WHAP - MR. DUEZ                                                AP TEST REVIEW

Targets from The College Board AP World History Course Description

Period 1: Technological and Environmental Transformations, to c. 600 B.C.E.

Period 2: Organization and Reorganization of Human Societies, c. 600 B.C.E. to c. 600 C.E.

Period 3 - Regional & Transregional Interactions 600 to 1450

Theme 1: Interaction Between Humans and the Environment

• Demography and disease

• Migration

• Patterns of settlement

• Technology

Theme 2: Development and Interaction of Cultures

• Religions

• Belief systems, philosophies, and ideologies

• Science and technology

• The arts and architecture

Theme 3: State-Building, Expansion, and Conflict

• Political structures and forms of governance

• Empires

• Nations and nationalism

• Revolts and revolutions

• Regional, trans-regional, and global structures and organizations

Theme 4: Creation, Expansion, and Interaction of Economic Systems

• Agricultural and pastoral production

• Trade and commerce

• Labor systems

• Industrialization

• Capitalism and socialism

Theme 5: Development and Transformation of Social Structures

• Gender roles and relations

• Family and kinship

• Racial and ethnic constructions

• Social and economic classes

Period 1:

Technological and Environmental Transformations, to c. 600 B.C.E.

Key Concept 1.1. Big Geography and the Peopling of the Earth

The term Big Geography draws attention to the global nature of world history. Throughout the Paleolithic period, humans migrated from Africa to Eurasia, Australia, and the Americas. Early humans were mobile and creative in adapting to different geographical settings from savanna to desert to Ice Age tundra. By making an analogy with modern hunter forager societies, anthropologists infer that these bands were relatively egalitarian. Humans also developed varied and sophisticated technologies.

I. Archaeological evidence indicates that during the Paleolithic era, hunting-foraging bands of humans gradually migrated from their origin in East Africa to Eurasia, Australia, and the Americas, adapting their technology and cultures to new climate regions.

A. Humans used fire in new ways: to aid hunting and foraging, to protect against predators, and to adapt to cold environments.

B. Humans developed a wider range of tools specially adapted to different environments from tropics to tundra.

C. Economic structures focused on small kinship groups of hunting-foraging bands that could make what they needed to survive. However, not all groups were self-sufficient; they exchanged people, ideas, and goods.

Key Concept 1.2. The Neolithic Revolution and Early Agricultural Societies

I. Beginning about 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic Revolution led to the development of new and more complex economic and social systems.

In response to warming climates at the end of the last Ice Age, from about 10,000 years ago, some groups adapted to the environment in new ways, while others remained hunter-foragers. Settled agriculture appeared in several different parts of the world. The switch to agriculture created a more reliable, but not necessarily more diversified, food supply.

Agriculturalists also had a massive impact on the environment through intensive cultivation of selected plants to the exclusion of others, through the construction of irrigation systems, and through the use of domesticated animals for food and for labor. Populations increased; family groups gave way to village life and, later, to urban life with all its complexity. Patriarchy and forced labor systems developed, giving elite men concentrated power over most of the other people in their societies. Pastoralism emerged in parts of Africa and Eurasia. Pastoral peoples domesticated animals and led their herds around grazing ranges. Like agriculturalists, pastoralists tended to be more socially stratified than hunter-foragers. Because pastoralists were mobile, they rarely accumulated large amounts of material possessions, which would have been a hindrance when they changed grazing areas. The pastoralists’ mobility allowed them to become an important conduit for technological change as they interacted with settled


I. Beginning about 10,000 years ago, the Neolithic Revolution led to the development of new and more complex economic and social systems.

A. Possibly as a response to climatic change, permanent agricultural villages emerged first in the lands of the eastern Mediterranean. Agriculture emerged at different times in Mesopotamia, the Nile River Valley and Sub-Saharan Africa, the Indus River Valley, the Yellow River or Huang He Valley, Papua New Guinea, Mesoamerica, and the Andes.

B. Pastoralism developed at various sites in the grasslands of Afro Eurasia.

C. Different crops or animals were domesticated in the various core regions, depending on available local flora and fauna.

