Regents Review Part II: AD 600-1450
China China was the most advanced and powerful civilization of this time period. The Sui, Tang, Song, and later Ming dynasties created order and stability with Neo-Confucianism. Buddhism grew in popularity in China during the Tang dynasty, leading to beautiful works of art. They supported trade on the Silk Road and sea trade to Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. All of these regions were heavily influenced by Chinese culture as a result.
Chinese Achievements Chinese technology was the most advanced in the world. They invented gunpowder, paper, movable type for printing, the magnetic compass, paper money, and the concept of credit. These and many other technologies would later spread to the Arab world and eventually the West by trade. Chinese silk, tea, and porcelain were highly prized luxury goods.
The Voyages of Zheng He During the Ming Dynasty, the Muslim Admiral Zheng He went on a sea voyage of discovery throughout Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, the Ming officials decided the voyages were a waste of time and money. This ethnocentric attitude closed China off from foreign influences and after the 1400s, China began to decline in innovation.
European Middle Ages (Medieval Era) After the fall of Rome, western Europe became isolated from contact with other civilizations. The Roman Catholic Church was the dominant organization. Most Europeans were Christians and obeyed the authority of the pope. Charlemagne established what became known as the Holy Roman Empire.
Feudalism Feudal system: a decentralized system of government in which land is exchanged in return for loyalty and service. Kings had limited power because they had to listen to the Church/Popeand had to share power with their vassals. Knightswere noble warriors bound by the code of Chivalry. Serfs were unfree peasants and bound to a particular manor or fief. Birth determined social class.
Manorialism Manorialism: economic system. Manors were self-sufficient & produced all the food and goods they needed. Farming was done according to the Three-Field System. Serfswere bound the land and could not move freely.
Religion and Culture Monasticism: Religious life of monks and nuns. Religious communities provided care for the poor and sick, preserved knowledge by copying manuscripts, and provided spiritual guidance. Arts: based on the Church. Illuminated manuscripts, Romanesque and Gothic cathedrals. In later medieval towns, guilds were formed to control the price and quality of goods and the training of skilled workers (apprentices, journeymen, masters) and universities were established.
Feudal Japan Japan was similar to Europe in its decentralized system of government. There was an emperor but he was a figurehead. Real power was held by the Shogun(chief general.) Lords were known as Daimyo. Warriors called Samurai were bound by the code of Bushido. The form of Buddhism practiced in Japan was called Zen Buddhism.
The Rise of Islam Islam began in the 7th century and quickly spread among the people of the Middle East & North Africa. They united under several Islamic empires called caliphates. The faith was spread through trade contacts and also by Muslim warriors when they conquered territory. Muslims split into Sunni and Shi'a [the 2 main sects] at this time over leadership.
The Golden Age of Islam Muslim caliphs (kings) built large capital cities, such as Baghdad and Cordoba. They valued learning and built upon the technological and intellectual achievements of the classical civilizations. They built large universities such as the House of Wisdom as well as hospitals in their cities. Muslim art was characterized by geometric designs because it was forbidden to represent human figures. The achievements of the Golden Age of Islam include algebra, detailed anatomy texts, astronomy, optics, and translating the books of Greece, Rome, Persia, and China into Arabic.
The Crusades Europeans came into contact with Muslim civilization in the 11th and 12th centuries. Pope Urban II ordered Christians to go to the Holy Land to conquer it and take it away from the Muslims. Muslims saw the Crusades as an unjust invasion of their lands. Europeans went on Crusade for many reasons, including salvation, for the forgiveness of sins, for wealth, for adventure, and to escape feudal life. The Crusades were ultimately a military failure for the Europeans. They failed to take over the Holy Land for good, but the constant travel between the Arab and European worlds led to a huge amount of trade and cultural diffusion. The rising trade led to the Commercial Revolution: decline of manorialism, the growth of towns and cities, and the rise of capitalism in Europe, which eventually brought about the Renaissance.
