Global History & Geography for 14-15 Yr olds USA) (Thomas Caswell)

Note: You may download the entries for this glossary here. If you wish to use this in your own Moodle course, first make a blank glossary and then follow the instructions for importing glossary entries here.

Thomas describes this database: "This 800+ term glossary is based on the New York State curriculum for 9th and 10th grade social studies. Called "Global History and Geography," this curriculum culminates in a high-stakes Regents examination that all students must pass in order to graduate and earn a high school diploma."

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95 Theses

Document written by Martin Luther detailing what he believed to be the problems in the medieval Church.

Luther's action was in great part a response to the selling of indulgences by Johann Tetzel, a Dominican priest, commissioned by the Archbishop of Mainz and Pope Leo X. The purpose of this fundraising campaign was to finance the building of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Even though Luther's prince, Frederick the Wise, and the prince of the neighboring territory, Duke George of Saxony, forbade the sale in their lands, Luther's parishioners traveled to purchase them. When these people came to confession, they presented the indulgence, claiming they no longer had to repent of their sins, since the document forgave all their sins.

Traditionally, Luther posted the 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, on October 31, 1517.


Abbassid Dynasty

(750 - 1258) Ruling family of the Islamic Empire during its golden age and responsible for many achievements.


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.

acid rain

Rain that contains pollutants due to the burning of fossil fuels. It is damaging to the environment.


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.


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.


Dutch descended colonist living in South Africa. Also called Boers.

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.

Age of Reason

Term given to describe the Enlightenment.

Age of Transition

Term given to describe the Renaissance.

Agrarian Revolution

A change in farming methods that allowed for a greater production of food. This revolution was fueled by the use of new farming technology such as the seed drill and improved fertilizers. The result of this revolution was a population explosion due to the higher availability of food. It was one of the causes of the Industrial Revolution.


The cultivating of land, producing of crops, and raising of livestock for human consumption.


In Hinduism, it is the principal of non violence against all living things.


Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. A disease of the human immune system caused by the HIV retrovirus.

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.


Islamic mathematician who pioneered the study of algebra. His textbook on the subject became a standard in European universities for centuries.


Islamic terrorist organization led by Osama bin Laden. They are responsible for numerous terrorist attacks, including the destruction of the World Trade Center buildings in New York City.

al-Sadat, Anwar

(1918-1981) President of Egypt between 1970 and 1981. He was assassinated by Islamic fundamentalists for making peace with Israel.

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.


A branch of mathematics pioneered by Islamic mathematician al-Khwarizimi in which letters are used to represent unknown numbers to generalize arithmetic.

Allied Powers

Alliance of Great Britain, Soviet Union, United States, and France during World War II.

American Revolution

Political revolution in the British North American Colonies starting in 1776 that removed the colonies from Great Britain’s control, and established an independent nation know as the United States of America.

Amin, Idi

(1925?- ) President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. His brutal regime resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of people, as well as the near total ruin of Uganda. He was overthrown and exiled to Saudi Arabia in 1979.

Amritsar Massacre

April 3rd of 1919. British soldiers killed close to 400 unarmed Indian men, women, and children, and wounded 1,100 more. People had gathered in the center of town to protest British occupation of their country, and to demand equality. This was a turning point in British domination of India. Independence movements became very popular and eventually forced India's independence.

Analects, The

Collection of moral and social teachings of Confucius, including the concept of the Five Relationships.


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.


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.


The science that studies mankind, especially it's origin, development, divisions, and customs.


The hatred of people of Jewish descent.


A substance that kills bacteria in the human body. It is used to prevent or treat various illnesses.


An agent that helps prevent or reduce infection in wounds.


A political policy in South Africa where black South Africans could only live in certain areas, were required to use separate trains, beaches, restaurants, and schools, and could not enter into an interracial marriage.


The policy of pacifying an aggressive nation in the hopes of avoiding further conflict.


Above ground structures used to carry water long distances. Built by the ancient Romans.


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.


Land that is able to support the growing of crops.

Arafat , Yasir

(1929- ) President of the Palestine National Authority and Chairman of the Palestinian Liberation Organization. Considered by many to be a terrorist, he has in recent years been accepted as the legitimate authority to speak for the Palestinians. His goals is to create a homeland for the displaced Palestinians.


A curved structure that shapes the edge of an open space, such as, a doorway, a window.


Studies the lives of early peoples by analyzing the objects left behind by ancient civilizations.


(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.


A chain of islands (e.g., Hawaii, Indonesia, Japan).


A person who designs buildings.


(310?-250? BCE) Greek scientist who first stated that the Earth revolved around the Sun, and rotated on its axis.


A truce during wartime.

Arranged Marriage

A marriage where the marital partners are choosen by others based on considerations other than pre-existing mutual attractions of the partners.


A person who is skilled at a craft, such as weaving, or woodcarving.


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.

Asian Tigers

Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, and South Korea. These nations have experienced rapid economic growth and prosperity due to industrialization, and were aligned both politically, and economically with the West throughout the Cold War


(?-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.


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.


A device used to determine latitude by observing the altitude and position of the sun or other start or planet.


A person who specializes in the study of astronomical bodies.

Aswan High Dam

Dam across the Nile River in Egypt. Created Lake Nassar and helps to create more farmland. Built between 1960 and 1970.

Ataturk, Mustafa Kemal

(1881-1938) Nationalist leader of Turkey who is responsible for modernizing and westernizing his country after World War I. This enabled Turkey to resist imperialist attempts at takeover by various European powers.


In Hinduism, the human soul.


(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.

Austro-Hungarian Empire

Also known as Austria-Hungary, or the Hapsburg Empire, as it was ruled by the Habsburg monarchy from 1867 to 1918. Austria-Hungary extended over most of central Europe. It was composed the modern day countries of Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic, as well as parts of present-day Poland, Romania, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia.

Axis Powers

Alliance of Germany, Italy, and Japan during World War II.

Ayatollah Khomeini

(1900?-1989) Islamic religious leader who led a fundamentalist revolution in Iran in 1979. Ruled until 1989.


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.

Balfour Declaration

A promise made by British Prime Minister Balfour to create a homeland for the Jewish people.


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.


The exchange of goods or services for other goods or services.

Batista, Fulgencio

(1901-1973) Cuban president from 1940 to 1944 and 1952 to 1959. He was responsible for some reforms in the country before leaving office for the first time. Later, he overthrew the legitimate government and ruled as a dictator until he was forced from office by Fidel Castro.

Battle of Britain

The massive air war against Great Britain by the Nazi war machine in Germany. Nearly nightly bombings occurred between summer of 1940 and summer of 1941 before German withdrew. Great Britain fought alone during this year and never gave up.


A body of water partly surrounded by land but having a wide outlet to the sea.


Date designation meaning Before Common Era, or more than two thousand years ago.

Belief System

Belief in a reverence for a supernatural power or powers reguarded as creator and governor of the universe.

Bell, Alexander Graham

(1847-1922) American inventor of the telephone.

Ben-Gurion, David

(1886-1973) First Prime Minister of Israel.

Berlin Airlift

A re-supply operation to the city of Berlin that lasted 11 months during 1948-49 when the Soviet Union attempted to close off the city.

Berlin Conference

(1884-1885) During European Imperialism, various European leaders met in Berlin, Germany to discuss plans for dividing Africa peacefully. These leaders had little regard for African independence, and had no representation for native Africans. This began the process of imperializing Africa.

Berlin Wall

A wall built in 1961 dividing Soviet controlled East Berlin from the democratic West Berlin. It was destroyed when communism ended in 1990.

Bessemer, Sir Henry

(1813-98) Inventor who developed a more cost efficient process for making steel.

Bhagavad Gita

A Hindu holy book where the god Krishna teaches the importance of selflessness, performing religious duties, and of devotion to God.

bill of exchange

A document purchased from a bank that allowed a person to travel without having to carry large amounts of money. Worked like a modern check.

Black Hand

Serbian nationalist/terrorist group responsible for the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand which resulted in the start of World War I.

blended family

A stepfamily


German word meaning lightning war. It was a German army tactic during World War II which called for quick moving, hard hitting drives into enemy territory.

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.

Blüt und Eisen

Blood and Iron policy of Prussian chancellor Otto von Bismarck to unify all of Germany under Prussian control and build and expand it into a great empire. Very successful.

Boer War

(1899-1902) War between Great Britain and the Boers in South Africa over control of rich mining country. Great Britain won and created the Union of South Africa comprised of all the South African colonies.


Dutch descended colonist living in South Africa. Also called Afrikaners.

Bolívar, Simón

(1783-1830) Latin American revolutionary responsible for the ousting of Spain from much of South America during the 19th century. He is considered to be the most important figure in the fight for Latin American independence.


Early name of communists during the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Bonaparte, Napoleon

(1769-1821) Emperor of the French. Responsible for many French Revolution reforms as well as conquering most of Europe. He was defeated at Waterloo, and died several years later on the island of Saint Helena.


The study of plant life.


Term given to the middle class people in society.

Boxer Rebellion

(1900) A rebellion by the people of China to end foreign domination.


Hindu god called the Creator. Brahma is the first member of the triad that includes Vishnu the Preserver and Shiva the Destroyer.


In Hinduism, Brahman is the name given to the oneness of the universe.