D. Agricultural communities had to work cooperatively to clear land and create the water control systems needed for crop production.

E. These agricultural practices drastically impacted environmental diversity. Pastoralists also affected the environment by grazing large numbers of animals on fragile grasslands, leading to erosion when overgrazed.

II. Agriculture and pastoralism began to transform human societies.

A. Pastoralism and agriculture led to more reliable and abundant food supplies, which increased the population.

B. Surpluses of food and other goods led to specialization of labor, including new classes of artisans and warriors, and the development of elites.

C. Technological innovations led to improvements in agricultural production, trade, and transportation. [EXAMPLES: Pottery, Plows, Woven textiles, Metallurgy, Wheels and wheeled vehicles.]

D. In both pastoralist and agrarian societies, elite groups accumulated wealth, creating more hierarchical social structures and promoting patriarchal forms of social organization.

Key Concept 1.3. The Development and Interactions of Early Agricultural, Pastoral, and Urban Societies

From about 5,000 years ago, urban societies developed, laying the foundations for the first civilizations. The term civilization is normally used to designate large societies with cities and powerful states. While there were many differences between civilizations, they also shared important features. They all produced agricultural surpluses that permitted significant specialization of labor. All civilizations contained cities and generated complex institutions, such as political bureaucracies, armies, and religious hierarchies. They also featured clearly stratified social hierarchies and organized long-distance trading relationships. Economic exchanges intensified within and between civilizations, as well as with nomadic


As populations grew, competition for surplus resources, especially food, led to greater social stratification, specialization of labor, increased trade, more complex systems of government and religion, and the development of record keeping. As civilizations expanded, they had to balance their need for more resources with environmental constraints such as the danger of undermining soil fertility. Finally, the accumulation of wealth in settled communities spurred warfare between communities and/or with pastoralists; this violence drove the development of new technologies of war and urban defense.

I. Core and foundational civilizations developed in a variety of geographical and environmental settings where agriculture flourished.

Students should be able to identify the location of all of the following required examples of

core and foundational civilizations:

• Mesopotamia in the Tigris and Euphrates River Valleys

• Egypt in the Nile River Valley

• Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa in the Indus River Valley

• Shang in the Yellow River or Huang He Valley

• Olmecs in Mesoamerica

• Chavín in Andean South America

II.  The first states emerged within core civilizations.

A.  States were powerful new systems of rule that mobilized surplus labor and resources over large areas. Early states were often led by a ruler whose source of power was believed to be divine or had divine support and/or who was supported by the military.

B.  As states grew and competed for land and resources, the more favorably situated — including the Hittites, who had access to iron — had greater access to resources, produced more surplus food, and experienced growing populations. These states were able to undertake territorial expansion and conquer surrounding states.

C.  Early regions of state expansion or empire building were Mesopotamia, Babylonia, and the Nile Valley.

D.  Pastoralists were often the developers and disseminators of new weapons and modes of transportation that transformed warfare in agrarian civilizations. [EXAMPLES: Weapons - Compound bows, Iron Weapons. Modes of Transportation - Chariots, horseback riding,]

III. Culture played a significant role in unifying states through laws, language, literature, religion, myths, and monumental art.

A.  Early civilizations developed monumental architecture and urban planning. [EXAMPLES: monumental architecture and urban planning, Ziggurats,Pyramids, Temples,Defensive walls, Streets and roads. Sewage and water systems.]

B.  Elites, both political and religious, promoted arts and artisanship. [EXAMPLES: arts and

artisanship, Sculpture, Painting, Wall decorations, Elaborate weaving.]

C. Systems of record keeping arose independently in all early civilizations and subsequently were diffused. [EXAMPLES: Systems of record keeping Cuneiform, Hieroglyphs, Pictographs, Alphabets, Quipu.]

D. States developed legal codes, including the Code of Hammurabi, that reflected existing hierarchies and facilitated the rule of governments over people.

E. New religious beliefs developed in this period continued to have strong influences in later periods. [EXAMPLES: The Vedic religion, Hebrew monotheism, Zoroastrianism.]

