All Social Studies Vocabulary Words Global Studies

95 Theses
Document written by Martin Luther detailing what he believed to be the problems in the medieval Church.
Abbassid Dynasty
(750 – 1258) Ruling family of the Islamic Empire during its golden age. This dynasty is responsible for many achievements
Abraham
The first patriarch in the Bible. Abraham was asked by God to sacrifice his son, Isaac, and was rewarded for being prepared to do so. He is considered by Jewish people as the father of the Israelites through his son Isaac, and by Muslims as the father of Arab peoples through his son Ishmael.
absolute monarchy
A political system in which a country is ruled by a monarch, who has absolute control.
acupuncture
Chinese method of treating disorders by inserting needles into the skin. This is to help with the flow of energy that is thought to be blocked.
adaptation
A change made to survive an environment or to overcome a disadvantage.
African Trading Kingdoms
Three African kingdoms, Ghana, Mali, and Songhai that were important in the trans-Sahara trade of gold form the west coast of Africa to North Africa and the Middle East. Their trade provided enough wealth to create the conditions necessary for cultural and intellectual achievement.
Age of Exploration
Time period during the 15th and 16th centuries when Europeans searched for new sources of wealth and for easier trade routes to China and India. Resulted in the discovery of North and South America by the Europeans.
agriculture
The cultivating of land, producing of crops, and raising of livestock for human consumption.
Ahimsa
In Hinduism, it is the principal of non violence against all living things.
Akbar the Great
(1542-1605) Emperor of the Mughal Empire in India. He is considered to be their greatest ruler. He is responsible for the expansion of his empire, the stability his administration gave to it, and the increasing of trade and cultural diffusion.
Alexander the Great
(356 BCE-323 BCE) He conquered most of the ancient world from Asia Minor to Egypt and India, which began the Hellenistic culture which was a blending of Greek, Persian, Indian, and Egyptian influences.
algebra
A branch of mathematics pioneered by Islamic mathematician al-Khwarizimi in which letters are used to represent unknown numbers to generalize arithmetic.
The Analects
Collection of moral and social teachings of Confucius, including the concept of the Five Relationships.
anatomy
The branch of science that studies the physical structure of living organisms.
ancestor worship
Worship given to deceased relatives who are believed to be closer to the Gods, and therefore able to grant favors.
Animism
The oldest known type of belief system in the world. It is still practiced in a variety of forms in many traditional societies. Animists practice nature worship. They believe that everything in the universe has a spirit. This is exemplified by the practices of the Plains Indians in North America who would praise the spirit of the buffalo that they killed for giving its life to them so that they might survive. Animists also believed that ancestors watch over the living from the spirit world. This belief resulted in ancestor worship as a means of communicating with and showing respect to ancestors.
anti-Semitism
The hatred of people of Jewish descent.
antiseptic
An agent that helps prevent or reduce infection in wounds.
appeasement
The policy of pacifying an aggressive nation in the hopes of avoiding further conflict.
aqueducts
Above ground structures used to carry water long distances. Built by the ancient Romans.
Arabic
A language that is the official language of several countries of North Africa and the Middle East, as well as the religion of Islam.
Arabic Numerals
A written number system created during the Gupta golden age in India, then adopted by the Islamic Empire before spreading further. Used throughout western civilization today.
arable
Land that is able to support the growing of crops.
arch
A curved structure that shapes the edge of an open space, such as, a doorway, a window.
Archimedes
(287-212 BCE) Greek mathematician and inventor. He wrote works on plane and solid geometry, arithmetic, and mechanics. He is best known for the lever and pulley.
archipelago
A group or chain of islands.
architect
A person who designs buildings.
Aristarchus
(310?-250? BCE) Greek scientist who first stated that the Earth revolved around the Sun, and rotated on its axis.
armistice
A truce during wartime.
artisan
A person who is skilled at a craft, such as weaving, or woodcarving.
Aryans
Nomadic warriors from Central Asia who migrated into India around 1500 BCE. They are responsible for many aspects of current Indian culture including their language, sacred texts called the Vedas, and a system of government that later evolved into the caste system.
Asoka
(?-232 BCE) King of the Maurya dynasty. He ruled nearly the entire subcontinent of India. He also was instrumental in the spread of Buddhism after his conversion.
assassination
The killing of a political leader or other public figure.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations
Multinational organization that cooperates economically by lowering trade barriers, such as, tariffs, to encourage commerce between member nations.
astronomer
A person who specializes in the study of astronomical bodies.
Atman
In Hinduism, the human soul.
Augustus
(63 BCE – 14 CE) First emperor of Rome (27 BCE – 14 CE) He restored order and prosperity to the Empire after nearly a century of turmoil. Grandnephew to Julius Caesar.
Aztecs
A Mesoamerican civilization of Mexico who created a strong empire that flourished between the 14th and 15th century. The arrival of Hernando Cortez and the Spanish Conquistadores ended their empire.
balance of power
A political policy in which countries attempt to preserve peace by keeping an equal military and economic status.
bank
A business that exchanges currencies, makes loans, and keeps the money of individual depositors.
Baron de Montesquieu
(1689-1755) Enlightenment thinker from France who wrote a book called, The Spirit of the Laws in 1748. In his book, Montesquieu describes what he considers to be the best government. He states that government should divide itself according to its powers, creating a Judicial, Legislative, and Executive branch. Montesquieu explained that under this system each branch would Check and Balance the others, which would help protect the people’s liberty.
barter
The exchange of goods or services for other goods or services.
BCE
Date designation meaning Before Common Era, or more than two thousand years ago.
Bhagavad Gita
A Hindu holy book where the god Krishna teaches the importance of selflessness, performing religious duties, and of devotion to God.
block printing
A system of printing where characters are carved onto a wooden block. The block is then inked and pressed onto a sheet of paper.
