Achaemenid Persian Empire. Between 550 and 530 BCE, he conquered Media, Lydia, and Babylon. Revered in he traditions of both Iran and the subject of peoples, he employed Persians and Medes in his administration and respected the institutions and beliefs of subject peoples.
Dalai Lama
Originally, a title meaning “universal priest” that the Mongol khans invented and bestowed on a Tibetan lama in the late 1500s to legitimate their power in Tibet. Subsequently, the title of the religious and political leader of Tibet.
Daoism
Chinese school of thought, originating in the Warring States Period with Laozi [604-531 BCE]. Daoism offered an alternative to the Confucian emphasis on hierarchy and duty. Daoists believe that the world is always changing and is devoid of absolute morality or meaning. They accept the world as they find it, avoid futile struggles, and deviate as little as possible from the ‘Dao,’ or “path” of nature.
Darius I
Third ruler of the Persian Empire [r. 521-486 BCE]. He crushed the widespread initial resistance to his rule and gave all major government posts to Persians rather than to Medes. He established a system of provinces and tribute, began construction of Persepolis, and expanded Persian control in the east [Pakistan] and west [northern Greece].
Charles Darwin
English naturalist. He studied the plants and animals of South America and the Pacific islands, and in his book ‘On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection’ [1859] set forth his theory of evolution.
Declaration of the Rights of Man
Statement of fundamental political rights adopted by the French National Assembly at the beginning of the French Revolution.
Deforestation
The removal of trees faster than forests can replace themselves.
Delhi Sultanate
Centralized Indian empire of varying extent, created by Muslim invaders.
Democracy
A system of government in which all “citizens” have equal political and legal rights, privileges, and protections, as in the Greek city-state of Athens in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE.
Demographic Transition
A change in the rates of population growth. Before the transition, both birth and death rates are high, resulting in a slowly growing population; then the death rate drops but the birth rate remains high, causing a population explosion; finally the birth rate drops and the population growth slows down. This transition took place in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries, in North America and East Asia in the mid-twentieth, and, most recently, in Latin America and South Asia.
Deng Xiaoping
Communist party leader who forced Chinese economic reforms after the death of Mao Zedong.
Development
In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, the economic process that led to industrialization, urbanization, and the rise of a large and prosperous middle class, and heavy investment in education.
Devshirme
“Selection” in Turkish. The system by which boys from Christian communities were taken by the Ottoman state to serve as Janissaries.
Dhow
Ship of small to moderate size used in the western Indian Ocean, traditionally with a triangular sail and a sewn timber hull.
Blaise Diagne
Senegalese political leader. He was the first African elected to the French National Assembly. During World War I, in exchange for promises to give French citizenship to Senegalese, he helped recruit Africans to serve in the French army. After the war, he led a movement to abolish forced labor in Africa.
Bartolomeu Dias
Portuguese explorer who in 1488 led the first expedition to sail around the southern tip of Africa from the Atlantic and sight of the Indian Ocean.
Diaspora
A Greek word meaning “dispersal.” used to describe the communities of a given ethnic group living outside their own homelands. Jews, for example, spread from Israel to western Asia and Mediterranean lands in antiquity and today can be found throughout the world.
Dirty War
War waged by the Argentine military [1976-1982] against leftist groups. Characterized by the use of illegal imprisonment, torture, and executions by the military.
Divination
Techniques for ascertaining the future or the will of the gods by interpreting natural phenomena such as, in early China, the cracks on oracle bones or, in ancient Greece, the flight of birds through sectors of the sky.
Division of Labor
A manufacturing technique that breaks down a craft into many simple and repetitive tasks that can be performed by unskilled workers. Pioneered in the pottery works of Josiah Wedgwood and in other eighteenth-century factories, it greatly increased the productivity of labor and lowered the cost of manufactured goods.
Driver
A privileged male slave whose job was to ensure that a slave gang did its work on a plantation.
Druids
The class of religious experts who conducted rituals and preserved sacred lore among some ancient Celtic peoples. They provided education, mediated disputes between kinship groups, and were suppressed by the Romans as a potential focus of opposition to Roman rule.
Durbar
An elaborate display of political power and wealth in British India in the nineteenth century, ostensibly in imitation of the pageantry of the Mughal Empire.
Dutch West India Company
Trading company chartered by the Dutch government to conduct its merchants’ trade in the Americas and Africa.
Economic Sanctions
Boycotts, embargoes, and other economic measures that one country uses to pressure another country into changing its policies.
Thomas Edison
American inventor best known for inventing the electric light bulb, acoustic recording on wax cylinders, and motion pictures.
Albert Einstein
German physicist who developed the theory of relativity, which states that time, space, and mass are relative to each other and not fixed.
El Alamein
Town in Egypt, site of the victory by Britain’s Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery over German forces led by General Erwin Rommel [the “Desert Fox”] in 1942-1943.
Electricity
A form of energy used in telegraphy from the 1840s on and for lighting, industrial motors, and railroads beginning in the 1880s.
Electric Telegraph
A device for rapid, long-distance transmission of information over an electric wire. It was introduced in England and North America in the 1830s and 1840s and replaced telegraph systems that utilized visual signals such as semaphores.
Encomienda
A grant of authority over a population of Amerindians in the Spanish colonies. It provided the grand holder with supply of cheap labor and periodic payments of goods by the Amerindians. It obliged the grant holder to Christianize the Amerindians.
Enlightenment
A philosophical movement in eighteenth-century Europe that fostered the belief that one could reform society by discovering rational laws that governed social behavior and were just as scientific as the laws of physics.
Equites
In ancient Italy, prosperous landowners second in wealth and status to the senatorial aristocracy. The Roman emperors allied with this group to counterbalance the influence of the old aristocracy and used the equites to staff the imperial civil service.
Estates General
France’s traditional national assembly with representatives of the three estates, or classes, in French society: the clergy, nobility, and commoners. The calling of the Estates General in 1789 led to the French Revolution.
Ethiopia
East African highland nation lying east of the Nile River.
Ethnic Cleansing
Effort to eradicate a people and its culture by means of mass killing and the destruction of historical buildings and cultural materials. Ethnic cleansing was used by both sides in the conflicts that accompanied the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
European Community
An organization promoting economic unity in Europe formed in 1967 by consolidation of earlier, more limited agreements. Replaced by the European Union in 1993.
Evolution
The biological theory that, over time, changes occurring in plants and animals, mainly as a result of natural selection and genetic mutation, result in new species.