F. Trade expanded throughout this period from local to regional and transregional, with civilizations exchanging goods, cultural ideas, and technology. [EXAMPLES: Between Egypt and Nubia, Between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley.]

G. Social and gender hierarchies intensified as states expanded and cities multiplied.

H. Literature was also a reflection of culture. [EXAMPLES: The “Epic of Gilgamesh”, Rig Veda, Book of the Dead.]

Period 2: Organization and Reorganization of Human Societies, c. 600 B.C.E. to c. 600 C.E.

Key Concept 2.1. The Development and Codification of Religious and Cultural Traditions

As states and empires increased in size and contacts between regions multiplied, religious and cultural systems were transformed. Religions and belief systems provided a bond among the people and an ethical code to live by. These shared beliefs also influenced and reinforced political, economic, and occupational stratification. Religious and political authority

often merged as rulers (some of whom were considered divine) used religion, along with military and legal structures, to justify their rule and ensure its continuation. Religions and belief systems could also generate conflict, partly because beliefs and practices varied greatly within and among societies.

I. Codifications and further developments of existing religious traditions provided a bond among the people and an ethical code to live by.

A. The association of monotheism with Judaism was further developed with the codification of the Hebrew Scriptures, which also reflected the influence of Mesopotamian cultural and legal traditions. The Assyrian, Babylonian, and Roman empires conquered various Jewish states at different points in time. These conquests contributed to the growth of Jewish diasporic communities around the Mediterranean and Middle East.

B. The core beliefs outlined in the Sanskrit scriptures formed the basis of the Vedic religions — later known as Hinduism — which contributed to the development of the social and political roles of a caste system and in the importance of multiple manifestations of Brahma to promote teachings about reincarnation.

II. New belief systems and cultural traditions emerged and spread, often asserting universal truths.

A. The core beliefs about desire, suffering, and the search for enlightenment preached by the historic Buddha and recorded by his followers into sutras and other scriptures were, in part, a reaction to the Vedic beliefs and rituals dominant in South Asia. Buddhism changed over time as it spread throughout Asia — first through the support of the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka, and then through the efforts of missionaries and merchants, and the establishment of educational institutions to promote its core teachings.

B. Confucianism’s core beliefs and writings originated in the writings and lessons of Confucius and were elaborated by key disciples who sought to promote social harmony by outlining proper rituals and social relationships for all people in China, including the rulers.

C. In the major Daoist writings, the core belief of balance between humans and nature assumed that the Chinese political system would be altered indirectly. Daoism also influenced the development of Chinese culture. [EXAMPLES: influence of Daoism on the development of Chinese culture, Medical theories and practices, Poetry, Metallurgy, Architecture.]

D. Christianity, based on core beliefs about the teachings and divinity of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded by his disciples, drew on Judaism, and initially rejected Roman and Hellenistic influences. Despite initial Roman imperial hostility, Christianity spread through the efforts of missionaries and merchants through many parts of Afro-Eurasia, and eventually gained Roman imperial support by the time of Emperor Constantine.

E. The core ideas in Greco-Roman philosophy and science emphasized logic, empirical observation, and the nature of political power and hierarchy.

III. Belief systems affected gender roles. Buddhism and Christianity encouraged monastic life and Confucianism emphasized filial piety.

IV. Other religious and cultural traditions continued parallel to the codified, written belief systems in core civilizations.

A. Shamanism and animism continued to shape the lives of people within and outside of core civilizations because of their daily reliance on the natural world.

B. Ancestor veneration persisted in many regions. [EXAMPLES: regions where ancestor veneration persisted:  Africa, The Mediterranean region, East Asia, The Andean areas.]

V.  Artistic expressions, including literature and drama, architecture, and sculpture, show distinctive cultural developments.

A. Literature and drama acquired distinctive forms that influenced artistic developments in neighboring regions and in later time periods. [EXAMPLES: Greek plays, Indian epics.]

B. Distinctive architectural styles developed in many regions in this period. [EXAMPLES: regions where

distinctive architectural styles developed: India, Greece,The Roman Empire,Mesoamerica.]

