The Pre-Vedic age: The era of Indian history during which the first known Indian civilization was established
The Indus Valley civilization: The first known Indian civilization, named after the fertile region in which it was established. It featured agriculture including cotton spinning; animal husbandry; carts pulled by water buffaloes; advanced economics; pottery; copper and bronze works; and some trade with the Middle East. This civilization was larger than either of its close contemporaries in Egypt and Mesopotamia.
Mohenjo Daro and Harappa: The two most well-known ancient Indus Valley cities whose excavations greatly increased knowledge of ancient Indian history. Mohenjo Daro featured a citadel; a public bath; a granary; assembly halls; drainage; standard weights and measures; writing; and a population of around 40,000.
The Vedic age: The era of Indian history during which the Aryans ruled. It included the introduction and spread of Hinduism and the start of Indian literature.
The Aryans: A central Asian people who invaded and subdued India during ancient times and dramatically influenced the culture. The Aryan conquerors (who had two-wheeled chariots) became the upper classes of merchants, warriors, priests and rulers and the subdued people became slaves, laborers and artisans. In time this became a caste system.
The Indian caste system:
The Vedas: The classical epic cultural and religious texts composed during the Vedic era in India. These are the first known literary texts of this region and are still widely read today.
Siddhartha Gautam: The founder of the religion of Buddhism. Buddha, as he later became known, was born in India about 500 years BCE. His teachings did not take root until long after his death.
The invasion of India by Alexander the Great: The brief period of Indian history during which the Macedonians, led by Alexander, held Indian and Persian lands. In spite of their military losses, Indian leaders helped stop Alexander’s advancement with their devastating use of elephants during battle. Shortly after Alexander’s death, the Greeks withdrew from the area, which was too large and remote to rule effectively.
The Mauryan Empire: The first unified Indian empire, which rose to power around 300 BCE shortly after Alexander’s invasion and after a time of fighting between the various Indian kingdoms. During this empire, trade and wealth increased significantly.
Ashoka: The greatest Mauryan ruler, who expanded the empire through conquest then converted to Buddhism and advocated for peace. He helped spread Buddhism throughout India.
The Gupta Dynasty: The Golden Age of Indian history. This dynasty rose to power after several other empires following the Mauryan Empire failed to keep India united and thriving. During the Gupta Dynasty, India reunited and expanded. Trade with China increased greatly and literature, mathematics, astronomy and medicine flourished.
The Middle Ages (500 CE to 1500 CE)
India during the Middle Ages: After the Gupta Dynasty, parts of India fell to Hun invaders. Following this, several other dynasties (most of which were Islamic and spread the religion of Islam in India) took over temporarily but failed to reunite the whole of India. The invasion of the Turks and, later, the Mongols further hampered Indian progress.
Early Modern Times (1500 CE through 1900 CE)
The Mughal Empire: One of the greatest eras in Indian history during which India was again reunited under one ruler. During this time, infrastructure, administration and the arts advanced greatly. Many well-known monuments were built and the government was reorganized. In some areas, the Mughals continued ruling until the British takeover in the late 1800s, though practically speaking, by that time most of India was controlled by various colonial powers.
Akbar the Great: The greatest Mughal emperor, who successfully united India. He instituted social reforms and promoted Hinduism and Persian culture.
Shah Jahan: One of the last Mughal emperors. He is most famous for building the Taj Mahal.
The Taj Mahal: One of the most beautiful buildings in the world, which was built in the 1600s by emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife after her death. It took 22 years to complete.
The Indian colonial period: The period of Indian history during which Europeans (including England, the Netherlands, Portugal and France) colonized India. This began in the 1500s as various European trading companies competed ferociously for trading rights and governmental control. It continued with British takeover from the late 1800s till India gained independence in 1947.
The English East Indian Company: The organization created by England in the 1600s to conduct trade with India. They operated in Calcutta, Bombay and elsewhere.
Bombay: The English name of the Indian city of Mumbai. Bombay was first taken by Portugal, then given to the English king, then sold to the English East Indian Company and used as a trading base for many years.
The British Raj: The British ruler of India during British colonization
British imperialism: The period of Indian history during which the British controlled India. For a time, Queen Victoria served as the Empress of India.
The Modern Era (The 1900s through the Present)
The Indian industrial revolution: The industrial revolution took root in India in the early 1900s
Indian nationalism: The political ideology that advocated for Indian independence
India during World War I: India fought on behalf of the British against their will. However, with the economic decline of Britain, Indian nationalists slowly gained influence during this time.
Mahatma Ghandi: The Indian nationalist leader who led the long fight for Indian independence from WWI on. Gandhi was a lawyer who lived in South Africa for a time and served as the leader of Indians living there. After returning to India, he launched a movement of non-cooperation with the British which included boycotts of British goods and schools. He advocated for non-violence, though others involved in the movement did not follow this recommendation. Gandhi went to prison multiple times during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. He was assassinated in 1948, a year after India won independence.
India during World War II: As in World War I, in World War II India fought on behalf of the British.
Prime minister Nehru: The first prime minister of India, who helped create the Indian constitution in the late 1940s
Indian constitution: The constitution created after India gained independence from Britain. It strictly regulated industry, establishing some industries as fully government controlled and others as privately run.
India during the 1950s and 60s: Indian reforms increased irrigation, boosted agriculture and increased industrial production. At the same time, India’s population increased rapidly and poverty and illiteracy were widespread. India also fought some battles with China and Tibet during this time, both of which tried to encroach on its territory.
India during the 1970s and 80s: India experienced inflation and a recession due in part to rapidly rising oil prices.
India during the 1990s and 2000s: India deregulated the economy, which led to rapid economic growth, and its population continues to rise quickly.
Everyone loves winning an argument. Actually, everyone just loves an argument. It’s stimulating. Challenging. Energetic. If you want to argue better, or just be better able to discriminate between arguments, logic studies will help–a lot. Just keep in mind that once you learn this stuff, it’s hard not to get a bit snobbish about it; I recommend you flavor your powers of logic with tact.
Important note: Many logical fallacies are known by more than one name. I’ve attempted to use the most common in my list, but if you rely too much on memorization, you won’t always recognize other people’s terms. More important, you’ll miss the point.
Finally, a quote to consider: “One and one cannot become two, since neither becomes two.”– Gongsun Long, Chinese logician (c. 325–250 BCE)
I think that pretty much says it all.
Basic Logic and Rhetoric
Logic: The set of rules that guides the formation of valid arguments and tests argumentative conclusions for validity. Rhetoric: The art of persuasion
Practical uses for logic: Ethics, politics, computer programming, writing and any situation in which arguments are posited, questioned and defended.
An argument: A defense of an opinion or position. Arguments can be logical or rhetorical. Logical arguments are those which determine whether a particular statement is true or false. Rhetorical arguments are those which attempt to persuade a person or audience that a particular statement is true or false, regardless of whether it actually is true or false.
Premise: An idea upon which other ideas in an argument rely.
Logical form: The formula that an argument uses to arise at its conclusion. Example: All A’s are B’s and all B’s are C’s; therefore, all A’s are C’s.
Valid: Logically correct. Example: All zebras are mammals and all mammals are ugly; therefore, all zebras are ugly.
True: Actually correct. Example: All zebras are mammals and all mammals drink their mothers’ milk; therefore, all zebras drink mothers’ milk.
Rational/sound: Logical, valid and true
How to analyze an argument for soundness: First, notice whether or not the form of the argument makes sense. Does the conclusion follow from the premises? If not, you likely have a formal fallacy on your hands. As a beginning logician, don’t spend too much time figuring out the name of the fallacy; instead, point out the problem and say something like, “The conclusion doesn’t follow the premises.” Step two is to notice whether or not the statements made in the argument are true; if not, there is an informal fallacy. You should be able to identify all ad hominem fallacies and name them as such. You should also be able to call out these fallacies by name: the fallacy of equivocation; the slippery slope fallacy; the poisoning the well fallacy; the straw man fallacy; the appeals to emotion, fear, pity, ridicule and the like; and the appeals to tradition, authority, and popularity. Other fallacies can simply be identified as such, and often, this is enough.
Semantics: The meanings of words. These can often be problematic and unstable, which contributes to illogic.
Inference: A true or false conclusion in the form of “A, therefore, B.”
Implication: A true or false conclusion in the form of “If A, then B.”
Deductive reasoning: Deducing a specific fact from a general principle
Inductive reasoning: Arriving at a general principle from a specific fact or case
Analysis: Deconstructing part-by-part to find deeper meaning
Synthesis: Putting parts together to find deeper meaning
A posteriori: Not known to be valid or true except through observation and experience
A priori: Known to be valid or true by reason alone
History of the study of logic: Logic comes from the Greek word logos, originally meaning “the word” or “what is spoken”, but later meaning “thought” or “reason”. Aristotle was the first known proponent of formal logic, and since then, it has been applied to many scientific areas, including computer programming. Logic studies, though, normally refers to rhetorical logic.
Logical fallacy/non sequitur: A weakness in an argument, often hidden, that causes the conclusion to be invalid or untrue. Informal fallacies have to do with the content of the argument, and formal fallacies have to do with the form of the argument. (Non sequitur means “it does not follow.”)
Formal logical fallacy: A fallacy in the structure of the argument that causes the argument to be invalid, regardless of the content of the argument. Remember, just because an argument contains a fallacy doesn’t mean the conclusion isn’t true. It simply means that particular argument doesn’t prove it to be so.
Informal logical fallacy: A fallacy in the content of the argument. Most often, informal logical fallacies are simple distractions from the actual argument. They point to external ideas or the opponent’s personality and the like. Literally any distraction from the validity of the argument itself can be an informal logical fallacy. Don’t memorize the names–just understand the problem with them in the collective. (For a ridiculously long list, see Wikipedia’s list of logical fallacies.)
Common Formal Logical Fallacies
The affirming the consequent fallacy: An argument that states “If A, then B; B, therefore A.” Example: “If Fred killed Todd, Fred is angry. Fred is angry, therefore, Fred killed Todd.”
The denying the antecedent fallacy: An argument that states, “If A, then B; not A, therefore not B.” Example: “If Fred killed Todd, then he hated him. Fred didn’t kill Todd. Therefore, he didn’t hate him.
The affirming a disjunct fallacy: An argument that states, “A is true or B is true. B is true. Therefore, A is not true.” In fact, both could be true.
The denying a conjunct fallacy: An argument that states that “It is not the case that both A is true and B is true. B is not true. Therefore, A is true.” In fact, both could be false.
Fallacy of the undistributed middle: An argument that states that “All Zs are Bs. Y is a B. Therefore, Y is a Z.” One must first prove that all Bs are Zs.
Common Informal Logical Fallacies
Ad hominem (“to the man”) fallacy: An argument that relies on attacking the arguer instead of the argument. This is really a category of fallacies which includes the appeal to authority/expert fallacy and the opposite of this, the courtier fallacy (which attacks the opposition’s knowledge, credentials or training).
The equivocation fallacy: An argument that relies onthe misleading use of a term with more than one meaning (by glossing over which meaning is intended at a particular time).
The straw man fallacy: An argument that relies onan argument based on misrepresentation of an opponent’s position.
The slippery slope fallacy: A slippery slope argument (SSA), in logic, critical thinking, political rhetoric, and caselaw, is a logical fallacy in which a party asserts that a relatively small first step leads to a chain of related events culminating in some significant (usually negative) effect.
The poisoning the well fallacy: A subtype of ad hominem presenting adverse information about a target person with the intention of discrediting everything that the target person says.
The appeal to emotion fallacy: An argument that relies on the manipulation of emotions. This is a general category that includes the appeal to threat fallacy, the appeal to fear fallacy, the appeal to flattery fallacy, the appeal to pity fallacy, the appeal to ridicule fallacy and more.
The false dilemma: An argument that relies ontwo alternative statements are held to be the only possible options when in reality there are more.
The circular reasoning/begging the question fallacy: An argument that relies on the presence of the conclusion within the premise in order to appear logical
The ad nauseam/ad infinitum fallacy: An argument that relies on mere repetition
The appeal to tradition fallacy: An argument that relies on a conclusion supported solely because it has long been held to be true.
The appeal to the people/bandwagon fallacy: An argument that relies on a proposition is claimed to be true or good solely because a majority or many people believe it to be so.
The guilt by association and honor by association fallacies: Arguments that rely on the idea that because two things share some property, they are the same.
The red herring fallacy: A speaker attempts to distract an audience by deviating from the topic at hand by introducing a separate argument the speaker believes is easier to speak to. Argument given in response to another argument, which is irrelevant and draws attention away from the subject of argument.
The cherry picking fallacy: An argument that relies onact of pointing at individual cases or data that seem to confirm a particular position, while ignoring a significant portion of related cases or data that may contradict that position.
The appeal to consequences fallacy: An argument that relies on describing the terrible things that would happen if the opponent’s position were true.
The appeal to motive fallacy: An argument that relies on attacking the motive of the opponent.
The tu quoque (“you too”) fallacy: An argument that relies on pointing out the hypocrisy of the opponent.
The etymological fallacy: reasoning that the original or historical meaning of a word or phrase is necessarily similar to its actual present-day usage.
The moving the goal posts/raising the bar fallacy: An argument that relies onargument in which evidence presented in response to a specific claim is dismissed and some other (often greater) evidence is demanded.
The survivorship bias fallacy: An argument that points to a small number of successes of a given process are actively promoted while completely ignoring a large number of failures
The false analogy fallacy: An argument that relies on an argument by analogy in which the analogy is poorly suited.
The hasty generalization: An argument that bases a broad conclusion on a small sample or the making of a determination without all of the information required to do so.
The oversimplification fallacy: An argument that relies on it is assumed that there is one, simple cause of an outcome when in reality it may have been caused by a number of only jointly sufficient causes.
The appeal to ignorance: An argument that relies on assuming that a claim is true because it has not been or cannot be proven false, or vice versa.
The pooh-pooh fallacy: An argument that relies on dismissing an argument perceived unworthy of serious consideration.
The moralistic fallacy: An argument that relies on assuming what ought to be true, is in fact true
History isn’t hard. It’s just stories. Lots of stories. And remembering some dates is important, too. I can’t count the number of times I’ve tried to recall the approximate date for the beginning of the universe, or the invention of fire, or the first known appearance of Homo sapiens on the spot but could not. Knowing a few key dates is hugely important to your understanding of the world. It provides a framework that you can build on as needed. Below is that framework.
That said, I am not the world’s biggest fan of the timeline. Other than the basic one below, in this book historical terms and concepts are chunked into four broad categories instead: ancient history, the Middle Ages, early modern times and modern times. If you know which of these historical periods an event occurred in, you will have a “good enough” understanding of its context for casual conversation and application.
Note that many dates given here are approximate, tentative and rounded.
Basic World History Terminology
Prehistory: All history that took place prior to the first cities, civilizations, and writing. Prehistory ended around 10,000 BCE.
Recorded history: History that took place after the invention of writing. It began around 10,000 BCE and continues into the present.
The Stone Age: A general term for the prehistorical era after Homo sapiens began using stone tools (around 3000 BCE) and before they engaged in metal work in a widespread manner. The Stone Age encompasses the Paleolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic Eras and ended at roughly the start of ancient times (3,000 BCE), when the Bronzeron Age began.
The Paleolithic Era: The historical era that began with the evolution of the species Homo sapiens in which these and other hominids primarily survived through big-game hunting.
The Mesolithic Era: The historical era between the Paleolithic Era and the Neolithic Era when humans lived a nomadic hunter-gatherer tribal lifestyle
The Neolithic Era: The historical era that began when humans discovered farming (around 10,000 BCE) and, with this location-stable food supply, began to settle into towns. The end of the Neolithic Era took place at approximately the beginning of ancient times (around 3,000 BCE).
The Bronze Age: The historical era that began when humans learned how to forge metal, particularly bronze, which was particularly useful in weaponry. The Bronze Age usually refers to ancient Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Egyptian history.
The Iron Age: The historical era that began when humans began replacing much of their bronze work with iron work instead. Iron allowed for lighter, cheaper weaponry, which resulted in a more widespread use of it and more battles.
Ancient history: The historical period from the beginning of recorded history (around 3,000 BCE) to the fall of the Roman Empire (around 500 CE).
The Middle Ages: The historical period from the fall of the Roman Empire (around 500 CE) to the discovery of the New World (around 1500 CE).
Early modern times: The historical period from the discovery of the new world (around 1500 CE) to 1900 CE.
The modern era: The historical period of the 1900s, marked by industrialism, globalism, rapid technological advancement and world war.
Outline of world eras: The terms Stone Age, Iron Age, Bronze Age, Paleolithic Era, Mesolithic Era and Neolithic Era are all very rough constructs. Since they’re defined by their technological developments, they took place at different times in different places of the world. However, a rough timeline is as follows:
Beginning of time, the earth and hominids (14 billion BCE to 3 million BCE)
The Stone Age (including the Paleolithic Era and the Mesolithic Era and the beginning of the Neolithic Era) (3 million BCE to 10,000 BCE)
The rest of the Neolithic Era (10,000 BCE to 3,000 BCE)
Ancient times (including the Bronze Age and the Iron Age) (3,000 BCE to 500 CE)
The Middle Ages (500 CE to 1500 CE)
Early modern times (including the Colonial Period, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Industrial Revolution and more) (1500 CE to 1900 CE)
The modern era (the 1900s)
Basic World History Timeline
The Beginning of Time
14 billion BCE: The Big Bang occurred
4.5 billion BCE: The Earth formed
4 billion BCE: The first living organisms formed
3.5 billion BCE: LUCA, the last universal common ancestor, formed
7 million BCE: Hominids evolved
The Stone Age
300,000 BCE: Homo sapiens began using stone tools and the Paleolithic Era began
10,000s BCE: Farming began, the first towns (proto-cities) were built and the Neolithic Era began
8,000s BCE: Mesopotamian and Chinese agriculture began
6000s BCE: Indus River Valley agriculture began and metalworking (copper and gold) began
4000s BCE: Mesoamerican and Central American agriculture began
Ancient Times (3000 BCE to 500 CE)
3,000s BCE: The first civilization (the Sumerian Empire, in Mesopotamia on the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers) was founded; the Egyptian Empire (on the Nile River) began; writing was invented (cuneiform in Mesopotamia and hieroglyphics in Egypt) and recorded history began
2000s BCE: The Indus River Valley civilization began; the Chinese civilization began on the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers; the Mayan culture began; the Chavin culture began; bronze metalworking began; the Babylonian Empire and the Akkadian Empire defeated the Sumerian Empire in turn [?]
1600s BCE: Shang Dynasty founded
1500s BCE: Phoenician people arose
1200s BCE: Hebrew people arose
900s BCE: The Assyrian Empire claimed much of Mesopotamia
700s BCE: The first Greek city-states were founded;
500s BCE: The Roman Republic was founded; the Persian Empire claimed Mesopotamia and beyond; Buddha lived and taught; Muhammad lived and taught
400s BCE: Athens and Sparta were at their cultural height
300s BCE: Alexander the Great claimed Greece, Mesopotamia and parts of India for Macedon, creating the Macedonian Empire; the Fujiwara Dynasty arose in Japan
200s BCE: The Qin Dynasty took power; the Mayas were at their peak power
100 BCE to 100 CE: Julius Caesar became the first dictator of Rome; Jesus Christ lived and taught; the Roman Empire replaced the Roman Republic under Augustus Caesar (Octavian)
400s CE: The Byzantine Empire formed and the Roman Empire came to an end
The Middle Ages (500 CE through 1500 CE)
600s CE: The Tang Dynasty ushered in China’s Golden Age
800s CE: Vikings began exploring and raiding; the Toltec culture arose; the Maori culture arose; the aborigine culture arose
1000s and 1100s CE: The Crusades took place
1200s and 1300s CE: Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan led the Mongolian Empire; the Aztec Empire began
1300s CE: The Ottoman Empire was founded; the Black Plague occurred
1400s CE: The Gutenberg Press went into use; the Incan Empire began; Constantinople fell, ending the Byzantine Empire; Russia began to unify
Early Modern Period (1500 CE through 1900 CE)
1492 CE: Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas
1500s CE: Amerigo Vespucci landed in South America and created the first map of the New World; the colonization of South America began; the African slave trade greatly increased; the Ottoman Empire was at its peak; the Elizabethan Era began; the Protestant Reformation began; North American exploration began
1600s CE: The Pilgrims settled Plymouth Colony; the colonization of North America began; the Edo Period began in Japan; the steam engine was invented
1700s CE: The Enlightenment began; Peter the Great unified Russia; Australian colonization began; the French Revolution occurred; the Industrial Revolution began
1776 CE: America declared independence from Great Britain by issuing the Declaration of Independence, starting the American Revolution
1800s CE: The South American colonies gained independence from their colonial rulers one by one; the Scramble for Africa (African colonization) occurred; the Victorian Era began; the Opium Wars took place; the first transcontinental railroad opened; Thomas Edison invented the lightbulb; the Wright Brothers invented the airplane
The Modern Era (The 1900s through the Present)
1900s CE: Henry Ford invented the Model T; Einstein discovered the Theory of Relativity; the Australian gold rush began; the dynasties ended in China and were replaced with the Republic of China
1914-1918 CE: World War I occurred
1920s CE: The first modern television was invented
1929 CE: The Wall Street crash set off the Great Depression
1933 CE: The Holocaust began
1930s CE: The Spanish Civil War occurred
1939-1945 CE: World War II occurred
1941 CE: The Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, spurring the U.S. to join World War II
1945 CE: The U.S. dropped nuclear bombs on Japan; the Holocaust ended; penicillin was made available to the public
1940s CE: The League of Nations was founded;India gained independence from Britain
1950 CE: The Korean War occurred; the USSR developed atomic weapons and the Cold War began; apartheid began in South Africa; the civil rights movement began; the Vietnam War began; space travel began
1969 CE: People landed on the moon for the first time
1970s CE: The Vietnam War ended
1989 CE: Pro-democracy student demonstrations were violently quashed at Tiananmen Square in China; the Berlin Wall fell
1990s CE: The Gulf War occurred
2001 CE: Middle eastern terrorist group Al-Queda attacked New York City on September 11
2008CE: Barack Obama was elected the first African American president of the United States
History Discussion Questions:
What are some of the things that all cultures of history shared in common?
