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Global Vocabulary

TermDefinition
Absolutism: When a ruler has total power in a country. Created stronger nations in Europe than feudalism.
African Trading Kingdoms: Songhai, Ghana, and Mali were kingdoms in west Africa that made lots of money by trading over the Sahara desert. They traded gold, ivory, and salt. Mali converted to Islam in 1050 A.D.
Alexander the Great: A strong king of Greece that conquered a large empire. Spread Hellenic (Greek) culture and increased cultural diffusion.
Allies, The: The alliance between England, France, Soviet Union, and the United States during World War II (1939-1945)
Alternative Energy: Sources of energy that are not oil or coal. Some examples are solar, wind, hydroelectric, or bio-fuel.
Anthropologist: a person who studies humans and their history.
Apartheid: The system in South Africa of separating whites from non-whites.
Appeasement: Policy of giving Hitler what he wanted in the hopes that he would not start a large war.
Archaeologist: Someone who studies old human artifacts.
Aristocracy: The wealthiest and most powerful people in a country. The nobles.
Armenian Massacre: The killing of innocent Armenians by the Ottomans during WWI.
Arms Race: the competition between USA and USSR to build more weapons during the Cold War
Artifact: An object from a long time ago.
Astrolabe: a ancient device that sailors used to determine where they were at sea.
Astrology: The study of the stars, planets, and skies.
Ataturk, Kemal: nationalist leader of Turkey after World War I. Kept turkey independent after Ottoman Empire fell. Modernized his nation.
Athens: A Greek city-state that liked learning, art, drama, and trading.
Aqueducts: A concrete structure that carries water to where ever you need it.
Axis, The: The alliance between German, Italy, and Japan during World War II (1939-1945)
Aztec: A large native empire that practiced human sacrifice, animism, built great pyramids, worshiped the sun, and was destroyed by the Spanish. They lived mostly in Mexico.
Barbarian: The term used to describe Rome’s enemies that did not have a written language. They all attacked Rome when it was weak and destroyed its empire.
Berlin Airlift/Blockade: During the Cold War, the Soviet Union refused to let supplies into the western half of Berlin. USA flew in supplies and eventually the Soviet Union ended blockade.
Berlin Conference: a meeting of European nations to decide how they would divide up Africa under imperialism.
Berlin Wall: A large concrete wall that separated the soviet side of Berlin from the democratic side.
Bismarck, Otto von: the strong German leader who united Germany, famous for saying “blood and iron” when he was talking about how he would unite Germany.
Black Plague: 1348 A.D. Terrible disease that killed 1/3 of Europe, spread through trade from Asia.
Bolívar, Simón: (1813-1830)a Latin American independence leader who wanted to free the continent from Spain. Wanted to unite South America but the Andes Mts. And Amazon got in way
Bolshevik Revolution: when the socialists overthrew the Czarist government of Russia and instituted a communist government in 1917. They also withdrew from World War I after the revolution. Gave peasants more food.
Bonaparte, Napoleon: the First Emperor of France. A military leader who conquered most of Europe and pushed forward the ideas of “liberty, fraternity, and equality.”
Bosnia: a small nation in the Balkans that was the site of years of ethnic violence and war during the 1980s and 1990s The United Nations had to step in.
Bourgeoisie: the term used to describe the wealthy city dwellers, businessmen, and middle class.
Boxer Rebellion: a Chinese nationalist uprising that attacked foreigners (1901).
Bronze: one of the first metals used by humans for tools and weapons.
Buddhism: Asian religion, today mostly in China an Thailand. Believes in reincarnation and enlightenment. The Eightfold path and The Four Noble Truths
Byzantine Empire: the eastern half of the Roman Empire that did not fall apart. Gave the world Orthodox Christianity, the Cyrillic Alphabet, and helped Russia grow. Lasted until 1453 A.D.
Capitalism: the economic system in which the business is owned by private citizens and not the government. Interested in making high profits for individuals and opening markets.
Caste System: a system in India that places people in a civilization, tells people their jobs. Rigid class structure.