C. The convergence of Greco-Roman culture and Buddhist beliefs affected the development of unique sculptural developments.

Key Concept 2.2. The Development of States and Empires

As the early states and empires grew in number, size, and population, they frequently competed for resources and came into conflict with one another. In quest of land, wealth, and security, some empires expanded dramatically. In doing so, they built powerful military machines and administrative institutions that were capable of organizing human activities

over long distances, and they created new groups of military and political elites to manage their affairs. As these empires expanded their boundaries, they also faced the need to develop policies and procedures to govern their relationships with ethnically and culturally diverse populations: sometimes to integrate them within an imperial society and sometimes to exclude them. In some cases, these empires became victims of their own successes. By expanding their boundaries too far, they created political, cultural, and administrative difficulties that they could not manage. They also experienced environmental, social, and economic problems when they overexploited their lands and subjects and permitted excessive wealth to be concentrated in the hands of privileged classes.

I. The number and size of key states and empires grew dramatically by imposing political unity on areas where previously there had been competing states.

Required examples of key states and empires (Student should know the location and names):

• Southwest Asia: Persian Empires [example of Persian Empires, either from the list below or an example of your choice:

• Achaemenid

• Parthian

• Sassanid

• East Asia: Qin and Han Empire

• South Asia: Maurya and Gupta Empires

• Mediterranean region: Phoenicia and its colonies, Greek city-states and colonies, and Hellenistic and Roman Empires

• Mesoamerica: Teotihuacan, Maya city-states

• Andean South America: Moche

II. Empires and states developed new techniques of imperial administration based, in part, on the success of earlier political forms.

A. In order to organize their subjects, the rulers created administrative institutions in many regions. [EXAMPLES: Centralized governments, Elaborate legal systems and bureaucracies. regions where rulers created administrative institutions: China, Persia, Rome, South Asia.]

B. Imperial governments projected military power over larger areas using a variety of techniques.

Examples of such techniques:

• Diplomacy

• Developing supply lines

• Building fortifications, defensive walls, and roads

• Drawing new groups of military officers and soldiers from the local populations or conquered peoples

C. Much of the success of the empires rested on their promotion of trade and economic integration by building and maintaining roads and issuing currencies.

III. Unique social and economic dimensions developed in imperial societies in Afro-Eurasia and the Americas.

A. Cities served as centers of trade, public performance of religious rituals, and political administration for states and empires.

example of cities:

• Persepolis

• Chang’an

• Pataliputra

• Athens

• Carthage

• Rome

• Alexandria

• Constantinople

• Teotihuacan

B. The social structures of empires displayed hierarchies that included cultivators, laborers, slaves, artisans, merchants, elites, or caste groups.

C. Imperial societies relied on a range of methods to maintain the production of food and provide rewards for the loyalty of the elites.

Examples: such methods,

• Corvée

• Slavery

• Rents and tributes

• Peasant communities

• Family and household


D. Patriarchy continued to shape gender and family relations in all imperial societies of this period.

IV. The Roman, Han, Persian, Mauryan, and Gupta empires created political, cultural, and administrative difficulties that they could not manage, which eventually led to their decline, collapse, and transformation into successor empires or states.

A. Through excessive mobilization of resources, imperial governments caused environmental damage and generated social tensions and economic difficulties by concentrating too much wealth in the hands of elites. [EXAMPLES of environmental damage: Deforestation, Desertification, Soil erosion, Silted rivers.]

B. External problems resulted from security issues along their frontiers, including the threat of invasions. [Examples of external problems along frontiers: Between Han China and the Xiongnu, Between the Gupta and

the White Huns, Between the Romans and their northern and eastern neighbors.]

Key Concept 2.3. Emergence of Transregional Networks of Communication and Exchange

With the organization of large-scale empires, the volume of long-distance trade increased dramatically. Much of this trade resulted from the demand for raw materials and luxury goods. Land and water routes linked many regions of the Eastern Hemisphere. The exchange of people, technology, religious and cultural beliefs, food crops, domesticated animals, and disease pathogens developed alongside the trade in goods across far-flung networks of communication and exchange. In the Americas and Oceania localized networks developed.