What are some of the reasons towns and civilizations spring up independently in so many different parts of the world within a few hundred years of each other?
Were there any good civilizations in history? Were there any bad ones?
What are the main reasons nations and states initiated warfare? Why did smaller tribes wage war?
How was history influenced by various technological discoveries, including metalwork, gunpowder, the printing press, the train and many more?
What are some examples of religious wars? To what extent were they motivated by the spread of religious ideas and the quashing of other religious ideas and to what extent were they motivated by other desires or needs?
Why did safe, prosperous nations, like Rome, continuously try to grow larger? Was this a wise strategy?
What are some of the historical reasons for poverty?
Have you ever significantly minimized your possessions and simplified
your life? Tell me the story.
Nick: In July 2019 I left my corporate job back home in Brooklyn, New York. I bought a car in Phoenix, Arizona to drive to Argentina. I pretty much left everything I owned except a few clothes, my laptop, a camera, and a drone. I built a bed in the back of the car and I have been living on the road ever since, camping at some of the most beautiful places in Mexico. I’m about to enter Belize.
car is my
home and the world is my
What did you buy along the way? Do you have good camping equipment?
I haven’t bought much. I bought a new suspension for the car and two
lower control arms. The car is old
was worried about the rust and being stuck in a country with no parts
if something happened. Other than that, I bought a cooler, folding
chairs, and a BBQ. At some point I’ll have to buy winter clothes when
I reach Argentina but I’ll tackle that when I get there. I also
bought a new phone using Google Fi because it works in over 200
countries on their unlimited plan.
How long do you plan to travel and what will you do after that?
asks me this question. Truthfully I’m planning this trip to find a
place where I can build another AirBNB
property close to the water so I can run scuba diving excursions. I
don’t have a time limit. My goal is to travel around the entire world
and it’s taken me 6 months to do all of Mexico. I promised my mom and
dad I would spend Christmas with them in 2020. But other than that I
don’t have a time limit.
What led to this drastic change?
The thing that led me to this decision was being caught up in the
humdrum of everyday corporate life living in New York City. I
personally couldn’t take going to work every day to make money to
spend at a bar on the weekends with friends, over and over again. I
wanted to get more out of life.
What do you want to get out of life?
I would like to teach people that money isn’t everything. It’s a
vehicle to get you to where you want to be. We’re all taught that we
need to go to school and get a job that pays well. Everyone wants a
raise and to earn more money. But the truth is that you most likely
make enough money and that money can actually make you more money but
your habits prevent that. People
look at my Instagram and ask me how I do this. I tell them I drive a
‘98 Chevy Blazer with a bed in it. You don’t need a lot of money to
do what I’m doing; you just need to change your habits. And that’s
the mark I want to leave. Money is great, but you don’t need to
exchange time to earn more. Other
I would say I just want to be happy and meet amazing people all
around the world.
Mollie: What are your most prized beliefs
regarding minimalist lifestyle—the ideas you most want to spread?
My most prized beliefs behind my minimalist lifestyle change is that
it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks about you. I want to spread that
to everyone around. With social media nowadays, most people seem to
be in competition with people they don’t even know.
Mary Potter Kenyon is a grief counselor and the author of seven books, including Called to Be Creative and Refined By Fire: A Journey of Grief. She lives in Dubuque, Iowa. For more information, see MaryPotterKenyon.com.
Mollie:Have you ever significantly reorganized and decluttered your home? What led to the decision and what did you change?
Mary: In April 2018, I was
offered my dream job an hour from where I lived. I made the decision
to sell the four-bedroom, two-story house where my husband David and
I had raised the last four of our eight children. David had died in
2012 and my seventh child was poised to leave the nest, leaving me
with one daughter and a huge house. Not
only did I need to declutter in order to sell my house, the house I
purchased in my new town was 760 square feet. I had to do some
serious purging, with less than two months to do it.
I began by deciding which
furniture could come with me, and my heart sank when I realized my
four bookshelves, my huge solid oak desk and my
mother’s kitchen table would not fit. The owner of the house I was
buying agreed to leave a folding IKEA table in the kitchen, the only
kind of table that worked. Two living room chairs would need to be
sold. A beautiful closed cabinet that was filled with office supplies
and photo albums. A kitchen shelf. The one thing I knew had to come
with me was a shaker-style cabinet I’d inherited from my mother, but
it would need to be emptied of some of her things to make room for
the single shelf of books I would keep.
I went through closets of
clothing. As I pulled things off hangers, I priced those I thought
would sell. I even had a box of my husband’s shirts stashed away,
which my sister Joan agreed to take off my hands and make into
Christmas stockings for my children. I wasn’t just dealing with
stuff, I was dealing with memories, and I
shed tears through the process. I went
through thousands of books. The first two boxes sold for $150 at a
bookstore, alleviating the distress a little. By the time I held my
first garage sale, I’d whittled down my possessions drastically. The
most daunting task, though, was the paper:
a file cabinet and a trunk filled with letters, college papers,
photos, and even scrapbooks from high school. I handed my son a bag
filled with twenty daybooks (daily diaries)
to burn because I couldn’t bear to dispose of them myself.
After two garage sales, several trips to a thrift
store, and even filling my front lawn with items I advertised for
free on a local online giveaway board, I ended up with less than half
my original possessions. By then, it felt freeing to have dealt with
years of accumulated clutter—to have made decisions about which
things meant the most and gave me pleasure and joy when I looked at
them. I would come to regret only the loss of the desk and the
While I no longer have a
separate office, I do have my own space, a back room that spans the
entire width of the house and serves as both bedroom and office.
Everything in it was consciously chosen to survive the Great Purge of
2018. The bedroom portion is sparse: an end table and a twin
bed topped with a mockingbird quilt that matches the curtains.
Outside of a washer and dryer in the opposite far corner, the rest of
the large room is designed around the comfy brown recliner my
children gave me for Christmas. When I sit in it to write or read,
I’m surrounded by things that bring a smile to my face.
There is the Shaker-style cabinet I inherited from
my mother, filled with things I treasure: my collection of
autographed books, a hand-blown glass turtle my son Michael made, a
toy sheep from my childhood, and bricks my daughter Rachel painted to
look like the covers of my books. My grandmother’s trunk is topped
by one of Mom’s quilts and her hand-carved Saint Michael statue,
his sword upraised in regal glory.
Walls are adorned with paintings by my mother and daughter Emily, along with photographs taken by my son Dan, one framed and another on canvas. A rustic wooden rack is attached to one wall, the wire baskets holding stationery and greeting cards. Wooden letters with the cover designs of my six books on another wall spell the word “writer,” handmade by my daughter Elizabeth. Finally, there’s a book-themed lamp atop an end table Katie painted to look like book spines. I love my smaller space.
We love our bodies, don’t we? It’s just so nice to understand what’s going on inside of all of this skin.
The eleven systems of the human body: Skeletal system, respiratory system, muscular system, nervous system, digestive system, reproductive system, circulatory system, endocrine system, lymphatic/immune system, integumentary system, urinary system
Skeletal system: The framework of bones and cartilage that supports the body and provides hard surfaces for the muscles to contract on
The four types of bones: Flat (example: ribs), long (example: legs), irregular (example: spine), short (example: fingers)
Important bones: Cranium (skull), mandible (jawbone), scapula (shoulder blades), clavicle (collar bone), sternum (breastbone), humerus (upper arm), rib, vertebral column (spine, made of vertebrae), radius (lower arm on top), ulna (lower arm underneath), carpals (wrist bones), metacarpals (finger bones), pelvis (hip bones, including the pelvis), coccyx (butt bone), femur (high leg bone), patella (kneecap), tibia (top shinbone), fibula (bone under fibia) metatarsals (foot bones), tarsals (ankle bones), phelanges (finger and toe/digit bones)
Joint: The places where bones meet. Most joints are movable.
Bone marrow: The store of fat inside the bone cavity
Cartilage: The alternative to bone that’s more flexible. Most baby bones are actually cartilage and slowly turn into bone later.
Muscular system: The system that enables the body to move using muscles
Muscles: Stretchy tissues all over the body that allow for movement. Some pairs work together with one contracting as the other relaxes. They can only contract and relax, not push.
Muscle contraction: The movement that occurs when muscles become shorter and harder and may bulge
Muscle relaxation: The movement that occurs when muscles become longer and softer
Types of muscles: Muscles are either voluntary (requiring conscious movement, such as the quads) or involuntary (such as the heart). They are also either skeletal (located on the skeletal system), cardiac (the heart and related muscles) or visceral (the intestines).
Nervous system: The system that collects and processes information from the senses via nerves and the brain and tells the muscles to contract to cause physical actions. It is made up of the sensory organs, the brain, the spinal cord and the nerves. The nervous system coordinates both voluntary and involuntary body movements.
Peripheral nervous system: The whole network of nerves throughout the body
Neurons: Nerve cells. They include sensory, association and motor nerves cells.
Nerves: Cords that contain bundles of nerve fibers. Can be sensory, motor and mixed (both).
Spinal cord: The thick bundle of nerves that joins the brain to the rest of the body. It is located inside a tunnel in the backbone.
Nerve impulse: An action of a neuron
Neurotransmitters: Various chemicals such as serotonin and epinephrin that allow neurons to communicate with each other. These are sometimes called “chemical messengers.”
Neurotransmission: The communication that takes place between neural networks
Reflex action/reflex: An involuntary and nearly instantaneous movement in response to a stimulus
Brain: The organ under the skull that is made up of millions of neurons and cerebrospinal fluid. There are electrical impulses going on between nerve cells in brain all the time. Brain waves (patterns of impulses) can be measured.
Left brain hemisphere:
Right brain hemisphere:
The three main parts of the brain:
Brain stem: Controls automatic functions like heartbeat and breathing. It contains two hemispheres: right and left.
Cerebrum: (for physical activities and thinking),
Cerebellum: (for muscle movement and balance)
Diencephalon: (with thalamus, which sorts and directs incoming impulses) and hypothalamus
Hypothalamus: (which controls hunger, thirst, body temperature, release of hormones from pituitary gland).
The lymbic system:
REM sleep: Rapid eye movement sleep (REM sleep, REMS) is a unique phase of sleep in mammals and birds, distinguishable by random/rapid movement of the eyes, accompanied with low muscle tone throughout the body, and the propensity of the sleeper to dream vividly.
Sensory organs: Organs that send nerve impulses (signals) to the brain along nerves
Motor nerves: Nerves that receive signals from the brain to the muscles to move
How eyes work: Light enters the pupil through the clear cornea and lens. These bend the light rays so they form an image on the retina and back of eye. (Turns image upside down.) Rods and cones convert the image to nerve impulses which take the optic nerve to the brain. The brain interprets and turns the image right side up.
Stereoscopic vision: Perception of depth and 3-dimensional structure obtained on the basis of visual information deriving from two eyes
Ear: The hearing organ. It contains an outer, middle and inner part.
How ears work: The ear flap funnels sound waves to the ear canal, then to the eardrum. The eardrum vibrates. These vibrations pass through bones and holes to the cochlea, then to fluid chambers. Tiny nerve cells in the fluid convert vibrations into nerve impulses, which go along the auditory nerve to the brain. Ears also help keep you balanced through the vestibular system. This works by sensing movement of fluid in ducts and sending that info to the brain. Since you have two ears you can tell which direction sound is coming from.
Chemoreceptors: Small organs in the nose and tongue that detect smells and tastes, which are chemicals, and send this information to the brain.
Nasal cavity: The large air filled space above and behind the nose in the middle of the face
Digestive system: The system responsible for the mechanical and chemical processes that provide nutrients via the mouth, esophagus, stomach and intestines and eliminates waste from the body.
Liver: The organ that allows us to go between meals without eating by storing food energy. It is the largest organ by mass. Extra energy beyond the liver capacity is stored as fat. The liver also processes waste materials we encounter in our environment.
Circulatory system: The system that circulates blood around the body via the heart, arteries and veins, delivering oxygen and nutrients to organs and cells and carrying their waste products away. It also equalizes the temperature in the body. It includes blood, blood vessels and the heart.
Parts of the heart: Four chambers (two atria and two ventricles), valves to keep blood moving the right direction through the heart (each time one snaps shut there’s a heartbeat), veins and arteries that carry blood from heart to lungs, upper body and lower body and others for the opposite direction.
Arteries: Move blood away from the heart
Integumentary system: Skin, hair, nails, sweat and other exocrine glands
Skin: The soft outer tissue covering of vertebrates. It contains the epidermis, the dermis and subcutaneous tissues (fat cells).
Melanin: Natural pigments found in most organisms
Pores: Tube-shaped sweat glands
Keratin: What skin and nails are made of
Hair follicle: The opening at the base of a hair. Its shape determines whether the hair is curly, wavy or straight.
Respiratory system: The lungs and the passages that lead to them and allow for breathing of oxygen and breathing out of CO2.
Windpipe/trachea: A tube that connects the pharynx and larynx to the lungs, allowing the passage of air
Primary bronchus: The tubes between the trachea and each lung. After passing through the bronchus, air goes into the lungs. Then oxygen goes into secondary and tertiary bronchi, bronchioles, air sacs and capillaries and from there is distributed throughout the body.
Lung: A large air sack containing many tubes
Diaphragm: A flat sheet of muscle lying under the lungs. When you breathe in, your ribs move up and out and the diaphragm flattens. When you breathe out, your ribs move down and in and the diaphragm rises.
Voice box/larynx: Top part of the trachea
Vocal cords: Two bands of muscle that open to let air past when you breathe. When you speak muscles pull the cords together and air makes them vibrate. Shorter, faster cords, as in females, make higher pitched sounds.
Internal respiration: The movement of oxygen from the outside environment to the cells within tissues, and the transport of carbon dioxide in the opposite direction.
Metabolism: The set of life-sustaining chemical reactions in organisms
Aerobic respiration: Internal respiration that uses oxygen
Anaerobic respiration: Doesn’t use oxygen
Enzymes: Macromolecular biological catalysts. Enzymes accelerate chemical reactions.
Thermogenesis: The process of heat production in organisms
ATP: Adenosine triphosphate, an organic chemical that provides energy to drive many processes in living cells, e.g. muscle contraction, nerve impulse propagation, and chemical synthesis.
Basal metabolic rate (BMR): The rate of energy expenditure per unit time by an animal at rest
Calorie/kilocalorie: A unit of energy. A calorie is the amount of heat energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at a pressure of one atmosphere, and the kilocalorie is the heat energy required to raise the temperature of one kilogram (rather than a gram) of water by one degree Celsius.
Lactic acid: An important body acid
Endocrine system: The system that provides chemical communications within the body using hormones
Endocrine glands: Groups of cells that make hormones.
Hormones: Any member of a class of signaling molecules produced by glands in multicellular organisms that are transported by the circulatory system to target distant organs to regulate physiology and behaviour. The body makes over 20 types of hormones.
Pituitary gland: Makes growth hormone, prolactine, which control other endocrine glands, growth, mother’s milk production
Parathyroids gland: Makes parathormone which controls calcium levels in blood and bones.
Adrenals: The twin glands that make adrenalin and aldosterone which control blood glucose level, heart rate, body’s salt level
The thyroid gland: Makes thyroxin which controls metabolism
The pancreas: Makes insulin and glucagon which control the use of glucose by the body
Urinary/renal system: The system that controls the amount of water in your body and filters blood. It includes two kidneys, a balloon-like sac called the bladder and the tubes connected to them.
Urethra: The tube that connects the bladder to the urinary meatus for the removal of urine from the body
Kidneys: The two bean-shaped organs on the left and right in the retroperitoneal space. They are about 11 centimetres in length. They receive blood from the paired renal arteries; blood exits into the paired renal veins. Each kidney is attached to a ureter, a tube that carries excreted urine to the bladder.
Lymphatic/immune system: The system comprising a network of lymphatic vessels that carry a clear fluid called lymph. It defends the body against pathogenic viruses that may endanger the body. The lymph contains the leftover interstitial fluid resulting from blood filtration.
Lymph: Lymph is the fluid that circulates throughout the lymphatic system
Lymph node: A kidney-shaped organ of the lymphatic system, and of the adaptive immune system, that is widely present throughout the body. Lymph nodes are major sites of white blood cells and important for the immune system.
Reproductive system: The sex organs required for the production of offspring
Reproduction: The process of creating offspring
Male reproductive system parts: Penis, testicles, sperm, prostate gland, and scrotum
Penis: The primary sexual organ that male animals use to inseminate sexually receptive mates
Glans: A vascular structure located at the tip of the penis in males or a genital structure of the clitoris in females
Foreskin: The the double-layered fold of smooth muscle tissue, blood vessels, neurons, skin, and mucous membrane part of the penis that covers and protects the glans penis and the urinary meatus
Sperm/spermatoza: The male reproductive cell
Semen: The fluid made in the testicles that may contain sperm
Testicle: The testicle or testis (plural testes) is the male reproductive gland in all animals, including humans. It produces sperm and semen.
Prostate gland: A gland of the male reproductive system
Scrotum: The suspended dual-chambered sack of skin and smooth muscle that holds the two testacles
Female reproductive system parts: The uterus, Fallopian tubes, and ovaries
Ovulation: The release of eggs from the ovaries
Ovum: The egg cell. (The plural form of the word is “ova”.)
Menstruation/having a period: The (approximately) monthly discharge of blood and mucosal tissue (known as menses) from the inner lining of the uterus through the vagina
Menopause: The time in women’s lives when menstrual periods stop permanently, and they are no longer able to bear children
Vagina: The elastic, muscular canal leading to the uterus in which sex takes place
Cervix: The lower part of the uterus that contracts and opens during childbirth
Fallopian tubes: The tubes leading from the ovaries to the uterus
Womb/uterus: The organ in which fetal development takes place.
Labia: The major externally visible portions of the vulva. It has two layers.
Sexual intercourse: The insertion and thrusting of the penis, usually when erect, into the vagina for sexual pleasure, reproduction, or both. This is also known as vaginal intercourse or vaginal sex. Other forms of penetrative sexual intercourse include anal sex (penetration of the anus by the penis), oral sex (penetration of the mouth by the penis or oral penetration of the female genitalia), fingering (sexual penetration by the fingers), and penetration by use of a dildo.
Ejaculation: The discharge of semen (normally containing sperm) from the male reproductory tract, usually accompanied by orgasm
Fertilization/conception: The union of a human egg (ovum) and sperm, usually occurring in the fallopian tube of the mother after sex
Embryo: The newly conceived form of life between the fertilized egg (zygote) stage and the fetus stage
Fetus: The unborn baby who is past the embryonic stage (about nine weeks into the pregnancy)
Placenta: The temporary organ that connects the developing fetus via the umbilical cord to the uterine wall to allow nutrient uptake, thermo-regulation, waste elimination, and gas exchange via the mother’s blood supply; to fight against internal infection; and to produce hormones which support pregnancy
Umbilical cord: The conduit between the developing fetus and the placenta inside a pregnant woman
Puberty: The process of physical changes through which a child’s body matures into an adult body capable of sexual reproduction
Adolescence: The phase of life after puberty and between childhood and adulthood; the teen years
Basic Medical Science
Disease: Anything that stops all or part of your body from working properly (other than injury)
Infection: The invasion of an organism’s body tissues by disease-causing agents, their multiplication, and the reaction of host tissues to the infectious agents and the toxins they produce
Immunity: The balanced state of multicellular organisms having adequate biological defenses to fight infection, disease, or other unwanted biological invasion, while having adequate tolerance to avoid allergy, and autoimmune diseases
Drug: A drug is any substance (other than food that provides nutritional support) that, when inhaled, injected, smoked, consumed, absorbed via a patch on the skin, or dissolved under the tongue causes a temporary physiological (and often psychological) change in the body
Nutrients: The vitamins, minerals, and proteins that are used to make body parts, either by facilitating a chemical reaction or by being used as actual material (like calcium an amino acids from protein breakdown), and the carbs and fats that are burned for fuel.
Preventive medicine: Measures taken for disease prevention, as opposed to disease treatment
Diagnosis: The identification of the nature and cause of a certain phenomenon
Bacteria: A type of biological cell. Among the first life forms to appear on Earth, and are present in most of its habitats. Most have not been discovered or studied.
Virus: A virus is a small infectious agent that replicates only inside the living cells of other organisms
White blood cell: The cells of the immune system that are involved in protecting the body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders
Vaccination: The administration of antigenic material (a vaccine) to stimulate an individual’s immune system to develop adaptive immunity to a pathogen
Antibiotics: A substance that kills bacterial. Not antiviral.