Brezhnev, Leonid

(1906-1982) Leader of the Soviet Union from 1964 to 1982. During his control of the Soviet Union, relations with the West, as well as the Soviet economy, experienced a long period of stagnation.

British East India Company

A joint stock company that controlled most of India during the period of imperialism. This company controlled the political, social, and economic life in India for more than 200 years.

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.


Hindu for “enlightened one." See also Siddhartha Gautama.


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.


The administration portion of the government.


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.


Cabinet System

Collection of people who run various departments in government. Usually report to the chief executive, such as the prime Minister, or the President.

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.


A system for keeping track of time.


In Islam, the successor to the Prophet Mohammed.


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.


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.


Money that is used for investment.


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.


A Portuguese ship that had a large cargo area and used two orthree masts.

Carbon-14 Dating

A chemical analysis used to resolve the age of organic material based on their content of the radioisotope carbon-14.

Cardinal Richelieu

(1585-1642) French Cardinal and politician responsible for instituting absolutist practices in France.


The skill of making maps.

Cash Crop Economy

An economic system based on the exportation of certain crops such as sugar, cotton, and coffee.

Cashed Crops

A readily salable crop that is grown and gethered for the market.

Caste System

A rigid social class system in Hinduism.

Castro, Fidel

(1926?- ) Leader of the Cuban Revolution and communist dictator of Cuba. He is responsible for making Cuba a socialist country which has often been at odds with the United States. Notably, the bay of Pigs invasion and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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.


A paved road or path.


Mounted warriors.

Cavour, Camillo

(1810-61) Prime Minister of Sardinia, a large Italian State. He formed alliances with other foreign powers to help end Austria's and Spain's control. Instrumental in the unification of Italy.


Date designation meaning Common Era, or the last two thousand years of history.


The suppression information considered offensive or a threat to security.

centralized government

A government which controls all aspects of society from a central location or through a central system.

Chamberlain, Neville

(1869-1940) Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1937 to 1940. He is responsible for the policy of appeasement with Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.


Prime Minister, or chief executive of a country or nation state.

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.


The science dealing with the structure, composition, properties, and reactive characteristics of substances.

Chernobyl Nuclear Plant Accident

(1986) This accident release large amounts of radiation that not only affected the immediate area, (Ukraine,) but also was carried on strong winds across many countries in Europe. The effects of this accident have to date been an increase in cancer victims, numerous birth defects, and the destruction of many acres of good land.


floating islands of land anchored to a lake bottom used for agriculture. This technique was used by the Aztecs.

Chinese Communist Revolution

A political revolution in China led by Mao Zedong. After several years of fighting the Kuomintang, the communists won control of the country in 1949.


Code of conduct for knight and nobles during European feudalism.

chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)

A gas containing carbon, hydrogen, chlorine, and fluorine. It is used in refrigerators and aerosol sprays. CFCs are reputed to be damaging to the Earth’s protective ozone layer.

Christ, Jesus

(8-4 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.


Professing belief in Jesus as Christ or following the religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus.


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.

Churchill, Sir Winston

(1874-1965) British politician and Prime Minster of Great Britain from 1940 to 1945, and 1951 to 1955. He is regarded as the finest British leader of the 20th century and was instrumental in leading Britain to victory during World War II.


The distance around the edge of a circle.


To travel around something, like an island or the world.


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.


The type of culture and society developed by a particular nation or region.(e.g., The Maya or the Roman Empire).

Clemenceau, Georges

(1841-1929) French Premier during World War I. He was one of the formulators of the Treaty of Versailles.


The average weather conditions of a certain region.

Cold War

Non shooting conflict between the Soviet Union and their allies and the United States and their allies. Numerous secondary conflicts arise due to the Cold War.

collective farm

A government owned farms where peasants work on a quota system.


The policy of maintaining colonies as a source of raw materials and new markets. Practiced during old and new imperialism.


A group of people moving from their homeland to a new area in large numbers.

Columbian Exchange

The exchange of goods and other things, such as disease from the Old World (Europe) to the new World (North and South America) and back.

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.


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.

Commonwealth of Independent States

Nation created after the breakup of the Soviet Union. It includes Russia and several smaller former Soviet republics.


A government owned farms where peasants work on a quota system.


A system of government in which a single, totalitarian, party holds power. It is characterized by state control of the economy, and restriction on personal freedoms. It was first proposed by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in The Communist Manifesto.

Communist Manifesto, The

A book written by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that describes the new political system of scientific socialism, which becomes the basis for communism. The book states that all of human history is based on the conflict between the bourgeoisie (those who own the means of production) and the proletariat (working class), and predicted that the proletariat would rise up in a violent revolution to overthrow the bourgeoisie and create a society with an equal distribution of goods and services.

Communist Revolution

A political revolution in Russia beginning in 1917. The Bolsheviks, now known as Communists, overthrew Czar Nicholas II and created a socialist government based upon the writings of Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. Also know as the Bolshevik Revolution.

Computer Revolution

During the 1980s personal computers began to appear in many homes across the world. By the late 1990s, computers had become a staple in most industrialized country’s homes.

concentration camp

A prison camp used to hold Jews during World War II and the Holocaust.


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.


(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.

Congress of Vienna

Meeting of European political leaders to reestablish former territorial borders after the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the fall of Napoleon. The Congress was held in Vienna from September 1814 to June 1815, and was dominated by Prince Metternich of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.


Spanish conquerors who came to the New World in search of gold and other riches.


(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.


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


A cold war policy that called for containing communism to areas already under its influence. This policy was proposed by U.S. President Harry Truman.

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.


A company with business dealings in many different areas.

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.


The movement initiated by the Catholic Church to contain the Protestant Reformation and, if possible, end it.

coup d etat

The acting of overthrowing a government in favor of another, usually through violent means.


A person who makes quality, practical or decorative goods.


The burning of a dead body until it turns to ash.


In colonial Latin America, American born Spanish gentry, They owned most of the land but were treated like second class citizens, and were denied political rights.

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.


European Christian military expeditions made between the 11th and 13th centuries to retake the Middle Eastern Holy Lands occupied by the Muslims.

Cuban Missile Crisis

(1961) Crises that developed as a result of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s decision to allow the Soviet Union to base nuclear missiles in Cuba. Upon discovery, the United States confronted the Soviet Union and demanded the missiles be removed. For nearly two weeks, nuclear war was imminent. Fortunately, diplomacy succeeded and crisis was averted.

Cuban Revolution

(1958) A political revolution that removed the United States supported Fugencio Batista from power. The revolution was led by Fidel Castro who became the new leader of Cuba as a communist dictator.

Cultural Diffusion

When a culture spreads to an area around it and makes a noticable difference in other cultures. (e.g., Latin was spoken in the Roman Empire, and Latin became the basis of all modern romance languages).

Cultural Revolution

(1966-1976) Political policy in started in China by Mao Zedong to eliminate his rivals and train a new generation in the revolutionary spirit that created communist China. The Cultural Revolution resulted in beatings, terror, mass jailings, and the deaths of thousands.


The shared beliefs, customs, practices, and social behavior of a particular nation or people

culture system

A system of slave labor used by the Dutch in their South East Asia colonies.


One of the earliest forms of writing. It consisted of wedge shaped symbols usually imprinted in clay. Used throughout ancient Mesopotamia.

Curie, Marie

(1867-1934) French scientist. She is best known for his work with her husband Pierre in the field of radioactivity.

Curie, Pierre

(1859-1906) French scientist. He is best known for his work with his wife Marie in the field of radioactivity.


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.


Title of the ruler of Russia. Taken from the word Caesar, which means emperor.

Czar Nicholas II

(1868-1918) Czar of Russia (1894-1917). He was overthrown during the Russian Revolution of 1917. Later, he and his family were killed by the revolution’s leadership.


Da Gama, Vasco

(1469?-1524) Portuguese explorer who, in 1498, established an all water route to India

Da Vinci, Leonardo

(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.

Daimler, Gottlieb

(1834-1900) German inventor. He is best know for his work in the development of the gasoline internal combustion engine.


Land owning feudal lords in Japan.

Dalai Lama

The spiritual leader of the Tibetan sect of Buddhism, and is considered to be the reincarnation of the bodhisattva, or "buddha-to-be."


A structure built to hold water in place.


(1265-1321) Italian poet and Renaissance writer. His greatest work is The Divine Comedy.

Darius I

(558?BCE – 486BCE) King of Persia who expanded his empire to extend from the Mediterranean to the Indus River.

de Cervantes, Miguel

(1547-1616) Spanish Renaissance writer. His greatest work is the comedic tale Don Quixote.

de Klerk, F. W.

(1936 - ) The white South African president who ended Apartheid in the early 1990s.

de San Martín, José

(1778-1850) Latin American revolutionary. He is one of the main leaders of the Latin American independence movement.

de Santa Anna, Antonio López

(1794-1876) Mexican general and dictator who controlled Mexico for more than 25 years. Lost war against the United States which cost Mexico present day California, Nevada, and New Mexico.

decimal system

Numeric system based on ten. Created by mathematicians during the Gupta golden age in India.

Declaration of the Rights of Man

Revolutionary document of the French Revolution. Written in 1789, it spelled out certain rights believed to be universal to all mankind. Patterned on the American Declaration of Independence.