Castro, Fidel: successfully overthrew Cuba’s capitalist regime and turned the country communist. He became Cuba’s dictator.
Catherine the Great: The absolute ruler of Russia (1762-1796)who increased Russia’s territory and also helped to modernize the nation.
Cavour, Camillo de: important in the Italian unification movement.
Central Powers, The: The alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire during World War I (1914-1918)
Chiang Kai Shek: Nationalist leader of China after Emperor was removed, fought against communists but lost and had to leave the country and go to Taiwan.
Chinese Civil War: Nationalist vs. Communist to see who gets to lead China. Communists won in 1946.
City-State: A city that is also its own country.
Civil-Disobedience: when you choose not to obey an unjust law. Ganhi and Nelson Mandela did this.
Civilization: a large group of people that farm and live together and are controlled by the same leader or government.
Clergy: Medieval priests.
Christianity: a monotheistic religion starting in Jerusalem but spread to Europe and Americas. Follows Jesus Christ. The Bible, heaven, redemption.
Christopher Columbus: the first European to find the New World and open it up for trade.
Coast: the place where land meets the ocean. The beach
Code of Hammurabi: the first written laws or rules.
Cold War: the global conflict between the U.S.A. and the U.S.S.R. (1945-1991). Both super powers competed over the world but never openly fought each other because of the risk of nuclear weapons being used.
Collectivization: the communist practice of forcing everyone to live and work together on large farms and communes. Led to mass starvation/famines in China and Soviet Union (Ukraine)
Colonialism: when Europe controlled many weaker nations around the globe, Europe used them for resources and new markets.
Columbian Exchange: the trading of new foods and goods between the New World and Old World.
Commercial Revolution: (1500-1725) European business grew greatly, companies grew, investment grew, and trade flourished.
Communism: the economic system in which the state controls and owns the factories and businesses. No private ownership of production.
Confucius: Chinese scholar that taught people to accept their place in society, keep order, and obey their superiors. The Five Relationships and Filial Piety (respect for family).
Congress of Vienna, The: (1814) European powers met to re-balance power after the defeat of Napoleon.
Constantinople: A large wealthy city that was the capital of the Byzantine Empire. It connected Europe and Asia as well as connecting the Mediterranean Sea to the Black Sea. A good location for trading.
Conquistadors: Spanish soldiers who came to the New World to take gold, slaves, land, and spread Christianity.
Crusades, The: European knights attack the Middle East, Holy Land, and fight the Muslims. Ends with Europe learning from Muslims and trading more with Asia/Middle East.
Cultural Diffusion: When one culture borrows beliefs, manners, practices, languages from another culture.
Cuban Revolution: (1959) Fidel Castro led a communist revolution in Cuba.
Cultural Revolution: Chinese dictator Mao Ze Dong forced China into a period of great social change to make it more communist (1966-1976).
Cuneiform: the first written language from Mesopotamia in the Middle East.
Daoism: A religion in China that teaches moderation, humility, and compassion. Harmony and balance are very important.
Dark Ages: A period of time in Europe that lacked education and science; was controlled by religion and military. Also called the Middle ages or the Medieval Age.
D-Day Invasion: The Allies invasion of German controlled Europe (1944)
Deng XiauPing: Chinese communist leader who introduced free market capitalism to his country.
Democracy: A government controlled by the people.Only ancient Greece was democratic before 1776
Deforestation: the loss of forest land.
Desert: a place where there is almost no rain, very hot, sand sandy.
Desertification: the growth of deserts.
Dictatorship: A government controlled by one strong military leader.
Divine Right: The theory that the ruler is given their power by God
Egypt: a civilization that started near the Nile River in Africa.
Ethnic: A group of people that share the same culture
Ethnocentric: the belief that your culture (ethnic group) is superior to all other nations and groups.
Emperor: another word for king.
Empire: One strong civilization controls many smaller weaker civilizations.
Encomienda: the Spanish system for plantations. Used slaves, first natives then blacks. Had a rigid class system.
Encounter, The: the first meeting between Christopher Columbus (Europe) and Native Americans in 1492.
