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World History Era 5

Intensified Hemispheric Interactions, 1000-1500 CE

Standard 1: The maturing of an interregional system of communication, trade, and cultural exchange in an era of Chinese economic power and Islamic expansion

Standard 2: The redefining of European society and culture, 1000-1300 CE

Standard 3: The rise of the Mongol empire and its consequences for Eurasian peoples, 1200-1350

Standard 4: The growth of states, towns, and trade in Sub-Saharan Africa between the 11th and 15th centuries

Standard 5: Patterns of crisis and recovery in Afro-Eurasia, 1300-1450

Standard 6: The expansion of states and civilizations in the Americas, 1000-1500

Standard 7: Major global trends from 1000-1500 CE

In this era the various regions of Eurasia and Africa became more firmly interconnected than at any earlier time in history. The sailing ships that crossed the wide sea basins of the Eastern Hemisphere carried a greater volume and variety of goods than ever before. In fact, the chain of seas extending across the hemisphere--China seas, Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Black Sea, Mediterranean, and Baltic--came to form a single interlocking network of maritime trade. In the same centuries caravan traffic crossed the Inner Asian steppes and the Sahara Desert more frequently. As trade and travel intensified so did cultural exchanges and encounters, presenting local societies with a profusion of new opportunities and dangers. By the time of the transoceanic voyages of the Portuguese and Spanish, the Eastern Hemisphere already constituted a single zone of intercommunication possessing a unified history of its own.

A global view reveals four "big stories" that give shape to the entire era:

China and Europe--Two Centers of Growth

In two regions of the Eastern Hemisphere, China and Europe, the era witnessed remarkable growth. China experienced a burst of technological innovation, commercialization, and urbanization, emerging as the largest economy in the world. As China exported its silks and porcelains to other lands and imported quantities of spices from India and Southeast Asia, patterns of production and commerce all across the hemisphere were affected. At the opposite end of Eurasia, Western and Central Europe emerged as a new center of Christian civilization, expanding in agricultural production, population, commerce, and military might. Powerful European states presented a new challenge to Muslim dominance in the Mediterranean world. At the same time Europe was drawn more tightly into the commercial economy and cultural interchange of the hemisphere.

The Long Reach of Islam

In this era Islamic faith and civilization encompassed extensive new areas of Eurasia and Africa. The continuing spread of Islam was closely connected to the migrations of Turkic conquerors and herding folk and to the growth of Muslim commercial enterprise all across the hemisphere. By about 1400 CE Muslim societies spanned the central two-thirds of Afro-Eurasia. New Muslim states and towns were appearing in West Africa, the East African coast, Central Asia, India, and Southeast Asia. Consequently, Muslim merchants, scholars, and a host of long-distance travelers were the principal mediators in the interregional exchange of goods, ideas, and technical innovations.

The Age of Mongol Dominance

The second half of the era saw extraordinary developments in interregional history. The Mongols under Chinggis Khan created the largest land empire the world had ever seen. Operating from Poland to Korea and Siberia to Indonesia, the Mongol warlords intruded in one way or another on the lives of almost all peoples of Eurasia. The conquests were terrifying, but the stabilizing of Mongol rule led to a century of fertile commercial and cultural interchange across the continent. Eurasian unification, however, had a disastrous consequence in the 14th century--the Black Death and its attendant social impact on Europe, the Islamic world, and probably China.

Empires of the Americas

In the Western Hemisphere empire building reached an unprecedented scale. The political styles of the Aztec and Inca states were profoundly different. Even so, both enterprises demonstrated that human labor and creative endeavor could be organized on a colossal scale despite the absence of iron technology or wheeled transport.

Why Study This Era?

  • The civilizations that flourished in this era--Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Islamic, European, West African, Mesoamerican, and others--created a legacy of cultural and social achievements of continuing significance today. To understand how cultural traditions affect social change or international relations in the contemporary world requires study of the specific historical contexts in which those traditions took form.

  • The modern world with all its unique complexities did not emerge suddenly in the past 500 years but had its roots in the developments of the 1000-1500 era, notably the maturing of long-distance trade and the economic and social institutions connected with it.

  • To understand both the history of modern Europe and the United States requires a grasp of the variety of institutions, ideas, and styles that took shape in western Christendom during this era of expansion and innovation.

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

Standard 1

The maturing of an interregional system of communication, trade, and cultural exchange in an era of Chinese economic power and Islamic expansion.