The widespread destruction of the world's forests. One of the largest areas of destruction are the tropical rainforests. These forest are cut down for the hardwood lumber, to clear space for farming, for building settlements, and for grazing bridge


Government by people exercised either directly or through elected representstives.

democratic republic

A political system in which a country is ruled by law, has representative government, and is democratic in nature.

Deng Xiaoping

(1904-1997) Chinese Communist leader. Ruled from 1978 until 1997.

Descartes, Rene

(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.


The process in which land slowly dries out until little or no vegetation exists becoming a desert.


A policy during the Cold War which was aimed at relaxing tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. The policy calls for increase diplomatic and commercial activity.

developing nations

Nations that are economically and technologically less developed than industrialized nations.


The act of fulfilling one's duty in life. Associated with Hinduism and Buddhism.

Dias, Bartholomeu

(1450?-1500) Portuguese explorer who, in 1488, was the first person to round the Cape of Good Hope at the southern tip of Africa.


The enforced spreading out of a group of people. In history, there has been both a Jewish Diaspora and an African Diaspora.


the office or controal of a dictator.


(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.


To treat unfairly due to a persons ethnic background, gender, religion, or age


Godlike, or coming from, or having to do with a god.

Divine Comedy, The

An epic poem written by Dante during the Renaissance.

divine right

The justification of monarchy through the word of God.


The legal act of ending a marriage.


A hemispherical roof.

Dome of the Rock

First Islamic religious shrine. It was built in 687 C.E., and is located in present day Jerusalem, Israel.


To tame an animal to live with, or close to humans.

domino theory

The idea that countries bordering communist countries were in more danger of falling to communism unless the United States and other western nations worked to prevent it.

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.


Name of the Russia Parliament.

Dutch East Indies

A group of islands in South East Asia claimed by the Dutch during Imperialism.


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.


A succession of rulers of a country from the same family.



A contagious viral disease originating in Africa. It is transmitted by blood and body fluids and causes body organs and vessels to leak blood, usually resulting in death.

economic rights

Rights such as owning property, or the choice to be employed.


Social science that deals with production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services and with the theory and management of economies or economic systems.

Edict of Milan

(313 CE) Proclamation by the Roman Emperor Constantine outlawing the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire.

Edison, Thomas Alva

(1847-1931) American inventor. He is best know for the electric light bulb, the phonograph, and the motion picture camera.

Eightfold Path

Code of behavior for followers of Buddhism.

Einstein, Albert

(1879-1955) American scientist best known for his theory of relativity.

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.


Political ruler of a country of nation. Similar to a king.


1. A collection of nations or peoples ruled by a single authority, usually a monarch, but can be other systems of government as well. 2. A very large and powerful industrial organization

Enclosure Movement

During the Industrial Revolution, it was the consolidation of many small farms into one large farm, which created a labor force as many people lost their homes.

encomienda system

A system of production in Spain’s New World possessions which granted permission to conquistadors to enslave as many people needed to work a plantation.

Engels, Friedrich

(1820-1895) German socialist and co-author of The Communist Manifesto.


A person who plans and creates mechanic structures for a variety of uses.

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.

enlightened despots

A monarch who retains absolute control of their country while also enacting reform based on Enlightenment ideas.


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.


Everything in nature including people, plants, and animals that affects development in life.


(276?-196? BCE), Greek mathematician, astronomer, and geographer who measured the circumference of the Earth. His measurement was only off by 15%.


To increase.


Class system in France before the French Revolution. There were three Estates, First Estate was Clergy, Second was Nobility, and Third was peasants, merchants, and townspeople.

Estates General

The legislative body of France. Composed of representatives from the three estates which are Clergy in the First Estate, Nobles in the Second Estate, and peasants in the Third Estate. Each Estate is entitled to one vote on legislative matters. The Estates General was never as strong as the British Parliament of the American Congress.

ethnic cleansing

The removal of people of a specific ethnic group by means of genocide, terror, or forced expulsion.

ethnic group

A group of people that shares distinctive cultural traits.


A belief in the superiority of a certain ethnic group or race.


(circa 300 BCE), Greek mathematician. Considered to be the father of modern geomertry.

European Community/European Union

Economic union between countries in Europe for mutual gain. Originally formed in 1951 as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC), it later became the European Community in 1967, then the European Union in 1991.


The gradual change or development of something.


To exclude a Christian from receiving the Sacraments.


Rrelating to a system that enforces laws.


The sending of goods to another country for sale or trade.


The complete destruction of a group of people.


The death of all members of a species.


A policy that guaranteed European citizens in China were only subject to the laws of their own nation and could only be tried by their own courts.



A central location where goods are manufactured on a large scale.


Widespread hunger caused by the near complete lack of food.


A system of government that promotes extreme nationalism, repression, anticommunism, and is ruled by a dictator.

Ferdinand and Isabella

During the late 15th century, they became King and Queen of a united Spain after centuries of Islamic domination. Together, they made Spain a strong Christian nation and also provided funding to overseas exploration, notably Christopher Columbus.

Ferdinand, Franz

(1863-1914) Archduke of Austria, nephew to the Emperor. He was assainated by Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo, Bosnia in 1914. This resulted in the start of World War I.


A substance spread onto soil to increase its ability to support crops. Fertilizers include organic materials, such as manure, but can also be man made chemicals such as nitrates.


A social, political, and economic system that dominated all aspects of medieval European life.


An area of land given to a person to farm in exchange for certain obligations.

filial piety

Respect for ones elders especially the family.

Filippo Brunelleschi

Filippo Brunelleschi, (1377 - 1446), was the first great Florentine architect of the Italian Renaissance. His most famous works are all in Florence. His masterpiece is the high, octagonal-ribbed dome of the Duomo (cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore), completed in 1434, the first notable dome erected in Italy since antiquity. Brunelleschi was trained as a sculptor in a Florentine workshop and was a member of the goldsmiths' guild. In the competition for the second set of doors for the Florentine Baptistry, he virtually tied with Ghiberti, who executed the famous "Doors of Paradise." He may have worked in Rome with his friend Donatello. His interests extended to mathematics and engineering and the study of ancient monuments. He made early experiments with perspective in painting, and invented hydraulic machinery and elaborate clockwork, none of which survives. Above all Brunelleschi is remembered as an architect who established new classic canons of serene rhythms, clear geometry, and symmetry, often using the simplest materials: gray pietra serena and whitewashed plaster.

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.

Five Year Plans

Stalin's economic policy to rebuild the Soviet economy after World War II. Included massive industrialization and farm collectivization, where peasants lived collectively on government owned farms, often resulted in widespread famine as many peasants resisted this policy.

Fleming, Alexander

(1881-1955) English scientist who, in 1928, observed that a mold called Penicillium killed germs. This discovery resulted in the development of antibiotics, which attack or weaken bacteria that cause many diseases. Antibiotics were not widely used until the 1940s.

Ford, Henry

(1863-1947) American Industrialist. Ford is best know for his innovations in the auto manufacturing industry. His company was the first to use an assembly line for production.

foreign policy

A nation’s actions regarding how they treat other nations.

Four Modernizations

An economic and social program that called for limited privatization of agriculture and industry, encouraged foreign investment and foreign trade, and resulted in a boost for the Chinese economy. Unlike the Great Leap Forward, the Four Modernizations was an economic success.

Four Noble Truths

Siddhartha's Gautama philosophy of the nature of human suffering and its relation to desire is articulated by four statements

Fourteen Points Speech

An address given to the United States’ Congress by President Woodrow Wilson concerning the end of World War I and the treatment of all concerned with the war. The speech outlines the League of Nations and the ideas of self determination for different ethnic groups.


A group or society formed by people who share common interests.

Frederick the Great

(1712-1786), King of Prussia from 1740 to 1786. Enlightened despot who enlarged Prussia by gaining land from Austria when Maria Theresa became Empress.

French Indochina

Area of southeast Asia controlled by France during Imperialism. Includes Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam.

French Revolution

Political revolution in France starting in 1789 that brought about many changes in France. The revolution ultimately ended with a dictatorship under Napoleon Bonaparte before his defeat by the combined powers of Europe.


Affecting the underlying principles or structure of something.


Galilei, 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.


Italian astronomer and mathematician who was the first to use a telescope to study the stars; demonstrated that different weights descend at the same rate; perfected the refracting telescope that enabled him to make many discoveries , and proved that Copernicus' theory to be correct.

Gandhi, Mohandas

(1869-1948) Nationalist leader in India, who called for a non violent revolution to gain his country’s freedom from the British Empire.

Ganges River

Located in India, this river is considered sacred to Hindus and is used for spiritual cleansing, funeral rites, and other Hindu rituals.

Garibaldi, Guiseppe

(1807-1882?) Military leader whose Red Shirt army liberated most of southern Italy, before conquering the northern section. He was instrumental in the unification of Italy.

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

Name Enlightenment thinker Jean Jacques Rousseau uses to describe majority rule.

genetic engineering

The process of altering life forms by manipulating their genetic structure.

Genghis Khan

(1167?-1227) One of the Mongol’s greatest leaders and founder of the Mongol Empire.


The killing of all the people from a ethnic group, religious group, or people from a specific nation.


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.


One of the west African Trading Kingdoms. They were rich in gold and established a vast trading network across the Sahara desert.


Term given to poor areas of town where Jews were sent during World War II.


