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World History Era 4

Expanding Zones of Exchange and Encounter,  300-1000 CE

Standard 1: Imperial crises and their aftermath, 300-700 CE

Standard 2: Causes and consequences of the rise of Islamic civilization in the 7th-10th centuries

Standard 3: Major developments in East Asia and Southeast Asia in the era of the Tang dynasty, 600-900 CE

Standard 4: The search for political, social, and cultural redefinition in Europe, 500-1000 CE

Standard 5: The development of agricultural societies and new states in tropical Africa and Oceania

Standard 6: The rise of centers of civilization in Mesoamerica and Andean South America in the first millennium CE

Standard 7: Major global trends from 300-1000 CE

Beginning about 300 CE almost the entire region of Eurasia and northern Africa experienced severe disturbances. By the 7th century, however, peoples of Eurasia and Africa entered a new period of more intensive interchange and cultural creativity. Underlying these developments was the growing sophistication of systems for moving people and goods here and there throughout the hemisphere--China’s canals, trans-Saharan camel caravans, high-masted ships plying the Indian Ocean. These networks tied diverse peoples together across great distances. In Eurasia and Africa a single region of intercommunication was taking shape that ran from the Mediterranean to the China seas. A widening zone of interchange also characterized Mesoamerica.

A sweeping view of world history reveals three broad patterns of change that are particularly conspicuous in this era.

Islamic Civilization: One of the most dramatic developments of this 700-year period was the rise of Islam as both a new world religion and a civilized tradition encompassing an immense part of the Eastern Hemisphere. Commanding the central region of Afro-Eurasia, the Islamic empire of the Abbasid dynasty became in the 8th-10th-century period the principal intermediary for the exchange of goods, ideas, and technologies across the hemisphere.

Buddhist, Christian, and Hindu Traditions: Not only Islam but other major religions also spread widely during this 700-year era. Wherever these faiths were introduced, they carried with them a variety of cultural traditions, aesthetic ideas, and ways of organizing human endeavor. Each of them also embraced peoples of all classes and diverse languages in common worship and moral commitment. Buddhism declined in India but took root in East and Southeast Asia. Christianity became the cultural foundation of a new civilization in western Europe. Hinduism flowered in India under the Gupta Empire and also exerted growing influence in the princely courts of Southeast Asia.

New Patterns of Society in East Asia, Europe, West Africa, Oceania, and Mesoamerica: The third conspicuous pattern, continuing from the previous era, was the process of population growth, urbanization, and flowering of culture in new areas. The 4th to 6th centuries witnessed serious upheavals in Eurasia in connection with the breakup of the Roman and Han empires and the aggressive movements of pastoral peoples to the east, west, and south. By the 7th century, however, China was finding new unity and rising economic prosperity under the Tang. Japan emerged as a distinctive civilization. At the other end of the hemisphere Europe laid new foundations for political and social order. In West Africa towns flourished amid the rise of Ghana and the trans-Saharan gold trade. In both lower Africa and the Pacific basin migrant pioneers laid new foundations of agricultural societies. Finally, this era saw a remarkable growth of urban life in Mesoamerica in the age of the Maya.

Why Study This Era?

  • In these seven centuries Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, and Islam spread far and wide beyond their lands of origin. These religions became established in regions where today they command the faith of millions.

  • In this era the configuration of empires and kingdoms in the world changed dramatically. Why giant empires have fallen and others risen rapidly to take their place is an enduring question for all eras.

  • In the early centuries of this era Christian Europe was marginal to the dense centers of population, production, and urban life of Eurasia and northern Africa. Students should understand this perspective but at the same time investigate the developments that made possible the rise of a new civilization in Europe after 1000 CE.

  • In this era no sustained contact existed between the Eastern Hemisphere and the Americas. Peoples of the Americas did not share in the exchange and borrowing that stimulated innovations of all kinds in Eurasia and Africa. Therefore, students need to explore the conditions under which weighty urban civilizations arose in Mesoamerica in the first millennium CE.

Each standard was developed with historical thinking standards in mind. The relevant historical thinking standards are linked in the brackets, [ ], below.

Standard 1

Imperial crises and their aftermath, 300-700 CE.