Extraterritoriality
The right of foreign residents in a country to live under the laws of their native country and disregard the laws of the host country. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, European and American nationals living in certain areas of Chinese and Ottoman cities were granted this right.
Faisal I
Arab prince, leader of the Arab Revolt in World War I. The British made him king of Iraq in 1921, and he reigned under British protection until 1933.
Fascist Party
Italian political party created by Benito Mussolini during World War I. It emphasized aggressive nationalism and was Mussolini’s instrument for the creation of a dictatorship in Italy from 1922 to 1943.
Fief
In medieval Europe, land granted in return for a sworn oath to provide specified military service.
First Temple
A monumental sanctuary built in Jerusalem by King Solomon in the tenth century BCE to be the religious center for the Israelite god Yahweh. The Temple priesthood conducted sacrifices, received a tithe or percentage of agricultural revenues, and became economically and politically powerful. The First Temple was destroyed by the Babylonians in 587 BCE, rebuilt on a model scale in the late sixth century BCE, and replaced by King Herod’s Second Temple in the late first century BCE [destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE].
Five-Year Plans
Plans that Joseph Stalin introduced to industrialize the Soviet Union rapidly, beginning in 1928. They set goals for the output of steel, electricity, machinery, and most other products and were enforced by the police powers of the state. They succeeded in making the Soviet Union a major industrial power before World War II.
Foragers
People who support themselves by hunting wild animals and gathering wild edible plants and insects.
Forbidden City
The walled section of Beijing where emperors lived between 1121 and 1924. A portion is now a residence for leaders of the People’s Republic of China.
Benjamin Franklin
American intellectual, inventor, and politician. He helped to negotiate French support for the American Revolution.
Free-Trade Imperialism
Economic dominance of a weaker country by a more powerful one, while maintaining the legal independence of the weaker state. In the late nineteenth century, free-trade imperialism characterized the relations between the Latin American republics, on the one hand, and Great Britain and the United States, on the other.
Fresco
A technique of painting on walls covered with moist plaster. It was used to decorate Minoan and Mycenaean palaces and Roman villas, and became an important medium during the Italian Renaissance.
Funan
An early complex society in Southeast Asia between the first and sixth centuries CE. It was centered in the rich rice-growing region of southern Vietnam and it controlled the passage of trade across the Malaysian isthmus.
Vasco da Gama
Portuguese explorer. In 1947-1948, he led the first naval expedition from Europe to sail to India, opening an important commercial sea route.
Mohandas K. Gandhi
Leader of the Indian independence movement and advocate of nonviolent resistance. After being educated as a lawyer in England, he returned to India and became leader of the Indian National Congress in 1920. He appealed to the poor, led nonviolent demonstrations against British colonial rule, and was jailed many times. Soon after their independence, he was assassinated for attempting to stop Hindu-Muslim rioting.
Genghis Khan
The title of Temujin when he ruled the Mongols [1206-1227]. It means the “oceanic” or “universal” leader. Genghis Khan was the founder of the Mongol Empire.
Gens de Couleur
Free men and women of color in Haiti. They sought greater political rights and later supported the Haitian Revolution.
Gentry
In China, the class of prosperous families, next in wealth below the rural aristocrats, from which the emperors drew their administrative personnel. Respected for their education and expertise, these officials became a privileged group and made the government more efficient and responsive than in the past. The term ‘gentry’ also denotes the class of landholding families in England below the aristocracy.
Ghana
First known kingdom in sub-Saharan West Africa between the sixth and thirteenth centuries. Also the modern West African country once known as the Gold Coast.
Gold Coast [Africa]
Region of the Atlantic coast of West Africa occupied by modern Ghana; named for its gold exports to Europe from the 1470s onward.
Golden Horde
Mongol khanate founded by Genghis Khan’s grandson Batu. It was based in southern Russia and quickly adopted both the Turkic language and Islam. Also known as the Kipchak Horde.
Mikhail Gorbachev
Head of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. His liberalization effort improved relations with the West, but he lost power after his reforms led to the collapse of Communist governments in eastern Europe.
Gothic Cathedrals
Large churches originating in twelfth-century France; built in an architectural style featuring pointed arches, tall vaults and spires, flying buttresses, and large stained-glass windows.
Grand Canal
The 1,100-mile waterway linking the Yellow and the Yangzi Rivers. It was begun in the Han period and completed during the Sui Empire.
Great Circuit
The network of Atlantic Ocean trade routes between Europe, Africa, and the Americas that underlay the Atlantic system.
Great Ice Age
Geological era that occurred between ca. 2 million and 11,000 years ago. As a result of climate shifts, large numbers of new species evolved during this period, also called the Pleistocene epoch.
Great Tradition
Historians’ term for a literate, well-institutionalized complex of religious and social beliefs and practices adhered to by diverse societies over a broad geographical area.
Great Western Schism
A division in the Latin [Western] Christian Church between 1378 and 1417, when rival claimants to the papacy existed in Rome and Avignon.
Great Zimbabwe
City, now in ruins [in the modern African country of Zimbabwe], whose many stone structures were built between about 1250 and 1450, when it was a trading center and the capital of a large state.
Guild
In medieval Europe, an association of men [rarely women], such as merchants, artisans, or professors, who worked in a particular trade and banded together to promote their economic and political interests. Guilds were also important in other societies, such as the Ottoman and Safavid empires.
Gujarat
Region of western India famous for trade and manufacturing; the inhabitants are called Gujarati.
Gunpowder
A mixture of saltpeter, sulfur, and charcoal, in various proportions. The formula, brought to China in the 400s or 500s, was first used to make fumigators to keep away insect pests and evil spirits. In later centuries, it was used to make explosives and grenades and to propel cannonballs, shot, and bullets.
Guomindang
Nationalist political party founded on democratic principles by Sun Yat-sen in 1912. After 1925, the party was headed by Chiang Kai-shek, who turned it into an increasingly authoritarian movement.
Gupta Empire
A powerful Indian state based, like its Mauryan predecessor, on a capital at Pataliputra in the Ganges Valley. It controlled most of the Indian subcontinent through a combination of military force and its prestige as a center of sophisticated culture.
Habsburg
A powerful European family that provided many Holy Roman Emperors, founded the Austrian [later Austro-Hungarian] Empire and ruled sixteenth and seventeenth-century Spain.