I. Land and water routes became the basis for trans regional trade, communication, and exchange networks in the Eastern Hemisphere.

A. Many factors, including the climate and location of the routes, the typical trade goods, and the ethnicity of people involved, shaped the distinctive features of a variety of trade routes. [Examples of trade routes: Eurasian Silk Roads, Trans-Saharan caravan routes, Indian Ocean sea lanes, Mediterranean sea lanes.]

II. New technologies facilitated long-distance communication and exchange.

A. New technologies permitted the use of domesticated pack animals to transport goods across longer routes. [Examples of new technologies: Yokes, Saddles, Stirrups.] [Examples domesticated pack animals: Horses, Oxen, Llamas, Camels.]

B. Innovations in maritime technologies, as well as advanced knowledge of the monsoon winds, stimulated exchanges along maritime routes from East Africa to East Asia. [Examples of innovations in maritime technologies: Lateen sail, Dhow ships]

III. Alongside the trade in goods, the exchange of people, technology, religious and cultural beliefs, food crops, domesticated animals, and disease pathogens developed across far-flung networks of communication and exchange.

A. The spread of crops, including rice and cotton from South Asia to the Middle East, encouraged changes in farming and irrigation techniques. [An Example of changes in farming and irrigation technique: The qanat system.]

B. The spread of disease pathogens diminished urban populations and contributed to the decline of some empires. [Examples of the effects of the spread of disease on empires: The effects of disease on the Roman Empire, The effects of disease on Chinese empires.]

C. Religious and cultural traditions were transformed as they spread. [Examples of transformed religious and cultural traditions: Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism.]

Period 3: Regional and Transregional Interactions, c. 600 C.E. to c. 1450

Key Concept 3.1. Expansion and Intensification of Communication and Exchange Networks

Although Afro-Eurasia and the Americas remained separate from one another, this era witnessed a deepening and widening of old and new networks of human interaction within and across regions. The results were unprecedented concentrations of wealth and the intensification of cross-cultural exchanges. Innovations in transportation, state policies, and mercantile practices contributed to the expansion and development of commercial networks, which in turn served as conduits for cultural, technological, and biological diffusion within and between various societies. Pastoral or nomadic groups played a key role in creating and sustaining these networks. Expanding networks fostered greater interregional borrowing, while at the same time sustaining regional diversity. The prophet Muhammad promoted Islam, a new major monotheistic religion at the start of this period. It spread quickly through practices of trade, warfare, and diffusion characteristic of this period.

I.  Improved transportation technologies and commercial practices led to an increased volume of trade, and expanded the geographical range of existing and newly active trade networks.

A.  Existing trade routes flourished and promoted the growth of powerful new trading cities. Required examples of existing trade routes: The Silk Roads, The Mediterranean Sea, The Trans-Saharan,  The Indian Ocean basins. Examples of powerful new trading cities: Novgorod, Timbuktu, The Swahili city-states, Hangzhou, Calicut, Baghdad, Melaka, Venice, Tenochtitlan, Cahokia.

B. New trade routes centering on Mesoamerica and the Andes developed.

C. The growth of interregional trade in luxury goods was encouraged by significant innovations in previously existing transportation and commercial technologies, including more sophisticated caravan organization; use of the compass, astrolabe, and larger ship designs in sea travel; and new forms of credit and monetization. Example of luxury goods: Silk and cotton textiles, Porcelain, Spices, Precious metals and gems, Slaves, Exotic animals. Examples of caravan or organization:  Caravanserai, Camel saddles. Examples of types of credit and monetization: Bills of exchange, Credit, Checks, Banking houses.

D. Commercial growth was also facilitated by state practices, trading organizations, and state-sponsored commercial infrastructures like the Grand Canal in China. Example of state practices: Minting of coins, Use of paper money. Example of trading organizations: Hanseatic League.