Boxer Rebellion
(1900) A rebellion by the people of China to end foreign domination.
Brahma
Hindu god called the Creator. Brahma is the first member of the triad that includes Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer.
Brahman
In Hinduism, Brahman is the name given to the oneness of the universe.
bubonic plague
An infectious disease transmitted by fleas. It is characterized by fever, chills, and the formation of swellings. Also known as the Black Plague or Black Death.
Buddha
Hindu for “enlightened one.” See also Siddhartha Gautama.
Buddhism
Buddhism developed in India, and is based on many of the core concepts of Hinduism.. Buddhists believe in an endless cycle of reincarnation, or samsara, which is similar to beliefs of Hinduism. However, Buddhists do not believe that deities are responsible for the phenomenon. In addition, the Caste System is rejected by Buddhists who believe instead that one is reincarnated until they can achieve nirvana, best described as spiritual enlightenment.
bureaucracy
The administration portion of the government.
Bushido
Code of conduct for Samurai and nobles during Japanese feudalism.
Byzantine Empire
(330-1453) The eastern half of the Roman Empire, which survived after the fall of the Western Empire at the end of the 5th century C.E. Its capital was Constantinople, named after the Emperor Constantine.
Caesar, Julius
(100-44 BCE), Roman general and statesman. He is responsible for setting up the imperial system in Rome which placed his grandnephew, Augustus, on the throne.
calendar
A system for keeping track of time.
Caliph
In Islam, the successor to the Prophet Mohammed.
calligraphy
A form of fine handwriting.
Calvin, John
(1509-1564) Theologian and church reformer who developed a form of Protestantism during the Reformation. His church is known for the idea of predestination, which states certain people are predestined for heaven.
cannon
A weapon which uses an iron ball as a projectile and gunpowder as the blasting agent.
Canon on Medicine
A book written by Ibn Sina, a famous Islamic physician, which was an encyclopedia of Greek, Arabic, and his own knowledge of medicine. This book became the standard medical text in Europe for over five hundred years.
Cape of Good Hope
Southern tip of the African continent.
capital
Money that is used for investment.
capitalism
An economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods. Also promotes a free market regulated by supply and demand.
Cardinal Richelieu
(1585-1642) French Cardinal and politician responsible for instituting absolutist practices in France.
Caste System
A rigid social class system in Hinduism.
Catherine the Great
An enlightened despot who ruled over Russia. She is responsible for many positive changes in Russia, as well as securing the country a warm water port.
Cavalry
Mounted warriors.
CE
Date designation meaning Common Era, or the last two thousand years of history.
centralized government
A government which controls all aspects of society from a central location or through a central system.
check and balance
A system in government described by Baron de Montesquieu where legislative, judicial, and executive power is shared among the different branches to provide protection against abuses of power.
chinampas
floating islands of land anchored to a lake bottom used for agriculture. This technique was used by the Aztecs.
Chivalry
Code of conduct for knight and nobles during European feudalism.
Christ, Jesus
(84 BCE – 29 CE) Founder of Christianity. Considered by Christians to be the son of God and the Messiah. He is the central figure in the Christian Religion.
Christianity
Currently the most popular religion in the world based on the number of worshippers found throughout the world. While this monotheistic religion developed from Judaism, there are several key differences in its teachings. Christianity was founded by Jesus Christ in the 1st century CE. The Christian holy book is called the Holy Bible.
circumnavigate
To travel around something, like an island or the world.
city-state
An independent state consisting of a city and its surrounding lands.
civil disobedience
The purposeful breaking of laws to protest actions by the government.
civil service exam
In China, it was an exam based on Confucian teachings that was used to select people for various government service jobs in the bureaucracy.
civil war
A war between groups of people in the same country, culture, or political system.
civilization
A society that has a high level of culture and social organization including organized government, job specialization, and a organized belief system.
climate
The average weather in a region.
Columbus, Christopher
(1451-1506) Italian explorer working for Spain who, in 1492, crossed the Atlantic Ocean and discovered the Americas for Spain.
Command Economy
An economic system controlled by strong, centralized government, which usually focuses on industrial goods. With little attention paid to agriculture and consumer goods.
commerce
The large scale buying of goods and/or services.
Commercial Revolution
A dramatic change in the economy of Europe at the end of the Middle Ages. It is characterized by an increase in towns and trade, the use of banks and credit, and the establishment of guilds to regulate quality and price.
Confucianism
Confucius lived in China during the Chou Dynasty, when there was mass disorder and confusion and degrading moral standards. Confucius was appalled by what appeared to be the fracturing of Chinese society. He believed that the only cure was to stress a sense of social order and mutual respect, a philosophy that later became known as Confucianism. Confucianism teaches that there is a natural social order to society which can best be explained through the Five Relationships.
Confucius
(551-479 BCE) Chinese philosopher and writer of The Analects, a collection of moral and social teachings, including the concept of the Five Relationships. Also known as Kong Fu Zi.
conquistadors
Spanish conquerors who came to the New World in search of gold and other riches.
Constantine
(274 CE – 337 CE) Roman Emperor between 306 CE and 337 CE. He issued the Edict of Milan which outlawed the persecution of Christians. He also founded the city of Constantinople, the future capital of the Byzantine Empire.
constitution
A document detailing the fundamental laws of a country or organization.
constitutional monarchy
A political system in which a country is ruled by a monarch who has limited power due to a constitution
Copernicus, Nicolaus
(1473-1543) Polish astronomer who wrote On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres. Theorized that the Earth orbited the Sun (heliocentric system) and laid the foundations of modern astronomy.
Cortez, Hernan
(1485-1547) Spanish conquistador who was responsible for the conquest of the Aztec Empire and the claiming of much of Central America for the Spanish.