A policy of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev which called for more openness with the nations of West, and a relaxing of restraints on Soviet citizenry.

Global North

Economic and political designation given to industrialized countries such those in North America and Western Europe, and also including Japan, and Australia. These nations have high standards of living and a high literacy rate.

Global South

Economic and Political designation given to developing nations in Asia, Africa, and South America, many of which were former colonies during European Imperialism. These post colonial nations face low literacy rates, massive unemployment, little to no industrialization, and are generally economically dependent on their former colonial masters.

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

The first age of the world, an untroubled and prosperous era during which people lived in ideal happiness.

Gorbachev, Mikhail

(1931- ), leader of the Soviet Union from 1985 to 1991. His policies of Perestroika and Glasnost, which aimed at revitalizing the Soviet Union contributed to the downfall of communism.


The office, function, or authority of a governing individual or body.

Great Depression

(1929-1939) The dramatic decline in the world’s economy due to the United State’s stock market crash of 1929, the overproduction of goods from World War I, and decline in the need for raw materials from non industrialized nations. Results in millions of people losing their jobs as banks and businesses closed around the world. Many people were reduced to homelessness, and had to rely on government sponsored soup kitchens to eat. World trade also declined as many countries imposed protective tariffs in an attempt to restore their economies.

Great Leap Forward

The economic program designed to increase farm and industrial output though the creation of communes. Communes are similar to Soviet collectives in that groups of people live and work together on government owned farms and in government owned industry.

Great Purge

The widespread arrests and executions of over a million people by Josef Stalin between 1936 and 1938. Stalin was attempting to eliminate all opposition to his rule of the Soviet Union.

Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere

A imperialistic system founded by Japan consisting of other Asian countries during the early 20th century. Japan reduced its members to puppet nations, taking their raw materials and using them as new markets.


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.

greenhouse gas

A gas such as carbon dioxide, ozone, or water vapor that are a factoring the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Guevara, Che

(1928-1967) Latin American guerilla leader. In the mid 20th century Guevara was instrumental in helping Fidel Castro lead the Cuban Revolution. He was later killed in Bolivia while trying to lead a revolution there.


An association of merchants or craftspeople in medieval Europe, formed to make regulations and set standards for a particular trade or craft.


Chemical compound that burns very quickly. Used in weaponry.

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.



A place where something lives.


A 3 line poem that has 17 syllables in the Japanese language, and expresses a single thought, feeling or idea.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Herzl, Theodor

(1860-1904) Leader of Zionist movement to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine.


A system of writing which uses pictures for concepts and ideas.


The taking control of a public transport vehicle, such as an airliner or train to use the people aboard as hostages.


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.


(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.


(1901-1989) Emperor of Japan from 1926 until 1989. He is the last Japanese emperor to be considered divine. Led Japan through World War II.


Japanese city devastated during World War II when the United States dropped the first atomic bomb on Aug 6th, 1945.

Hitler, Adolf

(1889-1945) Austrian-born leader of Germany. He co-founded the Nazi Party in Germany, and gained control of the country as chancellor in 1933. Hitler started World War II with the invasion of Poland. He was responsible for the Holocaust.

Ho Chi Minh

(1890-1969) Vietnamese leader who is responsible for ousting first the French, then the United States from his country. Supported by both communist China and the Soviet Union, he guided Vietnam through decades long warfare to emerge as a communist nation.

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.


The attempted genocide of European Jews, Gypsies, mentally retarded, homosexuals, and others by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.

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.

Hubble Space Telescope

Large space telescope able to see farther than any other telescope at the end of the 20th century.

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.


A system of thought that centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth; A cultural and intellectual movement of the Renaissance that emphasized secular concerns as a result of the rediscovery and study of the literature, art, and civilization of ancient Greece and Rome.

hunting and gathering

System of food production for prehistoric peoples. Involves hunting animals and gathering foods grown in the wild.

Hussein, Saddam

(1937- ) President of Iraq since 1979. He has led his control into two devastating wars, one against Iran in 1980 to 1988, and the Persian Gulf War in 1990 – 1991 which started as a result of his invading Kuwait.

Hutus and Tutsis

Tribes in Rwanda responsible for decades of warfare.

hydroelectric power

Power that is derived from a moving body of water, such as a river or waterfall.


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.


Writing system that uses pictures of ideas.


An organized system of beliefs, values, and ideas. They form the basis of a political, social, and economic philosophy.


In Islam, the leader of prayers and religious scholar.


The movement of people from one nation to another.


The complete control of a weaker nation’s social, economic, and political life by a stronger nation.


The bringing in of goods from another country for sale or trade.


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.

Indian National Congress

Nationalistic organization in India with the purpose of ending British control. Prominent members include Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru.

Indian Nationalist Movement

Nationalist movement to end British control of India.


A social philosophy which stresses the importance of the individual above society.


Letters of forgiveness for one's sins provided by the medieval Church, and one of the causes of the Reformation.

Industrial Revolution

In the second half of the 19th century, it was the fundamental change in the way goods were produced through the use of machines, capital, and the centralization of work forces in factories. It completely altered the social, economic, and political structure of most of Europe, Japan, and the United States.


The change to industrial methods of production such as the use of factories.


the act of killing an infant


The raising of prices on consumer goods due to an increase in the money supply.

information superhighway

Term given to the Internet due to the amount of information transferred.


To gain something when someone dies, such as property or money.


Financial protection on property or people against loss, theft, or death.


Mutual assistance or reliance between two or more parties.

International Court of Justice

Headquartered at the Hague, the Court started work in April of 1946. The Court usually hears only cases brought before it by any of the 189 U.N. Member States, but has made several concessions over the years.

International Monetary Fund

An international organization established to promote monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and economic growth. The IMF also works to lower unemployment and help countries in debt manage their finances.


A global network of computers that communicate through phone and satellites. The Internet has services such as the World Wide Web and e-mail.

interracial marriage

The marriage of two people from different ethnic backgrounds.


The entry of forces into a territory through hostile means.

Irish Potato Famine

A famine in 1845 when the main crop of Ireland, potatoes, was destroyed by disease. Irish farmers grew other food items, such as wheat and oats, but Great Britain required them to export those items to them, leaving nothing for the Irish to live on. As a result, over 1 million Irish died of starvation or disease, while millions of others migrated to the United States.

Irish Republican Army (IRA)

A terrorist organization based in Ireland which seeks to remove the British government from the Six Northern Counties which they control.

Iron Curtain

A term popularized by British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to describe the Soviet Union’s policy of isolation during the Cold War. The Iron Curtain isolated Eastern Europe from the rest of the world. Its most poignant symbol was the Berlin Wall.


A system to bring water to support crops.


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.


A land mass surrounded by water.

Israeli - Palestinian Conflict

Conflict over landownership in Israel/Palestine. This conflict has at times involved most of the nations of the Middle East as well as the United States and the Soviet Union. Widespread terrorism against Israel and its allies occurs because of this conflict.

Israeli War for Independence

(1948-49) War between Israel and the Arab world over the formation of the nation of Israel.


Jiang Jieshi

(1887-1975) Leader of the Guomindang, or Nationalist Party in China. Fought to keep China from becoming communist, and to resist the Japanese during World War II. He lost control of China in 1949, and fled to Taiwan where he setup a rival government. Also known as Chang Kai Shek.


Effort in God’s service waged by Muslims in defense of the Islamic faith.

joint stock company

A company that sells shares to investors who share in the profits and losses.

Joseph II

The son of Maria Teresa and a enlightened despot who ruled over the Austrian Empire.

Juárez, Benito

(1806-72) President of Mexico from 1861 to 1863 and 1867 to 1872. He was responsible for many reforms including reducing the power of the Catholic Church.


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.


Relating to a system that administers justice.

Justinians Code

A law code created by the Byzantine Emperor Justinian about 530 CE. It was a revision of the old Roman law system.


Kabuki theatre

Feudal Japanese theatre that performed comedic or melodramatic presentations of everyday life or historic events.

Kaiser Wilhelm

(1859-1941) King of Prussia and Emperor of Germany whose political policies led his country into World War I. He was forced from power when Germany lost the war.


Sacred spirits that are worshipped in the Shinto religion of Japan.


Japanese writing system adapted from Chinese, with the addition of phonetic symbols representing syllables.


Actions in this life resulting from the consequences of a previous life’s actions. Associated with Hinduism and Buddhism.

Kellogg-Briand Pact

A treaty signed in 1928 renouncing war as a means of solving international disputes.

Kenyatta, Jomo

(1894?-1978) Independence leader who help lead Kenya out of European imperialism after World War II.

Khmer Rouge

A group of communist guerillas in Cambodia during the late 20th century, led by Pol Pot, that gained control of Cambodia after the withdrawal of American troops from the Vietnam War. The initiated a reign of terror, killing over a million people to remove all western influence from the country. This gross violation of human rights ended when Vietnam invaded and occupied the country in 1979. In the 1990s, the United Nations negotiated a peace settlement, and began the democratic process in Cambodia.

Khrushchev, Nikita

(1894-1971) Leader of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964. Khrushchev was critical of Stalin’s policies and attempted to reverse some of them. He is responsible for placing nuclear missiles in Cuba which resulted in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

King Leopold

(1835-1909) King of Belgium who began imperialistic trade inside of Africa which resulted in the Scramble for Africa.