E. The expansion of empires facilitated Trans-Eurasian trade and communication as new peoples were drawn into their conquerors’ economies and trade networks. Required examples of empires: China, The Byzantine Empire, The Caliphates, The Mongols.

II. The movement of peoples caused environmental and linguistic effects.

A.        The expansion and intensification of long-distance trade routes often depended on environmental knowledge and technological adaptations to it. Example of environmental knowledge and technological adaptations: The way Scandinavian Vikings used their longships to travel in coastal and open water as well as in rivers and estuaries. The way the Arabs and Berbers adapted camels to travel across and around the Sahara. The way Central Asian pastoral groups use horses to travel in the steppes.

B.        Some migrations had a significant environmental impact. Examples of migration and their environmental impact:  The migration of Bantu-speaking peoples who facilitated transmission of iron technologies and agricultural techniques in Sub-Saharan Africa. The maritime migrations of the Polynesian peoples who cultivated transplant.

C.         Some migrations and commercial contacts led to the diffusion of languages throughout a new region or the emergence of new languages. Examples of the diffusion of languages: The spread of Bantu languages including Swahili. The spread of Turkic and Arabic languages.

III. Cross-cultural exchanges were fostered by the intensification of existing, or the creation of new, networks of trade and communication.

A. Islam, based on the revelations of the prophet Muhammad, developed in the Arabian peninsula. The beliefs and practices of Islam reflected interactions among Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians with the local Arabian peoples. Muslim rule expanded to many parts of Afro-Eurasia due to military expansion, and Islam subsequently expanded through the activities of merchants and missionaries.

B. In key places along important trade routes, merchants set up diasporic communities where they introduced their own cultural traditions into the indigenous culture. Example of diasporic communities: Muslim merchant communities in the Indian Ocean region, Chinese merchant communities in Southeast Asia, Sogdian merchant communities throughout Central Asia. Jewish communities in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean basin, or along the Silk Roads.

C. The writings of certain interregional travelers illustrate both the extent and the limitations of intercultural knowledge and understanding. Example of interregional travelers: Ibn Battuta, Marco Polo, Xuanzang.

D.  Increased cross-cultural interactions resulted in the diffusion of literary, artistic, and cultural traditions.Example of the diffusion of literary, artistic and cultural traditions: The influence of Neoconfucianism and Buddhism in East Asia, Hinduism and Buddhism in Southeast Asia, Islam in Sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, Toltec/Mexica and Inca traditions in Mesoamerica and Andean America.

E.  Increased cross-cultural interactions also resulted in the diffusion of scientific and technological traditions. Examples of increased cross-cultural interactions: The influence of Greek and Indian mathematics on Muslim scholars, The return of Greek science and philosophy to Western Europe via Muslim al-Andalus in Iberia. The spread of printing and gunpowder technologies from East Asia into the Islamic empires and Western Europe.

IV. There was continued diffusion of crops and pathogens throughout the Eastern Hemisphere along the trade routes.

A.  New foods and agricultural techniques were adopted in populated areas. Example of new foods and agricultural techniques: Bananas in Africa, New rice varieties in East Asia. The spread of cotton, sugar, and citrus throughout Dar al-Islam and the Mediterranean basin.

B. The spread of epidemic diseases, including the Black Death, followed the well established paths of trade and military conquest.

Key Concept 3.2. Continuity and Innovation of State Forms and Their Interactions

State formation in this era demonstrated remarkable continuity, innovation and diversity in various regions. In Afro-Eurasia, some states attempted, with differing degrees of success, to preserve or revive imperial structures, while smaller, less centralized states continued to develop. The expansion of Islam introduced a new concept — the Caliphate — to Afro-Eurasian statecraft. Pastoral peoples in Eurasia built powerful and distinctive empires that integrated people and institutions from both the pastoral and agrarian worlds. In the Americas, powerful states developed in both Mesoamerica and the Andean region.