Counter-Reformation
The movement initiated by the Catholic Church to contain the Protestant Reformation and, if possible, end it.
Cromwell, Oliver
(1599-1658) Leader of the English Revolution that deposed the Stuart monarchs in favor of a short lived Republic. Cromwell acted as Lord Protector until the restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.
Crusades
European Christian military expeditions made between the 11th and 13th centuries to retake the Middle Eastern Holy Lands occupied by the Muslims.
cultural diffusion
The spreading of ideas through contact such as trade or war.
culture
The shared beliefs, customs, practices, and social behavior of a particular nation or people
cuneiform
One of the earliest forms of writing. It consisted of wedge shaped symbols usually imprinted in clay. Used throughout ancient Mesopotamia.
Cyrillic
An alphabet created by Eastern Orthodox monks for the Slavic language. It is based on Greek, and still used through the various Slavic countries today, such as Russia.
Czar
Title of the ruler of Russia. Taken from the word Caesar, which means emperor.
Da Gama, Vasco
(1469-1524) Portuguese explorer who, in 1498, established an all water route to India
Leonardo Da Vinci
(1452-1519) An Italian painter, sculptor, engineer, and inventor. Famous works include paintings Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Also left a variety of sketches showing flying machines and underwater boats centuries before the invention of planes and submarines.
daimyo
Land owning feudal lords in Japan.
dam
A structure built to hold water in place.
Dante
(1265-1321) Italian poet and Renaissance writer. His greatest work is The Divine Comedy.
Darius I
(558BCE – 486BCE) King of Persia who expanded his empire to extend from the Mediterranean to the Indus River.
Miguel de Cervantes
(1547-1616) Spanish Renaissance writer. His greatest work is the comedic tale Don Quixote.
decimal system
Numeric system based on ten. Created by mathematicians during the Gupta golden age in India.
democracy
A system of government in which the citizens hold the legislative, judicial, and executive power, based on majority rule.
democratic republic
A political system in which a country is ruled by law, has representative government, and is democratic in nature.
Rene Descartes
(1596-1650) French intellectual who challenged traditional ideas. He said that human reason was capable of discovering and explaining the laws of nature and man. The idea of human reason being superior to tradition led to the beginning of the Enlightenment, a time of political awakening that became revolution.
dharma
The act of fulfilling one’s duty in life. Associated with Hinduism and Buddhism.
dictatorship
A system of government in which a country is ruled by a single person with absolute power.
Diocletian
(245-313) Emperor of Rome who was responsible for dividing Rome into different provinces and districts. Eventually, the eastern portions of the Empire became known as the Byzantine Empire.
discrimination
To treat unfairly due to a persons ethnic background, gender, religion, or age
divine
Godlike, or coming from, or having to do with a god.
divine right
The justification of monarchy through the word of God.
Dome of the Rock
First Islamic religious shrine. It was built in 687 C.E., and is located in present day Jerusalem, Israel.
domesticate
To tame an animal to live with, or close to humans.
Don Quixote
A comedic book written by Miguel de Cervantes during the Renaissance. The title character is now used to refer to idealists that champion hopeless or fanciful causes.
dyke
A drainage ditch used to help control flooding.
dynastic cycle
In China, a dynasty would remain in power only as long as it was providing good government. When a dynasty went into decline, and began to abuse its power, it was said to lose the Mandate of Heaven, or the favor of the gods. A strong leader would usually emerge to claim the Mandate, and establish a new dynasty. The dynastic cycle would then begin again.
dynasty
A succession of rulers of a country from the same family.
Edict of Milan
(313 CE) Proclamation by the Roman Emperor Constantine outlawing the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.
Eightfold Path
Code of behavior for followers of Buddhism.
Elizabeth I
(1533-1603) Queen of England and Ireland between 1558 and 1603. She was an absolute monarch and is considered to be one of the most successful rulers of all time.
emperor
Political ruler of a country of nation. Similar to a king.
empire
A collection of nations or peoples ruled by a single authority, usually a monarch, but can be other systems of government as well
English Bill of Rights
(1689) A Bill of Rights written after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 which placed William and Mary on the throne of England. The bill created a limited monarchy and established Parliament as the ruling body of the nation.
Enlightenment
A movement in the 18th century that stressed the importance of reason and science in philosophy and the study of human society. Occurred in Western Europe.
Eratosthenes
(276?-196? BCE), Greek mathematician, astronomer, and geographer who measured the circumference of the Earth. His measurement was only off by 15%.
ethnic group
A group of people that shares distinctive cultural traits.
ethnocentric
A belief in the superiority of a certain ethnic group or race.
Euclid
(circa 300 BCE), Greek mathematician. Considered to be the father of modern geomertry.
excommunicate
To exclude a Christian from receiving the Sacraments.
export
The sending of goods to another country for sale or trade.
famine
Widespread hunger caused by the near complete lack of food.
Feudalism
A social, political, and economic system that dominated all aspects of medieval European life.
fief
An area of land given to a person to farm in exchange for certain obligations.
filial piety
A part Confucianism where respect is paid to the parents.
Five Pillars of Islam
Code of behavior for followers of Islam. Includes Charity, Daily Prayer, Profession of Faith, Fasting during Ramadan, and a pilgrimage to Mecca called the hajj.
Five Relationships
Confucian philosophy about social order where everyone has a place and respect is paid to elders, parents, and the government. The relationships are, ruler to ruled, father to son, older brother to younger brother, husband to wife, friend to friend.
foot-binding
A popular practice that tightly bound the feet of young girls, deforming them as they grew older. This was done to achieve the desired cultural practice of having dainty, lady-like feet.
foreign policy
A nation’s actions regarding how they treat other nations.