Pathogen: A germ, usually a microorganism like a bacteria or virus that can cause illness or disease
Tumor: An abnormal and excessive growth of tissue that starts as a neoplasm, then forms a mass
In vitro fertilization (IVF): A process by which egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside the womb, in vitro.
Contraception: Birth control
Senescence: The gradual deterioration of functional characteristics due to age
Medical imaging: Creating images of the internal organs to help diagnose and treat disease
CT scan: Computed tomography scan. Formerly CAT scan. Uses computer-processed combinations of many X-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional images of internal organs.
MRI scan: Magnetic resonance imaging. Uses magnets and radio waves (not X-rays, as CT scans do) to create images of the internal organs.
Surgery: The use of knives, lasers and other instruments to explore inside the body or change or remove something in the body
Laser surgery: Laser surgery is a type of surgery that uses a laser (in contrast to using a scalpel) to cut tissue.
Alternative medicine: Unproven or disproven medical techniques and substances
Acupuncture: An unproven traditional Chinese alternative medicine in which thin needles are inserted into the body.
As humans, we experience the effects of chemistry, biology and physics every day, but not always knowingly. For this reason, geology and ecology are to me the most visual–even the most sensual–of the hard sciences, the ones that allows us to better understand our immediate environment.
Geology isn’t theory and microscopes; it’s what we see around us every day.
Sometimes, it’s hard to mentally separate geology and ecology. Here’s the short version: geology is the study of all the stuff on the earth, and ecology is the study of the way living things interact with it.
Add: The elements of the earth’s crust (oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium). The parts of the earth (crust—oceanic and continental; mantle—litho-sphere and asthenosphere; outer core; inner core). Types of clouds.
Layers of the earth: The four distinct parts of the earth, which include: the outer crust (oceans and tectonic plates), the mantle (rock), the outer core (extremely hot liquid metal), and the inner core (solid metal).
Earth’s crust: The surface of the earth, which is made of rocks, minerals and soil on tectonic plates. The five main elements found in the Earth’s crust are oxygen, silicon, aluminum, iron and calcium.
Rock: A collection of various minerals formed together into a hard mass. Common rocks include: limestone, shale, sandstone, granite, marble, basalt, obsidian, coal, quartz, conglomerate and chalk. Rocks are not made of single minerals or elements, but are compounds of several different minerals.
Mineral: A single material of uniform color, texture, luster and structure. It is usually made up of two or more elements.
Crystal: A mineral whose molecules are arranged in a highly regular pattern, which results in a characteristic shape. Some example of crystals are: table salt, graphite, ice and quartz.
Dirt: A mixture of minerals and organic substances that have been broken down through weathering, animal digestion and more
Soil: Dirt that is fit to grow plants in
Ore: Any natural, earth material that is mined and processed to obtain a desired metal. Ex: iron ore is rock containing iron.
Metal: An element or an alloy that is shiny in appearance; conducts heat and electricity; and remains solid at room temperature (except mercury). Some, like iron and nickel, are also magnetic. Note that the definition of the term “metal” is not exact, and changes as its application changes. Some non-metal elements become metals at very high temperatures.
Alloy: A mixture of two or more metals
Steel: An alloy of iron, carbon and traces of other metals
Sediment: The dirt and sand that is carried away with water and wind and deposited in other places in layers. These layers separate according to the size and density of the materials and eventually harden into rock under the sea and elsewhere.
Fossil: The remains of organisms after those organisms are buried under layers of sediment and pressed upon for many years. Some fossils are rocks that show imprints of organic material that has eroded away. Other fossils are the actual remains of the organism, such as bone, or remains that have slowly become petrified (mineralized and turned into rock).
Clay: A kind of dirt that contains very small particles, which result in a soft, uniform, well-mixed substance. Clay soil (soil with a higher-than-average amount of clay in it) holds water well and is good for farming.
The three types of rocks: Sedimentary, igneous and metamorphic
Sedimentary rock: Rock formed when other rocks break down into sediment, then gradually reform other rocks due to pressure and layering. The Grand Canyon is an example of sedimentary rock. Its layers are visible.
Igneous rock: Rock formed from magma that erupted from a volcano, then cooled into layers and chunks
Metamorphic rock: Igneous, sedimentary or other metamorphic rock that has undergone significant changes due to heat
Geological time: A perspective of the history of the earth that divides it into periods based on the types of fossils found in the various layers of the earth’s crust
Radiometric/carbon dating: A scientific, though inexact, method for determining the age of a rock by the amount of carbon it contains
Corrosion: The damaging chemical reaction that occurs when metal comes into contact with oxygen. The damage happens because oxide forms on the metal.
Weathering/erosion: The breakdown of minerals, rocks and organic materials through freezing, thawing, melting, abrasion, wind, acids and more
Water: The most common liquid on earth, whose chemical formula is H2O. It is a solvent that is formed when hydrogen burns in air (oxygen).
The water cycle: The process by which water is continuously recycled between the earth, the atmosphere and living things through heat and evaporation and clouds and rain
Dissolve: To thoroughly mix something into a liquid
Solution: The liquid that results after dissolving something into it
Soluble: Able to dissolve in liquid
Insoluble: Unable to dissolve in liquid
Tides: The rise and fall of sea levels caused by the gravity of the moon and the rotation of the earth
Ocean currents: The movement of the water of the world’s oceans due to wind, the rotation of the earth and more
Groundwater: Water under the Earth’s surface. Most groundwater is found in porous rocks.
The water table: The depth at which groundwater is found, which is affected by rainfall or lack thereof
Spring: A place where groundwater emerges from a hillside
Air: The gas mixture that we breathe and that makes up the earth’s atmosphere. Air is made up of oxygen (21 percent), nitrogen (78 percent) and other gases, including carbon dioxide (1 percent). It helps plants make food; protects people from UV rays; and helps people obtain oxygen, which is an important component of human blood. The gases in air can be separated out by cooling and compressing the air. Each gas liquifies at a different temperature, allowing for separation.
Earth’s atmosphere: All of the air that surrounds the earth. It is held near the earth due to gravity. There is no distinct endpoint of this region, but instead a gradual decline into airlessness. This is because the gravitational pull on the higher air particles is gradually reduced. Higher air is thinner, with less oxygen, and unbreathable. (Side note: The moon’s gravitational pull isn’t strong enough to hold air down, which is why there is no air or similar gaseous atmosphere on the moon.)
Air pressure: A measurement of the closeness of the particles of air in a particular space. High-pressure air naturally expands into low-pressure air spaces due to its energy and momentum. (Side note: The eardrum in the human ear must have equal pressure on both sides; however, air has to move through a bottleneck and, during quick changes in atmospheric pressure, can move unevenly, resulting in what is known as “ear popping.”)
Air compression: The condition created when air particles are pushed closer together (as in a small space such as a tire or a balloon). When this happens, the particles try to escape and expand by pushing on the inside walls, causing visible inflation. Compressed air is an especially highly pressurized type of air.
Vacuum: An area of decreased air pressure that causes areas of higher air pressure to be drawn in towards it. When we suck or otherwise remove air from a container, we create a vacuum in that container. That vacuum, in turn, sucks air into it. Note that it isn’t the motion of pulling out air that causes a vacuum cleaner to suck, but the natural physical reaction of higher-pressure air to rush to fill (and thus balance out) lower-pressure air that causes this behavior.
Outer space has no air, so it is considered a vacuum. If a person went to space without a spacesuit, they would explode immediately as all of the air in their body pushed outward toward the vacuum at once. Spacesuits provide air pressure to prevent this.
The magnetic field of the earth: The field of magnetism in the earth with poles near the North Pole and the South Pole that are tilted at a slight angle. The field may be caused by moving metal in the Earth’s outer core. From time to time, these reverse, with north becoming south.
Magnetosphere: The area that stretches into space in which the Earth’s magnetic field can be felt
Ecology: The study of the way living things interact with their environments
Ecosystem: A group of plants and animals that interact with each other and their surroundings
Biome: A climate and soil type that is unique to a particular region of the earth
The eleven biomes of Earth: Tropical rainforests, deciduous forests, mountains, coniferous forests, scrub lands, temperate grasslands/prairies, tundra, tropical grasslands, deserts, polar areas and oceans
Habitat: The natural environment in which a species lives and thrives
Biodiversity: The huge variety of living things in a particular area. Biodiversity is lost with selective breeding.
Pollution: The mixing of unneeded, destructive, usually human-made substances with Earth’s air and water. Air pollution results in an erosion of the Earth’s protective atmosphere and harm to land plants and animals. Water pollution results bacterial overgrowth and harm to water plants and animals. In both cases, the ecosystem becomes unbalanced. For example, bacteria overgrowth in the ocean causes oxygen depletion, which further reduces plant and animal life there.
The Ozone Layer: The layer of ozone (O3) that exists in the upper atmosphere of earth. It is poisonous to humans when inhaled but, at a distance, protects us from UV rays.
The Greenhouse Effect: The result of an overabundance of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which traps heat and causes a greenhouse-like effect on earth and, in turn, causes major climate change
Global warming: A slow warming of the earth resulting from the Greenhouse Effect
Sewage treatment: The process by which a city’s waste water is filtered for large particles, then left in tanks where the organic solids sink to the bottom and are broken down by bacteria
Carbon cycle: The process by which carbon cycles through plants, animals, the soil and the atmosphere. This happens mostly due to the respiration of carbon dioxide by animals, the incorporation of carbon dioxide by plants during photosynthesis, decomposition and the burning of fossil fuels.
Nitrogen cycle: The process by which nitrogen cycles through plants, animals, the soil and the atmosphere. When the nitrogen cycle is not in balance, global warming and ozone depletion can occur.
Intensive farming: Farming with the help of chemicals, technology, high-output machinery and the like
Fossil fuels: Fuels that form deep under the earth from the remains of decomposed animals and plants. Examples are coal, petroleum and natural gas. Fossil fuels are considered non-renewable because it takes millions of years for them to complete one cycle of formation.
Biodegradable: The ability of a substance to be decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms in its environment
Sea level change: The change in sea levels caused by temperature changes. During ice ages, sea levels are low due to the great amount of frozen water. Today, sea levels have risen due to global warming.
Weather: The atmospheric conditions caused by changing air pressure and heat from the sun
Climate: The long-term weather conditions of a particular area
The four basic climate types: Tropical (hot all year); polar (cold all year); temperate (moderate, seasonal change); deserts (dry all year).
Wind: The movement of air that happens when higher pressure air is moving toward lower pressure air. If there is no pressure difference, there is no wind.
Storm: Any disruption in the atmosphere producing severe weather, including strong wind, tornadoes, hail, rain, snow (blizzard), lightning (thunderstorm), clouds of dust or sand carried by wind (a dust or sand storm)
Lightning: The visible and audible flow of electricity that occurs during a thunderstorm. It can occur inside a single cloud, between clouds, or between a cloud and the ground. It produces an audible booming sound called thunder. Since the speed of light is greater than the speed of sound, we hear thunder after we see lightning.
Tornado: A funnel-shaped column of wind, evaporated water, dust and debris that moves rapidly, sweeping up objects in its path. It is formed when a thunderstorm occurs in areas of both cold and warm air.
Hurricane/typhoon/tropical cyclone/tropical storm: A spiral-shaped group of thunderstorms that have formed in close proximity over the ocean, then collided to create a cyclone (a circular movement of wind with a low-pressure center)
Earthquake: A sudden shaking of the surface of the earth due to tectonic plate shifts
Seismic activity: The sum of all of the tremors and earthquakes in a region
Plate tectonics: The movement of the plates that make up Earth’s crust. This movement driven by movements deep in the Earth.
Fault line: The deep cracks in Earth’s crust that make those areas vulnerable to extreme movement when earthquakes strike
Subduction zone: An area where two plates have collided, causing one plate to slide below the other
Volcano: Vents (openings) in the ground from which magma (molten rock), ash, gas, and rock fragments surge upwards, in an event called an eruption. They are often found at boundaries between the plates in Earth’s crust.
Tsunami: A series of huge, destructive waves formed during major events like hurricanes, volcanic eruptions, meteorite crashes and earthquakes. Tsunamis are sometimes mistakenly called tidal waves.
Evaporation: Water vapor that is breaking free from the rest of the liquid
Condensation: The water vapor that collects back into drops on a solid. It comes from the air.
Water vapor: The gas that forms when water evaporates
Dew: The water vapor that forms as the sun rises and begins to warm cold air and humidity into condensation
Humidity: The water vapor in the air
Atmospheric particle/particulate: Microscopic solid or liquid particles suspended in the atmosphere. Some are organic and others are human-made.
For me, the fascinating parts of psychology are the specific anecdotes and examples. What happened when that married couple showed early signs of apathy? Did they separate? How did that executive miss that seemingly obvious right move? Was he misled by his confirmation bias? How come that addict recovered while his friend did not?
That said, a few basics on the history of this field are nice, as they’re definitely part of our ongoing cultural conversation. For more in-depth, practical stuff, I highly recommend reading books on positive psychology and marriage books by John Gottman.
Psychology: The study of emotions and behavior and emotions. Psychologists attempt to identify normal, healthy behaviors and distinguish them from abnormal or unhealthy behaviors; to explain why these behaviors occur; and to alter undesired behaviors
Psychotherapy: Counseling with a counselor or psychologist. It usually takes place one-to-one in the therapist’s office (though group therapy is also common). The counselor and client work together to identify problems and goals related to the client’s emotional, mental, relational, vocational or spiritual well-being.
Psychologist: A counselor with a PhD
Mental health counselor or therapist: A counselor with a Master’s degree
Life coach: A counselor without an industry-specific degree
Psychiatrist: A medical doctor who specializes in mood disorders and drug treatments for these disorders
Clinical psychologist: A psychologist who diagnoses and treats mental disorders
Forensic psychologist: A psychologist who studies criminal behavior
Developmental psychologist: A psychologist who studies behavior over the lifespan
Cognitive psychologist or neuropsychologist: A psychologist who studies how the brain (neuroscience) affects behavior
Evolutionary psychologist: A psychologist who studies how human behavior has evolved over time
Other types of counselors and psychologists: Career counselor, school psychologist, occupational psychologist, marriage and family therapist, marriage counselor,industrial-organizational psychologist
Psychiatric disorders: Substance abuse disorders; psychotic disorders like schizophrenia; mood disorders like depression; anxiety disorders; dissociative disorders such as dissociative amnesia; phobias; sexual- and gender-related disorders; eating disorders; sleep disorders; impulse control disorders; adjustment disorders; personality disorders; disorders due to a medical condition; physical-seeming conditions that are not diagnosed, such as hypochondria; and falsely reported disorders by people seeking attention. (There are also some less common categories.)
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM): The basic text used by mental health professionals for diagnosis of psychiatric disorders
Common treatments for mental disorders: Talk therapy, group therapy, family therapy, cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, dialectical therapy, existential therapy, psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy, hypnosis, meditation, medication, EMDR
Psychoanalysis: A method of psychotherapy that seeks to bring unconscious knowledge into conscious knowledge through dream interpretation, Rorschach tests, free association and more. It was developed by Sigmund Freud and rests on the idea that early experiences shape personality.
Rorschach test: A psychological test that present ambiguous stimuli in the expectation that people will interpret it in ways that reveal their concerns, desires, feelings and possible mental disorders
Behaviorism: A method of psychotherapy that seeks to change a person’s behavior through behavioral conditioning. This includes the use of negative and positive reinforcements. In classical conditioning, two stimuli are learned to be associated, such as Pavlov’s dogs and their dinner bell. Salivation, here, is the conditioned response. In operant conditioning, someone must perform some sort of task for their reward.
Extinction: Through behavioral conditioning, a lack of reinforcement leads to a weaker response that eventually leads to the ceasing of the response altogether (for example, not giving into a child’s tantrum until the tantrums cease to occur)
Desensitization: A behavioral conditioning technique for weakening a strong, undesirable response (such as anxiety about airplane flying) by repeated exposure to the stimulus (airplane flying)
Cognitive therapy: A method of psychotherapy that seeks to change a person’s negative or unhelpful beliefs by analyzing and questioning them. First, the counselor discovers the person’sschema, their belief system through which they interpret the world. Then the counselor and client identify automatic thoughts, fleeting thoughts that, if negative, need to be questioned in order to change one’s beliefs. Finally, those negative thoughts are disputed, logically questioned with the goal of finding more helpful thoughts to replace them.
The ten most well-known psychologists: Sigmund Freud, Carl Jung, Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, B.F. Skinner, Abraham Maslow; Ivan Pavlov; Carl Rogers, Martin Seligman, Aaron Beck
Sigmund Freud: The founder of psychoanalysis, which seeks to make the subconscious, conscious, primarily through free association, dream analysis and talk therapy. He is most known forhis psychosexual theory of development; his id/ego/superego theory; and his theory of the unconscious.
Free association: A technique for uncovering a person’s subconscious beliefs by having them respond quickly to questions or prompts, without much thought
Freudian slip: An act or spoken thing that is close to the intended, but different, and reflects unconscious beliefs or anxieties
Freud’s theory of the unconscious: Most of what ails us psychologically resides in the unconscious or subconscious and must be coaxed out through various therapies.
Freud’s theory of the id, ego and superego: Freud believed that in our unconscious there is an id, a childlike mind who has little impulse control; a superego, a parent-like mind who tries to direct our behavior rightly; and an ego, the more rational self that balances the other two.
Freud’s theory of psychosexual development: A theory that explains human psychological development through human sexual development. Freud coined the term “anal retentive” to describe people who are too perfectionistic and controlled. He also believed boys become sexually attracted to their mothers, which he called the Oedipus complex, and that all women have “penis envy.”
Freud’s ego defense mechanisms: Denial; displacement (making an unrelated party the object of your anger or blame); intellectualization (to avoid emotion); avoidance; rationalization; projection (placing your own quality or desire onto someone else); regression; repression, sublimation (acting out impulses in a socially acceptable way); reaction formation (taking the opposite stance); suppression.
Carl Jung: A friend of Freud’s and also a psychoanalyst who focused on the unconscious and rejected Freud’s sexual focus. There are still many Jungian analysts today.
Jean Piaget: A developmental theorist who created a popular theory of cognitive development. According to this theory, children progress through the sensorimotor stage, the preoperational stage and the concrete operations stage before they arrive at the formal operations stage, at which they have an abstract and nuanced view of the world.
Erik Erikson: A developmental theorist who focused on the social development of children on their way to maturity. According to him, babies are in the “trust versus mistrust” stage; toddlers are in the “autonomy versus shame and doubt” stage; preschoolers are in the “initiative versus guilt” stage; children are in the “industry versus inferiority” stage, adolescents are in the “identity versus role confusion” stage, young adults are in the “intimacy versus isolation” stage, middle adults are in the “generativity versus stagnation” stage, and older adults are in the “integrity versus despair” stage. The names of these stages reflect the dominant goal of each and the positive and negative results if the goal is achieved or not achieved.
Abraham Maslow: A humanistic psychologist who created a hierarchy of needs, with warmth, rest, food, oxygen and water at the bottom; security and safety one step up; belongingness and love after that; prestige and the feeling of accomplishment after that; and self-actualization at the top. (Self-actualization is the realization of one’s full potential.)
Ivan Pavlov: A behaviorist who studied conditioned reflexes in the body, such as saliva secretions in dogs after hearing a bell stimulus.
B.F. Skinner: The most well-known behaviorist, who performed experiments on people that showed how their behavior could be modified through learning
Carl Rogers: The founder of person-centered therapy who believed that the therapist should not offer advice, but instead guide the internal processes of the client. He emphasized the importance of forming a strong client-therapist bond and the therapist having sincere positive regard for their client.
Martin Seligman: An early proponent of positive psychology, the study of what makes people happy.
Aaron Beck: The founder of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), a type of cognitive therapy that also includes behavioral elements
John Gottman: A couples therapist and researcher who studies and writes about couples he observes in real time. He is possibly the most well-known couples therapist.
Theories of intelligence: Some researchers believe that there is a general intelligence factor (the “g factor”) which underlies all intellectual processes. Others believe there are many types of intelligence, such as componential intelligence, experiential intelligence, contextual intelligence and emotional intelligence. One researcher proposed the idea of eight types of intelligence: linguistic, logical-mathematical; musical; spacial; bodily-kinesthetic; interpersonal; intrapersonal; and nature.
Crystallized intelligence: Collected skills and knowledge acquired over time. Increases with age.
Fluid intelligence: Ability to deal with totally new problems. Decreases with age.
Type A personality: A high-energy personality type characterized by competitiveness, impatience, and an achievement orientation.
Type B personality: A lower-energy personality type characterized by relaxed and easygoing behavior.
Attachment theory: The idea that securely attached babies develop better physically and emotionally, while others do not.
Dialectical reasoning: A therapeutic process involving identifying and analyzing opposing points of view in order to find the most helpful and rational perspective.
Existential therapies: Therapies that help clients find meaning and purpose in their lives, even in the absence of strong religious faith.
Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR): An evidence-based therapeutic technique in which a client makes rapid back-and-forth eye movements while their counselor guides recollection of traumatic memories.
Systematic desensitization: A therapeutic technique in which the client is suddenly, rather than gradually, exposed to their fear in order to become desensitized to it.
Neurotransmitter: A specialized nerve cell in the brain that receives, processes and transmits information to other cells in the body. Neurotransmitters like dopamine, seratonin and endorphins are involved in creating emotions and other states of mind, like appetite and alertness.