I. Empires collapsed and were reconstituted; in some regions new state forms emerged.

A.  Following the collapse of empires, most reconstituted governments, including the Byzantine Empire and the        Chinese dynasties — Sui, Tang,and Song — combined traditional sources of power and legitimacy with innovations better suited to the current circumstances. Example of traditional sources of power and legitimacy: Patriarchy, Religion, Land-owning elites. Example of innovations: New methods of taxation, Tributary systems, Adaptation of religious institutions.

B. In some places, new forms of governance emerged, including those developed in various Islamic states, the Mongol Khanates, city-states, and decentralized government (feudalism) in Europe and Japan. Examples of Islamic states: Abbasids, Muslim Iberia, Delhi Sultanates. Examples of city-states: In the Italian peninsula, In East Africa, In Southeast Africa, In the Americas.

C. Some states synthesized local and borrowed traditions.Examples of synthesis by states: Persian traditions that influenced Islamic states. Chinese traditions that influenced states in Japan.

D.  In the Americas, as in Afro-Eurasia, state systems expanded in scope and reach: Networks of city-states flourished in the Maya region and, at the end of this period, imperial systems were created by the Mexica (“Aztecs”) and Inca.

II. Interregional contacts and conflicts between states and empires encouraged significant technological and cultural transfers. Required examples of technological and cultural transfers: Between Tang China and the Abbasids, Across the Mongol empires, During the Crusades.

Key Concept 3.3. Increased Economic Productive Capacity and Its Consequences

Changes in trade networks resulted from and stimulated increasing productive capacity, with important implications for social and gender structures and environmental processes. Productivity rose in both agriculture and industry. Rising productivity supported population growth and urbanization but also strained environmental resources and at times caused dramatic demographic swings. Shifts in production and the increased volume of trade also stimulated new labor practices, including adaptation of existing patterns of free and coerced labor. Social and gender structures evolved in response to these changes.

I. Innovations stimulated agricultural and industrial production in many regions.

A. Agricultural production increased significantly due to technological innovations.Example of tech innovations: Champa rice varieties, The chinampa field systems, Waru waru agricultural techniques in the Andean areas, Improved terracing techniques, The horse collar.

B. In response to increasing demand in Afro-Eurasia for foreign luxury goods, crops were transported from their indigenous homelands to equivalent climates in other regions.

C. Chinese, Persian, and Indian artisans and merchants expanded their production of textiles and porcelains for export; industrial production of iron and steel expanded in China.

II.  The fate of cities varied greatly, with periods of significant decline, and with periods of increased urbanization buoyed by rising productivity and expanding trade networks.

A.  Multiple factors contributed to the declines of urban areas in this period. Examples of these factors:  Invasions,  Disease, The decline of agricultural productivity,  The Little Ice Age.

B.  Multiple factors contributed to urban revival. Examples of these factors:  The end of invasions, The availability of safe and reliable transport, The rise of commerce and the warmer temperatures between 800 and 1300, Increased agricultural productivity and subsequent rising population, Greater availability of labor also contributed to urban growth.

C. While cities in general continued to play the roles they had played in the past as governmental, religious, and commercial centers, many older cities declined at the same time that numerous new cities emerged to take on these established roles.

III. Despite significant continuities in social structures and in methods of production, there were also some important changes in labor management and in the effect of religious conversion on gender relations and family life.

A. As in the previous period, there were many forms of labor organization. Examples of labor organizations:  Free peasant agriculture, Nomadic pastoralism, Craft production and guild organization, Various forms of coerced and unfree labor, Government-imposed labor taxes, Military obligations.

B.  As in the previous period, social structures were shaped largely by class and caste hierarchies. Patriarchy persisted; however, in some areas, women exercised more power and influence, most notably among the Mongols and in West Africa, Japan, and Southeast Asia.

C.  New forms of coerced labor appeared, including serfdom in Europe and Japan and the elaboration of the mit’a in the Inca Empire. Free peasants resisted attempts to raise dues and taxes by staging revolts. The demand for slaves for both military and domestic purposes increased, particularly in central Eurasia, parts of Africa, and the eastern Mediterranean. Example of regions where free peasants revolted: China, The Byzantine Empire.

D.  The diffusion of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Neoconfucianism often led to significant changes in gender relations and family structure.