Kipling, Rudyard

(1865-1936) British writer and poet. His poem The White Man’s Burden became a popular justification for European imperialism.

Koch, Robert

(1843-1910) German physician who, in the 1880’s, discovered that bacteria caused tuberculosis.

Kong Fu Zi

See Confucius

Korean Bridge

The term given to process in which cultural diffusion occurred between China and Japan though Korean contact with both civilizations.

Korean War

A war between North Korean, which was supported by both the Soviet Union and communist China, and South Korea, which was supported by the United States and the United Nations. The war occurred between 1950 and 1953 and ended in an armistice and original borders.


On November 9th, 1938, Nazis in German looted, and burned Jewish stores and Synagogues, often beating Jews in the street. Over 90 Jews were killed during Kristallnacht. Also called Night of Broken Glass.

Kublai Khan

(1215-1294) Grandson of Genghis Khan and founder of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty in China.


Nationalist Party in China led by Jiang Jieshi, which began a war against the Communist Party led by Mao Zedong. Both fought for control of China, with Mao and the Communists ultimately winning in 1949.


Ethnic group that lives in parts of Iraq and Turkey. They often suffer persecution in both countries, and are currently under the protection of the United Nations in Iraq.


L'Ouverture, Toussaint

(1743?-1803) Revolutionary leader who is responsible for ousting France from Haiti during the Latin American Revolutions in the early 19th century.

Laissez-Faire Economics

This was an economic philosophy begun by Adam Smith in his book, Wealth of Nations, that stated that business and the economy would run best with no interference from the government. This economic system dominated most of the Industrial Revolution.


Entirely, or almost entirely surrounded by land.

Lao Tze

(570-490 BCE?) Chinese philosopher credited with originating Taoism/Daoism. His teachings were collected and published as the Tao-te Ching.

Last Supper, The

A famous Renaissance painting by Leonardo Da Vinci.

Latin American

The Geopolitical designation for Central and South America and the Caribbean Islands which were settled by the Spanish.

Latin American Revolutions

Political revolutions in various Latin American countries beginning in the late 18th century. These revolutions were aimed at overthrowing the European powers that controlled these nations. Many were successful, but few achieved the success of the American Revolution.


Lines of equal distance measured north and south of the equator.

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.

lay investiture

The creation of a Bishop by a non church official, usually a feudal lord.

League of Nations

A multinational peace keeping organization which began as an idea of United States President Woodrow Wilson following the first World War. The Treaty of Versailles created a League with over 40 different countries joining. The United States was not one of them. The League of Nations was to be an international body that would settle future problems through negotiations instead of warfare. The member nations were to work cooperatively through economic and military means to enforce its decisions. However, since the United States did not join, the League never achieved its intentions. While the League did attempt to halt the aggressiveness of Hitler's Germany, their inherent weakness prevented them from stopping World War II.


Relating to a system that makes laws.

Lenin, Vladimir

(1870-1924) Russian revolutionary leader and political theorist. He was the first leader of the new communist government of Soviet Russia. Later, he was also the first leader of the Soviet Union, which was composed of most of the republics of the former Russian Empire.

Leonardo da Vinci

Italian painter, engineer, musician, and scientist. The most versatile genius of the Renaissance, Leonardo filled notebooks with engineering and scientific observations that were in some cases centuries ahead of their time. As a painter Leonardo is best known for The Last Supper.


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.


In the political sense, this usually means freedom.

line of demarcation

A boundary established by Pope Alexander VI on in 1493 to define the spheres of Spanish and Portuguese possessions in the New World. Part of the Treaty of Tordesillas.

Lister, Joseph

(1827-1912) English surgeon who discovered that germs cause post operative infections. He then insisted doctors use antiseptics, substances that kill germs, on their hands and instruments before surgery. This process greatly reduced the number of deaths caused by infection after surgery.

Little Red Book

A book circulated throughout China during the reign of Mao Zedong, which contained his political philosophy for China. It was required reading in all schools.

Lloyd George, David

(1863-1945) British Prime Minister from 1916 to 1922, he led Great Britain through World War I. He was one of the formulators of the Treaty of Versailles.

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.

Long March

March the Mao Zedong and his Communist Party underwent to avoid being captured and killed by China’s Nationalist Party.

Long Parliament

(1640 – 1660) English Parliament which met off and on for twenty years due to religious and civil problems. Occurs during the English Civil War.


The curving distance east or west of the prime meridian that stretches from the North Pole to the South Pole.

Lorenzo de' Medici

MediciLorenzo di Piero de' Medici (January 1, 1449 - 8 April 1492) was an Italian statesman and de facto ruler of the Florentine Republic during the height of the Italian Renaissance. Known as Lorenzo the Magnificent (il Magnifico) by his contemporary Florentines, he had a very active life and was an avid patron of the arts; he was also fascinated by technology. However, he was also a very religious man, one who deeply loved his country.

Lorenzo's support for artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Donatello, Sandro Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Andrea del Verrocchio and Michelangelo Buonarroti was instrumental in the development of Florence as the epicenter of 15th century Renaissance Europe. Although his financial straits made it impossible for him to commission many works himself, he saw to it that they received commissions from other patrons.

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.

Loyola, Ignatius

(1491-1556) Founded the Society of Jesus, the Order of the Jesuits. He worked to combat the Protestant Reformation by providing strong Catholic leadership to monarchs across Europe.

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.

Magellan, Ferdinand

(1480?-1521) Spanish explorer who was the first to circumnavigate the globe.

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.


Hindu epic poem that was written in Sanskrit in the 5th century BCE. Its most important part is the Bhagavad-Gita.


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.


A territory that was given to a European nation to administer by the League of Nations following the end of World War I.

Mandate of Heaven

Divine right of rule in China.

Mandela, Nelson

(1918 - )A black South African leader who protested the policy of Apartheid and spent over thirty years in prison before becoming the first black president of South Africa.


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.

Mao Zedong

(1893-1976) Leader of the Communist Party in China that overthrew Jiang Jieshi and the Nationalists. Established China as the People’s Republic of China and ruled from 1949 until 1976.

Marco Polo

(1254-1324) Italian explorer and author. He made numerous trips to China and returned to Europe to write of his journeys. He is responsible for much of the knowledge exchanged between Europe and China during this time period.

Maria Teresa

An enlightened Despot who ruled the Austrian Empire.

market economy

An economy that operates by voluntary exchange in a free market and is not planned or controlled by a central authority; a capitalistic economy.

Marshall Plan

Economic aid from the United States used to rebuild Europe after World War II. Named after United States Secretary of State George Marshall.

Marx, Karl

(1818-1883), German political philosopher and writer. Coauthor with Friedrich Engels of The Communist Manifesto which described the new philosophy of scientific socialism, which is the basis for modern communism.

mass production

The manufacturing of products on a large scale, usually through the use of machines.


The killing of large numbers of people


Relating to, based on, or tracing ancestral descent through the maternal line

Mau Mau

Revolutionary group in Kenya who used violent means to force out European settlers.

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.


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..

Mazzini, Guiseppe

(1805-1872), Nationalistic leader in Italy, who started a group called Young Italy in 1831. Young Italy was a nationalistic movement that wanted to end foreign control of Italy.


A city in Saudi Arabia where Muslims must make a pilgrimage at least once in their life.


(1852-1912) Emperor of Japan from 1867 to 1912. He was responsible for the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the rapid modernization and industrialization of Japan.

Meiji Restoration

The restoration of the Emperor Meiji to power in Japan, overthrowing the Tokugawa Shogunate in 1868.


(371?-289 BCE), Chinese philosopher, who studied Confucianism. He later refined many of the ideas and spread them across China. Also known as Mengzi, or Meng-tzu.


(3100? BCE) King of Upper Egypt, united the two kingdoms of Upper and Lower Egypt


The policy of building a nation's wealth by exporting more goods than it imports. Colonies are instrumental in this policy as they supply their parent nations with raw materials that are used to produce finished goods, and then exported back to the colonies. Colonies not only served as a source for the raw materials, but also as an exclusive market for the parent country.


A person who sells goods or services. A member of the middle class in most societies.


A region of Central America, Mexico, and South America where several pre-Columbian civilizations lived including the Maya, Inca, and Aztecs.


According to the Hebrew Bible, an anointed king who will lead the Jews back to the land of Israel and establish justice in the world. According to the Christians, the Messiah was Jesus Christ.


In colonial Latin America, Spanish/Native America who were denied basic political, economic, and social rights due to their mixed heritage.

Mexican Revolution

(1910 – 1920) A political revolution that removed dictator Porfirio Diaz, and hoped to institute democratic reforms. While a constitution was written in 1917, it was many more years until true change occurred.


(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.


The mass movement of people from one area to another.


Political policy that is dominated by the military and the competitive buildup of arms.


The armed forces of a nation.

Milosevic, Slobodan

(1941- ) Former Yugoslavian President. He fought to keep non-Serbs from breaking away from Yugoslavia. During the 1990s, he used his army to terrorize ethnic Albanians in Kosovo, who were asking for self rule. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) finally put a stop to this violence, and Milosevic has since been arrested and awaits trial for war crimes.


A small group of people from a larger group.


A person who spreads the teachings of a religion.