Amygdala: A part of the limbic system of the brain that is involved in regulating aggression and emotions, particularly fear
Parasympathetic nervous system: Part of the autonomic nervous system that helps the body maintain calm
Etiology: The cause or origin of a disorder
Histrionic personality disorder: A disorder characterized primarily by attention-seeking behavior
Narcissistic personality disorder: A disorder characterized primarily by a desire to be admired
Antisocial personality disorder: A disorder characterized primarily by a lack of empathy
Avoidant personality disorder: A disorder characterized primarily by social withdrawal
Borderline personality disorder: A disorder characterized primarily by impulsiveness, emotional extremes and low self-esteem
Agoraphobia: The fear of crowds
Catharsis: The release of tension that results when repressed thoughts or memories become conscious
Cognitive dissonance: A tension inside someone who has two seemingly conflicting beliefs that they are trying to resolve
Compensation or overcompensation: A striving to rid onesself of feelings of inferiority in one area by striving harder in another
Compulsions: Repetitive behaviors that are used to relieve anxiety
Confirmation bias: The tendency to accept evidence that supports one’s pre-existing beliefs and to reject evidence that refutes those beliefs.
Egocentrism: The tendency to ignore others’ points of view in favor of one’s own
Fundamental attribution error: The tendency to attribute other people’s behavior to their (flawed) personalities though similar behavior in onesself is often attributed to circumstance.
Learned helplessness: The tendency to give up too easily, often due to a past pattern of failure
Placebo effect: The improvement of a physical or mental condition in people who believe they’ve received a treatment, but have not
Self-concept: The sum of the beliefs and feelings one has about onesself
Self-serving bias: The tendency to attribute one’s successes to internal factors and one’s failures to circumstance
Inferiority complex: A condition in which a person becomes angry or withdrawn because of feelings of insecurity. This concept was identified by Alfred Adler.
Whether or not you’ve studied philosophy, you’re probably already a philosopher. You think about the meaning of life, absolute and relative moral precepts, political ideals and the indelible qualities of human nature. For this reason, the formal study of philosophy isn’t so much about defining or comparing philosophical ideas–something you’re already quite capable of doing–but about the thinkers of the past who famously argued different sides of these questions. Basically, philosophy is history.
Here, I do briefly introduce some of the major questions of philosophical debate, with the caveat that the list is not comprehensive. There is philosophy in everything—every subject. Every … thing. But these are the questions that have so far seemed most fundamental (such as the meaning of life), most practical (such as political ideas) and have been most famously discussed (such as the empiricism versus rationalism debate). Then I introduce you to many of the major philosophers of history and their most notable contributions, which will hopefully give your philosophical discussions and debates more texture, context and depth.
Philosophy: The study of the meaning and nature of life, consciousness and more. Every subject can be philosophically analyzed to determine the subject’s inherent qualities, purpose and right functioning. For example, the study of medicine has benefited from people asking what the ultimate goal of doctors should be, and then arriving at the Hippocratic Oath (“first, do no harm …”) The word “philosophy” literally means “love of wisdom.”
Some major questions of philosophy: What is the meaning of life? What qualities are fundamental to human nature? How can we know what we know (empiricism versus rationalism)? What is truth? How do we arrive at morality and values? What political structures are most beneficial? How does language shape our beliefs? What is the best way to live? Do humans have free will? What is the nature of existence? What is beauty?
Sub-fields of academic philosophy: Metaphysics (the study of ultimate, nonphysical reality), epistemology (the study of knowledge), ethics, ontology (study of what exists, i.e. God), cosmology (study of the cosmos), aesthetics (the study of beauty), political philosophy, logic and more
Eastern philosophy: The philosophical tradition of China, Japan, India and other eastern countries. Important contributions include Daoism (The Tao Te Ching of approximately 600 BCE), Confucianism (The Analects of Confucius of approximately 500 BCE) and Buddhism (which arose in India around 500 BCE). Eastern philosophy is characterized by an interest in the unknowable, the unspeakable and patterns and cycles.
“The dao that can be told is not the dao.” – Laozi, who taught about the Tao/Dao, also known as The Way, the indescribable ultimate truth which can partly be discovered by acting in harmony with nature and meditating “Happy is he who has overcome his ego.” – Siddhartha Gautama, later the Buddha, who prescribed meditation, the middle way (life balance) and letting go of suffering through wanting nothing “Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.” – Confucius, who emphasized virtuous living, loyalty and obedience to one’s leaders, sincerity and self-reflection “Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes around in another form.” – Rumi, a Persian who taught about reincarnation and Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam
Western philosophy: The philosophical tradition of the West dating from approximately 500 BCE with the Greeks (Pythagoras, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle), to the Romans (Cicero and Seneca), to medieval Christian philosophers (Aquinas and Augustine) and beyond. Western philosophy is marked by an interest in logic, absolute knowledge and the Christian faith.
Idealism: belief that ultimate reality is non-material (mind, spirit and/or merely essence)
Materialism: belief that ultimate reality is materialism
Determinism: belief that ‘nothing can happen other than what does happen, because every event is the necessary outcome of causes preceding it,’ which were caused by events preceding them (even thoughts and decisions)
Mysticism: knowledge that transcends the physical world naturalism: belief that reality is explicable without reference to anything mystical
Postmodernism: distrust of unifying answers; relativity
Pragamtism: a theory of truth. Holds that a statement is true if it accurately describes a situation, fits well with past observation, etc. Uninterested in the unknowable, impractical
Utilitarianism: theory of politics, ethics that judges actions on consequences—most pleasure/good for the most people = good
Noumenon: the thing-in-itself; the unknowable reality behind what present itself to human consciousness/ultimate nature of something
Phenomenon: an experience that is immediately present and observable
Numinous: anything regarded as mysterious and awesome and somehow beyond natural world
Phenomenology: study of our experience of things without making assumptions about their essential nature as independent things
Semantics: Study of word usage
Transcendental: outside sense experience; belief in things outside sense experience
Basic History of Philosophy
The ancient period (DATES): During ancient times, philosophy and religion largely overlapped. Daoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Islam and Judaism were of primary signficance.
Daoism: (The Tao Te Ching of approximately 600 BCE), Notable quote: “The dao that can be told is not the dao.” – Laozi, who taught about the Tao/Dao, also known as The Way, the indescribable ultimate truth which can partly be discovered by acting in harmony with nature and meditating
Confucianism: (The Analects of Confucius of approximately 500 BCE) and … Notable quote: “Hold faithfulness and sincerity as first principles.” – Confucius, who emphasized virtuous living, loyalty and obedience to one’s leaders, sincerity and self-reflection
Buddhism: (which arose in India around 500 BCE). Notable quote: “Happy is he who has overcome his ego.” – Siddhartha Gautama, later the Buddha, who prescribed meditation, the middle way (life balance) and letting go of suffering through wanting nothing
Rumi: A Persian who taught about reincarnation and Sufism, a mystical branch of Islam. Notable quote: “Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes around in another form.”
The Greek Period (approximately 600-300 BCE): Thales influenced Pythagoras. Pythagoras influenced Socrates. Socrates taught Plato. Plato taught Aristotle.
Pythagoras: Pythagoras combined math and philosophy.
Socrates: Socrates developed the Socratic Method in which he asked question after question in order to confound people who believed themselves to be wise, digging for deeper truths in everything. He was condemned to die due to his ideas. He drank hemlock.
“The life which is unexamined is not worth living.” – Socrates “I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.” – Socrates
Plato: Plato introduced the idea of the world of forms, an imagined place that holds the ideal of each type of real thing. (Example: A table has the essence–the form–of a table, even if it is old and broken. But the real table is a lesser version of the ideal table form.) He used the Allegory of the Cave to show how humans only see a mere shadow of what is ultimately real. Plato disagreed with this idea. He was not a rationalist (a believer in the primacy of reason and ideas in discovering truth) but an empiricist (a believer in the primacy of evidence and material reality in discovering truth). Plato founded a famous school called the Academy in Athens. Notable quote: “Earthly knowledge is but shadow.”
Aristotle: Taught by Plato. Opened his school, the Lyceum, also in Athens. Notable quote: “Truth resides in the world around us.”
Parmenides: Said that matter can’t die, and something can’t come from nothing, so everything that is real is eternal, unchanging, and containing some invisible unity. Protagoras argued for moral relativism. Notable quotes: “All is one.” “Man is the measure of all things.”
The Roman Period (approximately 300 BCE to 350 CE): Stoicism, epicureanism, cynicism
Stoicism: The stoics (stoicism), led by Zeno, taught indifference to pleasure and pain and acceptance of one’s lot in life.
Epicureanism: By contrast, the epicureans (epicureanism), led by Epicurus, believed that the goal of life is pleasure.
Cynicism: The cynics (cynicism) taught that happiness is contentment with little, particularly little material comfort.
The Middle Ages (approximately 350 to 1300 CE): Christian thinkers with conservative ideas
St. Augustine: Wrote extensively about free will. He attempted to explain why both God and evil exist.
Boethius: wrote about God’s foresight but maintained Augustine’s philosophy of free will.
St. Anselm: Attempted an ontological argument for the existence of God, saying that if you can conceive of the greatest thing that could ever exist, it must exit, because the greatest thing has to exist or it wouldn’t be the greatest.
Thomas Aquinas: Wrote extensively about the logical and scientific nature of Christianity.
The Renaissance Period (approximately 1300-1750): Here, philosophy becomes sharply more humanist.
Erasmus: Introduced modern humanism, arguing that religion is folly. Notable quotes: “To know nothing is the happiest life.” “Happiness is reached when a person is ready to be what he is.”
Niccolo Machiavelli: Argued that government can’t be bound by morality if it wants to succeed. Notable quote: “The ends justifies the means.”
Francis Bacon: Wrote about the value of the scientific method. Notable quote: “Knowledge is power.”
Thomas Hobbes: wrote that the nature of reality is purely physical, that there is no ultimate meaning to life. He introduced the idea of the social contract, saying that our agreements with each other are what enables a relatively peaceful society to exist. Notable quote: “… The life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
Rene Descartes: Unlike Bacon and Hobbes, Rene Descartes was a rationalist. He believed that even the existence of physical matter cannot be proven and the only thing we can truly know exists is our own minds. Notable quote: “I think, therefore I am.”
Blaise Pascal: A practical thinker, arguing that it’s safer to bet on God’s existence than to bet against it (“Pascal’s Wager”). Notable quote: “Imagination decides everything.”
Benedictus Spinoza: changed the argument, simply redefining God: everything is one, and everything is God. Notable quote: “God is the cause of all things, which are in him.”
John Locke: Returned us to empiricism, arguing that no truths are universal to all people and all cultures. He came up with the idea of the tabula rasa–the blank slate, which is a metaphor for the unknowing state in which each person is born before they are implanted with cultural ideas. Notable quote: “No man’s knowledge here can go beyond his experience.”
George Berkeley: Foresaw quantum physics, saying that a thing only exists in so far as it perceives or is perceived, and that there is no material substance. Notable quote: “To be is to be perceived.”
The Age of Revolution (approximately 1750-1900):
David Hume: certainty is absurd; custom is the source of knowledge. “Custom is the great guide of human life.”
Immanuel Kant: Sought to prove the existence of the physical world. He tried to marry empiricism and rationalism, saying that both reason and perceptions are needed for knowledge. “There are two worlds: our bodies and the external world.”
Georg Hegel: believed reality is constantly changing and suggested people use dialectic reasoning and avoid assumptions. “Reality is a historical process.”
Arthur Schopenhauer said that we are all limited in our knowledge due to our unique experiences of life.
Jean-Jacques Rosseau: On the political philosophy front, Jean-Jacques Rosseau argued that though man is fundamentally good, laws and government create injustice and oppression. “Man was born free, yet everywhere he is in chains.”
Adam Smith, an economist, argued that the basis of society is trade. “Man is an animal that makes bargains.”
Edmund Burke said that governmental change should be slow and argued for a free market economy.
Jeremy Bentham tried to calculate pleasure and proposed that laws are created by considering which give the greatest happiness to the greatest number of people. “The greatest happiness for the greatest number.”
Mary Wollstonecraft: The founder of feminism. “Mind has no gender.”
John Stuart Mill agreed with Bentham, adding that people should be free to do with their own bodies as they wished, but not harm anyone else. “Over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”
Soren Kierkegaard said that as much as we think we want freedom, we really don’t. He is the father of existentialism, the theory that there is no meaning inherent in existence, that existence precedes essence. “Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.”
Karl Marx said that class struggle is what causes all of the ills of society, arguing for communism, while “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”
Henry David Thoreau argued for individual liberty, non-conformism, and conscientious objection through non-cooperation and non-violent resistance. “Must the citizen ever resign his conscience to the legislator?”
William James founded pragmatism, saying that people should just do the best they can in spite of uncertainty. “Act as if what you do makes a difference.”
The Modern World (1900-1950) and the Postmodern World (1950 to the present):
Friedrich Nietsche: an existentialist, wrote about the insufficiency of religion. “God is dead.”
Bertrand Russell: insisted that people attach too much importance to work. “The road to happiness lies in an organized diminution of work.” – Bertrand Russell
Ludwig Wittgenstein: described the limits of language and the limits placed on our thinking by language. “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein
Martin Heidegger: wrote about finding meaning in a meaningless world and about living authentically. “We are ourselves the entities to be analyzed.” – Martin Heidegger
Jean Paul Sartre: Agreed, saying that we must create our own life purpose. “Existence precedes essence.” – Jean-Paul Sartre – “Life will be lived all the better if it has no meaning.” – Albert Camus
Simone de Beauvior: wrote about the oppression of women, “Man is defined as a human being and woman as a female.”
Noam Chomsky: argued for adherence to codes of ethics and
Jacques Derrida: was a deconstructionist who believed that knowledge is limited by language and by our ability (or lack of ability) to interpret it. Life is a series of flawed interpretations. “There is nothing outside of the text.” – Jacques Derrida “We are all mediators, translators.” – Jacques Derrida
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Sartayana
Overview of Africa during ancient times: Ancient Africa is most known for ancient Egypt, the first and one of the greatest civilizations in history. Elsewhere in Africa, the Sahara Desert in the North prevented other African cultures from communicating with the advanced north. Also, due to a lack of mountains, the rainfall was extremely unpredictable in most of Africa. Therefore, most tribes were nomadic and did not have the opportunity for settled towns and civilizations. Still, civilizations began to arise in the coastal areas of Africa such as x, x and x. These included advanced architecture, unique pyramids, and a strong trading market with routes to Asia and across Africa.
The Sahara Desert: The desert located in northern Africa that expands and contracts regularly. In prehistoric times, the desert shrank enough to allow humans to migrate out of Africa. In ancient times, the desert became increasingly dry, preventing communication between Northern and Southern Africans. Egyptians in the North had much more contact with Middle Easterners and Europeans than they did with Africans south of the Sahara.
The Nile River: The deep, gentle river in Egypt with predictable patterns and surrounding deserts. Its independent biosphere causes predictable flood patterns so no irrigation systems were needed. Nile offered transportation and irrigation.
Ancient Egypt: The first civilization in Africa and one of the greatest civilizations in history. It included: farming of wheat and barley for beer and bread, flax for linen and more; advanced medicine, astronomy and engineering; a polytheistic religion; pyramids; hieroglyphics and papyrus paper; cattle for transportation; and more. In the time of Greeks, Egypt was conquered. Then, it became a Roman territory and remained so [how long?]
Egypt’s Upper and Lower Kingdoms:
Pharaoh: The ruler or king of ancient Egypt. He or she was considered a living god.
King Narmer/Menes: 3100 BCE. The first Egyptian king to create a dynasty. He united lower and upper Egypt. Before his reign, Egypt was made up of many separate, small towns dotting the Nile. He made other significant changes as well, including beginning the tradition of having pharaohs instead of kings. With his reign, Egypt began moving through three stages: Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom. … In Egypt, pharaohs began to rule after King Narmer united the Upper and Lower Kingdoms. The country moved through the Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom and New Kingdom stages. During the Old Kingdom, the Great Pyramid was completed and mummification began.
Egypt’s Old Kingdom:The period in Egyptian history in which the Great Pyramid at Giza was built and the tradition of mummification began.
Egypt’s Middle Kingdom: After a time of decline, Mentuhotep restored Egypt’s greatness. FIne art, literature. Still isolated. Invaded Nubia for gold (and slaves?). Wars with Hyksos ended this period. … 2040 B.C.: Start of Middle Kingdom with Mentuhotep, who restored greatness. Fine art, literature. Not great conquerors. Egypt still isolated from rest of world. Did invade Nubia for gold, though. (insert main egyptian gods) (Another 100-year decline, then new kingdom)
Egypt’s New Kingdom: After another brief decline, NK began. More aggressive Pharaohs. Took Nubian slaves. Start of mummification. Wars with the Hittites and Arameans….1550 B.C.: New Kingdom. Egypt at its largest and wealthiest. Became known abroad. Egypt’s Golden Age. Conquered Palestine. At height during rule of Amenhotep III. This capital at Thebes. (Capital moved regularly.) Farmers still lived simply but nobles were very wealthy, had luxury. By law, men and women were equal. Women owned property. Four professions of women allowed: priestess, midwife, dancer, mourner. Scribes and priests second to nobility in importance.
Mummification: The process of preserving dead bodies into very long-lasting mummies. It involved a great deal of salt and cloth wrapping. Mummies of pharaohs were often buried in pyramids. Took 70 days.
Pyramids: Like social structure: pharaoh and nobles, middle class, merchants/soldiers, peasants/farmers. Pyramids were graves. Sand would blow away from graves and expose bodies so started building mud structures over them. Got bigger and bigger, more elaborate. Replaced mud with stones, got rid of steps. Egypt had a stable social structure and stable religious ideas, possibly due to the predictability of the Nile and the farming way of life.
Great Pyramid at Giza: built (when?) many passageways and chambers. Sought to please gods and make a permanent mark on history. Stones of up to 60 tons each. 2.3 million stones used altogether. Pharaohs. Egypt unified in one kingdom for most of their history. Pharaoh considered a living god. Body mummified when died, buried with treasure for afterlife–even food. Sacred writings on walls for protection. Many cities, all hugging the Nile. Most Egyptians were farmers. Mostly uneducated but all very religious. Then–decline for 100 years. No strong ruler….The Great Pyramid at Giza: 6 million tons of stone. Stone bossibly brought on bamboo sleds/stretchers to the desert. One of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
Valley of the Kings: A large burial site of ancient Egypt with many buried pyramids and housing bodies of pharaohs
Akhenaten: One pharaoh, Akhenaten, tried to change religion to momotheistm (god Aten) but after he died the priests of old gods regained control. Dead king’s name removed from all monuments and records, and his new capital city was abandoned. Many New Kingdom pharaohs were buried in the Valley of the Kings, including King Tutankahamen, whose tomb was rediscovered in 1922.
Ra: The ancient Egyptian sun god,
Osiris: The ancient Egyptian god of the underworld
Isis: The ancient Egyptian god of fertility
Nubia: Modern-day Sudan in northern Africa. It began as Nubia and later became the Kingdom of Kush. It was a source of iron and gold for the surrounding areas and an important trading partner for Egypt.
King Tutenkahamen/King Tut:
Book of the Dead: A collection of manuscripts and spells from Egypt
Hieroglyphics: 3200-2600 BCE. First deciphered by modern-day people in 1822 after the discovery of the Rosetta Stone which had both hieroglyphics and Greek writing
Kingdom of Kush: 2000 B.C.: Kingdom of Kush grew out of Nubia (Sudan), whichtook after Egypt. Trading partner for Egypt, source of gold….1500 B.C.: Egypt conquered Kush for 750 years…700 B.C.: Kush transitioned from stone working to iron working (no bronze) and flourished, supplying places in Africa and the Middle East. Ehipia was more self-contained but also important culture of this time.
Nok culture: 600: Growth of Nok culture on Niger River, Nigeria and Meroe, [?], Chad, Bantu. Southern Africa shepherds and hunter-gatherers called Khoisan.
Aksum Empire: “An empire located in the Horn of Africa that ruled from 100 ce to 940 ce. “350 B.C.: Meroi collapsed and was replaced by Aksum, which grew rich. Great cities and monoliths. Adopted Christianity. Thrived until AD 1000! … 1000: Collapse of Aksum in East Africa.
Jenne-jeno: 200: Jenne-jeno, the first African city (in West Africa) established. Partly due to introduction of camel to the Sahara, so trade could happen in West Africa.
Carthage: “A powerful city-state in North Africa on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.” For a time, it rivaled Rome.
Phoenicians: The Phoenicians established a colony at Carthage and controlled the western Mediterranean for nearly 600 years.
The Middle Ages (500 CE to 1500 CE)
Berber: “The native peoples of North Africa.”
Boers: “Dutch and French settlers in South Africa.”
Overview of Africa during the Middle Ages:
Mansa Musa: “Emperor of the Mali Empire who made a famous pilgimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia. He was one of the richest people in history.”
Ghana: The first known empire in western Africa was Ghana (5th–11th century CE). AD 700-1240: Ghana, the first true African state. Center of gold trade. Located inland and more4 north than modern-day Ghana. Successors were Mali and Songhai. Became rich due to Arabs using camels to cross Sahara for the gold, mined further south and west. Brought in sald, European goods came there and slaves were traded out. Fell in 1076, restored, then fell again and in 1240 became part of Mali.