Hadith
A tradition relating the words or deeds of the Prophet Muhammad, next to the Quran, the most important basis for Islamic law.
Hammurabi
Amorite ruler of Babylon [r. 1792-1750 BCE]. He conquered many city-states in southern and northern Mesopotamia and is best known for a code of laws, inscribed on a black stone pillar, illustrating the principles to be used in legal cases.
Han
A term used to designate the ethnic Chinese people who originated in the Yellow River Valley and spread throughout the region of China suitable for agriculture and the dynasty of emperors who ruled from 206 BCE to 220 CE.
Hanseatic League
An economic and defensive alliance of the free towns in northern Germany, founded about 1241 and most powerful in the fourteenth century.
Harappa
Site of one of the great cities of the Indus Valley civilization of the third millennium BCE. It was located on the northwest frontier of the zone of cultivation [in modern Pakistan], and may have been a center for the acquisition of raw materials, such as metals and precious stones, from Afghanistan and Iran.
Hatshepsut
Queen of Egypt [r. 1473-1458 BCE]. She dispatched a naval expedition down the Red Sea to Punt [possibly Somalia], the faraway source of myrrh. There is evidence of opposition to a woman as ruler, and after her death, her name and image were frequently defaced.
Hebrew Bible
A collection of sacred books containing diverse materials concerning the origins, experiences, beliefs, and practices of the Israelites.Most of the extant text was complied by members of the priestly class in the fifth century BCE and reflects the concerns and views of this group.
Hellenistic Age
Historians’ term for the era, usually dated 323-30 BCE, in which Greek culture spread across western Asia and northeastern Africa after the conquests of Alexander the Great. The period ended with the fall of the last major Hellenistic kingdom to Rome, but Greek cultural influence persisted until the spread of Islam in the seventh century.
Helsinki Accords
Political and human rights agreement signed in Helsinki, Finland, by the Soviet Union and western European countries.
Henry the Navigator
Portuguese prince who promoted the study of navigation and directed voyages of exploration down the western coast of Africa.
Herodotus
Heir to the technique of ‘historia’- “investigation”- developed by Greeks in the late Archaic period. He came from a Greek community in Anatolia and traveled extensively, collecting information in western Asia and the Mediterranean lands. He traced the antecedents of and chronicled the Persian Wars between the Greek city-states and the Persian Empire, thus originating the Western tradition of historical writing.
Theodore Herzl
Austrian journalist and founder of the Zionist movement urging the creation of a Jewish national homeland in Palestine.
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla
Mexican priest who led the first stage of the Mexican independence war in 1810. He was captured and executed in 1811.
Hidden Imam
Last in a series of twelve descendants of Muhammad’s son-in-law Ali, whom Shi’ites consider divinely appointed leaders of the Muslim community. In occlusion since ca. 873, he is expected to return as a messiah at the end of time.
High Culture
Canons of artistic and literary masterworks recognized by dominant economic classes.
Hinduism
A general term for a wide variety of beliefs and ritual practices that have developed in the Indian subcontinent since antiquity. Hinduism has roots in ancient Vedic, Buddhist, and South Indian religious concepts and practices. It spread along the trade routes to Southeast Asia.
Hiroshima
City in Japan, the first to be destroyed by an atomic bomb, on August 6, 1945. The bombing hastened the end of World War II.
History
The study of past events and changes in the development, transmission, and transformation of cultural practices.
Adolf Hitler
Born in Austria, Hitler became a radical German nationalist during World War I. He led the National Socialist German Workers’ Party- the Nazi Party- in the 1920s and became dictator of Germany in 1933. He led Europe into World War II.
Hittites
A people from central Anatolia who established an empire in Anatolia and Syria in the Late Bronze Age. With wealth from the trade in metals and military power based on chariot forces, the Hittites vied with New Kingdom Egypt for control of Syria-Palestine before falling to unidentified attackers ca. 1200 BCE.
Holocaust
Nazis’ program during World War II to kill people they considered undesirable. Some 6 million Jews perished during the Holocaust, along with millions of Poles, Gypsies, Communists, Socialists, and others.
Holocene
The geological era since the end of the Great Ice Age about 11,000 years ago.
Holy Roman Empire
Loose federation of mostly German states and principalities, headed by an emperor elcted by the princes. It lasted from 962 to 1806.
Hominid
The biological family that includes humans and human-like primates.
Hoplite
A heavily armored Greek infantryman of the Archaic and Classical periods who fought in the close-packed phalanx formation. Hoplite armies- militias composed of middle and upper-class citizens supplying their own equipment- were for centuries superior to all other military forces.
Horse Collar
Harnessing method that increased the efficiency of horses by shifting the point of traction from the animal’s neck to the shoulders; its adoption favors the spread of horse-drawn plows and vehicles.
House of Burgesses
Elected assembly in colonial Virginia, created in 1618.
Humanists [Renaissance]
European scholars, writers, and teachers associated with the study of the humanities [grammar, rhetoric, poetry, history, languages, and moral philosophies], influential to the fifteenth century and later.
Hundred Years War
Series of campaigns over control of the throne of France, involving English and French royal families and French noble families.
Saddam Husain
President of Iraq since 1979. Waged war on Iran in 1980-1988. In 1990, he ordered an invasion of Kuwait but was defeated by United States and its allies in the Gulf War [1991].
Ibn Battuta
Moroccan Muslim scholar, the most widely traveled individual of his time. He wrote a detailed account of his visits to Islamic lands from China to Spain and the western Sudan.
Ibn Khaldun
Arab historian. He developed an influential theory on the rise and fall of states. Born in Tunis, he spent his later years in Cairo as a teacher and judge. In 1400, he was sent to Damascus to negotiate the surrender of the city, where he met and exchanged views with Timur.
Il-khan
A “secondary” or “peripheral” khan based in Persia. The Il-khans’ khanate was founded by Hulegu, a grandson of Genghis Khan, was based at Tabriz in modern Azerbaijan. It controlled much of Iran and Iraq.
Import-Substitution Industrialization
An economic system aimed at building a country’s industry by restricting foreign trade. It was especially popular in Latin American countries such as Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil in the mid-twentieth century. It proved successful for a time but could not keep up with technological advances in Europe and North America.
Inca
Largest and most powerful Andean empire. Controlled the Pacific coast of South America from Ecuador to Chile from its capital of Cuzco.
Indentured Servant
A migrant to British colonies in the Americas who paid for passage by agreeing to work for a set term ranging from four to seven years.
Indian Civil Service
The elite professional class of officials who administered the government of British India. Originally composed exclusively of well-educated British men, it gradually added qualified Indians.
Indian National Congress
A movement and political party founded in 1885 to demand greater Indian participation in government. Its membership was middle class, and its demands were modest until World War I. Led after 1920 by Mohandas K. Gandhi, it appealed increasingly to the poor, and it organized mass protests demanding self-government and independence.
Indian Ocean Maritime System
In premodern times, a network of seaports, trade routes, and maritime culture linking countries on the rim of the Indian Ocean from Africa to Indonesia.
Indulgence
The forgiveness of the punishment due for past sins, granted by the Catholic Church authorities as a reward for a pious act. Martin Luther’s protest against the sale of indulgences is often seen as touching off the Protestant Reformation.
Industrial Revolution
The transformation of the economy, the environment, and living conditions, occurring first in England in the eighteenth century, that resulted from the use of steam engines, the mechanization of manufacturing in factories, and innovations in transportation and communication.
Investiture Controversy
Dispute between the popes and the Holy Roman Emperors over who held ultimate authority over bishops in imperial lands.
Iron Age
Historians’ term for the period during which iron was the primary metal for tools and weapons. The advent of iron technology began at different times in different parts of the world.
Iron Curtain
Winston Churchill’s term for the Cold War division between the Soviet-dominated East and the U.S.-dominated West.
Iroquois Confederacy
An alliance of five northeastern Amerindian peoples [after 1722, six] that made decisions on military and diplomatic issues through a council of representatives. Allied first with the Dutch and later with the English, the Confederacy dominated the area from western New England to the Great Lakes.
Islam
Religion expounded by the Prophet Muhammad [570-632] on the basis of his reception of divine revelations, which were collected after his death into the Quran. In the tradition of Judaism and Christianity, and sharing much of their lore, Islam calls on all people to recognize one creator god- Allah- who rewards or punishes believers after death according to how they led their lives.
Israel
In antiquity, the land between the eastern shore of the Mediterranean and the Jordan River, occupied by the Israelites from the early second millennium BCE. The modern state of Israel was founded in 1948.
Andrew Jackson
First president of the United States born in humble circumstances. He was popular among frontier residents, urban workers, and small farmers. He had a successful political career as judge, general, congressman, senator, and president. After being denied presidency in 1824 in a controversial election, he won in 1828 and was reelected in 1832.
Jacobins
Radical republicans during the French Revolution. They were led by Maximilien Robespierre from 1793 to 1794.
Janissaries
Infantry, originally of slave origin, armed with firearms and constituting the elite of the Ottoman army from the fifteenth century until the corps was abolished in 1826.
Jesuits
Members of the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic order founded by Ignatius Loyola in 1534. They played an important part in the Catholic Reformation and helped create conduits of trade and knowledge between Asia and Europe.
Jesus
A Jew from Galilee in northern Israel who sought to reform Jewish beliefs and practices. He was executed as a revolutionary by the Romans. Hailed as the Messiah and son of God by his followers, he became the central figure in Christianity, a belief system that developed in the centuries after his death.
Jihad
Islamic doctrine of expanding effort in a pious cause, sometimes referring to holy war.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Indian Muslim politician who founded the state of Pakistan. A lawyer by training, he joined the All-India Muslim League in 1913. As leader of the League from the 1920s on, he negotiated with the British and the Indian National Congress for Muslim participation in Indian politics. From 1940 on, he led the movement for the independence of India’s Muslims in a separate state of Pakistan, founded in 1947.
Joint-Stock Company
A business, often backed by a government charter, that sold shares to individuals to raise money for its trading enterprises and to spread the risks [and profits] among many investors.
Benito Juarez
President of Mexico [1858-1872]. Born in poverty in Mexico, he was educated as a lawyer and rose to become chief justice of the Mexican supreme court and then president. He led Mexico’s resistance to a French invasion in 1863 and the installation of Maximilian as emperor.
Junk
A very large flatbottom sailing ship produced in the Tang and Song empires, specially designed for long-distance commercial travel.
Kamakura Shogunate
The first of Japan’s decentralized military governnments [1185-1333].
Kamikaze
The “divine wind,” which the Japanese credited with blowing Mongol invaders away from their shores in 1821.
Kangxi
Qing emperor [r. 1662-1722]. He oversaw the greatest expansion of the Qing Empire.
Karma
In Indian tradition, the residue of deeds performed in past and present lives that adheres to a “spirit” and determines what form it will assume in its next life cycle. The doctrines of karma and reincarnation were used by the elite in ancient India to encourage people to accept their social position and do their duty.
Keiretsu
Alliances of corporations and banks that dominate the Japanese economy.
Khipu
System of knotted colored cords used by preliterate Andean peoples to transmit information.
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
Shi’ite philosopher and cleric who led the overthrow of the shah of Iran in 1979 and created an Islamic republic.
Khubilai Khan
Last of the Mongol Great Khans [r. 1260-1294] and founder of the Yuan Empire.
Kievan Russia
State established at Kiev in Ukraine ca. 879 by Scandinavian adventurers asserting authority over a mostly Slavic farming population.
Korean War
Conflict that began with North Korea’s invasion of South Korea and came to involve the United Nations [primarily the United States] allying with South Korea and the People’s Republic of China allying with North Korea.
Koryo
Korean kingdom founded in 918 and destroyed by a Mongol invasion in 1259.
Kush
An Egyptian name for Nubia, the region alongside the Nile River south of Egypt, where an indigenous kingdom with its own distinctive institutions and cultural traditions arose beginning in the early second millennium BCE. It was deeply influenced by Egyptian culture and at times under the control of Egypt, which coveted its rich deposits of gold and luxury products form sub-Saharan Africa carried up the Nile corridor.
Labor Union
An organization of workers in a particular industry or trade created to defend the interests of members through strikes or negotiations with employers.
Laissez-Faire
The idea that government should refrain from interfering in economic affairs. The classic exposition of laissez-faire principles is Adam Smith’s ‘Wealth of Nations’ [1776].
Lama
In Tibetan Buddhism, a teacher.
Bartolome de Las Casas
First bishop of Chiapas, in southern Mexico. He devoted most of his life to protecting Amerindian peoples from exploitation. His major achievement was the New Laws of 1452, which limited the ability of Spanish settlers to compel Amerindians to labor for them.
Latin West
Historians’ name for the territories of Europe that adhered to the Latin rite of Christianity and used the Latin language for intellectual exchange in the period ca. 1000-1500.
League of Nations
International organization founded in 1919 to promote world peace and cooperation but greatly weakened by the refusal of the United States to join. It proved ineffectual in stopping aggression by Italy, Japan, and Germany in the 1930s, and it was superseded by the United Nations in 1945.
Legalism
In china, a political philosophy that emphasized the unruliness of human nature and justified state coercio and control. The Qin ruling class invoked it to validate the authoritarian nature of their regime and its profligate expenditure of subjects’ lives and labor. It was superseded in the Han era by a more benevolent Confucian doctrine of governmental moderation.
Legitimate Trade
Exports from Africa in the nineteenth century that did not include the newly outlawed slave trade.
Vladimir Lenin
Leader of the Bolshevik [later Communist] Party. He lived in exile in Switzerland until 1917, then returned to Russia to lead the Bolsheviks to victory during the Russian Revolution and the civil war that followed.
Leopold II
King of Belgium [r. 1865-1909]. He was active in encouraging the exploration of Central Africa and became the ruler of the Congo Free State.
Li Shimin
One of the founders of the Tang Empire and its second emperor [r. 626-649]. He led the expansion of the empire into Central Asia.
Liberalism
A political ideology that emphasizes the civil rights of citizens, representative government, and the protection of private property. This ideology, derived from the Enlightenment, was especially popular among the property-owning middle classes of Europe and North America.
Library of Ashurbanipal
A large collection of writings drawn from the ancient literary, religious, and scientific traditions of Mesopotamia. It was assembled by the sixth century BCE Assyrian ruler Ashurbanipal. The many tablets unearthed by archaeologists constitute one of the most important sources of present-day knowledge of the long literary tradition of Mesopotamia.
Linear B
A set of syllabic symbols, derived from the writing system of Minoan Crete, used in the Mycenaean palaces of the Late Bronze Age to write an early form of Greek. It was used primarily for palace records, and the surviving Linear B tablets provide substantial information about the economic organization of Mycenaean society and tantalizing clues about political, social, and religious institutions.
Little Ice Age
A century-long period of cool climate that began in the 1590s. Its ill effects on agriculture in northern Europe were notable.
Llama
A hoofed animal indigenous to the Andes Mountains to South America. It was the only domesticated beast of burden in the Americas before the arrival of Europeans. It provided meat and wool. The use of llamas to transport goods made possible specialized in different ecological zones and fostered the integration of these zones by Chavin and later Andean states.
Loess
A fine, light silt deposited by wind and water. It constitutes the fertile soil of the Yellow River Valley in northern China. Because loess soil is not compacted, it can be worked with a simple digging stick, but it leaves the region vulnerable to devastating earthquakes.
Long March
The 6,000-mile flight of Chinese Communists from southeastern to northwestern China. The Communists, led by Mao Zedong, were pursued by the Chinese army under orders from Chiang Kai-shek. The four thousand survivors of the march formed the nucleus of a revived Communist movement that defeated the Guomindang after World War II.
Francois Dominique Toussaint L’Ouverture
Leader of the Haitian Revolution. He freed the slaves and gained effective independence for Haiti despite military interventions by the British and the French.
Ma’at
Egyptian term for the concept of divinely created and maintained order in the universe. Reflecting the ancient Egyptians’ belief in an essentially beneficent world, the divine ruler was the earthly guarantor of this order.
Macartney Mission
The unsuccessful attempt by the British Empire to establish diplomatic relations with the Qing Empire.
Ferdinand Magellan
Portuguese navigator who led the Spanish expedition of 1519-1522 that was the first to sail around the world.
Mahabharata
A vast epic chronicling the events leading up to a cataclysmic battle between related kinship groups in early India. It includes the Bhagavad-Gita, the most important work of Indian sacred literature.
Mahayana Buddhism
“Great Vehicle” branch of Buddhism followed in China, Japan, and Central Asia. The focus is on reverence for Buddha and for bodhisattvas, enlightened persons who have postponed nirvana to help others attain enlightenment.
Malacca
Port city in the modern Southeast Asian country of Malaysia, founded about 1400 as a trading center on the Strait of Malacca.
Malay Peoples
A designation for peoples originating in
south China and Southeast Asia who settled the Malay Peninsula, Indonesia, and the Philippines, then spread eastward across the islands of the Pacific Ocean and west to Madagascar.
Mali
Empire created by indigenous Muslims in western Sudan of West Africa from the thirteenth to fifteenth century. It was famous for its role in the trans-Saharan gold trade.
Thomas Malthus
Eighteenth-century English intellectual who warned that population growth threatened future generations because, in his view, population growth would always outstrip agricultural production.
Mamluks
Under the Islamic system of military slavery, Turkic military slaves who formed an important part of the armed forces of the Abbasid Caliphate of the ninth and tenth centuries. Mamluks eventually founded their own state, ruling Egypt and Syria [1250-1517].
Manchu
Federation of Northeast Asian peoples who founded the Qing Empire.
Mandate of Heaven
Chinese political and religious ideology developed by the Zhou, according to which it was the prerogative of Heaven, the chief deity, to grant power to the ruler of China and to take away that power if the ruler failed to conduct himself justly and in the best favor of his subjects.
Mandate System
Allocation of former German colonies and Ottoman possessions to the victorious powers after World War I, to be administered under League of Nations supervision.
Manor
In medieval Europe, a large, self-sufficient landholding consisting of the lord’s residence [manor house], outbuildings, peasant village, and surrounding land.
Mansabs
In India, grants of land given in return for service
by rulers of the Mughal Empire.
Mansa Kankan Musa
Ruler of Mali [r. 1312-1337]. His pilgrimage through Egypt to Mecca in 1324-1325 established
the empire’s reputation for wealth in the Mediterranean world.
Manumission
A grant of legal freedom to individual slave.
Mao Zedong
Leader of the Chinese Communist Party [1927-1976]. He led the Communists on the Long
March [1934-1935] and rebuilt the Communist Party and Red Army during the Japanese occupation of China [1937-1945]. After World War II, he led the Communists to victory over the Guomindang. He ordered the Cultural Revolution in 1966.
Maroon
A slave who ran away from his or her master. Often a member of a community of runaway slaves in the West Indies and South America.
Marshall Plan
U.S. program to support the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. By 1961, more than $20 billion in economic aid had been dispersed.