The Byzantine Empire After the fall of Rome, the Eastern part of the empire continued to flourish. This empire was centered in Greece and became known as the Byzantine Empire. The capital city was Constantinople. Because of its central location, Constantinople was a trade hub for 3 continents: Europe, Asia, and Africa. The greatest emperor was Justinian, who had all the laws systemized into the Justinian Law Code. This law code influenced later European legal systems. The empire religion was Orthodox Christianity. It split from the Roman Church (The Great Schism) in 1095. The leader of the orthodox church is known as the patriarch. Byzantine art includes religious icons and mosaics, and the massive domed church of Hagia Sophia. Byzantine scholars preserved and passed on the learning of classical Greece and Rome. The Byzantine Empire was eventually conquered by the Ottoman Turks, who renamed Constantinople asIstanbul.
Kievan Russia The Byzantine Empire influenced the development of Russia because of trade between Constantinople and Kiev. Russian rulers called themselves czar (Caesar=emperor) Russians practice Orthodox Christianity. The Russian Cyrillic alphabet is based on Greek.
The Mongols The Mongols were a nomadic people who lived on the plains of central Asia [the steppes]. They were excellent horsemen and had a powerful bow. Around 1200, the Mongols were united under a ruler named Genghis Khan. He conquered all of Asia from Russia to China and established the “Pax Mongolia”. Following his death, the empire was divided up into four khantates. The Mongols encouraged trade and contact between E. and W. Asia by establishing guard posts along the Silk Road. The Mongols controlled China under Kublai Khan and established the Yuan Dynasty. The Ming Dynasty overthrew the Yuan in 1368 and re-established Chinese rule. An Italian merchant named Marco Polo traveled to China during this period. He wrote a book about his experiences which encouraged other Europeans to want to travel to foreign lands. The Mongols had a negative effect on Russia. They isolated Russia from Europe during the Renaissance. As a result, Russia was considered “backwards” by Europeans.
The Black Death • The Black Death was a deadly plague. • It started in China and spread along the Silk Roads to Constantinople, carried by fleas on rats. • It came to Europe in the 1430s on trading ships. • The plague killed 1/3 of the population of Europe. • The plague caused many changes: • The high mortality rate caused a labor shortage, so serfs were able to demand their freedom and wages. • Kings were able to consolidate their power, taking over lands that had been left vacant. • People began to question the authority of the Catholic Church because the plague seemed to be God’s judgment on earth.
West African Kingdoms Several powerful civilizations developed in the sahel of West Africa along the Niger River: Ghana, Mali, and Songhai They gained their wealth through trading gold and salt across the Sahara Desert. The city Timbuktu became a center of trade and learning and had a large university. Islamcame to West Africa as a result of trade with Arabs on the coast. Ibn Battuta was an African Muslim who traveled around the Islamic world and wrote an important book about his experiences. “Mansa Musa was a king of Mali. He became a Muslim, went on Pilgrimage to Mecca, came back to Mali, and built Mosques.”
East African City-States • A civilization developed along the east coast on Africa on the Indian Ocean. • It was made up of a network of loosely connected city-states (Mombasa, Sofala, Mogadishu) that gained wealth by trading with Arab civilizations. • Monsoon winds allowed sailing ships called dhows to travel up and down the coast. • A new culture and language called Swahili developed as a result. • This cultural diffusion led to a blending of African Bantu language culture with Arabic language and culture. • The people of East Africa converted to Islamas a result of this interaction.
Pre-Columbian American Civilizations The Maya [Central America], Aztec [Mexico] and Inca [South America] were powerful empires. They relied on agriculture and built large buildings. All three had very accurate calendars based on astronomical observations. Some important crops included corn [maize], cocoa, squash and potatoes. They all had polytheistic religions. The Inca are sometimes compared to the Roman Empire because they both controlled large empires and built roads to connect them. All had to adapt to their environment: