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School in a Book: Essential Skills: Math, Science and History

green calculator on yellow background
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Essential Arithmetic Skills

  • Counting by twos, fives, tens, twelves, fifteens and twenties
  • Adding and subtracting numbers up to 1000 without using a calculator or writing instruments
  • Rounding numbers to the nearest ones, fives, tens, hundreds and thousands
  • Solving basic story problems
  • Using a calculator
  • Using a ruler and drawing compass
  • Calculating map distances
  • Converting units of measurement
  • Memorizing the 0-12 multiplication table
  • Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing fractions
  • Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing decimals
  • Adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing negative numbers

Essential Algebra Skills

  • Using algebraic symbols
  • Solving simple equations with variables
  • Calculating exponential growth
  • Finding prime numbers and square roots
  • Solving inequalities
  • Understanding sequences
  • Using absolute value
  • Working with polynomials
  • Working with factorization
  • Working with quadratic equations
  • Working with rational and irrational numbers
  • Working with radicals
  • Comparing functions

Essential Geometry Skills

  • Measuring angles
  • Calculating area
  • Calculating surface area
  • Calculating diameter
  • Calculating square footage
  • Calculating perimeter
  • Calculating volume
  • Calculating scale
  • Calculating arc length
  • Calculating area of circles
  • Graphing lines and slopes
  • Working with coordinate planes
  • Proving simple geometric theorems
  • Making geometric constructions based on a given set of numbers
  • Working with the Pythagorean theorem
  • Calculating linear equations
  • Understanding congruence
  • Understanding similarity

Essential Statistics Skills

  • Finding averages
  • Finding means and medians
  • Converting whole numbers to percentages and vice versa
  • Calculating ratios, rates, percentages and proportions
  • Deciphering information on line graphs, bar graphs, circle graphs and tables
  • Deciphering information on a Vinn diagram
  • Deciphering the reliability of a research study based on statistical information provided

Essential Science and History Skills

  • Reading and following a map
  • Creating a historical timeline
  • Interpreting the Periodic Table of the Elements
  • Drawing a simple diagram of an atom
  • Drawing simple diagrams of molecules
  • Using a telescope
  • Using a microscope
  • Calculating time zone differences
  • Making and testing a hypothesis and using the scientific method
  • Identifying local plants and animals (daisy, bluebell, iris, crocus, pansy, lilac, rose, marigold, tulip, daffodil, buttercup, lavendar, juniper, oak tree, maple tree, ivy, blueberry bush, apple tree, pear tree, palm tree, raspberry bush, blackberry bush, cedar, pine)
  • Classifying animals into major taxonomic groups (mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, arthropods, vertebrates, invertebrates, those having live births and those which lay eggs)

Science Projects

  • Building science-related structures and models with mixed media
  • Building science-related structures and models with Lego (such as solar system models, lifelike animal and vehicle replicas, etc.)
  • Block building
  • Train set building
  • Playing with magnets
  • Breaking open and identifying rocks
  • Building circuits
  • Taking nighttime walks
  • Watching astronomical events (like a lunar eclipse, shooting stars or the Aurora Borealis)
  • Making homemade environmentally friendly house cleaners (using borax, lemon juice, baking soda, vinegar and more)
  • Learning computer programming basics
  • Growing crystals
  • Making a model of our solar system
  • Making a balloon rocket
  • Making a volcano using baking soda and vinegar
  • Making a bottle submarine
  • Making invisible ink
  • Hunting for fossils
  • Making a rainbow
  • Making a bat house
  • Making a birdhouse
  • Making a birdbath
  • Making a bee house for honeybees
  • Making a foam-and-cardboard planetarium
  • Growing coral
  • Comparing rates of decomposition
  • Going on tidepooling and nature collecting excursions
  • Watching sunsets and sunrises

History Discussion Questions

  • What are some of the important similarities between various historical cultures? What are some of the important differences?
  • Were there any good civilizations in history? Were there any bad ones?
  • What part did ethnocentrism play in various historical cultures? What part did racism play?
  • What are the main reasons nations and states waged war? Why did smaller tribes and peoples 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?
  • What are some possible reasons towns and civilizations spring up independently in so many different parts of the world within a few hundred years of each other?
  • 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?

School in a Book: History of India

Ancient Times (3000 BCE to 500 CE)

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. 

School in a Book: Logic and Rhetoric

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

School in a Book: World History Overview and Timeline

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.

Prehistory

  • 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)

Recorded history

  • 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)

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:

Basic World History Timeline

PREHISTORY

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

RECORDED HISTORY

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: The Shang Dynasty founded

1500s BCE: The Phoenician people arose

1200s BCE: The 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

2008 CE: Barack Obama was elected the first African American president of the United States