Karl Marx
German journalist and philosopher, founder of the Marxist branch of socialism. He is known for two books: ‘The Communist Manifesto’ [1848] and ‘Das Capital’ [1867-1894].
Mass Deportation
The forcible removal and relocation of large numbers of peoples or entire populations. The mass deportations practiced by the Assyrian and Persian empires were meant as a terrifying warning of the consequences of rebellion. They also brought skilled and unskilled labor to the imperial center.
Mauryan Empire
The first state to unify most of the Indian subcontinent. It was founded by Chandragupta Maurya in 324 BCE and survived until 184 BCE. From its capital at Pataliputra in the Ganges Valley, it grew wealthy from taxes on agriculture, iron mining, and control of trade routes.
Maya
Mesoamerican civilization concentrated in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and in Guatemala and Honduras but never unified into a single empire. Major contributions were in mathematics, astronomy, and development of the calendar.
Mecca
City in western Arabia; birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, and ritual center of the Islamic religion.
Mechanization
The application of machinery to manufacturing and other ideas. Among the first processes to be mechanized were the spinning of cotton thread and the weaving of cotton cloth in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century England.
Medieval
Literally “middle age,” a term that historians of Europe use for the period ca. 500 to ca. 1500, signifying its intermediate point between Greco-Roman antiquity and the Renaissance.
Medina
City in western Arabia in which the Prophet Muhammad and his followers emigrated in 622 to escape persecution in Mecca.
Megaliths
Structures and complexes of very large stones constructed for ceremonial and religious processes in Neolithic times.
Meiji Restoration
The political program that followed the destruction of the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1868, in which a collection of young leaders set Japan on the path of centralization, industrialization, and imperialism.
Memphis
The capital of Old Kingdom Egypt, near the head of the Nile Delta. Early rulers were interred in the nearby pyramids.
Menelik II
Emperor of Ethiopia [r. 1889-1911]. He enlarged Ethiopia to its present dimensions and defeated an Italian invasion at Adowa [1896].
Mercantilism
European government policies of the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries designed to promote overseas trade between a country and its colonies and accumulate precious metals by requiring colonies to only trade with their motherland country. The British system was defined by the Navigation Acts, the French system by laws known as the ‘Exclusif.’
Meroe
Capital of a flourishing kingdom in southern Nubia from the fourth century BCE to the fourth century CE. In this period, Nubian culture shows more independence from Egypt and the influence of sub-Saharan Africa.
Mestizo
The term used by Spanish authorities to describe someone of mixed Amerindian and European descent.
Middle Passage
The part of the Atlantic Circuit involving the transportation of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic to the Americans.
Millenarianism
Beliefs, based on prophetic revelations, in apocalyptic global transformations associated with the completed cycles of a thousand years.
Ming Empire
Empire based in China that Zhu Yuanzhang established after the overthrow of the Yuan Empire. The Ming emperor Yongle sponsored the building of the Forbidden City and the voyages of Zheng He. The later years of the Ming Empire saw a slowdown in technological development and economic decline.
Minoan
Prosperous civilization on the Aegean island of Crete in the second millennium BCE. The Minoans engaged in far-flung commerce around the Mediterranean and exerted powerful cultural influences on the early Greeks.
Mit’a
Andean labor system based on shared obligations to help kinsmen and work on behalf of the ruler and religious obligations.
Moche
Civilization of the north coast of Peru [200-700]. An important Andean civilization that built extensive irrigation networks as well as impressive urban centers dominated by brick temples.
Moctezuma II
Last Aztec emperor, overthrown by the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes.
Modernization
The process of reforming political, military, economic, social, and cultural traditions in imitation of the early success of Western societies, often with regard for accommodating local traditions in non-Western societies.
Mohenjo-Daro
Largest of the cities of the Indus Valley civilization. It was centrally located in the extensive floodplain of the Indus Valley in contemporary Pakistan. Little is known about the political institutions of the Indus Valley communities, but the large scale of construction at Mohenjo-Daro, the orderly grid of streets, and the standardization of building materials are evidence of central planning.
Moksha
The Hindu concept of the spirit’s “liberation” from the endless cycle of rebirths. There are various avenues- such as physical discipline, meditation, and acts of devotion to the gods- by which the spirit can distance itself from the desire for the things of this world and be merged with the divine force that animates the universe.
Monasticism
Living in a religious community apart from secular society and adhering to a rule stipulating chastity, obedience, and poverty. It was a prominent element of medieval Christianity and Buddhism. Monasteries were the primary centers of learning and literacy in medieval Europe.
Mongols
A people of this name is mentioned as early as the records of the Tang Empire, living as nomads in northern Eurasia. After 1206, they established an enormous empire under Genghis Khan, linking western and eastern Eurasia.
Monotheism
Belief in the existence of a single divine entity. Some scholars cite the devotion of the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten to Aten [sun-disk] and his suppression of traditional gods as the earliest instance. The Israelite worship of Yahweh developed into an exclusive belief in one god, and this concept passed into Christianity and Islam.
Monsoon
Seasonal winds in the Indian Ocean caused by the differences in temperature between the rapidly heating and cooling landmasses of Africa and Asia and the slowly changing ocean waters. These strong and predictable winds have long been ridden across the open sea by sailors, and the large amounts of rainfall that they deposit on parts of India, Southeast Asia, and China allow the cultivation for several crops per year.
Jose Maria Morelos
Mexican priest and former student of Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, he led the forces fighting for Mexican independence until he was captured and executed in 1814.
Most-Favored-Nation Status
A cause in a commercial treaty that awards to any later signatories all the privileges previously granted to the original signatories.
Movable Type
Type in which each individual character is cast on a separate piece of metal. It replaced woodblock printing, allowing for the arrangement of individual letters and other characters on a page, rather than requiring the carving of entire pages at a time. It may have been invented in Korea in the thirteenth century.
Mughal Empire
Muslim state [1526-1857] exercising dominion over most of India in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.
Muhammad
Arab prophet; founder of Muslim religion.
Muhammad Ali
Leader of Egyptian modernization in the early nineteenth century. He ruled Egypt as an Ottoman governor, but had imperial ambitions. His descendants ruled Egypt until overthrown in 1952.
Mulatto
The term used in Spanish and Portuguese colonies to describe someone of mixed African and European descent.