Enlightenment: (1650-1800) a period of time in Europe where democracy, reason, intellectualism, and human rights started being thought about and talked about.
Fascism: the rise of totalitarian dictators across Europe after World War I. Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco are examples.
Ferdinand, Franz: the Austrian Arch Duke who was assassinated in 1914, his death started World War I.
Feudalism: an economic system in which the king gives out land in return for taxes, services, and loyalty. Decentralized power and rigid class structure. Famous in Japan and Medieval Europe.
Five Pillars: the five basic requirements of Islam.
Five-Year Plan: Communist plan to grow heavy industry.
French Estates: The First estate was the church, the Second was the nobility, and the Third was all the poor and middle class. Poor/middle class paid all taxes and had no power.
French Revolution: (1789) The people of France overthrew their king and cut his head off. They tried to start a democratic system of government but it failed and a dictator took power.
Fundamentalism: describes the practice of following your religion to the extremes.
Garibaldi, Guiseppe: important Italian nationalistic hero of the unification.
Genocide: when one group of people tries to completely wipe out another group of people.
Geocentric: he belief that the Earth is the center of the solar system.
Geography: places or things on the land or the land itself
German Unification: (1871) the many German states united to form Germany.
Gandhi, Mahatma a non-violent leader in the India independence movement (1947).
Glasnost: Soviet leader Gorbachev wanted to give the people more freedoms.
Globalization: the world economy is connected and countries trade freely with each other.
Glorious Revolution: In 1688 the people of England forced their monarch to share power with the parliament.
Golden Horde: another name for the Mongols.
Gorbachev, Mikhail: Soviet President (1988-1991) who tried to open up the U.S.S.R. to new economic and social changes.
Great Leap Forward: Mao Ze Dong changes Chinese economy but it causes problems, starvation.
Greece: A place in southern Europe that has a mild climate, rocky mountains, and lots of coastline. Famous for being first democracy (in Athens, not Sparta)
Hajj, The: The Muslim pilgrimage, holy journey/trip, to Mecca.
Haitian Revolution: (1791-1804) the African slave population of Haiti rebelled against their French masters and liberated Haiti.
Heliocentric: the belief that the sun is the center of the solar system.
Hinduism: an Indian religion. Polytheistic and believes in reincarnation and Nirvana.
Hiroshima and Nagasaki: two cities in Japan that were hit with nuclear bombs at the end of World War II.
Hitler, Adolph: German fascist dictator during World War II. Came to power because of Germany’s ruined economy and depressed population.
Hobbes, Thomas: an English philosopher that supported the rule of absolute kings.
Ho Chi Minh: communist leader of Vietnam during Vietnamese war.
Holocaust: (1940-1945) the intentional executions of millions of Jewish, gay, and undesirable people from the lands occupied by Germany during World War II. Described as a genocide
Humanism: New belief from the Renaissance. A way of thinking that made humans the most thing to study and moved away from religion as the most important thing.
Human Rights: the modern belief that all humans’ have certain equal rights
Ibn Battuta: Muslim explorer that sailed around Africa and south Asia. Increased Muslim knowledge of other lands.
IMF: International Monetary Fund is a large global bank that gives loans to nations. Causes them to be in debt and takes over their economy.
Imperialism: When a strong country takes over a weaker country and takes their resources. Europe and Japan were imperialistic.
Inca: A native empire in South America. They were famous for their roads, step farming, and living in mountains.
Indus River: a river in India that started a civilization.
Industrial Revolution: (1750-1850) a period of time in Europe when factories and steam power started to replace the more traditional means of production
Interdependence: the global connection between every country and every other country. What happens in one country will have an effect in all the other nations globally.
Islam: A monotheistic religion that was started by Mohammad in the 7th century A.D. The Koran, pilgrimage to Mecca, and the Five Pillars.
Israel: Jewish nation in the Middle East that was created after World War II by the British.
Istanbul: New name for the city of Constantinople after 1453 when the Turks renamed it.