Standard 1A

The student understands China's extensive urbanization and commercial expansion between the 10th and 13th centuries.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
7-12 Explain the major dynastic transitions in China and how Confucianism changed. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Analyze how improved agricultural production, population growth, urbanization, and commercialization were interconnected. [Analyze multiple causation]
5-12 Identify major technological and scientific innovations and analyze their effects on Chinese life. [Examine the influence of ideas]
5-12 Analyze the expansion of China’s external trade with peoples of Southeast Asia and the lands rimming the Indian Ocean. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Analyze the growth of an economically powerful merchant class in China. [Formulate historical questions]
9-12 Assess the importance of women of gentry families in preserving and transmitting Chinese cultural values. [Interrogate historical data]

Standard 1B

The student understands developments in Japanese and Southeast Asian civilization.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Describe Japanese government in the Kamakura and early Ashikaga periods and assess the applicability of the concept of feudalism to Japan. [Interrogate historical data]
5-12 Analyze the rise of the warrior class and how changes in inheritance laws and patterns of land ownership affected peasants and both upper-class and commoner women in the context of feudal society. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
7-12 Explain the development of distinctive forms of Japanese Buddhism. [Examine the influence of ideas]
5-12 Evaluate the arts and aesthetic values in warrior culture. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
7-12 Explain the sources of wealth of the Southeast Asian states of Vietnam (Dai Viet), Champa, and Angkor (Cambodia) and analyze the role of Islam and Buddhism in the decline of classical states. [Compare and contrast differing institutions]
9-12 Explain the struggle for Vietnamese independence from China and the subsequent reconstruction of Vietnamese society and government. [Marshal evidence of antecedent circumstances]

Standard 1C

The student understands how pastoral migrations and religious reform movements between the 11th and 13th centuries contributed to the rise of new states and the expansion of Islam.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
7-12 Analyze how the migrations of Turkic peoples from Turkestan into Southwest Asia and India in the 11th and 12th centuries contributed to Islamic expansion and the retreat of Byzantium and Greek Christian civilization. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Assess the growth of North African Islamic reform movements and the success of the Almoravids and Almohads in creating empires spanning Iberia and North Africa. [Examine the influence of ideas]
5-12 Evaluate scientific, artistic, and literary achievements of Islamic civilization. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
9-12 Assess Sufism as an important dimension of Islamic faith and practice and how it enriched Muslim life and contributed to Islamic expansion. [Examine the influence of ideas]

Standard 1D

The student understands how interregional communication and trade led to intensified cultural exchanges among diverse peoples of Eurasia and Africa.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Identify the maritime routes extending from East Asia to northern Europe and assess the importance of trade across the Indian Ocean for societies of Asia, East Africa, and Europe. [Draw upon data in historical maps]
5-12 Explain how camel caravan transport facilitated long-distance trade across Central Asia and the Sahara Desert. [Interrogate historical data]
7-12 Compare the importance of such cities as Canton (Kuang-Chou), Melaka, Calicut, Samarkand, Kilwa, Cairo, Constantinople, and Venice as centers of international trade and cosmopolitan culture. [Clarify information on the geographical setting]
7-12 Explain connections between trade and the spread of Islam in Central Asia, East Africa, West Africa, the coasts of India, and Southeast Asia. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Standard 2

The redefining of European society and culture, 1000-1300 CE.

Standard 2A

The student understands feudalism and the growth of centralized monarchies and city-states in Europe.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Describe feudal lordship and explain how feudal relationships provided a foundation of political order in parts of Europe. [Interrogate historical data]
5-12 Describe manorialism and serfdom as institutions of medieval Europe and analyze how population growth and agricultural expansion affected the legal position and working lives of peasant men and women. [Appreciate historical perspective]
7-12 Analyze how European monarchies expanded their power at the expense of feudal lords and assess the growth and limitations of representative institutions in these monarchies. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Analyze the significance of developments in medieval English legal and constitutional practice and their importance for modern democratic thought and institutions. [Identify relevant historical antecedents]
7-12 Explain the changing political relationship between the Catholic Church and secular states. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Explain the importance of inheritance laws, arranged marriages, dowries, and family alliances for dynastic and aristocratic politics. [Formulate historical questions]
9-12 Analyze how prosperous city-states arose in Italy and northern Europe and compare the political institutions of city-states with those of centralizing monarchies. [Compare and contrast differing institutions]