Mummy
A body preserved by chemical processes or special natural circumstances, often in the belief that the deceased will need it again in the afterlife. In ancient Egypt, the bodies of the people who could afford mummification underwent a complex process of removing organs, filling body cavities, dehydrating the corpse with natron, and then wrapping the body with linen bandages and enclosing it in a sarcophagus.
Muscovy
Russian principality that emerged gradually during the era of Mongol domination. The Muscovite dynasty ruled without interruption from 1276 to 1598.
Muslim
An adherent of the Islamic religion; a person who submits [in Arabic, ‘Islam’ means “submission”] to the will of god.
Benito Mussolini
Fascist dictator of Italy [1922-1943]. He led Italy to conquer Ethiopia [1935], joined Germany in the Axis pact [1936], and allied Italy with Germany in World War II. He was overthrown in 1943 when the Allies invaded Italy.
Mycenae
Site of a fortified palace complex in southern Greece that controlled a Late Bronze Age kingdom. In Homer’s epic poems, Mycenae was the basis of King Agamemnon, who commanded the Greeks besieging Troy. Contemporary archaeologists call the complex society of the second millennium BCE “Mycenaean.”
Napoleon I
Overthrew the French Directory in 1799 and became emperor of the French in 1804. Failed to defeat Great Britain and abdicated in 1814. Returned to power briefly in 1815, but was defeated and died in exile.
Nasir al-Din Tusi
Persian mathematician and cosmologist whose academy near Tabriz provided the model for the movement of the planets that helped to inspire the Copernican model of the solar system.
National Assembly
French Revolutionary assembly [1789-1791]. Called first as the Estates General, the three estates came together and demanded radical change. It passed the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789.
Nationalism
A political ideology that stresses people’s membership in a nation- a community defined by a common culture and history as well as by territory. In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, nationalism was a force for unity in western Europe. In the late nineteenth century, it hastened the disintegration of the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires. In the twentieth century, it provided the ideological foundation for scores of independent countries emerging from colonialism.
Nawab
A Muslim prince allied to British India; technically, a semi-autonomous deputy of the Mughal emperor.
Nazis
German political party joined by Adolf Hitler, emphasizing nationalism, racism, and war. When Hitler became the chancellor of Germany in 1933, the Nazis became the only legal party and an instrument of Hitler’s absolute rule. The party’s formal name was Nationalist Socialist German Worker’s Party.
Jawaharlal Nehru
Indian statesmen. He succeeded Mohandas K. Gandhi as leader of the Indian National Congress. He negotiated the end of British colonial rule in India and became India’s first prime minister [1947-1964].
Neo-Assyrian Empire
An empire extending from western Iran to Syria-Palestine, conquered by the Assyrians of northern Mesopotamia between the tenth and seventh centuries BCE. They used force and terror and exploited the wealth and labor of their subjects. They also preserved and continued the scientific and cultural developments of Mesopotamian civilization.
Neo-Babylonian Kingdom
Under the Chaldaeans [nomadic kinship groups that settled in southern Mesopotamia in the early first millennium BCE], Babylon again became a major cultural and political center in the seventh and sixth centuries BCE. After participating in the destruction of Assyrian power, the monarchs Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar took over the southern portion of the Assyrian domains. By destroying the First Temple in Jerusalem and deporting half of the population, they initiated the Diaspora of the Jews.
Neo-Confucianism
Term to describe new approaches to understanding classic Confucian texts that became the basic ruling philosophy of China from the Song period to the twentieth century.
Neo-Liberalism
The term used in Latin America and other developing regions to describe free-market policies that included reducing tariff policies for local industries; the sale of public-sector industries, like national airlines and public utilities, to private investors or foreign corporations; and the reduction of social welfare policies and public-sector employment.
Neolithic
The period of the Stone Age associated with the ancient Agricultural Revolution[s]. It follows the Paleolithic period.
Alexander Nevskii
Prince of Novgorod [r. 1236-1263]. He submitted to the invading Mongols in 1240 and received recognition as the leader of the Russian princes under the Golden Horde.
New Economic Policy
Policy proclaimed by Vladimir Lenin in 1924 to encourage the revival of the Soviet economy by allowing small private enterprises. Joseph Stalin ended the N.E.P in 1928 and replaced it with a series of Five-Year Plans.
New France
French colony in North America, with a capital in Quebec, founded 1608. New France fell to the British in 1763.
New Imperialism
Historians’ term for the late nineteenth and early twentieth-century wave of conquests by European powers, the United States, and Japan, which were followed by the development and exploitation of the newly conquered territories for the benefit of the colonial powers.
Newly Industrialized Economies [NIEs]
Rapidly growing, new industrialized nations of the late twentieth century, including the Asian Tigers.
New Monarchies
Historians’ term for the monarchies in France, England, and Spain from 1450 to 1600. The centralization of royal power was increasing within more or less fixed territorial limits.
Nomadism
A way of life, forced by the scarcity of resources, in which groups of people continually migrate to find pastures and water.
Nonaligned Nations
Developing countries that announced their neutrality in the Cold War.
Nongovernmental Organizations [NGOs]
Nonprofit international organizations devoted to investigating human rights abuses and providing humanitarian relief. Two NGOs won the Nobel Peace Prize in the 1990s: International Campaign to Ban Landmines [1997] and Doctors Without Borders [1999].
North Atlantic Treaty Organization [NATO]
Organization formed in 1949 as a military alliance of Western European and North American states against the Soviet Union and its east European allies.
Olmec
The first Mesoamerican civilization. Between ca. 1200 and 400 BCE, the Olmec people of Central America created a vibrant civilization that included extensive agriculture, wide-ranging trade, ceremonial centers, and monumental construction. The Olmec had great cultural influence on later Mesoamerican societies, passing on artistic styles, religious imagery, sophisticated astronomical observation for the construction of calendars, and a ritual ball game.
Oman
Arab state based in Musqat, the main port in the southwest region of the Arabian peninsula. Oman succeeded Portugal as a power in the western Indian Ocean in the eighteenth century.
Opium War
War between Britain and the Qing Empire that was, in the British view, occasioned by the Qing government’s refusal to permit the importation of opium into its territories. The victorious British imposed the one-sided Treaty of Nanking on China.
Organization of Petroleum-Exporting Countries [OPEC]
Organization formed in 1960 by oil-producing states to promote their collective interest in generating revenue from oil.