Standard 1A

The student understands the decline of the Roman and Han empires.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Analyze various causes that historians have proposed to account for the decline of the Han and Roman empires. [Evaluate major debates among historians]
5-12 Trace the migrations and military movements of major pastoral nomadic groups into both the Roman Empire and China. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
7-12 Compare the consequences of these movements in China and the western part of the Roman Empire. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Analyze comparatively the collapse of the western part of the classical Roman Empire and the survival of the eastern part. [Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas]
9-12 Describe the consolidation of the Byzantine state after the breakup of the Roman Empire and assess how Byzantium transmitted ancient traditions and created a new Christian civilization. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]

Standard 1B

The student understands the expansion of Christianity and Buddhism beyond the lands of their origin.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Assess how Christianity and Buddhism won converts among culturally diverse peoples across wide areas of Afro-Eurasia. [Demonstrate and explain the influence of ideas]
7-12 Analyze the spread of Christianity and Buddhism in the context of change and crisis in the Roman and Han empires. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Analyze the importance of monasticism in the growth of Christianity and Buddhism and the participation of both men and women in monastic life and missionary activity. [Compare and contrast differing values, behaviors, and institutions]

Standard 1C

The student understands the synthesis of Hindu civilization in India in the era of the Gupta Empire.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Describe fundamental features of the Hindu belief system as they emerged in the early first millennium CE. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
7-12 Explain the rise of the Gupta Empire and analyze factors that contributed to the empire’s stability and economic prosperity. [Analyze multiple causation]
7-12 Analyze how Hinduism responded to the challenges of Buddhism and prevailed as the dominant faith in India. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
7-12 Analyze the basis of social relationships in India and compare the social and legal position of women and men during the Gupta era. [Interrogate historical data]
5-12 Evaluate Gupta achievements in art, literature, and mathematics. [Appreciate historical perspective]
9-12 Analyze the Gupta decline and the importance of Hun invasions in the empire’s disintegration. [Analyze multiple causation]

Standard 1D

The student understands the expansion of Hindu and Buddhist traditions in Southeast Asia in the first millennium CE.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Assess the relationship between long-distance trade of Indian and Malay peoples and the introduction of Hindu and Buddhist traditions in Southeast Asia. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Explain the impact of Indian civilization on state-building in mainland Southeast Asia and the Indonesian archipelago. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Evaluate monumental religious architecture exemplifying the spread of Buddhist and Hindu belief and practice in Southeast Asia. [Draw upon visual sources]
9-12 Explain how aspects of Buddhism and Hinduism were combined in Southeast Asian religious life. [Interrogate historical data]

Standard 2

Causes and consequences of the rise of Islamic civilization in the 7th-10th centuries.

Standard 2A

The student understands the emergence of Islam and how it spread in Southwest Asia, North Africa, and Europe.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
9-12 Analyze the political, social, and religious problems confronting the Byzantine and Sassanid Persian empires in the 7th century and the commercial role of Arabia in the Southwest Asian economy. [Analyze multiple causation]
5-12 Describe the life of Muhammad, the development of the early Muslim community, and the basic teachings and practices of Islam. [Assess the importance of the individual]
7-12 Explain how Muslim forces overthrew the Byzantines in Syria and Egypt and the Sassanids in Persia and Iraq. [Interrogate historical data]
5-12 Analyze how Islam spread in Southwest Asia and the Mediterranean region. [Analyze the influence of ideas]
9-12 Analyze how the Arab Caliphate became transformed into a Southwest Asian and Mediterranean empire under the Umayyad dynasty and explain how the Muslim community became divided into Sunnis and Shi’ites. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
7-12 Analyze Arab Muslim success in founding an empire stretching from western Europe to India and China and describe the diverse religious, cultural, and geographic factors that influenced the ability of the Muslim government to rule. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Standard 2B

The student understands the significance of the Abbasid Caliphate as a center of cultural innovation and hub of interregional trade in the 8th-10th centuries.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
9-12 Compare Abbasid government and military institutions with those of Sassanid Persia and Byzantium. [Compare and contrast differing values and institutions]
7-12 Describe sources of Abbasid wealth, including taxation, and analyze the economic and political importance of domestic, military, and gang slavery. [Employ quantitative data]
7-12 Analyze why the Abbasid state became a center of Afro-Eurasian commercial and cultural exchange. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Analyze the sources and development of Islamic law and the influence of law and religious practice on such areas as family life, moral behavior, marriage, inheritance, and slavery. [Examine the influence of ideas]
7-12 Describe the emergence of a center of Islamic civilization in Iberia and evaluate its economic and cultural achievements. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
9-12 Describe the cultural and social contributions of various ethnic and religious communities, particularly the Christian and Jewish, in the Abbasid lands and Iberia. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
7-12 Evaluate Abbasid contributions to mathematics, science, medicine, literature, and the preservation of Greek learning. [Interrogate historical data]
5-12 Assess how Islam won converts among culturally diverse peoples across wide areas of Afro-Eurasia. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Standard 2C