Iranian Revolution: Islamic fundamentalists take over the gov’t of Iran (1979)
Iron Curtain: an imaginary wall that cut-off eastern Europe from the outside during the Cold War.
Italian Unification: ( (1815-1871) the many separate nations of Italy slowly joined together in one nation
Kenyatta, Jomo: African independence leader from Kenya.
Khmer Rouge: The government that controlled Cambodia (Kampuchea) from 1975-1979. Caused genocide.
Kurds: A minority group that lives in northern Iraq and want their own country.
Latin America Independence: after the French and American revolutions, the nations of South and Central America started gaining freedom from Spain (1800 - 1830).
Judaism: (Jewish) one of the first monotheistic religions, centered around modern day Israel. The Torah is the holy book.
Korea: spread Chinese culture to Japan. Today is divided, Communist North, Democratic South.
Knight: a medieval warrior.
Laissez faire: the belief that government should not regulate business. “Hands off” free market.
Lake: fresh water with land on all sides.
League of Nations: created after World War I, it was an international group of nations that tried to work together to maintain peace worldwide. Failed and was very weak.
Lenin, Vladimir: led the Bolshevik Revolution, started communism in Russia.
Long March, The: Communist Chinese forces under Mao Zedong had to travel for a year in rough wilderness to win the Chinese Civil War.
L'Ouverture, Toussaint: leader of the Haitian independence movement.
Limited Monarchy: The Monarch must share power with the people.
Marx, Karl: invented socialism, wrote the Communist Manifesto. Saw all history as class struggle.
Locke, John: An Enlightenment thinker that believed in the natural rights of man.
Louis XIV: The absolute ruler of France (1643-1715), called himself the “Sun King” because he was the center of the whole nation.
Magna Carta: English document that limited the power of the king.
Malthus, Thomas: English thinker who considered over population the largest problem in the world.
Mandela, Nelson: first black African president of South Africa, was in prison for a long time because he fought against apartheid.
Mansa Musa: Ruled Mali from 1312 – 1337 A.D. He made a famous pilgrimage to Mecca. During his journey he built many mosques and gave away tons of gold.
Marco Polo: An Italian explorer who traveled through China and increased European interest in Asia
Martin Luther: a German priest that was not happy with the Catholic Church because of its desire for riches. He split with the Catholic Church and started Protestantism.
Maya: A native civilization that had very good math, astrology, and farming techniques. They lived in Central America.
Mercantilism: the economic system under imperialism. The Mother Nation (Europe) would take resources from the colonies.
Mesopotamia: (Sumer) a civilization that started near the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in Iraq.
Meiji Restoration: (1865 start) Japan modernized their country by getting guns and ending many traditional practices.
Middle Kingdom: China considered itself the center of the world and controlled how China relates with other countries.
Militarism: when nations increase their military power and try to out do each other.
Milošević, Slobodan: :dictator of Serbia and Yugoslavia. Tried in court for being a war criminal after ordering the killings of civilians.
Mixed Economy: an economy that has both capitalist and socialist parts to it.
Modernize: To introduce ideas that are new and to change the old ways of doing things.
Monarchy: A government controlled by a king or queen chosen by birth.
Mongols: Asian barbarians that conquered the largest land empire ever. Leader was Genghis Khan.
Monotheism: The belief in one god.
Montesquieu: Enlightenment thinker that wanted separation of powers in government to keep it from becoming to powerful.
Mussolini, Benito: Fascist dictator leader of Italy during World War II.
Nationalism: the desire of group to have their own nation. The belief that every ethnic group should have their own free country. Also extreme love of your nation.
Native American: any group that was already living in the New World (Americas) BEFORE Columbus
NATO: North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Allies to the U.S.A. during the Cold War. Mostly Western Europe.
Natural Rights: the belief that all humans have the right to life, liberty, property, and equality.
Neocolonialism: after colonialism ended in the 1960s, the European powers were still able to manipulate the colonized nations through economic means.
Neolithic Revolution: around 10,000 years ago, when people started farming and living in villages.
New World: Caribbean, North America, South America.
Nicholas II: Czar of Russia during the Bolshevik Revolution came, he was killed with his family after revolution.