Ottoman Empire
Islamic state founded by Osman in northwestern Anatolia ca. 1300. After the fall of the Byzantine Empire, the Ottoman Empire was based at Istanbul [formerly Constantinople] from 1453 to 1922. It encompassed lands in the Middle East, North Africa, the Caucasus, and eastern Europe.
Jose Antonio Paez
Venezuelan soldier who led Simon Bolivar’s cavalry force. He became a successful general in the war and built a powerful political base. He was unwilling to accept the constitutional authority of Bolivar’s government in distant Bogota and declared Venezuela’s independence from Gran Colombia in 1829.
Paleolithic
The period of the Stone Age associated with the evolution of humans. It predates the Neolithic period.
Pan-Slavism
Movement among Russian intellectuals in the second half of the nineteenth century to identify culturally and politically with the Slavic peoples of eastern Europe.
Panama Canal
Ship canal cut across the isthmus of Panama by United States Army engineers; it opened in 1915. It greatly shortened the sea voyage between the east and west coasts of North America. The United States turned the canal over to Panama on January 1, 2000.
Papacy
The central administration of the Roman Catholic Church, of which the pope is the head.
Papyrus
A reed that grows along the banks of the Nile river in Egypt. From it was produced a coarse, paperlike writing medium used by the Egyptians and many other peoples in the ancient Mediterranean and the Middle East.
Parthians
Iranian ruling dynasty between ca. 250 BCE and 226 CE.
Patron/Client Relationship
In ancient Rome, a fundamental social relationship in which the patron- a wealthy and powerful individual- provided legal and economic protection and assistance to clients, men of lesser status and means, and in return the clients supported the political careers and economic interests of their patron.
Paul
A Jew from the Greek city of Tarsus in Anatolia, he initially persecuted the followers of Jesus but, after receiving a revelation on the road to Syrian Damascus, became a Christian. Taking advantage of his Hellenized background and Roman citizenship, he traveled throughout Syria-Palestine, Anatolia, and Greece, preaching the new religion and establishing churches. Finding his greatest success among pagans [“gentiles”], he began the process by which Christianity separated from Judaism.
Pax Romana
Literally, “Roman peace,” it connoted the stability and prosperity that Roman rule brought to the lands of the Roman Empire in the first two centuries. The movement of people and trade goods along Roman roads and safe seas allowed for the spread of cultural practices, technologies, and religious ideas.
Pearl Harbor
Naval base in Hawaii attacked by Japanese aircraft on December 7, 1941. The sinking of much of the U.S. Pacific fleet brought the United States into World War II.
Peloponnesian War
A protracted [431-404 BCE] and costly conflict between the Athenian and Spartan alliance systems that convulsed most of the Greek world. The war was largely a consequence of Athenian imperialism. Possession of a naval empire allowed Athens to fight a war of attrition. Ultimately, Sparta prevailed because of Athenian errors and Persian financial support.
Perestroika
Policy of “openness” that was the centerpiece of Mikhail Gorbachev’s efforts to liberalize communism in the Soviet Union.
Pericles
Aristocratic leader who guided the Athenian state through the transformation to full participatory democracy for all male citizens, supervised construction of the Acropolis, and pursued a policy of imperial expansion that led to the Peloponnesian War. He formulated a strategy of attrition but died from the plague early in the war.
Eva Duarte Peron
Wife of Juan Peron and champion of the poor in Argentina. She was a gifted speaker and popular political leader who campaigned to improve the life of the urban poor by founding schools and hospitals and providing other social benefits.
Juan Peron
President of Argentina [1946-1955,1973-1974]. As a military officer, he championed the rights of labor. Aided by his wife Eva Duarte Peron, he was elected in 1946. He built up Argentinean industry, became very popular among the urban poor, but harmed the economy.
Persepolis
A complex of palaces, reception halls, and treasury buildings erected by the Persian kings Darius I and Xerxes in the Persian homeland. It is believed that the New Year’s festival was celebrated here, as well as the coronations, weddings, and funerals of the Persian kings, who were buried in cliff-tombs nearby.
Persian Wars
Conflicts between Greek city-states and the Persian Empire, ranging from the Ionian Revolt [499-494 BCE] through Darius’s punitive expedition that failed at Marathon [490 BCE] and the defeat of Xerxes’ massive invasion of Greece by the Spartan-led Hellenic League [480-479 BCE]. This first major setback for Persian arms launched the Greeks into their period of greatest cultural productivity. Herodotus chronicled these events in the first “history” in the Western tradition.
Personalist Leaders
Political leaders who rely on charisma and their ability to mobilize and direct the masses of citizens outside the authority of constitutions and laws. Nineteenth-century examples include Jose Antonio Paez of Venezuela and Andrew Jackson of the United States. Twentieth-century examples include Getulio Vargas of Brazil and Juan Peron of Argentina.
Peter the Great
Russian tsar [r. 1689-1725]. He enthusiastically introduced Western languages and technologies to the Russian elite, moving the capital from Moscow to the new city of St. Petersburg.
Pharaoh
The central figure in the ancient Egyptian state. Believed to be an earthly manifestation of the gods, he used his absolute power to maintain the safety and prosperity of Egypt.
Phoenicians
Semitic-speaking Canaanites living on the coast of modern Lebanon and Syria in the first millennium BCE. From major cities such as Tyre and Sidon, Phoenician merchants and sailors explored the Mediterranean, engaged in widespread commerce, and founded Carthage and other colonies in the western Mediterranean.
Pilgrimage
Journey to a sacred shrine by Christians seeking to show their piety, fulfill vows, or gain absolution for sins. Other religions also have pilgrimage traditions, such as the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca and the pilgrimages made by the early Chinese Buddhists to India in search of sacred Buddhist writings.
Pilgrims
Group of English Protestant dissenters who established Plymouth colony in Massachusetts in 1620 to seek religious freedom after having lived briefly in the Netherlands.
Francisco Pizarro
Spanish explorer who led the Inca Empire of Peru in 1531-1533.
Max Planck
German physicist who developed quantum theory and was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1918.
Plantocracy
In the West Indian colonies, the rich men who owned most of the slaves and most of the land, especially in the eighteenth century.
Polis
The Greek term for a city-state, an urban center and the agricultural territory under its control. It was the characteristic form of political organization in southern and central Greece in the Archaic and Classical periods. Of the hundreds of city-states in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions settled by Greeks, some were oligarchic, others democratic, depending on the powers delegated to the Council and the Assembly.
Pop Culture
Entertainment spread by mass communications and enjoying wide appeal.

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