Mali: Mali founed by Sundiata Keita. Well-organized state, fertile farmlands beside the Niger River. Gold trade. Powerful. Many wealthy cities. Great Mosque designed by an Egyptian. City called Timbuktu on Niger. Key destination of caravan routes. 100 schools, a university, mosques, market. Ivory, too. Slaves to Muslim world, Venice and Genoa. Imported salt, cloth, ceramics, glass, horses, luxuries. Became Muslim for a time under a sypathetic ruler.
Songhai: muslim. (c. 1400–1591).
Bantu: AD 500: Bantu-speaking people from Nigeria migrated south, “leaving the rain forests to the Pygmies and the Kalahari Desert to the Khoisan bushmen. Bantu speakers in east started trading with Greeks and Romans.
Ethiopia: 1137: Ethiopia (Abyssinia) founded. Christians. Capital moved from Aksum to Lalibela. 1270-1500s: Ethiopia expanded into mountains of East Africa, taking in many once-isolated tribes. Regarded as a mysterious Christian kingdom. Had an emperor. Built 11 cross-shaped churches carved out of solid rock. 1500s: Declined due to internal discord.Not great warriors and never expanded (or even tried to) by military means.
Benin: 900-1480: Kingdom of Benin in modern-day Nigeria. Benin: West Africa. Forest kingdom. Benin City, capital. Had wide streets, large wooden houses, long surrounding walls. Bronze carvings. Traded in cloth, ivory, metals, palm oil, pepper, poottery and brass art like masks and carvings. King had a rich palace. Ruled at height by Oba Eware the Great, who modernized and didn’t enslave prisoners or engage in slave trade, which protected it from European colonization till 1897.
Zimbabwe: 900-1450: South: Great Zimbabwe. Large reserves of copper, gold. Walled palace city called Great Zimbabwe. Massive stone structures (granite)–how? by whom? A mystery. (A Zimbabwe is a stone-built enclosure and we call Zimbabwes this because of this famous structure….1450: Zimbabwe overtaken. 1500: Conquered by Songhay (lower down the Niger River).
Early Modern Times (1500 CE to 1900 CE)
Overview of Africa during the Early Modern Times:
African colonization: Portuguese explored the western coast in the 15th century. Before the late 19th century, Europe showed little interest in colonizing Africa, but by 1884 European countries had begun a scramble to partition the continent, and by 1920 much of it was under colonial rule. Anticolonial sentiment developed gradually, becoming widespread after 1950, and one by one the colonies became independent, the last in 1990. Political instability, refugee problems, famine, and AIDS are the chief problems facing the continent in the early 21st century….
Between 1878 and 1898, European states partitioned and conquered most of Africa. For 400 years, European nations had mainly limited their involvement to trading stations on the African coast. Few dared venture inland from the coast; those that did, like the Portuguese, often met defeats and had to retreat to the coast. Several technological innovations helped to overcome this 400-year pattern. One was the development of repeating rifles, which were easier and quicker to load than muskets. Artillery was being used increasingly. In 1885, Hiram S. Maxim developed the maxim gun, the model of the modern-day machine gun. European states kept these weapons largely among themselves by refusing to sell these weapons to African leaders.
African germs took numerous European lives and deterred permanent settlements. Diseases such as yellow fever, sleeping sickness, yaws, and leprosy made Africa a very inhospitable place for Europeans. The deadliest disease was malaria, endemic throughout Tropical Africa. In 1854, the discovery of quinine and other medical innovations helped to make conquest and colonization in Africa possible.
Strong motives for conquest of Africa were at play. Raw materials were needed for European factories. Europe in the early part of the 19th century was undergoing its Industrial Revolution. Nationalist rivalries and prestige were at play. Acquiring African colonies would show rivals that a nation was powerful and significant. These factors culminated in the Scramble for Africa.David Livingstone, early European explorer of the interior of Africa, is attacked by a lion.French explorer Paul Du Chaillu confirmed the existence of Pygmy peoples of central Africa … Knowledge of Africa increased. Numerous European explorers began to explore the continent. explorers included Sir David Livingstone …Missionaries attempting to spread Christianity also increased European knowledge of Africa.
Scramble for Africa:
Partitioning of Africa: Between 1884 and 1885, European nations met at the Berlin West Africa Conference to discuss the partitioning of Africa. It was agreed that European claims to parts of Africa would only be recognised if Europeans provided effective occupation. In a series of treaties in 1890–1891, colonial boundaries were completely drawn. All of Sub-Saharan Africa was claimed by European powers, except for Ethiopia (Abyssinia) and Liberia
The European powers set up a variety of different administrations in Africa, reflecting different ambitions and degrees of power. In some areas, such as parts of British West Africa, colonial control was tenuous and intended for simple economic extraction, strategic power, or as part of a long-term development plan. In other areas, Europeans were encouraged to settle, creating settler states in which a European minority dominated. Settlers only came to a few colonies in sufficient numbers to have a strong impact. British settler colonies included British East Africa (now Kenya), Northern and Southern Rhodesia, (Zambia and Zimbabwe, respectively), and South Africa, which already had a significant population of European settlers, the Boers. France planned to settle Algeria and eventually incorporate it into the French state on an equal basis with the European provinces. Algeria’s proximity across the Mediterranean allowed plans of this scale.
In most areas colonial administrations did not have the manpower or resources to fully administer the territory and had to rely on local power structures to help them. Various factions and groups within the societies exploited this European requirement for their own purposes, attempting to gain positions of power within their own communities by cooperating with Europeans. One aspect of this struggle included what Terence Ranger has termed the “invention of tradition.” In order to legitimize their own claims to power in the eyes of both the colonial administrators and their own people, native elites would essentially manufacture “traditional” claims to power, or ceremonies. As a result, many societies were thrown into disarray by the new order.
Following the Scramble for Africa, an early but secondary focus for most colonialregimes was the suppression of slavery and the slave trade. By the end of the colonial period they were mostly successful in this aim, though slavery is still very active in Africa.
Portugese in Africa: 1543: Portugese took Ethiopia, set up on coast, drove out raiding Muslims. Increased slave trade.Millions of slaves shipped to the Americas. Many died either during slave wars between African states trying to capture slaves or on voyages across Atlantic (the Middle Passage). A catastrophe for Africa to lose so many people. Tribal security and unity gradually gave way to increased social distrust and control by greedy chiefs.
The Middle Passage:
Horn of Africa:
The Ivory Coast:
The Gold Coast:
Dutch East India Company: 1637: Dutch drove Portugese from the Gold Coast.. 1652: Dutch East India Company founded Cape Town.
The Boer Wars: 1836: Cape Colony at Southern tip ruled by British. Expanded northward. Fought Zulus and the Boers for control of area. Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, Cecil Rhodes, sought to unite all of Africa under British rule. Boer Wars.
African National Congress (ANC):
Slave trade: 1700s: Africa relatively peaceful despite European settlemtn. 35,000 slaves each year sent to the Americas….1787: British established Sierra Leone as a refugee for freed slaves….1822: Liberia founded for freed slaves from the U.S….Early 1800s: Most European countries stopped trading in slaves, though Portugese continued till 1882.
Zulu warriors: Early 1800s: Zulu trive in Southern Africa fought constantly with neighbors. Major bloodshed. Zulu warriors! “Time of Troubles.” Islam still going strong. Most of Africa still owned by Africans, but not united against Arabs and Europeans, so very vulnerable.
The Modern Era (1900 to the Present)
Swahili: “An ethnic group in East Africa. Also, the language spoken by many East African nations including Kenya and Uganda.
1902: Peace treaty signed making Boer republics part of British empire, though self-governed.
1910: Union of South Africa founded, unifying several African provinces under the British.
1869: Suez Canal opens to shipping.
1875: Britain took advantage of a local financial crisis and bought 50 percent of shares of Suez Canal.
1871: Stanley, an American journalist, met Dr. David Livingstone at Lake Tansanyika (sp?). Livingstone was seeking the source of the Nile.
1876: Belgium took over the Congo.
1882: British occupy Egypt to protect Suez Canal, which cut their time to India hugely. This caused some fighting.
1884: European nations met in Berlin to divide Africa among themselves. Only Liberia and Ethiopia remained independent.
1893: Frech take Timbuktu, Mali, W. Africa.
1899: British-Egyptian rule of Sudan
1912: African National Congress forms in South Africa.
1880-1912: European nations “scramble for Africa.” Led by Britain, France, plus Germany, Belgium and Italy.
Late 1800s: Britain had modern-day Ghana, Nigeria and controlled Sierra Leone, Egypt and the Gambia. Belgium had the Congo in Central Africa. [see map p362]. French were in West Africa, Britain in w, ne, south; belgium in center and other spred-out colonies. New forms of gov3ernment brought to Africa, but most Africans couldn’t vote and tribes were broken up in the “cake-cutting” process. European colonists often took best farmland for themselves. Profits all went to Europe.(here ins: how african nations gained independence)
1967-2000: Famine in Africa widespread. Drought. Civil war, which made sending aid very dangerous.
1960s: Most states gained independence.
1990-2000: South Africa and Apartheid. S. Af was the last country without self-rule. Still imperialist till Nelson Mandella ended apartheid. Apartheid: separation ofr people according to color or race. Started by the Boers in s. af. in early 1900s. Different laws if you were white, black or “colored” (mixed). Blacks and colored forced to live outside cities and movement restricted. White people in power and resisted opposition from the ANC (African National Congress) in the 60s by harsh laws, including making it illegal to have all-black political parties.
1980s: Colored allowed into government but not blacks. Starting in 1978, several reformers for change, inc President Botha, Desmond Tutu (an Anglican leader), PresidentF.W. de Klerk and Nelson Mandella, who was released from prison by Klerk after 28 years. Mandella became the head of the ANC, then president. Free elections that included all people came in 1994 andled to end of apartheird. Argued for peacefrul settlement. Focus turned to need for schooling, poverty, lack of electricity and clean drinking water, unemployment and street crime.
With the vast majority of the continent under the colonial control of European governments, the World Wars were significant events in the geopolitical history of Africa. Africa was a theater of war and saw fighting in both wars. More important in most regions, the total war footing of colonial powers impacted the governance of African colonies, through resource allocation, conscription, and taxation.
The decolonization of Africa started with Libya in 1951, although Liberia, South Africa, Egypt and Ethiopia were already independent. Many countries followed in the 1950s and 1960s, with a peak in 1960 with the Year of Africa, which saw 17 African nations declare independence, including a large part of French West Africa. Most of the remaining countries gained independence throughout the 1960s, although some colonizers (Portugal in particular) were reluctant to relinquish sovereignty, resulting in bitter wars of independence which lasted for a decade or more. The last African countries to gain formal independence were Guinea-Bissau (1974), Mozambique (1975) and Angola (1975) from Portugal; Djibouti from France in 1977; Zimbabwe from the United Kingdom in 1980; and Namibia from South Africa in 1990. Eritrea later split off from Ethiopia in 1993.
Russian prehistory and ancient history summary: Various peoples occupied the area now known as Russia, but very little is known about any of them. At some point, groups of East Slavs, various peoples who spoke Slavic languages, formed. It is thought that Monguls, Huns and other invaders interfered with them sporadically.
The Middle Ages (500 CE to 1500 CE)
Russian Middle Ages summary: European and Middle Eastern adventurers and merchants traveling through Russia began trading with the leaderless Slavs. In doing so, they significantly affected Slavic culture. During this time, the East Slavs were joined by various Viking tribes from Scandinavia who came south from the Baltic Sea region. One of these tribes might have been the Rus, the people who, in the late 800s, established the first Russian state, which was centered on Kiev (a loose federation sometimes called the Kievan Rus federation state). (Some scholars dispute this, saying the Rus were another East Slavic people.) The Rus ruler was the first Russian ruler mentioned in Islamic and Western literature.
In Kiev, the Rus blended with the Slavs. At the same time, they and other Scandinavian tribes moved further south, entering Baghdad and Constantinople. In Kiev and along the river routes connecting the Baltic to the Black Sea, these groups became known together as the Varangians. By 1000, the Varangians were in complete control of the region, and their trade routes were increasing the strength of Kievan Rus. Still, the vast and sparsely populated land was not culturally unified. Clans, each with their own prices, ruled locally with little intervention.
Vladimir, prince of Kiev, greatly expanded Rus and adopted Christianity–a political and cultural shift that began the formation of a national identity. He allowed Constantinople to set up an Episcopal see there, beginning the blending of Slavic and Byzantine cultures; however, he and his successors were unable to achieve political stability in the area.
1000-1400: During the second half of the Middle Ages, Kiev declined, and with it, the Russian state as a whole. Largely, this was due to Mongol invasions of the 1200s which halved the population of Rus, but constant clan warfare and the decline of the trade routes between the Baltic and Black seas had started the process long before. For a time, local princes and their upper class administrators, called boyars, reclaimed control. They taxed the people in their territories but otherwise interfered with these agriculturally based communities very little. There was only a rudimentary written law code. During this time, marked cultural and political distinctions formed from one Slavic territory to the next–distinctions that remain to this day.
In the mid-1200s, Mongols began defeating Russian principalities. Soon, they and the Turkic nomads that joined them, together known as the Tatars or Tartars or the Golden Horde, controlled the entire region. They ruled from the Western city of Sarai and demanded little more than tributes from the local Russian princes under them. They helped the Russians advance in military tactics and transportation. During this time, Russia also developed its postal road network, a census, a fiscal system, and military organization. After Genghis Khan’s empire broke up, the Tatars converted to Islam and split into four separate factions. From this weakened position, all but one was defeated by Russia. (The Crimean faction was taken by the Ottoman Turks until Catherine the Great reclaimed it in the 1700s.) During the Tatar reign, Moscow grew and flourished. It cooperated with the Tatars, becoming an important center for them. Then it became the center of the Russian Orthodox Church. In the 1300s, it began the fight to overthrow the Tatars. https://www.britannica.com/place/Russia/Tatar-rule https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Russia In the mid-1400s, Ivan the Great (Ivan III) of Moscow (a land officially known as the Grand Duchy of Moscow) led the consolidation of the Russian land that eventually led to the creation of the Russian national state. He instituted a system of military service by nobles, granting them land in exchange for their service, using this to triple the size of Moscow. At the same time, he completed the overthrow of the Tatars. Eventually, he claimed sovereignty over all of Russia, a claim that continued long after his rule. He also renovated the Moscow Kremlin, the Russian citadel that is now the center of Russian government. (The complex includes several palaces and cathedrals and is surrounded by a towered wall.)
Early Modern Times (1500 CE to 1900 CE)
After the fall of Constantinople, Russia became known as the Third Rome, further increasing its stature. Ivan IV, following Ivan III, was the first to take the title of tsar. Ruling during the 1500s, he is known as Ivan the Terrible. Though ruthless in his authoritarian standpoint, Ivan the Terrible established a new law code and created the first feudal representative governmental body. However, his son’s reign was followed by a period called the Time of Troubles, partly due to crop failure and a resulting famine and partly due to the lack of an heir to the throne. Russia lost territory to outsiders, but the Russian bureaucracy held the state together until in the early 1600s a national assembly decided on a new leader and dynasty. This was the Romanov dynasty that ruled until 1917. Threats from outsiders caused the Russian princes to accept Romanov rule and to work with him to defend the state. Also, the Romanovs allowed the princes to not only place a huge tax burden on the peasants, but to make them into serfs who could not freely leave the land they were attached to. Peasant riots became frequent. Still, during the 1600s, the population of Russia increased greatly. In spite of these advances, Russia was a primitive state until Peter the Great became co-ruler, then soon afterward gained complete control as czar. During his reign ini the 1700s, Russia became a great European power. Peter encouraged fine craftsmanship; spent money carefully; abolished the powers of the boyars, the former ruling class; moved the capital to St. Petersburg; captured a Black Sea trading port for a time; gained Estonia and Livonia on the Baltic coast; centralized the government; stabilized the Orthodox Church under state control; and more. Peter traveled widely in the West disguised as an ordinary citizen. He learned Western traditions in shipbuilding, medicine, almshouses, factories, museums and more. He hired Western teachers for Russians; created a civil service; and built canals, factories, roads, new industries and a navy. Peter was sometimes forceful and cruel, too, and in spite of his reforms, the peasants still lived in poverty. A European war that weakened Sweden led to Russia becoming the leading power in the Baltic. 1725-1762: Peter’s rule 1762-1796: Catherine the Great 1796- 1850–1900: In the 1850s, The Crimean War took place between Russia and Turkey over some Black Sea lands. Britain and France entered the war to check Russia’s power. Russia was defeated, but not before the disastrous Charge of the (British) Light Brigade killed many Russians. This was the first war that was covered by newspapers with photographers.
The Modern Era (1900 to the Present)
In 1904-5, Russia and Japan fought the Russo-Japanese War over Korea and Manchuria. Japan won. That year, the Russian Revolution began when on Bloody Sunday troops fired onto a defenseless group of demonstrators in St. Petersburg. Worker strikes and riots followed, including mutinies by some members of the military. In response, Czar Nicholas II wrote his October Manifesto promising civil rights and the first Duma (parliament) was set up. 1917: Nicolas did not deliver on his promises, and poor management during World War I led to another round of riots in St. Petersburg, again with many members of the military joining in. Soon after, Nicholas was forced to abdicate and a liberal government was created. However, before the end of that same year the Bolshevik Party (communists) seized power, promising an end to poverty. Led by Vladimir Lenin, the Bolsheviks made peace with Germany; moved the capital to Moscow; broke up large private estates, giving the farmland to the peasants; and gave control of the factories to the workers. The government retained control of the banks, however. 1918: Russian revolutionaries executed the former czar and his family. Russian Civil War between Reds (Bolsheviks) and Whites (anti-Bolsheviks); Reds win in 1920. Allied troops (U.S., British, French) intervene (March); leave in 1919. 1922: The anti-Bolsheviks triumphed against the Bolsheviks. They renamed Russia the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, or Soviet Union for short). 1924: Lenin died. Leading up to the second world war, Trotsky (who had worked closely with Lenin) and Stalin fought for power. Stalin won and dominated as dictator till his death in 1953. Fearing Trotsky’s power, he expelled him from the Russian Communist Party early on in his rule. 1943: As World War II reached its peak, the German army became bogged down in the harsh Russian winter weather at the Russian front. Hitler’s surrender at Stalingrad in 1943 was one of the turning points of the war in the Allies’ favor. 1948: Communists seized power in Czechoslovakia. Berlin blockade begins, prompting Allied airlift. (Blockade ends May 12, 1949; airlift continues until Sept. 30, 1949.) Stalin and Tito break. 1953: Stalin dies. Malenkov becomes Soviet premier; Beria, minister of interior; Molotov, foreign minister. East Berliners rise against Communist rule; quelled by tanks. 1953: Moscow announces explosion of hydrogen bomb. 1954: Soviet Union grants sovereignty to East Germany. 1956: Nikita Khrushchev, First Secretary of USSR Communist Party, denounces Stalin’s excesses. Workers’ uprising against Communist rule in Poznan, Poland, is crushed; rebellion inspires Hungarian students to stage a protest against Communism in Budapest. 1957: Russians launch Sputnik I, first Earth-orbiting satellite—the Space Age begins. 1960: American U-2 spy plane, piloted by Francis Gary Powers, shot down over Russia. Khrushchev kills Paris summit conference because of U-2. 1962: Cuban missile crisis. USSR to build missile bases in Cuba; Kennedy orders Cuban blockade, lifts blockade after Russians back down. Soviet Union collapsed in 90s. Many civil wars around the world, often because political boundaries weren’t aligned with cultural and linguistic ones. 1957: USSR launched Sputnik, first artificial satellite to orbit Earth 1945-89: The Cold War: Due to stockpling off nuclear weapons–no actual fighting – despite fact that we were allies in WWII – USSR isolated itself. NATO formed–an alliance of western nations fighting against communist powers. USSR backed by Eastern European states. After WWII USSR controlled East Germany and U.S. …France and Britain had west. Even Berlin divided. Berlin Wall built to keep refugees from moving from east to west. 1962: The U.S. Air Force obtained pictures of a missile launch site in Cuba, where nuclear missiles could easily reach the U.S., beginning the Cuban Missile Crisis. The U.S. began making plans to invade Cuba, but in a victory of diplomacy the Soviets agreed to destroy the launch sites. The two countries greatly mistrusted and feared each other, however. In the late 1980s, the Cold War finally ended. 1989: Gorbachev allowed the communist countries of Eastern Europe to elect democratic governments. 1980s: After the fall of the Soviet Union, various countries around Russia’s borders gained independence from Russia in a succession of revolutions. Czechoslovakia was divided into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, for instance. During this time, political terrorism increased in the area.
Here, an excerpt from the interviews section of the book.
“We Have Two Big Rules in Our House”
is 40 years old and has been with her partner for eight years.
What have some of your biggest disagreements as couple been about?
We don’t have children, just cats, which might be why our biggest
fight so far was about cats (except not really). Before that, our
biggest struggle was learning to grocery shop together without
Tell me more about that.