Four Noble Truths
Siddhartha’s Gautama philosophy of the nature of human suffering and its relation to desire is articulated by four statements
Galileo
(1564-1642) Italian astronomer. One of the founders of Europe’s scientific revolution, one of his main contributions is the application of the telescope to astronomy. He was able to prove Copernicus’ heliocentric model correct.
Ganges River
Located in India, this river is considered sacred to Hindus and is used for spiritual cleansing, funeral rites, and other Hindu rituals.
Gautama, Siddhartha
(563-483 BCE), Indian philosopher and the founder of Buddhism. Siddhartha was born into the Brahmin caste, and by all account led a luxurious lifestyle. However, he was troubled by the human misery that he saw around him everyday. Upon reflection, he deduced that desire was the root caused of all suffering. Also known as the Buddha.
general will
Enlightenment thinker Rousseau uses to describe majority rule.
Genghis Khan
(1167-1227) One of the Mongol’s greatest leaders and founder of the Mongol Empire.
gentry
Members of the upper class in some social class systems.
geocentric model
Theory of the universe that states the earth is the center, and that the sun revolves around it.
Ghana
One of the west African Trading Kingdoms. They were rich in gold and established a vast trading network across the Sahara desert.
Glorious Revolution
Political revolution in Great Britain in 1688 that put William and Mary on the throne, while limiting the power of the monarchy and making Parliament supreme. This event marks the beginning of a constitutional monarchy in England.
Gold Coast
Name given to the parts of the west coast of Africa by European imperialist due to the amount of gold found in the region.
golden age
A time in a culture of high achievement in arts, literature, and science. Generally occurs in times of peace.
government
a person or body of people who have the power to make and enforce laws for a country or area.
Greco-Roman
The cultural mixing of both ancient Greek and Roman traditions.
Greek column
Fluted column used in many of their buildings, and copied throughout the world today.
Green Revolution
Throughout the 20th century, scientists worked on improving agriculture, especially in areas with high populations. Some of the technologies developed included better irrigation systems so farmers could get water to their crops. New machinery was built to handle larger production and to take the burden of agriculture work off of humans. New chemical fertilizers and pesticides were created to increase food production, and new varieties of grains and livestock were developed also for greater production. The Green Revolution has had only limited success. The high costs associated with many of these new technologies have kept the small farmer from taking advantage of them.
guild
An association of merchants or craftspeople in medieval Europe, formed to make regulations and set standards for a particular trade or craft.
Gupta Dynasty
(320-550 C.E.)Ruling family in India during its golden age. Responsible for many achievements.
Gutenberg, Johannes
(1400?-1468) German printer and European pioneer in the use of movable type.
hajj
The pilgrimage or holy journey to the city of Mecca
Hammurabis Code
Oldest written system of laws. They were created by King Hammurabi of Babylonia in th mid 18th century BCE and placed on stones tablets for all to see.
Hebrew
Semitic language originating in ancient Palestine and spoken by the Israelites. Modern Hebrew was developed in the 19th and 20th centuries from the ancient written language.
Hegira
The flight of Mohammed from Mecca to Median which was instrumental to the founding of the religion of Islam. Occurs in 622 ACE, which dates the founding of Islam.
heliocentric model
Theory of the universe that states the sun is the center, and that the earth revolves around it.
Hellenistic
Time period from the late 4th century BCE to the 1st century CE that was characterized by Greek achievement and a blending of Persian, Egyptian, Greek, and Indian cultures due to the empire of Alexander the Great.
Henry VIII
(1491-1547) King of England who transformed his country into a Protestant nation during the Reformation.
hieroglyphics
A system of writing which uses pictures for concepts and ideas.
Hinduism
A polytheistic religion that was formed from a variety of different religious practices. In Hinduism, salvation is achieved through a spiritual oneness of the soul, atman, with the ultimate reality of the universe, Brahma. To achieve this goal, the soul must obtain moksha, or liberation from the samsara, the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. As a result of these basic teachings, Hindus believe in reincarnation, which is influenced by karma (material actions resulting from the consequences of previous actions), and dharma (fulfilling one’s duty in life). Because all forms of animal life possess souls, Hindus believe in ahimsa, or that all life is sacred. and should not be harmed. In fact, one animal which Hindus consider to be extremely sacred is the cow. The peaceful and contented existence of cows is considered virtuous by Hindus and would represent a rewarding reincarnation for a soul. For this reason, most Hindus are vegetarians so that they do not harm other living beings. The belief in reincarnation, karma, and dharma also provides the religious justification for the existence of the rigid social structure known as the Caste System.
Hippocrates
(460?-377? BCE) Greek physician. He is considered to be the father of medicine and the ethical standard of treating all patients known as the Hippocratic Oath.
Hippocratic Oath
An promise made new physicians to treat all people fairly, and to seek to preserve life. Named after a ancient Greek physician who is credited with writing it.
Hobbes, Thomas
(1588-1679) English philosopher and political theorist. Wrote Leviathan, where he favored an absolute government as the only means of balancing human interests and desires with their rights of life and property.
Holy Land
Term given to lands in present day Israel that is significant to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Holy Trinity
Formed by the Creator (Father), Redeemer (Son), and Sustainer (Holy Spirit). Christians believe that these three entities are all part of a single higher power.
human and physical geography
The study of the environment, people, and the resources they use to live.
human rights
The rights that are considered by most societies to belong automatically to all people, including the rights to justice, freedom, and equality.
humanism
A philosophical movement during the Renaissance that stressed life on Earth, and the quality of being human. Rejected living only for the afterlife of Christianity.
hunting and gathering
System of food production for prehistoric peoples. Involves hunting animals and gathering foods grown in the wild.