Mixed Economy

An Economic system that allows for the simultaneous operation of publicly and privately owned enterprise.

Model Parliament

(1295) English Parliament where bishops and abbots, peers, two knights from each shire, and two representatives from each town all met in modern format for the first time.


To change something to make it conform to modern standards


Prophet of Allah; founder of Islam.


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.


A state ruled or headed by a monarch.


A political system in which a country is ruled by a monarch.


The belief in one god or goddess.

Monroe Doctrine

(1823) A political policy of the United States by President James Monroe that states the Western Hemisphere is closed to European interference.


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.


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.


In Islam, one who issues a call to prayer, causing the faithful to gather at the local Mosque.


In colonial Latin America, Spanish/African who were denied basic political, economic, and social rights due to their mixed heritage.

multinational company

A company that does business in more than one country, usually by setting up branch offices.


The process of preserving a corpse by removing the moisture from it before burial. This process was practiced by many different cultures.


Handheld weapon that uses small balls of lead as projectiles and gunpowder as the blasting agent.

Muslim League

Nationalist movement in India by the Islamic population who did not feel represented by the Indian National Congress. They initially formed to protexct Muslim rights, but later called for an independent state.

Mussolini, Benito

(1883-1945) Italian leader. He founded the Italian Fascist Party, and sided with Hitler and Germany in World War II. In 1945 he was overthrown and assassinated by the Italian Resistance.



North American Free Trade Agreement, an economic treaty between Canada, the United States, and Mexico to lower tariffs and create a free trade environment. NAFTA was ratified by its member nations in 1994.


Japanese city devastated during World War II when the United States dropped the second atomic bomb on Aug 8th, 1945.

NASA / National Aeronautical and Space Administration

American space agency responsible for administrating the United State’s space program.

Nasser, Gamal Abdel

(1918-1970) President of Egypt from 1956 to 1970. He was responsible for nationalizing the Suez Canal, and was an important leader to the Arab world. He was often at odds with the West and Israel.


An independent state or country.

National Assembly

First new government during the first stage of the French Revolution.


Pride in one’s country or culture, often excessive in nature.

Native Americans & Slaves

In colonial Latin America, lowest social class. They had no rights and were often treated poorly and used as a labor source by the plantation owning Creoles.


North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an international defense alliance between the United States, Great Britain, and others formed in 1949 as a response to the spread of communism.

Natural resources

Resources that are supplied by nature. Nations often use these to increase their economic output, usually with little regard to environmental factors. A growing environmentalist movement is beginning to apply pressure to these governments by forcing a public officilals to discuss these issues.

natural rights

Concept of John Locke’s that states all people have the right to life, liberty, and property.

navigable rivers

A river that is able to be navigated by boat.


Name of German National Socialist Party, which gained control of Germany in 1933 under the leadership of Adolf Hitler.

Nehru, Jawaharlal

(1889-1964) Indian nationalist leader and the first prime minister of independent India from 1947 to 1964. Along with Mohandas Gandhi, he was instrumental in freeing India from Britain’s control.

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

The introduction of agriculture, domesticating animals, this leads to the development of human civilazation.

New Economic Policy

An economic policy of Vladimir Lenin’s in the Soviet Union where government controlled most banks and industry, but did allow some private ownership.

New Imperialism

A policy of economic, political, and social of one country by another. Industrialized countries sought control of other countries for raw materials and new markets.

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.

Newcomen, Thomas

(1663-1729) Developed a steam engine powered by coal.

Newton, Isaac

(1642-1727) English scientist who discovered gravitation, invented calculus, and formulated the laws of motion.

Niccolo Machiavelli

Machiavelli Niccolò Machiavelli (May 3, 1469June 21, 1527) was an Italian political philosopher during the Renaissance. As a civil servant in Florence, Machiavelli became the key figure in realistic political theory, crucial to later studies in political science. His most famous book, Il Principe (The Prince), was a work intended to be an instruction book for rulers. Published after his death, the book advocated the theory that whatever was expedient was necessaryan early example of utilitarianism and realpolitik. Machiavelli's theories were elaborated in the 20th century. Machiavelli was also the author of many "Discourses" on political life in the Roman Republic, Florence, and other states, in which he demonstrated mastery of other views. However, the adjective "Machiavellian" is seen by most experts to inaccurately represent him and his views, having come to describe narrow, self-interested behavior pursued by interest groups. Along with Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolo Machiavelli is considered the ideal prototype of the Renaissance man. While this epithet may be more appropriate than describing Machiavelli as "Machiavellian," it may be fair to state that he possessed a "machiavellian intelligence."


In Buddhism, spiritual enlightenment.

Nkrumah, Kwame

(1909-1972) Independence leader who help lead Ghana out of European imperialism after World War II.

Nô theatre

Feudal Japanese theater where men wore decorative mask and performed on stage, while a chorus sang the lines. Nô theatre reflected Buddhist ideas such as resisting selfish behavior.


A person who belongs to a group of people who move from place to place seasonally in search of food and water.

Northwest Passage

Mythical water route from the northeast region of North America to the Pacific Ocean. Many people during the Age of Exploration searched for this route that does not exist. However, the search resulted in the discovery of much of the northeast region of North America by the Europeans.

Nuclear Family

A family unit consisting a mother, father and their children.

nuclear weapons

Weapons in which the explosive potential is controlled by nuclear fission or fusion.

Nuremburg Trials

War crime trials held in Nuremburg after World War II to try the surviving Nazis concerning the Holocaust, aggressive war making, mistreatment of prisoners among other things.


occupation (military)

The control of one country by another through the stationing of military troops and military government.

Old Imperialism

A European policy of conquest that occurs in the 15th through 18th centuries in Africa, India, the Americas, and parts of Asia The motives were the same for most areas, the establishment of lucrative trade routes. Various European countries dominated these trades routes and one time or another, and a some countries, such as Great Britain and Spain, came to dominate entire countries.

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.


Government by a few, especially by a small fraction of persons or families.


A Mesoamerican civilization that flourished around 1200 C.E.. Achievements include irrigation, a simple calendar and writing system, and small cities.


Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, an international organization concerned with the crude-oil policies of its member states. This organization was founded in 1960, and has 11 members, including Kuwait, Algeria, Iran, Iraq, Indonesia, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela. Due to their control of most of the world’s oil supply, OPEC has a strong influence on many industrialized nations.

Open Door Policy

A policy of the United States that stated China should be open to all nations that which to trade with them. This policy did not include the consent of the Chinese, and was another form of imperialism.

Opium War

In the early 19th century, Great Britain began importing opium, processed from poppy plants grown in the Crown Colony of India, into China. Chinese officials attempted to ban the importation of the highly addictive opium, but ultimately failed. The British declared war on China in a series of conflicts called the Opium Wars. Superior British military technology allowed them to claim victory and subject the Chinese to a series of unequal treaties.

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.

Orlando, Vittorio

(1860-1952) Prime Minister of Italy during World War I. He was one of the formulators of the Treaty of Versailles.

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.

Osama bin Laden

(1957- ) Saudi Arabian multimillionaire and leader of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda. He is responsible for numerous terrorist attacks on the United States including the destruction of the World Trade Center.

Ottoman Empire

Hereditary nation state centered in Turkey. It was founded in the late 13th century after the collapse of the Byzantine Empire and extended across most of Asia Minor and the Middle East. The Ottoman Empire collapsed shortly after World War II.

ozone layer

The layer of the upper atmosphere where ozone collects. This layer absorbs harmful ultraviolet radiation from the Sun.


Pacific Rim

The countries that border the Pacific Ocean, specifically, the countries of East Asia, considered as an economic unit.


A multistoried building with the corners of the roof curved up that were used as a temple.

Pahlavi, Muhammad Reza

(1919-1980), Dictator ruler of Iran from 1941 to 1979. He was supported by the United States throughout most of the Cold War due to his anti communist stance. Overthrown during the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

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.

Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO)

One time terrorist organization, now considered to be a legitimate political body whose goals have been to create a nation-state for the displaced Palestinians. The PLO is lead by Yasir Arafat.

Pan Africanism

Nationalistic movement which emphasized the unity of all Africans, and sought to end foreign control.

Pan Slavism

Nationalistic movement which emphasized the unity of all Slavic peoples, and sought to end foreign control of various Slavic nations.

Panama Canal

A canal that crosses the isthmus of Panama connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Built by the United States between 1904 and 1914.


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.


A government's legislative body.

parliamentary democracy

A form of government where the citizens elect members to represent them in a parliament, or legislative assembly.


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.


The cooperative relationship between two or more people who are involved in the same activity.

Pasteur, Louis

(1822-1895) French scientist who discovered the link between germs and disease. He also showed that killing germs, often prevented the spread of certain diseases.


A member of the upper class of ancient Roman society.


Relating to, based on, or tracing ancestral descent through the paternal line.


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..


Members of the lowest class in some social class systems.


An area of land surrounded on three sides by water. Italy, Greece, and the southern part of India are all peninsulas.


In colonial Latin America, Spanish official sent to govern Latin American colonies. They controlled government completely.


A policy of Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to revitalize the Soviet economy by opening it up to more free enterprise.


(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.

Perry, Matthew

(1794-1858) Commodore. United States Navy officer who is responsible for opening Japan to trade and imperialism.