It was a thing when we first moved in together. He works from home
and I was working in an office. We both dislike the task, so we do it
together (unless circumstances prevent it.)
made a comment a while back about two types of people (on a
spectrum): basically, planners and non-planners. My husband is
squarely a planner. Lists, schedules, plan of attack. I can (and do)
plan, but can also can make a quick decision just to get something
basically, we had several things going wrong.
an introvert and being at the office all day exhausts me. He works
from home, so he’s excited to go out.
weren’t functioning off a list, so we were buying random things that
we did/didn’t need and still having to figure out dinners after.
both wanted to shop how we were used to shopping.
got mad at him for staring at stacks of American cheese for entirely
too long trying to determine the best price on something that I felt
didn’t matter. He challenged me when I just grabbed a gallon of milk.
milk? Do you like it better? This one’s cheaper.”
several months and lots of sit-downs and me being mad, then him being
frustrated (not huge fights but intense talks), we’ve figured out and
refined our system:
frequently save recipes that I think we’ll enjoy that are healthy
enough for me and easy enough for him. We pick two for the week and
build a list off of that.
grocery shop on Sundays so I’m not tired and we have a date night
once a weekish so he gets out of the house. He has also finally,
just this summer, gotten a laptop to give himself the ability to
leave the house once in a while.
are brands I’m loyal to. When it’s time to pick up those, I tell
him to kick rocks off to the toilet paper aisle to find us the best
deal. I give in to him on the generic canned beans because I don’t
care and he lets me buy the expensive canned tomatoes without
works so much better now. We usually have as good a time as you can
at the grocery store. And I even stay quiet when he asks the clerk to
put the milk in bags (which is silly because the gallons have
You seem like a pretty good problem solver. Do
you use these same negotiating skills in other areas of your
don’t have to formally negotiate too often. We try and function as a
team so if one person is doing something, the other dives in to help.
We’ve got two big rules in our house:
gets what they need.
have to ask for what you need.
Spats are usually due to me not being able to sort out what I’m feeling before I get crabby.
Mollie: I love those rules! The needs of one person can be dramatically different from the needs of another. Beautiful way to phrase this concept.
So what was the cat thing about?
Zurie: We fought about when to get a new cat after our last two girls died in the spring. I wanted to get a new one and he wasn’t ready.
Honestly, it was 100 percent me not slowing down to figure out what I was feeling so I could verbalize it. Eventually I just realized that I was in an enormous amount of pain and just wanted something to help. I was deeply disappointed that he wasn’t ready even though it was valid.
Once I worked through all that emotion, I was able to explain what was going on. I apologized and he listened and we compromised. We got new kitties sooner than he was ready for and later than I wanted, but they’re perfect.
Mollie: Is there something about your partner you have tried to change? What was your strategy? How well did it work?
Zurie: Sure, there are things we’ve tried to change about each other. He’s organized, but holy cow was his apartment filthy when he moved out. I’m clean, but completely disorganized. Before we moved in together, we talked a lot about chores and values. He sees the value in having things clean, though he just doesn’t notice it. I see the value in having things organized (being able to find my keys is amazing) but I’m not always as good about it as him.
I think we’ve both really tried to be patient with each other. There are times when I have to remind him that it’s okay if I haven’t put something back where it belongs because there’s a reason I didn’t or whatever. And I have 100 percent complained to myself after he does the dishes that he didn’t scrub down the stove. But I also know that criticizing will just make a person shut down, so I think a lot about “how much does this matter?” I’ve had to teach him how to clean the bathroom and the floors and the kitchen and the reasons behind it. He really gives it a good-faith effort, so I let go of the fact that he doesn’t see the dirt and is always surprised that it’s time to clean. It just doesn’t matter.
Mollie: Can you think of a time you became overly defensive in an argument? Tell me the story.
Zurie: When we first met, he used to tell a joke, then say, “Get it? It’s funny because …” and I used to feel like he thought I was so stupid or not funny if he felt he had to explain every joke to me. My dad was really hard on my brother and me and would ask us if we were stupid whenever we did something wrong, so he was really stepping on a land mine he didn’t know was there. I finally told him one night how much it hurt my feelings. I was angry and asked flat-out if he thought I was an idiot. He was horrified. Apparently, this was just something he had always said as part of a joke. He thought it was funny and had no idea that I took it personally.
While I was relieved that I was misinterpreting, I also made it clear that I was never going to be okay with it. He’d done it for so long that he wasn’t sure he could just stop. So we decided that he would make an honest attempt to say it less and I would make an honest attempt to let it roll off my back if he did say it. And honestly, I haven’t heard it in years.
Mollie: Do you think it’s important to apologize even when you weren’t exactly in the wrong, or do you save your apologies for the important stuff?
Zurie: We tend to apologize to each other when we feel it’s warranted. Honestly, we don’t fight dirty or often so I don’t feel that I’ve had to apologize when I wasn’t exactly wrong.
Mollie: Generally speaking, how much do you enjoy partnership? What do you like about it?
Zurie: I love being married. We haven’t reached a point yet where I’ve considered it difficult or a hardship. I really enjoy being on a team with him. I can be exactly who I am at any given moment with him. I can be ridiculous and silly or sad or a big baby and he understands and loves it. I love doing the same for him. I love hearing him sing songs to the cats or laugh at his podcasts while he works. I am so delighted and thankful to be with him and he seems to feel the same way. We married late-ish—I was thirty-seven and he was forty—so we’d gone through those mid-twenties struggles already and had started establishing our own values when we met. Maybe that has something to do with it.
Mollie: Do you have any ongoing arguments that can’t seem to be resolved, even with your great communication skills?
Zurie: Not that I can think of, so definitely nothing major. Things are tough right now for us, but not between us. I’m lucky: he’s funny, responsible, hard working, compassionate and loyal. We make a good team.
Ancient Greece: The area of Europe and the Middle East that formed around 3000 BCE as a collection of individually governed city-states, but that were culturally related. Ancient Greece included modern-day Greece, Asia Minor, the Aegean Sea, Crete and more. Greece was mountainous, not in a river basin like Mesopotamia and Egypt. Therefore, land was highy valued. Also, Greeks were more isolated from each other and the rest of the ancient world and developed many unique ways. Each city was very proud of itself. Citizens referred to themselves by their first names and the name of their city (polis).
Major aspects of the Greek influence: Democracy, philosophy, rhetoric/oratory, rationalism, individualism, theater, and much more. As a fringe society, Greece assimilated cultural ideas from the larger, more vibrant Mesopotamian civilizations, then built on them.
Minoans: Lived on the island of Crete from about 1700 to 1450. A lost civilization. A palace complex that was the center of city life. Disappeared by 1500 for unknown reasons.
King Minos: The king of the Minoans that was said to be the stepfather of the fabled monster called the Minotaur. Palace called Kuossos (?). Large and elaborate, with a labrynth? Language called Linear A. NOT a predecessor of the Greek language. Large bureauocracy. First people to create indoor plumbing. First great artists. Huge, amazing architecture. Great traders, especially with Egypt. Rich. Peaceful. Since they lived on an island, wealth was directed at cultural achievement rather than protection.
Myceaneans: Linear B, which we know how to decipher. This was the precursor to Greek. Lived in Mycenae. Inhabitants there were called in Homer the “Acheans,” though we call them Myceneans. A very impressive city. Graves filled with gold, silver, ivory, weapons. Warlike. Ruled by kings, including King Agamemnon.
Temple Mound cultures: Native cultures that formed along what i snow the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers. They were known for their central plazas surrounded by rectangular mounds with temples on top. They lived in adobe longhouses and grew corn, sunflowers, beans, pumpkins and more.
Hopi culture: The Native culture that formed in what is now the southwestern U.S. They were known for their effective irrigation systems, unique art, rain dances and other complex ceremonies, and the Cliff Palace. They grew corn, beans, squash, cotton and more.
Inuit culture: The Native culture of the far north in what is now Alaska and Canada, who traded with the Vikings.
Anasazi culture: The Native culture of what is now Colorado, who lived in pueblos.
Cree, Chippewa, Algonquin cultures: The Native cultures of what is now Canada.
Sioux culture: The Native culture of what is now the American Midwest.
Iroquois culture: The Native culture of what is now New York State.
Mohawk culture: The Native culture of what is now New England.
Mayan culture: 300 BCE to 800 CE.
Toltec culture: 800 CE. The culture that replaced the Mayans in Mesoamerica. Militaristic city-state. Temples guarded by stone warriors. Warrior chiefs replaced Mayan priests. Quality of poetry, art, literature declined.
Aztec culture: 1200 CE. The culture that replaced the Toltecs. Very warlike. Known for pyramids, unique calendar, advanced governmental and economic structure and tiered social structure. Center near Lake Texcoco (now Mexico City). Created garden islands for growing food. Built city of Tenochitlan on an island in the lake. Easily defended . One of world’s best-planned cities. Traded throughout Mexico. By the 1500s, their empire stretched coast to coast across Mexico. Pyramines, shrines, emperor. Conquered quickly by the Spanish in the 1500s.
the 1500s- During this century, Europeans arrived on E coast of mod day us and in mesoamerica and were attempting colonization
Mesoamerica: The area which is now Mexico and Central America.
Christopher Colombus: The first European to come to the Americas. Lnaded in the CIs in 1492. An Italian-born Spaniard sailing for England.
Ponce de Leon:
Massachussets Bay Colony:
Salem witch trials:
French and Indian War:
Sugar Act and Stamp Act:
Boston Tea Party:
“No taxation without representation”:
Declaration of Independence:
Treaty of Paris:
Bill of Rights:
Lone Star Republic:
Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo:
American Civil War:
Teotihuacan: The largest city in the Americas from approximately 1 to 500 CE. Population of about 125,000 at its height.
Teotihuacan began as a religious center in the Mexican Highlands around the first century AD. It became the largest and most populated center in the pre-Columbian Americas. Teotihuacan was home to multi-floor apartment compounds built to accommodate the large population. The term Teotihuacan (or Teotihuacano) is also used for the whole civilization and cultural complex associated with the site.
Although it is a subject of debate whether Teotihuacan was the center of a state empire, its influence throughout Mesoamerica is well documented; evidence of Teotihuacano presence can be seen at numerous sites in Veracruz and the Maya region. The later Aztecs saw these magnificent ruins and claimed a common ancestry with the Teotihuacanos, modifying and adopting aspects of their culture.
The Hopewell culture:
The Moche: The people who settled modern-day Ecuador (in Central America) toward the end of ancient times (around 300 AD) and through the beginning of the Middle Ages (around 700 AD). They made pottery, wove textiles, and did metalwork.
By 1500 BCE, the Olmecs of Mesoamerica had built the first North American cities, which included earth and stone pyramids for religious worship and sculptures (including some of enormous heads). Around 800 BCE, their neighbors, the Zapotecs, became the first Americans to develop writing, and in 600 BCE the Mayan civilization, with their noteworthy temples and pyramids, began to flourish. By 300 BCE, they had built the great city of Teotihuacan, and by 300 CE, they were at their peak, encompassing most of Mexico and beyond. By 500, this city featured a planned grid system, temple complexes, crafts and markets, and was the largest trading city in the Americas. The Mayans were an unusually unwarlike, peaceful people. Meanwhile, smaller tribes in the modern-day United States were creating their own unique cultures. Some were hunter-gatherer tribes while others had small permanent villages.In 300 CE, the Hopewell culture was at its peak in modern-day Ohio and the Mogollon, Anasazi and Hohokam cultures were growing in the southwest, which later were eclipsed by the Hopi in this area.
The Middle Ages (500 to 1500 CE)
The Temple Mound cultures:
The Cree, Chippewa and Algonquin tribes:
The Sioux tribe:
The Iroquois tribe:
The Mohawk tribe:
By 700, the Hopi culture in the southwest featured irrigaton systems, corn, beans, squash, cotton, unique architecture and art, rain dances, other complex ceremonies, and the beautiful Cliff Palace. Around the same time, the Temple Mound cultures, named for their central plazas surrounded by rectangular mounds with temples for the dead on top, began building the first towns north of Mexico (along the Mississippi and Ohio rivers). Their people lived in longhouses with adobe walls and thatched roofs and traded along the rivers. Their crops included corn, sunflowers, beans and pumpkins. By 1450 CE, they had declined significantly.
Meanwhile, in Mesoamerica, the Mayans were in decline; however, their influence was a lasting one. Around 800 CE, the Toltecs migrated into the area. They established a militaristic city-state featuring temples guarded by stone warriors. Their warrior chiefs took power from the Mayan priests, and the quality of pottery, art and literature declined. Around 1200 CE, the Aztecs rose to power in the area, overcoming the Toltecs. This warlike people is well-known for their pyramids, their unique calendar, their advanced governmental and eonomic structure and their tiered social structure.
Other cultures thriving during the Middle Ages were the Inuit in the far north, who traded with Vikings; the Anasazi in Colorado who lived in pueblos; the Cree, Chippewa/Ojibwe and Algonquin in Canada; the Sioux in the Midwest; the Iroquois in New York; the Mohawk in New England; and more.
Early Modern Times (1500 CE through 1900 CE)
By 1500 CE, Europeans had arrived on the East Coast of the modern-day United States and in Mesoamerica, changing the Americas forever.
By the 1500s there were about six million native Americans grouped into hundreds of unique tribes with different food, art, governmental styles and ways of life (for example, totems, tepees, tribal councils, wigwams, masks, etc.). Some of these tribes formed confederations. Some fought wars.
Ponce de Leon:
The activities of the Spanish in New Mexico:
The activities of the French in
In 1492 CE, Christopher Colombus (an Italian-born Spaniard whose voyage was sponsored by England) landed on the Carribean Islands. Believing it to be India (which had been his destination) he named the islands the West Indies. Colombus may never have known he had founded the Americas, even after several successive visits. In 1497, John Cabot, an Italian sponsored by England, discovered Newfoundland and set up a colony at Quebec. In 1513, Ponce de Leon explored Florida and claimed it for Spain. In 1534, Jacques Cartier claimed part of Canada for France (including modern-day Montreal). In 1584, Roanoke, an English colony on the East Coast of the modern-day U.S., was established. All attempts to colonize the Americas during the 1500s, however, failed. As a result, for the span of this century, most Europeans considered the Americas unimportant.
In 1607, John Smith led the founding of Jamestown, Virginia, which became the first successful English colony in the Americas. Without the help of the natives in the area, survival was unlikely. Less than a decade later, they began flourishing by growing tobacco on lands taken from the natives and selling it to Europe. Fur trading became popular as well.
Around the same time, the Spanish were settling New Mexico, setting up mines, trading posts and a capital (Santa Fe), and the French were settling the Great Lakes area, the Mississippi river area and the St. Lawrence river area in Canada. At first, the Native Americans in these areas were friendly to the Europeans. Then they began to suffer from smallpox, measles and other European diseases; to be killed; and to be driven off their lands. Until Europeans introduced them to horses, wheeled transportation and guns, they fought only with wood and stone tools, bows, slingshots and spears. Eventually, Jamestown [and other American colonies?] failed, but Plymouth (which later became part of Massachusets), founded in 1620 by a group of over 100 Puritans (some religious separatists and some mercenaries) succeeded, becoming the first permanent North American settlement. The first winter, Plymouth Plantation saw the death of over half its settlers. In 1621, however, they shared the first Thanksgiving meal with Squanto and other Native Americans. Over the next 20 years, about 20,000 new settlers arrived, most settling in Plymouth and various colonies nearby, including the Massachussets Bay colony. Later, the Dutch established New Amsterdam (later taken over by the English and renamed New York) and the English king gave Pennsylvania to a group of Quakers led by William Penn. The Carolinas grew as well.
From 1619 onward, owners of tobacco, cotton, rice and indigo plantations began importing slaves. Soon after, the majority of the people living in some areas were slaves.
The late 1600s saw many violent wars with the native peoples.
By 1700 CE, England owned twelve flourishing colonies along the Atlantic coast and in all, there were approximately 400,000 Europeans in North America. Boston was the largest of these. The French colonies in Canada grew more slowly, and though the Spanish still held Florida, after losing control of the seas they missed their chance to move further into North America and outpace England.
In 1692, Puritan fears led to the death of fourteen women and six men in the Salem witch trials. In addition, during the 1600s and 1700s, French and British colonies fought several wars for land with natives assisting both sides. These included the Seven Years War of the late 1700s (which in turn included the French and Indian War, which gave English control of the Ohio Valley land).
Also in the late 1700s, Britain won some Canadian colonies from France and traded other lands to the Spanish, gaining Florida.
In the early 1770s, the thirteen American colonies started the American Revolution in response to unfair laws by the English king (including exhorbitantly high taxes like the Sugar Act and the Stamp Act) by boycotting British imports. In the Boston Tea Party led by Sam Adams, colonists snuck into the harbor at night and threw the tea imports overboard. The colonists had asked to be represented in the English government but were denied this request; thus, their mantra became “No taxation without representation.”
In 1776, the colonies created the Declaration of Independence, a claimed right to self-rule, officially beginning the war on Britain. The Declaration was mostly written by Thomas Jefferson. George Washington led the colonists to victory, the British finally surrendering at Yorktown in 1781. Two years later, the Treaty of Paris officially ended the war. In 1787, at the Constitutional Convention in Pennsylvania, the founding fathers created the United States Constitution. (Prior to this time, America was held together by the Articles of Confederation, which gave almost all power to the states.)
In 1789, George Washington was elected the first president of the new United States and in 1791, the Bill of Rights was added to the Constitution.
Also in 1791, Britain split Quebec into English-speaking Upper Canada (Ontario) and French-speaking Lower Canada (Quebec) to reduce tensions between these areas, who both wanted control.
In 1831, a slave revolt in Virginia that killed sixty white people and was led by Nat Turner led to harsher penalties for slaves.
In 1835, Texas declared its independence from Mexico, which at the time extended far into the modern-day U.S. The turning point of Texan independence came in 1836 when they won the town of San Antonio back after a battle at the Alamo, a mission in the center of town. (The most well-known defender of the Alamo was Davy Crockett.) Texas renamed itself the Lone Star Republic. Then, in 1845, it joined the U.S. In 1847, the U.S. captured Mexico City (temporarily). In 1848, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo gave the U.S. California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico.
By 1850, the northern states had already banned slavery. Their economy was based on manufacturing, with a newly built railroad as its backbone. In the South, however, tobacco and cotton plantations dominated. Though each state was allowed to choose whether or not to legalize slavery, southerners complained that the northerners protected runaway slaves, impinging on their policies. This, and differences in ideas concerning the strength of the federal government versus states’ rights, led to the American Civil War.
In 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Because he opposed slavery and was in favor of a stronger national government, the south seceded and created the Confederate States of America, officially beginning the war. The northern military commander was Ulysses S. Grant. The southern commander was Robert E. Lee. Fighting began in 1861 at Fort Sumter in South Carolina, with the northern victory becoming likely after they won at Gettysburg in 1863. That same year, Abraham Lincoln declared an end to slavery the U.S., and in 1865 the thirteenth amendment outlawed it after General Lee surrendered to General Grant in the courthouse at Appomattox, Virginia. Five days after this surrender, Lincoln was assassinated.
Harriet Tubman was an escaped slave who made trips through southern territory, helping others escape.
Following this, reconstruction began in the south, which southerners resisted. Many plantations still held slaves or used indentured servants.
1800s: Canadian rebels resisted British control, but failed.
1840: Britain reunited Upper and Lower Cananda. Now called the Province of Canada.
1867: Canada became self-governing and folded in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Ontario. French and English were both official languages.
1870: NW Territories joined Canada. Owned by Hudson Bay Company.
1898: Yukon Territory joined Canada. Owned by Hudson Bay company also. Site of 1800s gold rush.
1885: Canadian Pacific Railway complete uniting the country, St. Lawrence River to Pacific Ocean.
The Modern Era (The 1900s through the Present)
1914: WWI began. U.S. kept out of European affairs till this tiime. Had become an industrial power, modernized. Invented cars, movies and more.
1917: Ships attacked by German U-boats. U.S. entered WWI.
1918: War ended. U.S. didn’t join Wilson’s League of Nations. Wanted to stay out of world affairs.
U.S. returned to isolationism after WWI. 1920s: Booming economy. 1929: Stock market crash. Great Depression worldwide as industry struggled to adjust to peacetime levels of trade. Stock market speculators had overvalued many companies. Unemloyment rampant. Then there was a drought in the Great Plains (the Dust Bowl), leading to massive crop failuress.
1932-3: New Deal introduced by Roosevelt: Subsidized farm prices, huge contruction program. Then start of WWWII increased heavy industry and U.S. recovered fully.
1929: Wall Street crash, great depression. Rescued by Roosevelt’s New Deal. Included farm subsidies, minimum wage, construction programs. Then WWII helped a lot more.
1920s: Prohibition (18th Amendment). Gangsters including Al Capone set up bootlegging operations and crime increased. Majro growth of cities. Jazz Age: radio, mvies, cars, skyscraper, elevators invented.
1933: 21st Amendment ended Prohibition.
1941: Japanese attacked U.S. Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7. Next day entered war (declared war on Japan, then Axis declared war on us). 2400 soldiers killed in the attack. Happened because we were pressuring Japan to stop attacking China.
1930s: Drought in Great Plains “Dust Bowl.” Topsoil gone, towns closed, economy even worse.
1944: Kamikaze (suicide bomber planes) attacks on Allied ships trying to take Okinawa.
1945: U.S. took Okinawa, then dropped atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to avoid an estimated million deaths in a further attack on the mainland. This ended the war, but only somewhat earlier than it would have anyway. Truman made the decision. First bomb killed 130,000 people, Nagasaki killed 750,000 and more later. 100 cities in Japan destroyed at war’s end. (Enola Gay dropped Little BOy and Fat Man was dropped by Bockstar plane.)
