Intro to World History WH001
Hi there. I’m (Name) and this, my friend, is the Introduction to World History.
I know…I know…”World”… “World History” … that might sound like a lot, but don’t worry, this is actually goin’ to be a lotta fun.
We’re goin’ to learn how things are tracked in time, and we’ll take a look at the globe itself and learn about the different regions and bodies of water—I don’t wanna give away all the good stuff too soon, so let’s get started.
I’m gonna pull my friend in to help us out. Now, this lady’s a certified Historical Super
Genius, which means that while she may be a little wacky, she definitely knows her world history.
Let’s see what she’s got to say…
Good day, I’m Professor Higginbotham and welcome to WORLD HISTORY! To begin, I want to take a look at something you might find shocking! A simple fact: When studying history, you need to understand…TIME!
Yes, TIME!!! Since history is essentially the study of change-over-TIME, it’s easy for us to see the connection and understand just why TIME is sooooo important! Here, let me show you what I mean…
If we start by discussing “dating systems,” we can see how time is important, since being able to date certain events is critical to the construction and understanding of history.
Thirteenth in the Sixteenth Century.
Nazareth……and…A.D. – which stands for anno domini, which is Latin for “in the year of the Lord”, meaning the year Christians believe Jesus of Nazareth was born. It was marked this way because the birth of Jesus was a major historical turning point for
Now, according to the Gregorian Calendar, Jesus of Nazareth’s birth took place in the year A.D. One. SO, all the years PRIOR to A.D. One were marked by the suffix B.C.
These years started large and grew smaller as time progressed. For example: Julius
Caesar was born in One-Hundred B.C. and died in Forty-four B.C.
The years AFTER the birth of Jesus, however, start SMALL and grow LARGER. For example: Nero, who was born in A.D. Thirty-seven and died in A.D. Sixty-eight. But here comes the twist.
In recent years, World Historians have switched to a more secular, or nonreligious, dating system—a dating system that allows for ALL the people of the world to be included in history. This dating system is defined by the concept of the Common Era.
For THIS World History course we’ll be using this system to date events. So, hoooow exactly does this dating system work? Well, let’s take a look....
The Common Era dating system follows the dates of the Gregorian Calendar,
HOWEVER…B.C. is replaced by B.C.E. which stands for “Before-the-Common- Era” and A.D. is replaced by C.E. which stands for “the-Common-Era”.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when taking a look at history and…that’s right,
Many scholars have come to me asking: Professor Higginbotham, tell us… With so much going on around the world at different places, in different countries, with major events happening at different times, how’s one to keep track of it all?
Lucky for those old chaps and lucky for you, I happen to be a Certified Historical Super Genius. This issue is quite simple really. Here, allow me to explain…The concern is usually the same: Dates that mark important turning points specific to saaaaay…European History—such as the Battle of Hastings, which took place in ten- sixty-six C.E.—wouldn’t really mean a great deal to someone trying to understand China’s History. Reason being, the Battle of Hastings didn’t have much of a serious effect on China.
Conversely, dates that mark important turning points in Chinese History often don’t mean much to people studying European history for the very same reason. So, in an attempt to remedy this problem, historians must define the important periods in World History in terms of “Eras” which cover centuries rather than just a few years or decades.
If we were to start with the Ancient era, which runs from one HUNDRED thousand B.C.E. to six HUNDRED B.C.E,…we would find that this era covers prehistory one hundred thousand B.C.E. to four thousand B.C.E. AAAAND, more importantly, the period between four thousand B.C.E. and six HUNDRED B.C.E., when the first civilizations began to emerge.
This is then followed by the Classical Era, which runs from six hundred B.C.E to six hundred C.E. The Classical Era was marked by an increase in the number of cities, the emergence of major religions and philosophies, and the rise of the first empires.
After that comes the Intermediate Era from six hundred C.E. to Fifteen-Hundred C.E. This Era was defined by the decline of the classical societies and the growth of trade routes that stretched for miles and miles and resulted in greater cultural exchange.
Following this period is the Early Modern Era from Fourteen-fifty C.E. to Seventeen-fifty C.E. The Early Modern Era marked the beginnings of European explorations, conquests in the Americas, trans-Atlantic slave trade, and the rise of a globally intertwined
economy spanning Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas. It also marked a time of a greater dissemination of information.
Next we have the Modern Era from Seventeen-fifty C.E. to Nineteen-forty-five C.E. This Era marked the beginning of industrialization, which brought about massive technological and economic changes. It was defined by imperialism, nationalism, and socialism.
Finally, we have the Contemporary Era from Nineteen-forty five to the Present. This Era has been categorized by the collapse of colonial empires, the rise of international organizations, more advanced technologies, and the introduction of globalization.
Here’s a look at them back-to-back.
Reading Passage Introduction
Okay, so now that we’ve taken a look at dating systems and periodization for World
History, let’s take a look at some of the basics behind World History geography.
This’ll help you understand the importance of knowing the different hemispheres and continents. We’ll get to see just how we section everything off…well…that’s not exactly how it’s done, but…you’ll see. Take a look…
Reading Passage Outro
Reading Passage Introduction
Well, get ready to be amazed because someone did.
And that someone’s name is Carl Sagan.
Sagan was an American Astronomer and he created what’s known as the “Cosmic
So how’d he do it? How do you record the history of the universe in a calendar year?
Well, let’s find out…
Hello again! Professor Miriam Higginbotham at your service. Back to discuss a discovery so profound—So AMAZING, it’s likely to knock you clean off-your-jolly-ole feet!
What is it: The Neolithic Revolution!!!
Ahhhhh, the Neolithic AGE, also known as the NEW Stone Age, a time of great change and excitement! It lasted from Ninety-five Hundred B.C.E. to about Forty-five Hundred B.C.E. and was marked by one of the greatest technological breakthroughs….No, it wasn’t the television…or the personal computer…or the cellphone. O pish-tosh!…it was much bigger than that! This great technological achievement was that of…..humans discovering how to farm. Right-OH!
Impressed?…you should be. Farming was a MAJOR breakthrough! And it brought about the NEOLITHIC REVOLUTION!!!
If we travel back about Eleven Thousand years, when humans first learned to farm, we can see that they began to live less and less like hunter-gatherers who had to constantly move around, going from place to place just to survive. Instead, they began to live as FARMERS, and began to settle in one place and plant crops and eventually raise livestock to feed themselves.
This transition to farming is believed to have been caused by changes at the end of the Ice Age—changes that had a major impact on the planet. You see, the open plains needed for hunting wild game became smaller. The kinds of plants and animals that were central to the hunter-gather way of life decreased. And once these species began to decline, it became necessary for humans to innovate in order to survive. And so wa- lah: FARMING!
Now, it’s NOT known exactly how this transition to agriculture came about. BUT chances are quite good that it came down to simple observations people made of the way seeds scattered when they gathered plants.
What IS known is HOW the Neolithic Revolution affected human history. See, once humans began to settle down in one area and the populations in those areas grew…human societies began to form, and distinct cultures took shape. This eventually led to the development of the first CIVILIZATIONS!
Ahhhh, wouldn’t you know it, we’re almost out of TIME. But not to worry. I’ll see you soon, good chap. I’m Professor Miriam Higginbotham wishing you well, wishing you all the very best in your journeys…no matter where they may take you.