Ibn Sina
Islamic physician, wrote a book called Canon on Medicine, which was an encyclopedia of Greek, Arabic, and his own knowledge of medicine. This book became the standard medical text in Europe for over five hundred years.
idealized realism
Art form practiced by the Greeks during the 5th century BCE. Portrays the human form very realistically, but in its perfect form.
ideology
An organized system of beliefs, values, and ideas. They form the basis of a political, social, and economic philosophy.
Imam
In Islam, the leader of prayers and religious scholar.
immigration
The movement of people from one nation to another.
Inca
A Mesoamerican civilization of South America, centered in Peru. The Inca ruled a large empire and had many cultural and scientific achievements including an elaborate road system, architecture, and terrace farming. The arrival of the Spanish Conquistadores ended their empire in the 15th century.
individualism
A social philosophy which stresses the importance of the individual above society.
indulgence
Letters of forgiveness for one’s sins provided by the medieval Church, and one of the causes of the Reformation.
irrigation
A system to bring water to support crops.
Islam
The word Islam, which when translated from Arabic, means “to submit to the will of Allah,” is the youngest of the world’s major religions. Worshippers of this monotheistic religion are known as Muslims, which means “one who submits to the will of Allah.” The Islamic holy book is called the Qur’an. Islam is currently the second most practiced religion in the world, and experts predict that it will overtake Christianity as the most popular religion in the world sometime during the 21st century.
Islamic fundamentalists
Muslims who believe the Quran to be a literal guide to political, social, and religious life.
jihad
Effort in God’s service waged by Muslims in defense of the Islamic faith.
Judaism
Judaism is the oldest known monotheistic religion still practiced in the world today. Its fundamental teachings have been influential and are the basis for more recently developed religions such as Christianity and Islam. Judaism teaches that there is one God who is the creator of all things. after the Hebrew exodus from Egypt, many Hebrews began to lose their faith in God. During this time, Moses went atop Mount Sinai and returned with two stone tablets containing laws that all Hebrews needed to follow. These laws, recorded in the Exodus 20:3-17, became known as the Ten Commandments.
Justinian’s Code of Law
A law code created by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian about 530 CE. It was a revision of the old Roman law system.
Kami
Sacred spirits that are worshipped in the Shinto religion of Japan.
karma
Actions in this life resulting from the consequences of a previous life’s actions. Associated with Hinduism and Buddhism.
Kong Fu Zi
Birth name of Confucius
Korean Bridge
The term given to process in which cultural diffusion occurred between China and Japan though Korean contact with both civilizations.
Kublai Khan
(1215-1294) Grandson of Genghis Khan and founder of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty in China.
Lao Tze
(570-490 BCE) Chinese philosopher credited with originating Taoism/Daoism. His teachings were collected and published as the Tao-te Ching.
The Last Supper
A famous Renaissance painting by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Laws of the Twelve Tables
A system of laws. Some of the features of this system include, men being equal under the law, having the right to face their accusers, and being considered innocent until proven guilty.
Leviathan
A book written by Thomas Hobbes describing his theory that an absolute government was the only means of balancing human interests and desires with their rights of life and property.
liberty
The political term for Freedom.
Locke, John
(1632-1704) English philosopher and political theorist. He wrote Two Treaties on Government which explained that all men have Natural Rights, which are Life, Liberty, and Property, and that the purpose of government was to protect these rights.
Louis XIV
(1638-1715) Known as the Sun King, he was an absolute monarch that completely controlled France. One of his greatest accomplishments was the building of the palace at Versailles.
Louis XVI
(1754-1793) King of France between 1774 and 1792. He was overthrown during the French Revolution and later beheaded.
Luther, Martin
(1483-1546) Theologian and religious reformer who started the Reformation with his 95 Theses which protested church corruption, namely the sale of indulgences.
Machiavelli, Niccolo
(1469-1527) Italian historian, statesman, and political philosopher of the Renaissance. His greatest work is The Prince, a book of political advice to rulers in which he describes the methods that a prince should use to acquire and maintain political power. This book was used to defend policies of despotism and tyranny. Machiavelli wrote that a ruler should take any action to remain in power, or that “the ends justifies the means.”
Magna Carta
A document granting rights to both the Church in England and the Nobility signed by King John in 1215. This is considered to be the beginnings of British democracy.
Mahabharata
Hindu epic poem that was written in Sanskrit in the 5th century BCE. Its most important part is the Bhagavad-Gita.
Mali
One of the west African Trading Kingdoms. They were rich in gold and established a vast trading network across the Sahara desert. Greatest ruler was Mansa Musa, who converted to Islam and made a famous pilgrimage.
Mandate of Heaven
Divine right of rule in China.
manorialism
Economic portion of feudalism where all aspects of life were centered on the lord’s manor including peasant villages, a church, farm land, a mill, and the lord’s castle or manor house.
Mansa Musa
Emperor of the kingdom of Mali in Africa. He made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca and established trade routes to the Middle East.
market economy
An economy based on free trade and supply and demand.
matriarchal
A society or political/social system in which women hold the power.
Maurya Dynasty
(321 BCE – 185 BCE) Dynasty that united most of India under the rule of Chandragupta Maurya. Its greatest ruler, Asoka, converted to Buddhism and was instrumental in its spread.
Maurya, Chandragupta
(?-286 BCE) First king of the Maurya dynasty in India.
Mayans
A Mesoamerican civilization of Central America and southern Mexico. Achievements include mathematics, architecture, and a 365 day a year calendar. They flourished between the 4th and 12th centuries C.E..
Mecca
A city in Saudi Arabia where Muslims must make a pilgrimage at least once in their life.
Menes
(Approximately 3100 BCE) King of Upper Egypt, united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt
merchant
A person who sells goods or services. A member of the middle class in most societies.