1945: United Nations was founded.
1945: UN formed to guarantee civil liberties and work for peace and stability (to prevent war). UN Security Council’s job is to keep peace.
1950s: U.S. led nuclear arms race and prospered.
1960s: Cuban Missile Crisis, cold war. Man on moon in 1969, one year ahead of schedule (Apollo II mission). American culture spread widely.
45-89: The Cold War: Due to stockpling off nuclear weapons–no actual fighting – despite fact that we were allies in WWII – USSR isolated itself. NATO formed–an alliance of western nations fighting against communist powers. USSR backed by Eastern European states. After WWII USSR controlled East Germany and U.S. …France and Britain had west. Even Berlin divided. Berlin Wall built to keep refugees from moving from east to west.
Cuban Missile Crisis: 1962: U.S. Air Force got picutres of a missile launch site in Cuba, where nuclear missiles could easily reach thhe U.S. Plans to invade Cuba but sSoviets agreed to destry the launch sites.
1987: Cold War ended.
1989: Gorbachev allowed the communist countries of Eastern Europe to elect democratic government
The Korean War began when communist North Korea attacked South Korea in 1950. The UN sent aid to SK. u.s. sent troops. Still, most of SK was captured. So UN fought them back at Seoul. Reached border of China, then China entered, taking NK’s side. Cease fire n 1953. Country divided down the middle.
Vietnam war: Vietman declared independence from France in 1954–Country divided between north and south, with two different governments.
1965: U.S. sent troops to aid the south, who had started moin towards civil war between the Viet Cong in the south and the communists in the north.
1969: half a million U.S. troops in Vietnam. Then withdrawal began.
1969: First man on the moon.
1973: Cease-fire declared. 57,000 U.S. soldiers killed.
1970s: War in Vietnam.
1980s: Computer technology brought economic boom. U.S. now the global policeman.
1981: First space shuttle launched.
1990: Hubble Space Telescope took first pictures of deep space
ADD: Maya: Peak 300 B.C> to AD 800. From peoples that were in same area from 2000 B.C. Southern Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Built many cities that included temple pyramids, fortified palaces, marketplaces, workshops, living quarters. Class system: nobles, priests, rules, officials, servants (in cities) and ordinary people (in countryside, and went to cities for needs.) Had about 800 hieroglyphs, advanced math, science,; claendar; astronomy, intricate roads, crafts. Also, blood sacrifice. All were independent city-states as in Greece. They fought each other. Declined when lost many farmers due to war (farmers taken hostage and many killed as blood sacrifices.)
ADD: Aztecs in Mexico: 125: Moved near Lake Texcoco (now Mexico City). Created garden islands for growing food. Built Tenochititlan on an island in the lake. Easily defended due to location. One of the world’s best-planned cities. Traded throughout Mexico.
1500: Grew empire till stretched coast to coast. Pyramids, shrines. Had an emperor.
1519: Spanish arrived in Mexico. Cities conquered by Aztecs hated them due to all the human sacrifice, though they paid tribute. But allied with Spanish when they came and Aztecs were conquered within a year. (Conquistadores led by Cortez pretended C. was a god that Montezuma had been waiting for and tricked him into welcoming him.) A few setbacks, then destruction of Aztec empire. Helped due to bringing of European diseases.
Later in 1500s: Spanish expanded colonies, took parts of California, Arizona, New Mexico. Settled these areas. Made laws to prevent mistreatment of natives, but laws didn’t work. North Americans worked as slaves and in mines and died of European diseases. Spanish missionaries destroyed temples and idols.
1803: Louisiana purchase from France doubled U.S. size.
1805: Lewis and Clark reach Pacific with help of Sacajawea
1812: War of 1812 against Britain due to their European trade blockade. Failed to take Canada from British.
1820: Mississippi River settled.
1838-9: Cherokee ‘Trail of Tears’ to Oklahoma after series of wars between Americans and whites. Jackson passed Indian Removal Act and made them settle on Indian Territory. Thousands died on the trail.
1845: U.S. annexes Texas.
1861: Explosive U.S. growth. People attracted to freedom. 31 million by 1861 and much land and resources.Western settlers protected by army and laws to all new land claims. New states added to union when population reached 60,000.
Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur, fly first powered, controlled, heavier-than-air plane at Kitty Hawk, N.C. Henry Ford organizes Ford Motor Company.
1905: Albert Einstein’s special theory of relativity and other key theories in physics.
1909: North Pole reportedly reached by American explorers Robert E. Peary and Matthew Henson. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People is founded in New York by prominent black and white intellectuals and led by W.E.B. Du Bois.
1920: U.S. Dept. of Justice “red hunt” nets thousands of radicals; aliens deported. Women’s suffrage (19th) amendment ratified.
1923: Widespread Ku Klux Klan violence in U.S.
1925: John T. Scopes convicted and fined for teaching evolution in a public school in Tennessee “Monkey Trial”; sentence set aside.
1929: In U.S., stock market prices collapse, with U.S. securities losing $26 billion—first phase of Depression and world economic crisis.
1932: In U.S., Congress sets up Reconstruction Finance Corporation to stimulate economy. Veterans march on Washington—most leave after Senate rejects payment of cash bonuses; others removed by troops under Douglas MacArthur. U.S. protests Japanese aggression in Manchuria. Amelia Earhart is first woman to fly Atlantic solo.
1933: Roosevelt inaugurated (“the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”); launches New Deal. Prohibition repealed.
1939: In U.S., Roosevelt submits $1,319-million defense budget, proclaims U.S. neutrality, and declares limited emergency. Einstein writes FDR about feasibility of atomic bomb. New York World’s Fair opens.
1940: The first official network television broadcast is put out by NBC.
1941: Japanese attacks on Pearl Harbor, Philippines, Guam force U.S. into war; U.S. Pacific fleet crippled (Dec. 7). U.S. and Britain declare war on Japan. Germany and Italy declare war on U.S.; Congress declares war on those countries (Dec. 11). Manhattan Project (atomic bomb research) begins. Roosevelt enunciates “four freedoms,” signs Lend-Lease Act, declares national emergency, promises aid to USSR. Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane.
1942: Roosevelt orders Japanese and Japanese Americans in western U.S. to be exiled to “relocation centers,” many for the remainder of the war (Feb. 19). U.S. forces on Bataan peninsula in Philippines surrender (April 9). U.S. and Filipino troops on Corregidor island in Manila Bay surrender to Japanese (May 6).
1943: Casablanca Conference—Churchill and FDR agree on unconditional surrender goal (Jan. 14–24). Cairo Conference: FDR, Churchill, Chiang Kai-shek pledge defeat of Japan, free Korea (Nov. 22–26). Tehran Conference: FDR, Churchill, Stalin agree on invasion plans (Nov. 28–Dec. 1).
1944: U.S. and British troops land at Anzio on west Italian coast and hold beachhead (Jan. 22). U.S. and British troops enter Rome (June 4). D-Day—Allies launch Normandy invasion (June 6). Later, americans invade phillippines
1945: Yalta Agreement signed by FDR, Churchill, Stalin—establishes basis for occupation of Germany, returns to Soviet Union lands taken by Germany and Japan; Allies declare V-E Day (May 8). A-bomb dropped on Hiroshima by U.S. (Aug. 6). USSR declares war on Japan (Aug. 8). Nagasaki hit by A-bomb (Aug. 9). Japan agrees to surrender (Aug. 14). V-J Day—Japanese sign surrender terms aboard battleship Missouri (Sept. 2).
1950: Truman orders development of hydrogen bomb (Jan. 31). McCarthyism begins.
1954: U.S. Supreme Court (in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka) unanimously bans racial segregation in public schools (May 17). Eisenhower launches world atomic pool without Soviet Union (Sept. 6).
1957: Eisenhower Doctrine calls for aid to Mideast countries which resist armed aggression from Communist-controlled nations (Jan. 5). The “Little Rock Nine” integrate Arkansas high school. Eisenhower sends troops to quell mob and protect school integration (Sept. 24).
1959: Alaska and Hawaii become states. Leakeys discover hominid fossils.
1959: Cuban President Batista resigns and flees—Castro takes over (Jan. 1).
1961: U.S. breaks diplomatic relations with Cuba (Jan. 3). Cuba invaded at Bay of Pigs by an estimated 1,200 anti-Castro exiles aided by U.S.; invasion crushed (April 17).
1962: Lt. Col. John H. Glenn, Jr., is first American to orbit Earth—three times in 4 hr 55 min (Feb. 20).
1962: Cuban missile crisis > USSR to build missile bases in Cuba; Kennedy orders Cuban blockade, lifts blockade after Russians back down (Aug.–Nov.). James H. Meredith, escorted by federal marshals, registers at University of Mississippi (Oct. 1).
1963: Civil rights rally held by 200,000 blacks and whites in Washington, D.C.; Martin Luther King delivers “I have a dream” speech (Aug. 28). Washington-to-Moscow “hot line” communications link opens, designed to reduce risk of accidental war (Aug. 30). President Kennedy shot and killed by sniper in Dallas, Tex. Lyndon B. Johnson becomes president same day (Nov. 22). Lee Harvey Oswald, accused assassin of President Kennedy, is shot and killed by Jack Ruby, Dallas nightclub owner (Nov. 24). Kenya achieves independence. Betty Friedan publishes The Feminine Mystique. There are 15,000 U.S. military advisers in South Vietnam.
1965: Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and more than 2,600 other blacks arrested in Selma, Ala., during three-day demonstrations against voter-registration rules (Feb. 1). Malcolm X, black-nationalist leader, shot to death at Harlem rally in New York City (Feb. 21). Medicare, senior citizens’ government medical assistance program, begins (July 1). Blacks riot for six days in Watts section of Los Angeles: 34 dead, over 1,000 injured, nearly 4,000 arrested, fire damage put at $175 million (Aug. 11–16).
1966: Black teenagers riot in Watts, Los Angeles; two men killed and at least 25 injured (March 15). Supreme Court decides Miranda v. Arizona.
1967: Racial violence in Detroit; 7,000 National Guardsmen aid police after night of rioting. Similar outbreaks occur in New York City’s Spanish Harlem, Rochester, N.Y., Birmingham, Ala., and New Britain, Conn. (July 23). Thurgood Marshall sworn in as first black U.S. Supreme Court justice (Oct. 2). Dr. Christiaan N. Barnard and team of South African surgeons perform world’s first successful human heart transplant (Dec. 3)—patient dies 18 days later.
1950-2000: Rapid growth of economies in industrialized nations. Rebuilding after war. Standard of living rose. In early 1970s, the price of oil started to increase, though, due to OPEC–a consortium of Mid East and other oil-rich countries. they quadrupled the price. led to a worldwide energy crisis. Caused inflation and poverty. -Increase in common markets like NAFTA and APEC> Members buy and sell at agreed-upon rates and protect each other from competition.
1700-1799: The American Revolution (sometimes referred to as the American War of Independence or the Revolutionary War) was a conflict that lasted from 1775-1783 and allowed the original 13 colonies to remain independent from Great Britain.
American politician and soldier George Washington became the first president of the United States in 1789, serving two terms.
Beginning in Great Britain in the late 1790s, the Industrial Revolution eventually made its way to the United States and changed the focus of the U.S. economy and the way it manufactured products.
In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson agreed to the Louisiana Purchase, successfully adding 530 million acres of land to the United States. The area was purchased from France for $15 million. The following year, President Jefferson assigned Meriwether Lewis (who asked for help from William Clark) to head west and explore the newly purchased land. It took about a year and a half for the duo to reach the west coast.
The War of 1812 resolved outstanding tensions between the United States and Great Britain. The two year war ended British military posts on U.S. soil and British interference with American trade.
The American Civil War divided the United States in two—the Northern States versus the Southern States. The outcome of the four year battle (1861-1865) kept the United States together as one whole nation and ended slavery.
On December 17, 1903, brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright became the first people to maintain a controlled flight in a powered, heavier-than-air machine. The Wright Flyer only flew for 12 seconds for a distance of 120 feet, but the technology would change the modern world forever.
On April 6, 1917, the United States entered World War I by declaring war on Germany.
After nearly 100 years of protests, demonstrations, and sit-ins, women of the United States were officially granted the right to vote after the 19th Amendment was ratified on August 26, 1920.
The worst economic crisis to happen in the United States occurred when the stock market crashed in October 1929, resulting in the Great Depression.
World War II officially begins in September 1939 after Germany invades Poland. The United States didn’t enter the war until after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
On August 6 and August 9, 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, effectively ending World War II.
After World War II, an agreement was reached to divide Korea into two parts: a northern half to be controlled by the Soviet Union and a southern half to be controlled by the United States. The division was originally meant as a temporary solution, but the Soviet Union managed to block elections that were held to elect someone to unify to the country. Instead, the Soviet Union sent North Korean troops across the 38th parallel leading to the three-year-long (1950-1953) Korean War.
From 1954-1968, the African American Civil Rights movement took place, especially in the Southern states. Fighting to put an end to racial segregation and discrimination, the movement resulted in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and the 1968 Fair Housing Act.
The Vietnam War was a nearly 20-year battle (November 1, 1955–April 30, 1975) between North Vietnam and South Vietnam. North Vietnam won the war and Vietnam became a unified country.
The Apollo 11 mission (July 16-24, 1969) allowed United States astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin to become the first humans to walk on the moon’s surface.
The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, changed the United States forever. Less than a month later (October 7, 2001) the United States began the War in Afghanistan, which is still happening today.
On March 20, 2003, the United States invaded and occupied Iraq. The war lasted for more than eight years before it was officially declared over on December 18, 2011.
In 2008, Barack Obama became the first African American to be elected president of the United States.
The Chavins: The people who built the first South American cities. In addition to hunting and gathering they made pottery, weaved on looms and made elborate carvings. Their cities, which formed around 2500 BCE, were located in modern-day Peru. They included religious ceremonial sites and a three-story high building with mazes of rooms and corridors.
Tiahuanaco: The city that was built around 300 BCE in the Andes in modern-day Bolivia near Lake Titicaca. Its center featured enormous stone temples and palaces, and it was surrounded by long strings of smaller settlements reaching into the Brazilian rain forests. Distinctive jewelry, pottery and temple stones were found there. The city’s population reached 100,000 before it began to decline. It was abandoned due to drought or destroyed around 1000 CE. The people of Tiahuanaco are referred to as the Tiahuanaco people or the Tiahuanaco culture. They were peaceful and nonmilitaristic.
The Middle Ages (500 CE to 1500 CE)
The Huari: The militaristic people who built the empire that spread over half of modern-day Peru from about 800 CE to about 1000 CE.
The Incas: The people who built the empire that spread over much of modern-day Peru after the Huari civilization failed. They came into prominence around 1200 CE and built many important towns, including Cuzco and Macchu Picchu, which remain today. They built stone structures without mortar, using a precise stone fitting technique. Their cultural peak, during which they expanded their empire far north and south, conquering other tribes after a long period of isolationism, occurred in the 1500s. Key features of Incan life included: relay runners who carried messages along the two main roads that spanned the length of the empire; terraced farms built onto the sides of the mountains; wooden spears and slingshots; and quipus (knotted ropes that helped them count). They did not write.
Machu Picchu: A small Incan town located deep in the Andes mountains which served as a spiritual center and possibly as an escape for dignitaries. It featured an astronomical observatory and stone temples.
Early Modern Times (1500 CE to 1900 CE)
Amerigo Vespucci: The first western explorer to reach South America and the first to realize that the Americas existed. After his travels, he created the first map of the New World, giving the new continent his name. His discovery occurred in 1499, just a few years after Christopher Colombus landed on the Carribean islands thinking he had landed in India. Though Vespucci was Italian, he sailed for Spain, which funded his travels with the hopes of colonizing new lands. Vespucci first landed in modern-day Guyana (the northernmost area of South America), then traveled into the Amazon rain forest and to the island of Trinidad.
Spanish colonization of South America: In the mid-1500s, the Spanish landed in Incan areas. In less than a year, the Incas had been destroyed. Machu Picchu served as their last stronghold against the Spanish invaders (called conquistadors). The Spanish mistreated the natives and forced them into slavery. They smashed Incan temples and idols and introduced deadly diseases. In the late 1500s and throughout the 1600s, Spanish conquistadors relentlessly raided South America for gold, which allowed Spain to dominate Europe during this time. However, grave mismanagement of these funds and Napolean’s bid for Portugal and Spain in the early 1800s weakened Spain. During this century, South Americans began rebelling and fightng for independence. Eventually, all were successful. In the early 1800s, Argentina, Paraguay, Mexico, Peru, Braziland Venezuela gained independence. They were led by Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin. Because wealthy plantation owners still held most of the power, living conditions didn’t improve after independence.
3000 B.C.: The Bronze Age began in the Middle East when copper was smelted by Egyptians and Sumerians.
3000 B.C.: Writing was developed in Sumer (cuneiform) and Egypt (hieroglyphs), triggering the beginning of recorded history.
2360 B.C.: Sargon of Akkad (one of the Sumerian cities) united Mesopotamia into the world’s first empire. (Note that ‘Sumer’ refers to the collection of cities and Akkad refers to the Sumerian city that became dominant during Sargon’s time.)
2100 B.C: Ur, then Assyria and Babylon took over location of prominence in Mesopotamia.
1200-1150 B.C.:Bronze Age collapse
1100 B.C.: Use of Iron spreads.
1180 B.C.: Disintegration of Hittite Empire
In Mesopotamia, assyrian empire, persians… Nebuchadnezzar rules as king of Babylon …Cyrus the Great rules over Medes and Persians
3000 B.C.: Wheels first used on chariots in Mesopotamia. Before that, carts/ wheelbarrows.
2500 B.C.: Bricks first used for buildings (Indus Valley).
1900-700 B.C.: Babylon. Under Hammurabi the Great Babylonians began to take over southern Mesopotamia. Then controlled whole of Mesopotamia. Famous for code of law. Stable, efficient rule. Well-disciplined armies. Hittites sacked Babylon, the main city, in 1595 B.C. Continued on but soon overshadowed by Assyria. From Babylongians we get the system of counting based on the number 60 that divides hours and the degrees of a circle. Built on Sumerian math and science. Code of Hammurabi especially known for fairness and “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” as quoted in the Bible.
1900-612 B.C.: Assyrians: While Babylon ruled in southern mesopotamia, Assyrians dominated the north. Valley of Upper Tigris River. Last great ruler was Ashurbanipal, who built the great library at Ninevah and vast gardens with plants from all over the world–a major palace. Ordered many historic records and math, chemistry, astronomy texts to be written down. Had some setbacks due to dictatorial leadership style and rebellions, but eventually conquered Babylon. At its greatest in mid-700s. Included Babylon, Syria, Palestine, Cyprus, northern Arabia, Egypt. Siege warfare experts. Women and children sometimes sold into slavery.
1800-587 B.C.: The Hebrews: First settled Palestine (Canaan) about 1800 B.C. Came from Ur. “Hebrews” means “people from the other side” of the Euphrates River. OT says leader was Abraham, a shepherd from Ur. Grandson Jacob had twelve sons, twelve tribes of Israel. When famine struch Canaan they all went to Egypt but became enslaved there until Moses brought them back to Canaan, around 1200 B.C. Fought the Philistines (Palestinians) for land, established Israel. Conquered city of Jericho as part of this effort. Wise king Solomon was one of their leaders. Fair, and very rich, too. After his death Israel split into two different states, Israel and Judah, which weakened them and led to their downfall.
Significance of Hebrews: Introduced monotheism and individualism and humanism/humaneness–originally one of the nomadic groups that wandered around the Near East. Not particularly well-liked. Small in number. No particular religion. Traders. Info about them from the O.T. Also, different perspective of time. Egyptians saw it as a circle, with history repeating itself. Hebrews saw it as a linear thing. also hebrews v concerned with social justice. patriarchal but treated women with respect. hebrews always believed they were the chosen people. also: universalism. applied their own laws to everyone else.
The Old Testament: Based on 6-7000 yr old oral traditions. Written by various authors. Thought to be very reliable historically, though few other sources exist to compare it with. (Ex: In 5700 BCE a flood occurred in the Black Sea that might have been the one in Noah’s time. A cataclysmmic event.) Torah (first 5 books) written on sheepskin and kept in an arc. no mistakes tolerated. no one allowed to touch it. ark of the cov was lost in a battle with the philistines early on in their history. the laws in the early OT books were based on the ten commands, but got more and more and more complex the more the jews mingled with other cultures while trying to remain distinct from them. the prophets, minor and major, often reinforced these strict guidelines. esp decrying baal worship and assimilation of culture.
1600 BCE: Great famine in Isrel, where the Hebrews were, so Jacob took his family to Egypt. Then other Hebrews followed. 1225: Jews fled slavery in Egypt and settled in Canaan. Moses was the leader. Moses introduced idea that sinning is responsible for bad things that happen; individual responsibility for fate, fate not at the whim of a god. Revolutionary idea. Also comforting to the Hebrews. Hebrews=israelites=jews. After Moses, settled Canaan (?). Elected Saul as King and defeated the Philistines, who also wanted to settle Palestine, which was a great place to live. Then had King Solomon. A great empire built with Jerusalem as the capital. Jews started spreading their fairth. Grew quickly. 996–death of solomon, kingdom split. tribe of israel to north and tribe of judah to the south. after this, no longer a first rate power.
722–assyrians attacked and expelled israel.
