World History AP with Mr. Duez - Learning Targets

Part 1 - First Things First Beginnings in History, to 500 BCE

Chapter 2 - First Farmers: The Revolutions of Agriculture, 10,000 BCE to 3,000 BCE



1.        The Agricultural Revolution marked a decisive turning point in human history. What evidence might you offer to support this claim, and how might you argue against it?

2.        How did early agricultural societies differ from those of the Paleolithic era? How does the example of settled gathering and hunting peoples such as the Chumash complicate this comparison?

3.   Was the Agricultural Revolution inevitable? Why did it occur so late in the story of humankind?

4.        “The Agricultural Revolution provides evidence for ‘progress’ in human affairs.” How would you evaluate this statement?


1.  What accounts for the emergence of agriculture after countless millennia of human life without it?

2.  In what different ways did the Agricultural Revolution take shape in various parts of the world?

3.  In what ways did agriculture spread? Where and why was it sometimes resisted?

4.  What was revolutionary about the Agricultural Revolution?

5.  What different kinds of societies emerged out of the Agricultural Revolution?

6.  How did chiefdoms differ from stateless agricultural village societies?


Agricultural Revolution: Also known as the Neolithic Revolution, this is the transformation of human (and world) existence caused by the deliberate cultivation of particular plants and the deliberate taming and breeding of particular animals.

Austronesian: An Asian-language family whose speakers gradually became the dominant culture of the Philippines, Indonesia, and the Pacific islands, thanks to their mastery of agriculture.

Banpo: A Chinese archeological site, where the remains of a significant Neolithic village have been found. (pron. bahn-poe)

Bantu: An African-language family whose speakers gradually became the dominant culture of eastern and southern Africa, thanks to their agricultural techniques and, later, their ironworking skills. (pron. BAHN-too)

Bantu migration: The spread of Bantu-speaking peoples from their homeland in what is now southern Nigeria or Cameroon to most of Africa, in a process that started ca. 3000 b.c.e. and continued for several millennia.

broad spectrum diet: Archeologists’ term for the diet of gathering and hunting societies, which included a wide array of plants and animals.

Cahokia: An important agricultural chiefdom of North America that flourished around 1100 C.E. (pron. cah-HOKE-ee-ah)

Çatalhüyük: An important Neolithic site in what is now Turkey. (pron. cha-TAHL-hoo-YOOK)

chiefdom: A societal grouping governed by a chief who typically relies on generosity, ritual status, or charisma rather than force to win obedience from the people.

diffusion: The gradual spread of agricultural techniques without extensive population movement.

domestication: The taming and changing of nature for the benefit of humankind.

end of the last Ice Age: A process of global warming that began around 16,000 years ago and ended about 5,000 years later, with the earth enjoying a climate similar to that of our own time; the end of the Ice Age changed conditions for human beings, leading to increased population and helping to pave the way for agriculture.

Fertile Crescent: Region sometimes known as Southwest Asia that includes the modern states of Iraq, Syria, Israel/Palestine, and southern Turkey; the earliest home of agriculture.

horticulture: Hoe-based agriculture, typical of early agrarian societies.

intensification: The process of getting more in return for less; for example, growing more food on a smaller plot of land.

Jericho: Site of an important early agricultural settlement of perhaps 2,000 people in present-day Israel.

Mesopotamia: The valley of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in present-day Iraq.

native Australians: Often called “Aboriginals” (from the Latin ab origine, the people who had been there “from the beginning”), the natives of Australia continued (and to some extent still continue) to live by gathering and hunting, despite the transition to agriculture in nearby lands.

pastoral society: A human society that relies on domesticated animals rather than plants as the main source of food; pastoral nomads lead their animals to seasonal grazing grounds rather than settling permanently in a single location.

 “secondary products revolution”: A term used to describe the series of technological changes that began ca. 4000 b.c.e., as people began to develop new uses for their domesticated animals, exploiting a revolutionary new source of power.

stateless societies: Village-based agricultural societies, usually organized by kinship groups, that functioned without a formal government apparatus.

teosinte: The wild ancestor of maize. (pron. tay-oh- SIN-tay)