The student understands the consolidation of the Byzantine state in the context of expanding Islamic civilization.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Explain how the Byzantine state withstood Arab Muslim attacks between the 7th and 10th centuries. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Compare Byzantium’s imperial political system with that of the Abbasid state. [Compare and contrast differing values and institutions]
7-12 Evaluate the Byzantine role in preserving and transmitting ancient Greek learning. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
9-12 Analyze the expansion of Greek Orthodox Christianity into the Balkans and Kievan Russia between the 9th and 11th centuries. [Analyze multiple causation]

Standard 3

Major developments in East Asia and Southeast Asia in the era of the Tang dynasty, 600-900 CE.

Standard 3A

The student understands China’s sustained political and cultural expansion in the Tang period.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
7-12 Explain how relations between China and pastoral peoples of Inner Asia in the Tang period reflect long-term patterns of interaction along China’s grassland frontier. [Explain historical continuity and change]
9-12 Describe political centralization and economic reforms that marked China’s reunification under the Sui and Tang dynasties. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Describe Tang imperial conquests in Southeast and Central Asia. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
5-12 Describe the cosmopolitan diversity of peoples and religions in Chinese cities of the early- and mid-Tang period. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
7-12 Assess explanations for the spread and power of Buddhism in Tang China, Korea, and Japan. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Evaluate creative achievements in painting and poetry in relation to the values of Tang society. [Appreciate historical perspectives]

Standard 3B

The student understands developments in Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia in an era of Chinese ascendancy.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
7-12 Explain how Korea assimilated Chinese ideas and institutions yet preserved its political independence. [Compare and contrast different sets of ideas]
5-12 Describe the indigenous development of Japanese society up to the 7th century. [Interrogate historical data]
7-12 Assess the patterns of borrowing and adaptation of Chinese culture in Japanese society from the 7th to the 11th century. [Analyze the influence of ideas]
5-12 Describe the establishment of the imperial state in Japan and assess the role of the emperor in government. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
5-12 Assess the political, social, and cultural contributions of aristocratic women of the Japanese imperial court. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
5-12 Describe the indigenous development of Japanese society up to the 7th century CE. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
7-12 Explain China’s colonization of Vietnam and analyze the effects of Chinese rule on Vietnamese society, including resistance to Chinese domination. [Evaluate alternative courses of action]
5-12 Explain the commercial importance of the Straits of Melaka and the significance of the empire of Srivijaya for maritime trade between China and the Indian Ocean. [Draw upon data in historical maps]

Standard 4

The search for political, social, and cultural redefinition in Europe, 500-1000 CE.

Standard 4A

The student understands the foundations of a new civilization in Western Christendom in the 500 years following the breakup of the western Roman Empire.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Assess the importance of monasteries, convents, the Latin Church, and missionaries from Britain and Ireland in the Christianizing of western and central Europe. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Explain the development of the Merovingian and Carolingian states and assess their success at maintaining public order and local defense in western Europe. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
7-12 Analyze how the preservation of Greco-Roman and early Christian learning in monasteries and convents and in Charlemagne’s royal court contributed to the emergence of European civilization. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
7-12 Analyze the growth of papal power and the changing political relations between the popes and the secular rulers of Europe. [Identify issues and problems of the past]
9-12 Compare the successes of the Latin and Greek churches in introducing Christianity and Christian culture to eastern Europe. [Compare and contrast differing sets of ideas]

Standard 4B

The student understands the coalescence of political and social order in Europe.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Assess the impact of Norse (Viking) and Magyar migrations and invasions, as well as internal conflicts, on the emergence of independent lords and the knightly class. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Assess changes in the legal, social, and economic status of peasants in the 9th and 10th centuries. [Interrogate historical data]
7-12 Analyze the importance of monasteries and convents as centers of political power, economic productivity, and communal life. [Examine the influence of ideas]
9-12 Explain how royal officials such as counts and dukes transformed delegated powers into hereditary, autonomous power over land and people in the 9th and 10th centuries. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]

Standard 5

The development of agricultural societies and new states in tropical Africa and Oceania.