Treating a person, or a group of people unfairly or cruelly due to ethnic background, gender, or other difference.

Persian Gulf War

(1990 – 1991) Conflict between Iraq and a coalition of countries led by the United States to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait which they had invaded in hopes of controlling their oil supply. A very one sided war with the United States’ coalition emerging victorious.


Chemicals used to destroy insects and other pests.

Peter the Great

(1672-1725) Czar of Russia. He was responsible for the westernization of Russia in the 18th century.


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.


A person who seeks to understand and explain the nature of things around them. A scholar of philosophy.


A system of thought devoted to the examination of ideas such as truth, existence, reality, causality, religion, and freedom


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.


Writing system that uses drawings of objects.


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.


A member of the lower class of ancient Roman society.

Pol Pot

(1925-1998) Leader of Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. Pol Pot is responsible for the deaths of almost 2 million of his own people due to starvation, execution, and beatings.

political autonomy

A nation governing itself independently from a centralized point.

political ideologies

An organized system of political beliefs, values, and ideas.

political rights

Rights such as voting, and the ability to hold public office.


The belief in many gods or goddesses.


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.


A hard, fine ceramic material used to make a variety of products.

power loom

A device that combined thread to make cloth using steam power.


Period of North and South American history before the arrival of the Europeans in the late 15th century.


The idea of Calvinist Protestants that certain people were pre-selected to go to heaven.


A spiritual leader in a variety of religions.

Prince Metternich

(1773-1859) Chancellor of the Astro-Hungarian Empire between 1821 and 1848. He was the most powerful political figure in Europe between 1814 and 1848. He was driven from power in the Revolutions of 1848.

Prince, The

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.”

Princip, Gavrilo

(1894 -1918) Serbian nationalist/terrorist who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife in 1914. This event resulted in the start of World War I.


Term given to the working class people in society.


Something of value that is owned by a person.


A country or region that is controlled by a more powerful country.


Member of Christian relgious sect which formed during the Protestant Reformation. Protestants reject the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.


A member of a Western Christian church whose faith and practice are founded on the principles of the Reformation, especially in the acceptance of the Bible as the sole source of revelation, in justification by faith alone, and in the universal priesthood of all the believers, and refers to the theologies of Luther, Calvin, or Zwingli.

provisional government

A temporary government assembled during times of change.


Former independent kingdom and state of Germany. In the late 19th century, it formed the central state of the German Empire, which was one of the largest in Europe.


(100?-170 CE) Greek astronomer, mathematician, and geographer. His geocentric model of the universe lasted until the 16th century.

Puritan Revolution

Political and Religious revolution in England between 1640 and 1660. The monarchy was abolished in favor of a Republic led by Oliver Cromwell. It ended with the seating of Charles II on the throne. Also known as the English Revolution.


Movement in the English church in the late 16th to remove all catholic influences and purify.

Put Out System

Manufacturing system where work was distributed and retrieved from individuals in their homes.


A triangular shaped building.


(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.



A record keeping system that used colored, knotted string developed by the Incan Civilization.


Islamic holy book.



Jewish holy men charged with conducting religious services, ensuring that Jewish laws are observed, and serving as a spiritual guide for the community.


Discrimination or prejudice based on race.


The ninth month of the Muslim calendar. All Muslims must fast during daylight hours, except the very young or sick.


Hindu epic story about the hero Rama who was the incarnation of the god Vishnu.

Rasputin, Grigory

(1872-1916) Russian peasant and self-proclaimed holy man. He was friends with the ruling Romanov family, and sometime advisor to Czarina Alexandra. His advice was on of the factors leading to the Russian Revolution.

raw materials

Various materials found in nature used in manufacturing such as wood, coal, and oil.


To reject a belief or withdraw something previously said.


The re-conquest of Spain by the Christians after centuries of Islamic domination.

Red Guard

Militaristic group of students in China who brutalized anyone who criticized Mao’s government.

Red Shirts

Nationalistic group/army created and led by Guiseppe Garibaldi to end foreign control of Italy during the 19th century.


The protest against perceived wrong doings by the Catholic Church during the early 16th century. Main leaders were Martin Luther and John Calvin.


The rebirth of a soul into another body.

relay runners

The passing of information through a series of runners.


Belief in a reverence for a supernatural power or powers reguarded as creator and governor of the universe


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.

Rennisance Era

The humanistic revival of classical art, architecture, literature, and learning that originated in Italy in the 14th century and later spread throughout Europe.


Monetary compensation to correct something that was done wrong.

representative democracy

A system of government where the legislative, judicial, and executive powers are held by directly or indirectly elected officials.


A political system in which a country is ruled by law, has representative government, and is democratic in nature.


An asset that is beneficial to a country or people.


The respect or devotion that others show someone or something


a dramatic change in ideas, practice, or government.

Rhodes, Cecil

(1853-1902) British statesman who was instrumental in assuring British dominance of southern Africa. He founded the De Beers Mining Company, eventually controlling 90% of the world’s diamond production. After becoming prime minister of the Cape Colony (now South Africa) in 1890, he used his influence to strengthen British control over the region. His master plan was to establish a Cape to Cairo railroad line that would link British colonial interests in Africa between Egypt and the Cape Colony in southern Africa. The Boers, however, provided heavy and eventually armed resistance to this proposal. After authorizing an aggressive invasion of the Boer Republic of Transvall which ended poorly, Rhodes was removed from office. However, the seeds of the Boer War had been sown.

rigid social class system

A social class system where there is no mobility. A person remains in the same class their entire life.


A moving body of water that usually has its source in an area of high ground.

river delta

The end of a river where rich deposits of silt build up. This is important to human habitation due to the excellent source of good farmland.

river valley

A valley that is carved out by the river. Often have fertile land, and are the sites for the earliest civilizations.

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.

Roosevelt Corollary

A political policy of the United States by President Theodore Roosevelt that states only the United States could intervene in the affairs of South America.

Rousseau, Jean Jacques

(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.


A device used to steer a ship. It is usually shaped like a paddle and is on the back of the boat.


A policy in Russia to make all of the peoples under their control conform to Russian culture and language. It was used in both the Russian Empire and later, in the Soviet Union.

Russo-Japanese War

(1904-1905) War between Russia and Japan over imperial possessions. Japan emerges victorious.



Religious practices such as baptism, and receiving the Eucharist.


Worthy of or regarded with religious worship, and/or respect.

Sahara Desert

The world’s largest desert, located in North Africa.

Salt March

(1930) Passive resistance campaign of Mohandas Gandhi where many Indians protested the British tax on salt by marching to the sea to make their own salt.


In Hinduism, the term given to the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.


Warrior class during Japan’s feudal age.


Services including the collection and disposal of sewage and garbage.


The extinct language of ancient India. Spoken between fourteenth and fifth centuries BCE. Still used today in classic literature.


Man made objects that orbit the Earth or perform deep space probes. The perform a number of functions such as communications and weather.


The ritual suicide of a wife after her husband’s death in Hindu/Indian culture.

Scandinavian Vikings

Members of any of the ancient Scandinavian peoples. Vikings raided various parts of northwestern Europe from the 8th to 11th centuries CE. They were good sailors who invaded by sea in long ships, and often settled in the areas they invaded, as in Great Britain.


A person who posesses a great deal of knowledge, usually an academic who specializes in a particular subject area.

Scientific Method

Uses observation and experimentation to explain theories on the workings of the universe.

Scientific Revolution

An offshoot of the Renaissance in which scientists questioned traditional beliefs about the workings of the universe. One of the main ideas to come out of the Scientific Revolution was the use of the Scientific Method. The Scientific Method uses observation and experimentation to explain theories on how the universe works.

Scramble For Africa

Term given for the rapid invasion of Africa by the various European powers. This began imperialism in Africa.


An artist who creates three-dimensional works of art, usually in stone or clay.

seed drill

Machine designed by Jethro Tull which mechanically planted seeds.


Refers to a number of distinct human rights. These include the right to equality under the law, the right to a nationality, the right to freely leave and return to a person's country of origin, the right to freedom from persecution because of race, religion, or gender, and a host of others.

Seljuk Turks

Dynasty that controlled Turkey during the 11th and 12th centuries. The Seljuk disruption of European travel to the Holy Lands resulted in the Crusades.


A person that is a member of a legislative body called a Senate.

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.


A soldier working for the British East India Company, recruited from the native population of India.

Sepoy Mutiny

(1857-1859) A revolt by the hired Hindu and Muslim soldiers of the British East India Company. It began as a result of the rifle cartridges that were distributed to the Sepoys had to be bitten to remove a cover before being inserted into a gun. Rumors circulated among the Sepoys that this cover had been greased with beef and pork fat. This angered Muslim Sepoys who were not supposed to consume pork, and the Hindu Sepoys who were not supposed to eat beef. Thus, the Sepoys revolted against the British army, which eventually ended the conflict through use of force. This resulted in the British government officially taking control of India, making it a colony.


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.


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.

Shaka Zulu

(1787?-1828) During Shaka’s rule, the Zulu broadened their land claims throughout southern Africa. Eventually, the Zulu came into the conflict with the British army as they expanded their control over southern Africa and invaded the homeland of the Zulu. Despite early victories, the Zulu were eventually defeated by the technology and vast resources at the command of the British troops. Soon, all of southern Africa would come under British control.