Standard 2B

The student understands the expansion of Christian Europe after 1000.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
7-12 Analyze connections between population growth and increased agricultural production and technological innovation. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Explain urban growth in the Mediterranean region and northern Europe and analyze causes for the expansion of manufacturing, interregional trade, and a money economy in Europe. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Analyze the success of Christian states in overthrowing Muslim powers of central and southern Iberia. [Interrogate historical data]
5-12 Analyze the causes and consequences of the European Crusades against Syria and Palestine. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Assess the consequences of German military and cultural encounters with the peoples of Poland and the Baltic region. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]

Standard 2C

The student understands the patterns of social change and cultural achievement in Europe’s emerging civilizations.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Analyze ways in which ideals of chivalry and courtly love affected feudal society. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Describe the life of Jewish communities and their contributions to Europe’s cultural and economic development. [Examine the influence of ideas]
5-12 Analyze how the rise of schools and universities in Italy, France, and England contributed to literacy, learning, and scientific advancement. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Evaluate major works of art, architecture, and literature and analyze how they shed light on values and attitudes in Christian society. [Draw upon visual sources]
9-12 Assess the importance of the Islamic states of Iberia and Sicily as well as the Byzantine empire in transmitting scientific and philosophical knowledge to and influencing the literature and arts of Western and Central Europe. [Analyze the importance of ideas]
9-12 Assess the importance of Orthodox and Latin Christianity in the cultural and social life of Eastern Europe and Russia. [Examine the importance of ideas]

Standard 3

The rise of the Mongol empire and its consequences for Eurasian peoples, 1200-1350.

Standard 3A

The student understands the world-historical significance of the Mongol empire.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Assess the career of Chinggis Khan as a conqueror and military innovator in the context of Mongol society. [Assess the importance of the individual]
7-12 Describe the Mongol conquests of 1206-1279 and assess their effects on peoples of China, Southeast Asia, Russia, and Southwest Asia. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Describe the founding and political character of Mongol rule in China, Central Asia, Southwest Asia, and Russia and explain why the unified empire divided into four major successor kingdoms. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
9-12 Assess the usefulness and limitations of the concept of the “Pax Mongolica” and analyze how long-distance communication and trade led to cultural and technological diffusion across Eurasia. [Interrogate historical data]

Standard 3B

The student understands the significance of Mongol rule in China, Korea, Russia, and Southwest Asia.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Analyze how Mongol rule affected economy, society, and culture in China and Korea. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Explain how Southeast Asia and Japanese successfully resisted  incorporation into the Mongol empire. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Explain the growth of the kingdom of the Golden Horde (Khanate of Kipchak) and its impact on the peoples of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Hungary. [Interrogate historical data]
9-12 Explain how the Golden Horde and the Khanate of Persia-Iraq became Islamicized. [Formulate a position or course of action on an issue]
9-12 Describe major characteristics of the Mamluk and Delhi sultanates and explain the Mongol failure to conquer Egypt and India. [Identify issues and problems in the past]

Standard 4

The growth of states, towns, and trade in Sub-Saharan Africa between the 11th and 15th centuries.

Standard 4A

The student understands the growth of imperial states in West Africa and Ethiopia.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Analyze the importance of agriculture, gold production, and the trans-Saharan caravan trade in the growth of the Mali and Songhay empires. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Explain how Islam expanded in West Africa and assess its importance in the political and cultural life of Mali and Songhay. [Examine the influence of ideas]
5-12 Infer from bronze sculpture or other evidence the characteristics of the West African forest states of Ile-Ife and Benin. [Draw upon visual sources]
7-12 Explain the expansion of the Christian Ethiopian kingdom and its search for wider connections in the Christian world. [Interrogate historical data]

Standard 4B

The student understands the development of towns and maritime trade in East and Southern Africa.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Explain the rise of commercial towns on the East African coast and the significance of Swahili as a language of trade. [Interrogate historical data]
7-12 Assess the importance of Islam, Arab settlement, and maritime trade in the economic and cultural life of Kilwa and other East African coastal cities. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Analyze the importance of Great Zimbabwe as a state and commercial center with links to the Indian Ocean trade. [Interrogate historical data]

Standard 5

Patterns of crisis and recovery in Afro-Eurasia, 1300-1450.