Standard 5A

The student understands state-building in Northeast and West Africa and the southward migrations of Bantu-speaking peoples.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
7-12 Explain how the contrasting natural environments of West Africa defined agricultural production, and analyze the importance of the Niger River in promoting agriculture, commerce, and state-building. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Explain how Ghana became West Africa’s first large-scale empire. [Interrogate historical data]
7-12 Assess the importance of labor specialization, regional commerce, trans-Saharan camel trade, and Islam in the development of states and cities in West Africa. [Analyze multiple causation]
9-12 Infer from archaeological evidence the importance of Jenné-jeno or Kumbi-Saleh as early West African commercial cities. [Interrogate historical data]
9-12 Analyze causes and consequences of the settling of East, Central, and Southern Africa by Bantu-speaking farmers and cattle herders up to 1000 CE. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Standard 5B

The student understands the peopling of Oceania and the establishment of agricultural societies and states.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
9-12 Analyze various theories drawing on linguistic, biological, and cultural evidence to explain when and how humans migrated to the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. [Evaluate major debates among historians]
5-12 Describe the routes by which migrants settled the Pacific Islands and New Zealand and the navigational techniques they used on long-distance voyages. [Draw upon data in historical maps]
7-12 Describe the plants and animals that early migrants carried with them and analyze how agricultural societies were established on the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. [Clarify information on the geographic setting]
9-12 Analyze how complex social structures, religions, and states developed in Oceania. [Analyze multiple causation]

Standard 6

The rise of centers of civilization in Mesoamerica and Andean South America in the first millennium CE.

Standard 6A

The student understands the origins, expansion, and achievements of Maya civilization.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Describe the natural environment of southern Mesoamerica and its relationship to the development of Maya urban society. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Analyze the Maya system of agricultural production and trade and its relationship to the rise of city-states. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Interpret the Maya cosmic world view as evidenced in art and architecture and evaluate Maya achievements in astronomy, mathematics, and the development of a calendar. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
5-12 Analyze how monumental architecture and other evidence portrays the lives of elite men and women. [Draw upon visual sources]
7-12 Assess interpretations of how and why Maya civilization declined. [Evaluate major debates among historians]

Standard 6B

The student understands the rise of the Teotihuacán, Zapotec/Mixtec, and Moche civilizations.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
7-12 Analyze the character of the Zapotec state in the valley of Oaxaca as reflected in the art and architecture of Monte Albán. [Draw upon visual sources]
9-12 Explain the growth of the urban society centered on Teotihuacán and the importance of this city as a transmitter of Mesoamerican cultural traditions to later societies. [Examine the influence of ideas]
5-12 Analyze how the diverse natural environment of the Andes region shaped systems of agriculture and animal herding. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Describe how archaeological discoveries have led to greater understanding of the character of Moche society. [Hold interpretations of history as tentative]

Standard 7

Major global trends from 300-1000 CE.

Standard 7A

The student understands major global trends from 300 to 1000 CE.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
7-12 Analyze factors contributing to the weakening of empires or civilized traditions in world history up to 1000 CE and compare causes of the decline or collapse of various empires. [Draw comparisons across eras and regions]
7-12 Trace the migratory and military movements of pastoral nomadic peoples from Central Asia and the Arabian Peninsula between the 4th and 11th centuries and analyze the consequences of these movements for empires and agrarian civilizations of Eurasia and Africa. [Interrogate historical data]
5-12 Trace major changes in the religious map of Eurasia and Africa between 300 and 1000 and account for the success of Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam in making converts among peoples of differing ethnic and cultural traditions. [Analyze the influence of ideas]
5-12 Describe maritime and overland trade routes linking regions of Afro-Eurasia and analyze the importance of international trade for African and Eurasian societies. [Draw evidence from historical maps]
7-12 Explain the importance of Muslims and Muslim civilization in mediating long-distance commercial, cultural, intellectual, and food crop exchange across Eurasia and parts of Africa. [Analyze the influence of ideas]
7-12 Trace migrations of farming peoples to new regions of Europe, Sub-Saharan Africa, China, Oceania, and Mesoamerica and analyze connections between new settlement and the development of towns, trade, and greater cultural complexity in these regions. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]