Nkrumah, Kwame: African independence leader that wanted Pan-Africanism.
Nobles: wealthy landholders who controlled large areas of the king’s land.
Nonalignment: the policy of a nation not to get involved in the Cold War. To not choose U.S.A. or U.S.S.R. India chose nonalignment.
Nuclear Arms Race: during the Cold War, U.S.S.R and U.S.A. try to make more nuclear weapons then each other.
Nuremburg Trials: after World War II, individuals were tried as war criminals for what they did during the war.
OAS: The Organization of American States includes almost all nations of the western hemisphere. They discuss important issues about the hemisphere.
Old World: Europe, Africa, Asia
OPEC: Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. A group of oil producing nations that discuss issues concerning the oil trade. Mostly middle eastern nations.
Opium War: (1839-1860) China lost two wars with European powers. After these defeats China was taken control of by foreign powers for almost 100 years.
Ottoman Turks: A Muslim Empire that controlled the Eastern half of the Mediterranean Sea, North Africa, and most of the Middle East.
Palestine: British colony in the Middle East, filled with Muslims. Land was given to Israel and today the Palestinians have no nation. They do not get along with Jewish Israel.
Pan-Africanism: the belief that Africa should unite together into one large political group.
Parliament: A group of citizens that make decisions about the nation. A more democratic way of government
“Powder Keg of Europe”: term used to describe the Balkans (southeastern Europe) as a place that could blow up and start a large war. (World War I 1914)
Proletariat: The communist term for the workers. Communism likes workers.
Protective Tariffs: A tax on foreign goods coming into a country, meant to protect domestic industry.
Patrician: The wealthy citizens of Rome.
Peasant: A poor farmer, the bottom of the social classes.
Peninsula: a piece of land with water on three sides.
Perestroika: Soviet President Gorbachev tried to introduce new economic plans that allowed for private ownership and less strict communism.
Persia: The large empire in the Middle East that fought Greece.
Peter the Great: The absolute ruler of Russia 1682-1725. Most famous for modernizing Russia and making it more like Western European.
Pharaoh: an Egyptian King.
Plains: flat land, lots of grass.
Plateau: a high but flat piece of land. Like a table or a flat mountain.
Plebian: The poor working class Romans.
Pol Pot: Dictator of Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge genocides.
Polytheism: the belief in many different gods.
Primary Source: An artifact or words FROM the time period.
Proletariat: the poorer class, the working class, the people who will lead the Communist revolution against the bourgeoisie and business owners
Propaganda: when a government uses art and literature to control the way their people think and act.
Protestant: the new branch of Christianity that grew out of the Reformation. Noted for allowing services and bibles to be in native languages.
Reign of Terror: period of violence and executions that followed the French Revolution (1799)
Reformation, The: the movement in 1517 to reform the Catholic Church and fix some of its problems.
Reincarnation: the belief that after you die you are reborn.
Renaissance: 1300 – 1600 A.D., a time of “rebirth” in Europe. Ancient Greek art styles grew and people started to focus more on nature and humanity. Started in the wealthy trading centers of Italy.
Reparations: money that a nation has to pay as a punishment. Pay-back. Germany had to pay reparations after they lost World War I.
Republic: A government controlled by a small group of people voted in by the public. Democratic.
Revolution: When people create a large change in a nation, culture, or way of thinking.
Rigid Class System: when a civilization is organized into different groups of people and the people are not allowed to move into other groups.
River: a moving thin strip of fresh water.
Robespierre: the leader of the French Revolution, he started executing too many people because he thought they were “anti-revolutionaries”. Was eventually killed by the French people.
Roman Roads: Very important to Rome’s wealth and military power. Provides a fast way to control an empire
Russian Civil War: after the Revolution, the White Russians fought the Red Russians for control of the country. The Red (communist) Russians won
Russo-Japanese War: (1905) Russia is defeated by Japan in a short war.
Rwandan Genocide: during the 1990s, the African nation of Rwanda suffers terrible tribal violence /genocide.