Michelangelo
(1475-1564) An Italian sculptor, painter, poet, engineer, and architect. Famous works include the mural on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and the sculpture of the biblical character David.
Middle Ages
Time period in European history between the fall of Rome in 476 C.E. and the beginning of the Italian Renaissance in the early 15th century.
middle class
Social and economic class usually composed of merchants, artisans, and business people. In some societies, the richest class, but without a title of nobility. The middle class is usually the backbone of society as they are generally more moderate in their economic, social, and political habits.
Middle East
Geo-Political designation of the area stretching from the eastern Mediterranean Sea to the western side of the Indian subcontinent. Consists of countries such as Israel, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
Middle Kingdom (China)
Term that ancient China used to refer to themselves. The believed they were the center of the Earth, or the Middle Kingdom.
Middle Kingdom (Egypt)
(2040 BCE – 1640 BCE) Period in ancient Egyptian history characterized by internal strife and hardships, and the invasion, and subsequent take over by the neighboring Hyksos.
missionary
A person who spreads the teachings of a religion.
Mohammed
Prophet of Allah; founder of Islam.
Moksha
In Hinduism, it is the release from the cycle of reincarnation through unification with Brahma.
Mona Lisa
A famous Renaissance painting by Leonardo Da Vinci.
monarchy
A political system in which a country is ruled by a monarch.
monotheism
The belief in one god or goddess.
Moses
He is considered a founder of Judaism due to his role in the liberation of the Hebrews from Egypt, and his delivery of the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai sometime around 2000 BCE.
mosque
A domed Islamic religious building.
movable type printing machines
A printing machine that used individual letters that could be moved after each printing. This allowed for faster and easier printing.
mummification
The process of preserving a corpse by removing the moisture from it before burial. This process was practiced by many different cultures.
nationalism
Pride in one’s country or culture, often excessive in nature.
nation-state
An independent state or country.
natural resources
Various materials found in nature used in manufacturing such as wood, coal, and oil.
natural rights
Concept of John Locke’s that states all people have the right to life, liberty, and property.
Neolithic Age
(10,000 BCE – 5000 BCE) New Stone Age. A period of time in human history characterized by the development of agriculture and permanent settlements.
Neolithic Revolution
(10,000 – 8,000 BCE) The development of agriculture and the domestication of animals as a food source. This led to the development of permanent settlements and the start of civilization.
New Kingdom
(1550 BCE – 1100 BCE) Period in ancient Egyptian history characterized by strong pharaohs who conquered an empire that stretched from Nubia in the south, to the Euphrates River in Mesopotamia.
New Testament
The second half of the Christian Bible. It describes the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, as well as other Christian teachings.
Nirvana
In Buddhism, spiritual enlightenment.
nomad
A person who belongs to a group of people who move from place to place seasonally in search of food and water.
Old Kingdom
(2575 BCE – 2134 BCE) Period in ancient Egyptian history characterized by the building of the Great Pyramids at Giza.
Old Testament
The first half of the Christian Bible, that describes the creation of the world, the history of ancient Israel, the Ten Commandments, and contains the Psalms and the prophetic books. Also is the Hebrew Torah.
Oligarchy
A political system in which the government is under the control of the merchant class.
Olmecs
A Mesoamerican civilization that flourished around 1200 C.E.. Achievements include irrigation, a simple calendar and writing system, and small cities.
oracle bones
In ancient China, they were pieces of bone or turtle shell used by Shang priests to tell the future. They would write a question addressed to either one of the gods, or an ancestor on the bone, then heat it until it cracked. They believed that by studying the pattern of cracks, one could learn the answer to the question. Oracle bones are the oldest example of Chinese writing.
Orthodox Christianity
A branch of Christianity developed in the Byzantine Empire, after its split from the Roman Empire. It spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean and Russia.
Paleolithic Age
(750,000 BCE – 10,000 B.C.E.) Old Stone Age. A period of time in human history characterized by the use of stone tools and the use of hunting and gathering as a food source.
Pantheon
A domed temple in Rome that was completed in 27 BCE, and still stands today.
papyrus scrolls
Paper like material made from the reeds of the papyrus plant. It was used by the Egyptians for the writing and storing of documents.
Parthenon
A large temple dedicated to the goddess Athena on the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. It was built in the 5th century BCE, during the Athenian golden age.
patrician
A member of the upper class of ancient Roman society.
patron
Someone who provides support to a specific cause and/or person/people.
Pax Mongolia
Also known as the Mongol Peace. A time when global trade expanded due to the political stability provided by Mongol rulers.
Pax Romana
A 200 hundred year period of relative peace throughout the Roman Empire. Occurs during the first two centuries C.E..
peasantry
Members of the lowest class in some social class systems.
peninsula
An area of land surrounded on three sides by water. Italy, Greece, and the southern part of India are all peninsulas.
Pericles
(495? BCE-429? BCE) Athenian statesman. He was the central ruler of Athens during its golden age. He was the central patron behind many of their achievements. He was also a very skilled speaker. Athens City-State of Ancient Greece and center of Greek golden age that occurred in the 5th century BCE.
Persian Empire
Ancient Middle Eastern empire comprising modern day Iran. The Perisan Empire dominated the Middle East from the middle of the 6th century BCE to about the end of the 5th century BCE, Its greatest ruler was Dairus I. Persia was later conquered by Alexander the Great.
Peter the Great
(1672-1725) Czar of Russia. He was responsible for the westernization of Russia in the 18th century.
pharaoh
In ancient Egypt, title given to the ruler who was considered both king and god.