Standard 5A

The student understands the consequences of Black Death and recurring plague pandemic in the 14th century.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Explain the origins and characteristics of the plague pandemic of the mid-14th century, and describe its spread across Eurasia and North Africa. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
7-12 Analyze the demographic, economic, social, and political effects of the plague pandemic in Eurasia and North Africa in the second half of the 14th century. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
9-12 Assess ways in which long-term climatic change contributed to Europe’s economic and social crisis in the 14th century. [Interrogate historical data]

Standard 5B

The student understands transformations in Europe following the economic and demographic crises of the 14th century.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Analyze major changes in the agrarian and commercial economies of Europe in the context of drastic population decline. [Appreciate historical perspective]
7-12 Assess the effects of crises in the Catholic Church on its organization and prestige. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Analyze causes and consequences of the Hundred Years War and repeated popular uprisings in Europe in the 14th century. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
9-12 Analyze the resurgence of centralized monarchies and economically powerful city-states in western Europe in the 15th century. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
7-12 Define humanism as it emerged in Italy in the 14th and 15th centuries and analyze how study of Greco-Roman antiquity and critical analysis of texts gave rise to new forms of literature, philosophy, and education. [Examine the influence of ideas]
5-12 Evaluate the aesthetic and cultural significance of major changes in the techniques of painting, sculpture, and architecture. [Appreciate historical perspectives]

Standard 5C

The student understands major political developments in Asia in the aftermath of the collapse of Mongol rule and the plague pandemic.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
9-12 Analyze reasons for the collapse of Mongol rule in China and the reconstituting of the empire under the Chinese Ming dynasty. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]
7-12 Describe the Zheng He maritime expeditions of the early 15th century and analyze why the Ming state initiated, then terminated, these voyages. [Evaluate the implementation of a decision]
7-12 Assess the impact of the conquests of Timur (Tamerlane) on Central Asia, Southwest Asia, and India and evaluate Timurid contributions to arts and sciences. [Assess the importance of the individual]
5-12 Analyze the origins and early expansion of the Ottoman state up to the capture of Constantinople. [Reconstruct patterns of historical succession and duration]

Standard 6

The expansion of states and civilizations in the Americas, 1000-1500.

Standard 6A

The student understands the development of complex societies and states in North America and Mesoamerica.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
7-12 Explain major characteristics of Toltecs, Anasazi, Pueblo, and North American mound-building peoples. [Compare and contrast differing values and institutions]
5-12 Analyze how the Aztec empire arose in the 14th and 15th centuries and explain major aspects of Aztec government, society, religion, and culture. [Interrogate historical data]
7-12 Analyze patterns of long-distance trade centered in Mesoamerica. [Formulate historical questions]

Standard 6B

The student understands the development of the Inca empire in Andean South America.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
5-12 Analyze Inca expansion and methods of imperial unification. [Appreciate historical perspectives]
7-12 Explain Inca social, political, religious, and economic institutions. [Interrogate historical data]
7-12 Compare the government, economy, religion, and social organization of the Aztec and Inca empires. [Compare and contrast differing values and institutions]

Standard 7

Major global trends from 1000-1500 CE.

Standard 7A

The student understands major global trends from 1000 to 1500 CE.

GRADE LEVELTHEREFORE, THE STUDENT IS ABLE TO
9-12 Account for the growth, decline, and recovery of the overall population of Afro-Eurasia and analyze ways in which large demographic swings might have affected economic, social, and cultural life in various regions. [Utilize mathematical and quantitative data]
7-12 Trace major migratory and military movements of pastoral peoples of Asia and Africa and analyze the consequences of these movements for agrarian states and societies of Eurasia and Africa. [Clarify information on the geographic setting]
7-12 Compare Europe and China in relation to causes and consequences of productive growth, commercialization, urbanization, and technological or scientific innovation. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
5-12 Account for the continuing spread of Islam and explain the importance of Muslims and Muslim civilization in mediating long-distance commercial, cultural, and intellectual exchange. [Examine the influence of ideas]
5-12 Explain why new ports, manufacturing centers, merchant communities, and long-distance trade routes emerged during this period in the region of the “Southern Seas” stretching from the Arabian Sea to the coasts of China. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Analyze ways in which encounters, both hostile and peaceful, between Muslims and Christians in the Mediterranean region affected political, economic, and cultural life in Europe, North Africa, and Southwest Asia. [Analyze cause-and-effect relationships]
7-12 Identify similarities and differences in society, economy, and political organization of Europe and Japan and compare the causes of economic growth, urbanization, and cultural innovation in these two regions. [Draw comparisons across eras and regions]
7-12 Define “capitalism” and analyze the extent to which capitalistic institutions and productive methods were emerging in Europe and other parts of Afro-Eurasia. [Examine the influence of ideas]
7-12 Compare the Inca or Aztec empires with empires of Afro-Eurasia in relation to political institutions, warfare, social organization, and cultural achievements. [Draw comparisons across eras and regions]