Salt March: Ghandi disobeys the British masters and walks to the sea to make salt. An example of civil-disobedience.
Sepoy Mutiny: Indian soldiers rebel against the British in India.
Smith, Adam: Wrote The Wealth of Nations” and supported free market capitalism, supply and demand economics.
Socialism: Very similar to communism. The economic model that gives control of the production to the people, believes in no class distinctions, and no bosses.
Sociologist: a person who studies human cultural interactions and relationships.
Soviet Union: (1922) a communist union of socialist nations led by Russia. Also called the U.S.S.R. (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics)
Spheres of Influence: European nations and Japan had areas of China that they controlled. Part of imperialism.
Samurai: Japanese warrior class that followed the Code of Bushido.
Scarcity: when you do not have enough of a resource, you might run out of it.
Scientific Method: a way of studying the world that starts with observations and follows up with experiments. Does not rely on religion or magic but does rely on inquiry into the real world.
Scientific Revolution: a period of time starting in 1543 when Europe was changing its views on the world and how it studied life, it focused on facts and evidence.
Secondary Source: An artifact or words from AFTER the time period.
Senate: The government of Rome when it was a republic
Serf: a peasant or farmer during the Middle Ages.
Shang Dynasty: a civilization that started near the Huang He (Yellow) River in China.
Shintoism: The native Japanese religion that stressed the importance of nature.
Shogun: The military leader of Japan.
“Sick Man of Europe, The”: describes the Ottoman Empire during World War I. The Empire collapsed after the war.
Silk Road, The: A trade route from China to Europe that increased trade and cultural diffusion across Asia.
Slash and Burn: an agricultural (farming) technique that involves burning old crops (food plants) to make way for new crops. The Aztec and Maya did this.
Stalin, Joseph: dictator of the Soviet Union during and after World War II. Very harsh and killed many innocent people.
Space Race: the technological competition between USA and USSR over going into outer space during Cold War.
Sparta: A Greek city-state that liked war, slaves, and physical strength.
Step/Terrace Farming: farming on steps cut out of a mountain.
Sultan: The ruler of the Ottoman Empire. A Muslim king.
Suleiman: Known as the “Magnificent” was a great Muslim ruler of the Ottoman Empire that advanced learning, art, and science.
United Nations: Created right after World War II it is an international group of nations that try to keep the peace and to provide security if you need it.
Warsaw Pact: The Soviet Union and its allies during the cold War.
“White Man’s Burden”: the idea that the white European has the duty to spread out across the globe and help non-white’s get better.
Taliban: Islamic government of Afghanistan that was removed in 2002. Did not give women many rights.
Tamil: An ethnic minority in Sri Lanka that wants their own country.
Theocracy: a government controlled by religion. Iran is only theocracy
Tiananmen Square: Chinese students wanted more democracy but instead were run over with tanks.
Tomb: a place to put dead people, a holy grave.
Traditional Economy: an economy based off hand-made goods, bartering, and superstitions.
Treaty of Versailles: The treaty that ended World War I (1919). Put all the blame on Germany and forced them to pay money to the winners. This angered and weakened Germany.
Tribal Rivalries: When two or more ethnic groups fight each other over their differences. More common in Africa.
Triple Entente, The: The alliance between Russia, England, and France during World War I. USA joined later
Turks: a strong Muslim Empire that controlled much of the Middle East and Mediterranean.
Twelve Tables: Rome’s written set of laws.
World War I: (1914-1918) A large war fought mostly in Europe that included many nations around the world. Nationalism was a big issue
World War II: (1939-1945) A global war that included most of the world. After the war most nations went through heavy changes. Hitler was in this one.
Yat-sen, Sun: (1912) led a nationalist uprising against the Qing Emperor that led to the first Chinese Republic.
Yugoslavia: A nation in south eastern Europe that has a history of ethnic violence.
ZeDong, Mao: Communist leader of China (1943-1976).
Zheng He: Chinese explorer that spread Chinese influence.
Zionism: the belief that the Jewish people should take over Palestine and make it Israel.
Created by: john.ciano