Philip II
(1527-1598) King of Spain from 1556 to 1598. Absolute monarch who helped lead the Counter Reformation by persecuting Protestants in his holdings. Also sent the Spanish Armada against England.
philosopher
A person who seeks to understand and explain the nature of things around them. A scholar of philosophy.
philosophy
A system of thought devoted to the examination of ideas such as truth, existence, reality, causality, religion, and freedom
Phoenicians
An early trading civilization located in present day Lebanon and Syria along the Mediterranean. They produced various products, such as glass, papyrus scrolls, and dyes, and established trade across the entire Mediterranean Sea. The Phoenician trade empire benefited most cultures in this region. As their trade expanded, they setup colonies throughout the Mediterranean. The Phoenicians also developed an alphabet to keep track of their business dealings. This alphabet was later adopted and adapted by the Greeks and Romans, and is the basis for the western alphabets of today. Phoenician trade is responsible for the great exchange of ideas and culture that occurred during this time period.
pilgrimage
A religious journey to visit a shrine or other holy site.
Pizarro, Francisco
(1476-1541) Spanish conquistador who was responsible for the conquest of the Incan Empire.
plebeian
A member of the lower class of ancient Roman society.
polytheism
The belief in many gods or goddesses.
Pope
Leader of the Roman Catholic Church. Chosen by the College of Cardinals.
Pope Urban II
(1040-1099) The head of the Roman Catholic Church who issued the proclamation the began the First Crusade.
predestination
The idea of Calvinist Protestants that certain people were pre-selected to go to heaven.
priest
A spiritual leader in a variety of religions.
The Prince
A book of political advice written by Niccolo Machiavelli during the Renaissance in which he describes the methods that a prince should use to acquire and maintain political power. This book was used to defend policies of despotism and tyranny. Machiavelli wrote that a ruler should take any action to remain in power, or that “the ends justifies the means.”
Protestant
Member of Christian relgious sect which formed during the Protestant Reformation. Protestants reject the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.
Ptolemy
(100-170 CE) Greek astronomer, mathematician, and geographer. His geocentric model of the universe lasted until the 16th century.
Pythagoras
(582?-500?BCE) Greek mathematician responsible for the Pythagorean Theorem which states the square of the hypotenuse of a right triangle is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides.
quipas
A record keeping system that used colored, knotted string developed by the Incan Civilization.
Quran
Islamic holy book.
Rabbi
Jewish scholar charged with conducting religious services, ensuring that Jewish laws are observed, and serving as a spiritual guide for the community.
Ramadan
The ninth month of the Muslim calendar. All Muslims must fast during daylight hours, except the very young or sick.
Reformation
The protest against perceived wrong doings by the Catholic Church during the early 16th century. Main leaders were Martin Luther and John Calvin.
reincarnation
The rebirth of a soul into another body.
religion
A person’s beliefs concerning the existence and worship of a god or gods, and divine involvement in the universe and human life.
Renaissance
A rebirth of cultural and intellectual pursuits after the stagnation of the Middle Ages. This period in European history, from about the 14th through 16th centuries, features major cultural and artistic change.
republic
A political system in which a country is ruled by law, has representative government, and is democratic in nature.
rigid social class system
A social class system where there is no mobility. A person remains in the same class their entire life.
Roman Catholic
A branch of Christianity based in Rome. The original Christian church.
Roman Empire
The territories ruled by ancient Rome which at one time encompassed most of the Mediterranean world and parts of France, England, and Germany. The empire lasted from 27 BCE to 395 CE.
Jean Jacques Rousseau
(1712-1778) French writer and Enlightenment philosopher who wrote a book called, The Social Contract, where he stated that people were basically good, and that society, and its unequal distribution of wealth, were the cause of most problems. Rousseau believed that government should be run according to the will of the majority, which he called the General Will. He claimed that the General Will would always act in the best interest of the people.
Sahara Desert
The world’s largest desert, located in North Africa.
Samsara
In Hinduism, the term given to the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
samurai
Warrior class during Japan’s feudal age.
Sanskrit
The extinct language of ancient India. Spoken between fourteenth and fifth centuries BCE. Still used today in classic literature.
sati
The ritual suicide of a wife after her husband’s death in Hindu/Indian culture.
scholar
A person who posesses a great deal of knowledge, usually an academic who specializes in a particular subject area.
separation of powers
A tool in government described by Baron de Montesquieu which states that government should divide itself according to its powers, creating a Judicial, Legislative, and Executive branch. This system would Check and Balance itself, which would help protect the people’s liberty.
Seppuku
The act of suicide practiced by Japanese Samurai and Nobles during the feudal period. It was practiced to save one’s honor, or to regain it in the face of shame.
serfs
Farmers who were tied to the land during European feudalism. They were not slaves because they could not be bought or sold, but they could not readily leave the manor either. Serfs were given land to farm in exchange for service to their lord. This service usually involved working the lord’s fields, maintaining roads and the manor, and providing military service in times of war. Serfs paid taxes to their lord in the form of crops. This is also how the paid the fee to use the manor’s mill or other services.
William Shakespeare
(1564-1616) English poet and playwright. He wrote 37 plays between 1590 and 1613. His plays reflect the ideas of individualism and the unconquerable human spirit, and most of them are still performed today.
Shaman
Somebody who communicates with the spiritual realms on behalf of the living. Seen in many Animistic types of belief systems.
Sharia
The Islamic book of laws which regulates all aspects of life including, moral behavior, family life, business dealings, and government.
Shinto
Shinto, which means “Way of the Gods,” is the traditional religion of Japan that focuses on nature. Many consider Shinto to be a form of Animism due to the many similarities found between them. Shinto teaches that there is a sacredness of the whole universe and that humans can be in tune with this sacredness. Every mountain, river, plant, animal, and all the diverse phenomena of heaven and earth have spirits, or kami, which inhabit them. Reverence is paid to the ancestors through the practice of ancestor worship.
