149853437-History.docx - One page summary of world history...

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One page summary of world historyPart 1of the Student's Friendbegins with the one-page summary of world history reproduced below.For a printer friendly, pdf version, click here.For a discussion of the question, "Did geography give Eurasia an advantage?" click hereOverview: waves of world historyWorld history is the story of human experience. It is a story of how people, ideas, and goods spread across the earth creating our past and our present. To help us better understand this experience, we will divide history into four main eras: prehistory, ancient times, middle ages, and modern times. Our story begins during prehistory in east Africa where human life began. From Africa humans spread to Eurasia (Europe and Asia), to Australia, and finally to the Americas. Human migration was one of the great waves of history.During most of history, most humans made their living by hunting and gathering. Then about 12,000 years ago, people in the Middle East learned how to raise a wildwheat plant, and agriculture was born -- another great wave of history. No longer were humans constantly on the move searching for food. People could settle in one place, build cities, and make inventions like the plow, wheel, and writing. The complex societies that resulted are what we call civilization, another wave of history and the start of ancient times. In terms of a human lifetime, waves of change moved slowly, and much stayed the same amid the changes.Waves of history were channeled over the earth by geography. The first civilizations arose in river valleys where rivers provided fresh water for raising crops and transportation for moving crops to market. Beginning in Mesopotamia, civilization spread west to Egypt and east to India. These three civilizations formedan early international trading network that eventually extended across the connected lands of Eurasia and North Africa, a vast region that lies in a temperate climate zone where most of the world's people have lived since prehistoric times.
More people meant more ideas, more inventions, and more diseases than in other parts of the world. Waves of change took longer to reach sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas because they were separated from Eurasia by physical barriers of desert and ocean.As agriculture replaced hunting and gathering, human population increased. Peoplein civilized societies divided themselves into unequal social classes with priests andkings at the top. Wealthy landowners collected rent payments from poor farmers, men came to dominate women, and slavery became common. In the grasslands of central Eurasia, nomadic people chose not to settle down and raise crops. They lived by herding animals from pasture to pasture with the seasons. They learned to ride horses, developed cavalry skills, and attacked settled communities. Sometimes these nomadic raiders conquered great civilizations.

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