586-chaldeans attacked judah. sent jjews into the babylonian captivity. jews brought to babylon and made slaves
515-king cyrus allowed jews to return to jerusalem. managed somehow to survive as a race. tolerated there for a time.
1600-1200 B.C.: The Hittites. First to use iron. Warlike people. Chariots. 1,000 gods (chief is a strom god). Boulder sculptures. Peak 1300. Developed writing. Introduced the horse to the Middle East. Raided by the Sea Peoples and weakened, then fell. (Made up of several city-states united by warfare around 1650.) Partly concurrent with the Assyrians and Babylonians.
1500 B.C.: Iron smelted by Hittites in Middle East. Stone age – bronze age – iron age sometimes describe historical periods but dates of these ages are different for different areas, depending on when these technologies developed there.
1500-500 B.C.: The Phoenicians. Greatest seafarers of ancient times. East end of Mediterranean Sea in modern-day Lebanon. String of independent city-states. Trade with India, China and crafts, not much large-scale farming or land conquering.. Prosperous, powerful. Saw rise and fall of Minoans and Myceneans and actively helped the rise of Greece and Rome. Invented glass blowing. Purple dye. Supplied materials and craftworkers to Solomon to build temple of Jerusalem. Had many colonies around the Med, inc Carthage.
1037 B.C.: Alongside the Abassids, the Sejuk Turks from central Asia arrived in modern-day Afghanistan and conquered it. Then they conquered Baghdad and defeated the Byzantines
1020 B.C.: Philistines threatened them again. Hebrews changed to a king system (instead of judges between tribes). Saul, then David, who united all the tribes and made Jerusalem the capital and enlargened territory. Built great temple of Jerusalem. Peace-loving, wise king. Temple housed the Ark of the Covenant, the greatest tresure of the Israelites, which housed Moses’ Ten Commandments. (here insert solomon stuff) (cut child in two to discover mom story)
721 B.C.: Assyrians invaded Israel, dispersing many Jews.
683 B.C.: Took Judah, too. Scattered Jews widely. Some became Assyrian slaves.
656-661 B.C.: Muslims divided between Sunis and Shiites due to dispute over who should lead. Sunis more successful. During this time, Muslims seen as liberators and tolerant since they didn’t force conversiona. Arabic became a universal language except in Persia which was mainly Shiite.
636-642 B.C.: Muslims took Palestine, Syria, Persia, Egypt (jihad)
630 B.C.: Muhammad captured Mecca and became its ruler.
626-539 B.C.: Babylon Revived: Babylon declared independence from Assyria, then took over the Assyrians. Nebuchadnezzar drove the Egyptians back into Egypt and took Syria. Also captured Jerusalem and forced Jews to live in Babylon as prisoners because they’d tried to revolt. Babylon now master of all lands in Fertile Crescent. Neb made Babylon a beautiful world capital. Made the Hanging Gardens–stepped gardens overlooking the city, a large bridge, the tower of Babel, a fine palace and more. In later years, became mad. Trade and seafaring flourished. Huge metropolis and world market.
612 B.C.: Assyria fell to the Babylonians, never to be (regained)
610 B.C.: Muhammed experienced his first vision, which led to his founding of Islam. At this time, Arabs worshipped many gods. Started preaching but Mecca felt threatened and he and his followers fled to Medina. There, religion grew. Based on prayer, one God, purification, assistance to poor.
587/97 B.C.: Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and deported most of the Jews to Babylon. Beginning of the “diaspora.” (?: who controlled israel now? assyria or babylong? compare all this with story of the world timelines)
570 B.C.: Muhammed born in Mecca.
559-331 B.C.: Persian Empire. Modern-day Iran. Medes and Persians who made up the Persian Empire came from central Asia around 800 B.C. Their ruler, Cyrus the Great, rebelled against the Medes and gained control, then expanded Persia with capital on the Silk Road. Persia reached from Mediterranean to Afghanistan. Ruled fairly to gain support of subjects. One Persian king, Darius, especially great general. Followed religious teachings of a Persian prophet named Zarathustra. (teachings brought from Asia.) (Zoroastrianism.) This religion influenced Christianity later. Extended into India and Greece for a time. Satraps (governors) paid taxes and ruled peacefully. Darius built roads connecting all parts of the empire, introduced standard coinage and controlled the Western end of the Silk Road. Conquered by the Greeks.
238 B.C. to AD 63: First the Parthians, then the Sassanids rose to power in Persia. Not much is known about them, but they did halt Rome’s eastern expansion and were excellent warriors. They practiced Zoroastianism. They fell to Muslim Arabs in 63 and became Muslim, too. early 500s: Haggia Sophia built in Constantinople.
200-100 B.C.: Rome destroyed Carthage and this started downfall of Phoenicians (fact check this).
69 B.C.: Cleopatra born
The Middle Ages (500 CE to 1500 CE)
539 B.C.: Babylon conquered by Cyrus the Great of Persia, who freed the Jews. Ruled till Alex the Great took it over in 331.
700: Major advances in chemistry in Baghdad 810: Algebra invented in Persia
900: Arabic advances in astronomy
750-1258: The Abbasid Dynasty. Abassids defeated previous Sunni leaders, the Umayyads. During this time the Islamic Empire was unified, culture flourished and Baghdad, the captial, became great. Court in Baghdad was the setting for much of ‘the Thousand and One Nights. …taking Constantinople for Islam, and ruled over the Abassid Empire, too. The Byzantine Empire soon became the Ottoman Empire under the Ottoman Turks and built the Ottoman Empire. Byzantine Empire retook Constantinople in 1261, but Ottomans exanded all over Greece nd Central Europe, then in 1453 finally defeated Constantinople! Ottomans keen on good ties and trade with West. Occupied the Balkans, Blak Sea, Anatolia, Syria, more. Constantinople became Istanbul. Europe did feel threatened by closer presence of Muslims. Ottomans dominated Middle East, especially under Suleymon the Magnificent.
1258: The Monguls overra and destroyed the Abbasid dynasty and the Turks, who had been divided not 150 years before. Turks moved closer to Constantinople.
1095-1291: The Crusades
Palestine was the Muslim and Christian holy land, with Jerusalem as the holiest city. The Turks didn’t allow Crhristians to pilgrimage to there, which sparked the Pope to call on Christians to “fre” it from Muslims. At first, loners went. In 1099, well-disciplined army went and succceeeded in caturing Jerusalem. Massacred inhabitants.
1187: Recaptured by Muslims. Later, after attempts to get it back, a peace treaty signed sharing Jerusalem. Christians allowed to visit again. A fourth through eigth crusade unsuccessful. In 1291, Palestine conquered by the sultan of Egypt and crusades ended.
1347-1351: The Black Death. One of worst disasters in history. Wiped out 1/3 of population of Middle East and Europe.
Early Modern Times (1500 CE to 1900 CE)
Early 1500s: Persians gained independence under the Safavid dynasty. Shiite Islam became sate religion. Many religious wars with Sunni Ottomans but held strong against being taken over by Ottomans.
1600s: Slow decline of the Ottomans began. Prosperity reduced gradually by military defeat[?}, plagues, new sea routes let to reductiion of traffic through trade routes. Lost more and more of the empire–chipped away. Russia took the Crimea and most of Ukraine. Whole middle east greatly weakened. Persia, though, remained stable. Did avoid colonization, though. (!)
The Modern Era (1900 to the Present)
1948: State of Israel formed. Many Jews returned to Palestine. Conflict between Israel and the Arab countries of Egypt, Jordan and Syriaincreased. Arabs aided by other Arab countries, too.
The U.S. sided wih th Mid-Eastern allies who sold U.S. oil, especially Kuwait. Shiite fundamentalists came to power in Iran in 1979. Israel often aggressive, proactive.
1990: Iraq invaded Kuwait to improve its sea access and U.S. and other countries united against Iraq and liberated Kuwait.
Huang Di: 2700 BCE. The emperor who first united northern and southern China. The first emperor of China. Brought medicine, writing, civilization. Prior to this, China was not a unified entity, but a collection of small farming villages. Interestingly, farming developed in this area around the same time that it was discovered in the West, probably coincidentally.
Xiling J.: Wife of Huang Di. Said to have discovered silk.
Qin Dynasty: 221 BCE. Shi Huangdi (who later took the name Qin Zheng).
Hang Dynasty/Han Dynasty: 202.
Shi Huangdi/Qin Zheng: First united Chinese empire. Invention of paper. Book burning. Great Wall. Officially becomes a Confucian state. Silk Road is made. Start of Qin dynasty.
Great Wall of China:
Emperor Liu Bang:
Huns of Mongolia:
Sui and Tang Dynasties:
Tibetan takeover and civil war:
Zhu Yuan Zhang:
Hong Kong takeover:
Republic of China:
Chinese Civil War:
The Long March:
People’s Republic of China:
Great Leap Forward:
Little Red Book:
Tiananmen Square demonstration:
Return of Hong Hong:
China in the new millennium:
In China, Huang Di unites the north and south. T’ang … Shang Dynasty…475 BC: Warring States period begins in China as the Zhou king became a mere figurehead; China is annexed by regional warlords…Shi Huangdi (Qin Zheng) begins uniting Warring States of China
In India, the Harappan civilization … Exodus of Indus Valley … aryan people enter india…The Mauryan Empire of India
In China, the Great Wall of China was built…. Qin Zheng orders book burning …China in this period officially becomes a Confucian state and opens trading connections with the West, i.e. the Silk Road – buddha, confucius … 221 B.C.: First united Chinese empire, under Shi Huangdi…
200 B.C.: Paper is invented in China
3000 B.C.: Farming, crafts. First small farming villages.
2700 B.C.: Huangdi, the Yellow Emperor–first emperor of China. Brought medicine, writing, civilization. Wife Xiling J. said to have discovered silk.
2200 B.C.: Xia Dynasty is first dynasty (founder Yu). Yu made irrigation, dams.
1766: Emperor Tang started the Shang Dynasty. Bronze, jade, horses/chariots, domestic animals, wheat millet, rice, silk, calligraphy, ancestor worship.
1122 B.C.: Zhou Dynasty replaced Shang.
1122-221 B.C.: The Zhou Dynasty. A golden age in China. Growth of towns, trade and imperialism. (Ousted the Shangs.) Not a single kingdom but a collection of large estates whose rulers were loyal to the king. Ironworking began in China at this time. This period followed by the “Period of the Warring States”–warlord infighting. This was the time of Confucius and Lao-Tzu. Idea of a centralized Chinese imperial state became popularized. Inventions: China: ivention of gunpowder, paper, magnetic compasses, acupuncture, abacuses-early calculator useful for computing large sums. modern computers became faster only in the early 1980s. plus seismograph.
868: Earliest known printed book in china
900: Chinese develop porcelain
350s B.C.: Warlike Qin state grow to dominate area (of western China)
221-206 B.C.: King Qin Zheng. (Qin is pronounced “Chin” and “China” comes from it.) United most of China in just ten years, ending period o warring states. Changed name to Shi Huangdi (“first emperor”). Reorganized the government. Standardized weights and measures, Chinese writing, width of wagon wheels, laws, single currency. Had administrators take over in place of feudal system aristocrats. Roads and canals, irrigation, drainage, started Great Wall (214). Destroyed classic literary works, including some by Confucius, in name of modernization. Sages under attack. Invented the wheelbarrow. Shi Huangdi’s tomb housed 7,000 larger than life terracotta soldiers
202 B.C. to AD 220: Han Dynasty founded after Zheng’s death. Long-lasting dynasty. Very stable. More lenient than the Qins. Fair Confucian principles of law and administration. First emperor is Liu Bang. Popular, relaxed harsh laws. For a time, captial Chang’an was world’s largest city. At end of the Silk Road on which China traded with Persia and Rome. China as large as the Roman Empire. Mandarins are the educated officials. They had to take an exam on Confucianism. They managed to beat back the Huns of Mongolia. Got Buddhism from India. Writings destroyed by the Qin were replaced. Invented paper. But empire fell apart due to border tension with barbarians and internal rebellions by the poor.
Sui and Tang Dynasties: 589-907. After the fall of the Han, China divided. Constant warfare and nomad invasions. Population fell. People fled more into the soth. Buddhism grew.
589: Yang Jian united China again, founded Sui dynasty. Cut taxes and abolished compulsory military service. Irrigation, palaces, parks. Tang dynasty took over, organized empire beyond anywhere else in world. Stable for 300 years. Expanded to west to keep control of Silk Road. Empire extended from Korea to Afghanistan and Thailand.
700s and 800s: Tibetans defeated China in central Asia. Other rebellions, too. 907 to 960, period of civil war.
960: Song dynasty. Third united Chinese empire. Initiated long period of cultural eminence. Painting. Made peace with the now-unified states on their borders (Tibetan, Liao, Thai and Vietnamese states.) Agriculture expanded, population grew. 100 million people. Invented porcelain, far ahead of Europe. Also invented gunpowder rockets, clocks, movable type printing, paddle-wheel boats, magnetic compass. Had poetry, theater, banking, trade expansion. Government reform.
1127: Jin invaded north, took the capital.
1234: Kublai Khan’s Mongols took over.
1279: Mongols took areas further south, too.
1206-1405: Mongol Empire. Largest empire in history. Started and led by Genghis Khan, then grandson Kublai Khan, who completed conquest of China. G. K. was 13 when he took leadership of his small warlike tribe. GK means “emperor of all men.” Took Turkestand, northern China, Korea (failed to get Japan), then Afghanistan, Persia and parts of Russia. Fast horses, far-firing bows, disciplined army. Pacific Ocean to Black Sea by 1200s.
1271: K.Khan started the Yuan dynasty with himself as Chinese emperor. Traditionally lived in Yurts, large round tents made of hides or cloth. Khan encouraged trade, opened Silk Road to the west.
1275: Venetian merchant Marco Polo spent 17 years at court of KK. Wrote all about the luxury there.
1294: Kublai Kahn died. Empire began to break up. His descendants overthrown in a thirteen-year campaign led by Zhu Yuan Zhang, who became emperor in 1368. Called his dynasty “ming” for “bright”. Mongols lost power in all states by 1405. China, Russia left poor and Muslims in turmoil.
Ming dynasty: 1368-1644. Zhang moved the campital south to Nanjing. Restored order. Uncle, Emperor Yonle, took over and China became great again. Built the Forbidden City (where?) for only emperors to use. Roads, canals, palaces, temples, leraning, arts, trade, exports. Ornamental gardens.
1517: Portugese and other Europeans arrived on coast. Traded in Guangzhou.
1592: Japan invaded Korea, threatening China. Japanese pirates near coast! Civil unrest due to famine, rising taxes, government corruption, which was due to fights and Mongols and Japan.
1517-1644: Borders weakened in several places. Mings fell. Manchus of north, called into Beijing to put down rebels. Did so, then established the Qing Dynasty.
1644-1911: Qing Dynasty. Size and population grew. Monguls finally defeated. Manchus, from Manchuria, lived separately from Chinese in closed-off areas. Chinese men had to wear long hair in pigtails to show inferiority to Manchus. But both Manchus and Chinese were civil servants (mandarins). Eventually Manchus assimilated and were accepted. Brought efficiency without disturbing customs too much. Therefore stayed in power a long time. Trade increaseed – tea, porcelain, cotton, silk. Started treating foreigners poorly to show their superiority. Took vassal states (Tibet, Vietnam, Burma, Mongolia, Turkestan)–Chinese emire now largest in world. 300 million people by 1800. (Tibet was ruled by a Buddhist leader called the Dalai Lama.)
1700: Chinese emperors only took silver for their highly-prized goods; not allowed to buy foreign stuff. Believed China was the “Middle Kingdom,” surrounded by barbarians. Diplomats tried and failed to sway the Qing emperors so illegal trade began. Opium trade. Traders began importing opium from places like Burma in huge quantities.
1830: Opium addiction widespread. Also, food shortages due to population growth. Taxes high. Some rebellions, too.
1830-1860: Opium wars. (?) Chinese officials burned stores of British opium in Guangzhous and Britain sent warships. Britain trade then banned. Fired on the ships. Britain won, took Hong Kong. China forced to open to trade. Trade agreements made with many countries.
1842: Hong Kong Island became a British colony and grew into a center of trade.
1898: Granted a 99-year lease on it. And the Kowloon Peninsula, too.
1911: Manchus (Qing Dynasty) overthrown in a cibil war.
1912: Republic of China founded. Had a president. No more imperial government; military leaders instead. One center led by rebel warlords in Beijing and nationalist government used Canton (Nanjing/Nanking) as their capital. Long civil war.
1921: Communitst Party founded.
1926: Communists joined with the nationalists in Canton and Chiang Kai-Shek took leadership and together they defeated the rebels in the North.
1927: The communists and nationalists began fighting each other. No longer allied. This fighting became known as the Chinese Civil War, though war had been going on since 1911. Kai-Shek’s capital in Nanjing. Drove communists out of Shanghai, but country still not stabilized.
1931: Japanese occupied Manchuria and threatened China. Meanshile communists set up a rival government (the JianXi Soviets) in Southern China. Mao Zedong took leadership, withstood nationalist attempts to oust them. Finally, after a huge attack, the long march.
1934: The Long March. 100,000 communists marched 6300 miles. 1/5th reached destination north in Shaanxi Province.
1936: to fight Japan, nationalists and commies allied for a while.
1945: War with Japan, which had gone on this whole time, finally ended. Communist and nationalist alliance ended and civil war resumed. (The U.S. and Britain supported the nationalists against Japan.) Communists had large army and support of the people.
1949: Mao proclaimed the People’s Republic of China. Pushed the nationalists to Taiwan.
1958: Great Leap Forward: redistributed land to giant peasant communes. Failed, starvation, food shortages still.
1966: Started Cultural Revolution. Produced more iron and steel. Brought doctors to countryside, taught kids to read and write. Required everyone to read “The Thoughts of Chairman Mao,” also known as the Little Red Book. When people started criticising communism, he killed scholars, political opponents, more. Put others in concentration camps.
1976: China became more open. Traded more. More industry. Foreign investments welcomed.
1989: Tiananmen Square student demonstrations and massacre. 3,000 killed, 10,000 injured. Maybe many more.
The Polynesians: The first people to settle modern-day Australia. [?] They might have first come from Taiwan, then Melanesia, an area in the Pacific Islands (2000 BCE). After that, they settled the Polynesian Triangle around Fiji, then moved to Tahiti and the Marquesas (1300 BCE). From there, they visited America, Easter Island and Hawaii. They carved wood; kept livestock; and grew coconuts, taros, yams and vegetables. They were remarkable sailors, with large oceangoing canoes featuring sails and paddles stabilized with outriggers or doubled up like catamarans. They also had advanced knowledge of stars, currents and winds.
Easter Island statues: They might have created the famous Easter Island statues, or they might have been created by unknown earlier settlers since the Polynesians weren’t known to be stone carvers.
The Middle Ages (500 CE to 1500 CE)
The Maori: The Polynesians who settled modern-day New Zealand during the Middle Ages (850 CE and on). They traded with the Aborigines.
The Aborigines: The Polynesians who settled modern-day Australia. [?] The Aborigines were tribal societies ruled by chiefs. They were experts in wood carving, even though they were isolated from Asia and Indonesia.
Early Modern Times (1500 CE to 1900 CE)
New Holland: The name the Dutch gave the Australian continent in the 1700s after discovering it in the 1600s. (The Dutch also discovered Tasmania and New Zealand around this time.)
Captain Cook: The British explorer who claimed New Zealand and Australia for Britain. He also traveled to Tahiti, Hawaii and Antarctica. In Antarctica, he was pushed back by glaciers.
First Australian colonists: Convicts exiled from Britain in the late 1700s. These were followed by free settlers, who also colonized New Zealand. They introduced new diseases to the Aborigines and changed local culture.
British takeover of New Zealand: During the 1800s, the British colonists of New Zealand competed with the Maori for land. Eventually, the Maori gave ownership of the island to the British in exchange for land ownership rights. Some accounts claim that two versions of the treaty were written, though, with one leading the Maori to believe they were giving up governorship, not ownership. Following this, there were violent Maori uprisings. Eventually, New Zealand became an official British colony.
The new nation of Australia: The nation created by the British in the 1800s. Following this, the British and Aborigines coexisted, but not entirely peacefully. Many Aborigines were killed in conflicts over land and many others died of Western diseases.
The Commonwealth of Australia: A federation of various Australian colonies founded in the early 1900s. These colonies set up governments based on free trade and equal rights. Many of them achieved independence from Britain and wrote constitutions based on the American and British constitutions.
(Add: When did Australia as a whole achieve independence from Britain? What about New Zealand?)
The Australian gold rush: The influx of settlers in the 1900s (mid or early?) resulting from the discovery of gold there. (Need more.)
Australia during World War II: During World War II, Australia fought on the side of the Allies. (Need more.)
Post-world war Australia: After World War II, Australia gained wealth and tourism. They imported a great deal of American technology and culture.
The Modern Era (1900 to the Present)
The Commonwealth of Australia: In the early 1900s, the leaders of various Australian colonies united in a federation called the Commonwealth of Australia. These new colonies set up governments based on free trade and equal rights, and many of them achieved independence, writing their own constitutions based on the American and British constitutions.
The Australian gold rush: In the late 1900s, there was a gold rush.
Australia in World War II: During World War II, the Australians fought on the side of the Allies. During the robust postwar economic times, Australia gained wealth and tourism. They imported a great deal of American technology and culture.