Shiva
Hindu god called the Destroyer. Shiva is the third member of the triad that includes Brahma the Creator and Vishnu the Preserver.
Shogun
Military ruler of feudal Japan.
Silk Road
Trade route from China to the Middle East. Called the Silk Road due to China’s most important export.
silt
Very fine grains of dirt deposited by a moving body of water.
Sistine Chapel
A Catholic church in Vatican City, Italy. Its ceiling was painted by the Renaissance artist Michelangelo.
social class
A group of people within a society who share the same social, political, and economic status.
social contract
Theory of Thomas Hobbes that states the people form a social contract with government where they give up all rights for protection from other citizens.
The Social Contract
French philosopher Jean Jaques Rousseau’s book in which he wrote that people were basically good, and that society, and its unequal distribution of wealth, were the cause of most problems. Rousseau believed that government should be run according to the will of the majority, which he called the General Will. He claimed that the General Will would always act in the best interest of the people.
Society of Jesus
Roman Catholic religious order founded by Ignatius Loyola in 1540 to setup schools and serve as missionaries, spreading church teachings.
Songhai
One of the west African Trading Kingdoms. They were rich in gold and established a vast trading network across the Sahara desert.
Spanish Armada
A large flotilla of ships sent by Philip II of Spain to attack England in 1588 because of the Reformation. The Armada was destroyed by poor weather and the English Navy.
The Spirit of the Laws
A book written by Baron de Montesquieu describing his theories on government. He states that government should divide itself according to its powers, creating a Judicial, Legislative, and Executive branch. Montesquieu explained that under this system each branch would Check and Balance the others, which would help protect the people’s liberty.
Stupa
A Buddhist shrine or temple in India. This form of architecture made its way to China where it was altered slightly and renamed the pagoda.
subcontinent
Large area that is a separate part of a continent. The area encompassing India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh are considered to be a subcontinent of Asia.
Talmud
The collection of Jewish writings that is the basis of Jewish religious law.
Taoism / Daoism
The Chinese philosophy of Taoism (or Daoism) developed in the latter part of the Chou Dynasty, during a period of turmoil in which it was not clear that Chinese civilization would survive. It represents a naturalistic ideal of how one should live their life. The Chinese term Tao can be translated into English, meaning “the way.” It is a philosophy which teaches that nature has a “way” in which it moves, and that people should passively accept the “way” of nature, rather than resist it. One concept related to this is that of wu-wei, which means “not doing.” This means that people should not act unnaturally by doing things, but rather should openly accept the natural way. An emphasis is placed on the link between people and nature. Taoism teaches that this link lessened the need for rules and order, and leads one to a better understanding of the world.
Tao-te-Ching
Collected teachings of Chinese philosopher Lao Tze, the founder of Taoism/Daoism.
Ten Commandments
The ten laws given to Moses by God, according to the Bible.
terrace farming
The cutting out of flat areas (terraces) into near vertical slopes to allow farming. Terrace farms appears as steps cut into a mountainside. This adaptation allowed both the early Chinese, and the Inca of Mesoamerica to grow enough food for their large populations.
Theodosius
(346 CE – 395 CE) Emperor of the Roman Empire who is responsible for making the Christian religion the official religion of the empire.
Tokugawa Shogunate
(1603-1867) Feudal Warlord rulers of Japan. Responisble for closing Japan off from the rest of the world. Overthrown during the Meiji Restoration.
Torah
The holy book of Judaism. It describes the creation of the world, the history of ancient Israel, the Ten Commandments, and contains the Psalms and the prophetic books.
Torri
The red gateway entrance to a Shinto shrine.
totalitarian state
A state or country completely controlled by a single power, such as a monarch or dictator.
totalitarianism
An ideology where all social, economic, and political powers are centered in the government completely.
trade fair
A gathering of merchants, craftsmen, and artisans to buy and sell goods and service during late Middle Ages.
Tripitka
The collection of religious writings by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha.
Two Treaties of Government
Also known as The Three Baskets of Wisdom, book written by John Locke describing his views on government which explained that all men have Natural Rights, which are Life, Liberty, and Property, and that the purpose of government was to protect these rights. This book is the basis for many modern democracies.
Untouchables
Members of Hindu society thought to have been removed from the Caste System, with no hope of returning to it, due to their misdeeds in previous lives. Work that is deemed unclean for all other Hindus is reserved for these Outcasts. After winning its independence from Great Britain in 1947, India adopted a national constitution which stated that “Untouchability is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden.” Since that time many Caste reforms have been enacted to diminish discriminatory practices in India. Today, the Caste System still exists in practice, despite the many laws designed to legally abolish it.
Upanishads
Hindu holy book from the 8th century BCE.
vassal
A person owing service to a feudal lord.
Vedas
A Hindu holy book which is a collection of Aryan hymns that were transmitted orally before being written down in the 6th century BCE.
Vishnu
Hindu god called the Preserver. Vishnu is the second member of the triad that includes Brahma the Creator and Shiva the Destroyer.
Voltaire
(1694-1778) French philosopher. He believed that freedom of speech was the best weapon against bad government. He also spoke out against the corruption of the French government, and the intolerance of the Catholic Church.
William and Mary
King and Queen of England from 1689 to 1702. They were placed on the throne as a result of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, and ruled as limited monarchs.
working class
Lowest class in most social class systems, including factory workers, miners, and others.
Yin and Yang
Symbol used to illlustrate the natural harmony that exists in the world. Everything must have an opposing force that allows the harmonious universe to exist.
Zen Buddhism
A blending of Buddhism from India with Taoism from China. It is predominately practiced in China and Japan.
Zheng He
(1371-1433) Chinese naval explorer who sailed along most of the coast of Asia, Japan, and half way down the east coast of Africa before his death.