Shakespeare, William

(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.


Somebody who communicates with the spiritual realms on behalf of the living. Seen in many Animistic types of belief systems.


The Islamic book of laws which regulates all aspects of life including, moral behavior, family life, business dealings, and government.


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.


Hindu god called the Destroyer. Shiva is the third member of the triad that includes Brahma the Creator and Vishnu the Preserver.


Military ruler of feudal Japan.


A belief system which blends Hindu traditions with Islamic monotheistic traditions. Based in India and Pakistan.

Silk Road

Trade route from China to the Middle East. Called the Silk Road due to China’s most important export.


Very fine grains of dirt deposited by a moving body of water.

Sino-Japanese War

(1894-1895) Japan’s imperialistic war against China to gain control of natural resources and markets for their goods. It ended with the Treaty of Portsmouth which granted Japan Chinese port city trading rights, control of Manchuria, the annexation of the island of Sakhalin, and Korea became its protectorate.

Sistine Chapel

A Catholic church in Vatican City, Italy. Its ceiling was painted by the Renaissance artist Michelangelo.

Six-Day War

(1967)War between Israel and Egypt, Syria, and Jordon where Israel defeated the three in six days, capturing territory from each.


A person forced to work for another with no payment or freedom to seek work elsewhere. A slave can be bought and sold.

slave trade

The buying and selling of people for the purposes of slavery.


A system of forced labor.


Ethnic group of indo-European descent which includes Russians, Bulgarians, and Poles.


A highly contagious disease. Symptoms include high fever and scar-producing blisters. It can be fatal.

Smith, Adam

(1723-1790) British philosopher, writer, and economist. His book, The Wealth of Nations, describes his theory on free trade, otherwise known as laissez-faire economics.

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.

Social Contract, The

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.

Social Darwinism

A social theory which states that the level a person rises to in society and wealth is determined by their genetic background.

social rights

Rights such as freedom of expression, education


A political system where the means of production are controlled by the workers and all things are shared evenly. Socialist policies provide for government funding of many basic needs such as food, shelter, and medical care.

Society of Jesus

Roman Catholic religious order founded by Ignatius Loyola in 1540 to setup schools and serve as missionaries, spreading church teachings.


An independent Polish labor Union which fought against communism in Poland in the 1980s. Most notable for helping to end communism in Poland and throughout Eastern Europe.


One of the west African Trading Kingdoms. They were rich in gold and established a vast trading network across the Sahara desert.


The right of a country to govern itself without interference.

Soviet Union (U.S.S.R.)

Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) Formed in 1922 from most of the former Russian Empire. The Soviet Union was controlled by the Communist Party headquarter in Moscow, Russia. The Soviet Union was a world superpower along with the United States, and was one of the two major antagonist during the Cold War.

Space Race

Term given to the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War to advance their space programs.

Space Shuttle

A reusable space vehicle built by the United States.

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.

Spanish-American War

(1898) A war between the United States and Spain over the control of Cuba. The United States won this war and gained independence for Cuba, and control of the Philippines.

spheres of influence

An area of one country under the control of another. In China, these areas guaranteed specific trading privileges to each imperialist nation within its respective sphere.

spinning jenny

A device used to make thread.

spinning wheel

A device used to make thread by spinning fibers together through the use of a big wheel.

Spirit of the Laws, The

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.


Soviet satellite put into orbit around Earth in 1957. It was the first man made satellite put into orbit.


A situation where there are no clear winners.

Stalin, Josef

(1879-1953) The General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party from 1922 until 1953. Known for his brutality in dealing with opponents and his failed policies of collectivism that caused widespread famine across the Soviet Union.


The process of dying due to lack of food.

Stock Market Crash

(1929)The steep fall in the prices of stocks due to widespread financial panic. It was caused by stock brokers who called in the loans they had made to stock investors. This caused stock prices to fall, and many people lost their entire life savings as many financial institutions went bankrupt.


A person holding ownership of part of a company or business venture.


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.


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.


To serve under another person. Unequal.

Suez Canal

A canal linking the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. It was a vital trade route in the British Empire during imperialism, and continues to link North Africa and Europe to Asia today.

Suez War of 1956

War between Israel and Egypt which resulted in Egypt losing control of the Sinai Peninsula.


The right to vote in elections.


(1494-1566) Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and considered to be their greatest ruler. Under his leadership, the Ottoman Empire reached its greatest height.

Sun Yixian

(1866-1925) Chinese nationalist leader who fought to end foreign domination. He formed the Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, which overthrew the Manchu Dynasty and established a republican form of government in its place. Also known as Sun Yat-sen.


Term given to the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War.


The medical treatment of a body which involves cutting open to perform various manipulations.


Taiping Rebellion

(1850-1864) A revolt by the people of China against the ruling Manchu Dynasty because of their failure to deal effectively with the opium problem and the interference of foreigners.


The collection of Jewish writings that is the basis of Jewish religious law.


Collected teachings of Chinese philosopher Lao Tze, the founder of Taoism/Daoism.

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.


A tax on imports.

tea ceremony

A Japanese ritual in which tea is prepared, served, and drunk in a certain way.


tools and skills people use (i.e. computers and machines assist in research and production)


A device used to see distant objects, such as those in space.

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.


The use of violence for political purpose.

The Bible

The sacred book of Christianity, a collection of ancient writings including the books of both the Old Testament and the New Testament.


(346? CE – 395 CE) Emperor of the Roman Empire who is responsible for making the Christian religion the official religion of the empire.

Theory of Relativity

Theory of motion and energy developed by Albert Einstein in the 20th century.

Three Gorges Dam

A dam across the Yangtze River in China scheduled to be completed in 2009.

Tiananmen Square Massacre

A political and social protest by university students in Beijing, China in 1989. The protest called for political and social reforms and resulted in the government using the military to end it, which caused hundreds of deaths, thousands of injured, and many more imprisoned.

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.


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.


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- Of or relating to the government haveing total controll of of ones life


The exchange of goods or service between people.

trade fair

A gathering of merchants, craftsmen, and artisans to buy and sell goods and service during late Middle Ages.


A long-established custom or belief.

traditional economy

Economic system in which decisions are made on the basis of customs, beliefs, habits, and religion.

Treaty of Nanjing

(1842) An unequal treaty between Great Britain and China resulting from the Opium War. The treaty stated that China was to reimburse Britain for costs incurred fighting the war. The Chinese were forced to open several ports to British trade, provide Britain with complete control of Hong Kong, and grant extraterritoriality to British citizens living in China.

Treaty of Portsmouth

(1905) The treaty that ended the Sino-Japanese War. It granted Japan Chinese port city trading rights, control of Manchuria, the annexation of the island of Sakhalin, and Korea became its protectorate.

Treaty of Tordesillas

A treaty dividing the New World possessions between Portugal and Spain. This treaty, signed in 1494 was a product of the Catholic Church.

Treaty of Versailles

Treaty ending World War I. It was extremely unfair to Germany, forcing them to accept all of the blame for the war. It is a major cause of World War II.

trench warfare

A form of combat where armies fight each other from opposing fortified positions, usually consisting of long, dugout holes or trenches.

Triangle Trade

A catch all phrase for the trade occurring between Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Trade goods include raw materials from the Americas, manufactured goods from Europe, and slaves from Africa.


The organization, culture, or beliels of a tribe.


The collection of religious writings by Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha.

Triple Alliance

An alliance that was made up of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy during World War I.

Triple Entente

An alliance that was made up of France, Russia, and Great Britain during World War I.

Truman Doctrine

A policy if the Truman presidency that called for supporting any nation resisting communism.

Tull, Jethro

(1674-1741) British farmer and inventor, created the mechanical seed drill to aid in planting.

Two Treatises of Government

Also known as The Three Baskets of Wisdom, a 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.


unequal treaty

A treaty forced upon a country being dominated by another during Imperialism. These treaties often gave the imperialistic nation the ability to do whatever they needed to do in pursuit of profit.

United Nations

An international body composed of many countries that seeks to promote peace, prosperity, and cooperation around the world. It was formed in 1945 at the end of World War II.

United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF)

An organization within the United Nations that works to provide food, clothing, and other assistance to children in need around the world. UNICEF was founded in 1946.

United States Constitution

Document creating the United States government. Based on Enlightenment ideas. Ratified in 1788.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

A document published by the United Nations in 1948 stating that all people had certain basic rights including life, liberty, equality, justice and self determination. Source Document: Universal Declaration of Human Rights


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.


Hindu holy book from the 8th century BCE.


The movement of people to urban areas in search of work.



A prevention treatment containing weakened microbes of the kind of disease one is guarding against. It is administered to stimulate the immune system against that disease.


A person owing service to a feudal lord.


A Hindu holy book which is a collection of Aryan hymns that were transmitted orally before being written down in the 6th century BCE.

Venice and Florence

Italians City-States which were the center of the rebirth of European trade and culture at the end of the Middle Ages.

Victor Emmanuel

(1820-78) He was king of Sardinia from 1849 to 1861, when he became king of a united Italy until his death in 1878. His support of the unification movement was vital to its success.

Viet Cong

The name of the Vietnamese communist who fought against South Vietnam and the United States during the Vietnam War.

Vietnam Conflict/War

A war in the country of Vietnam, first between the French and Vietnamese, as France was attempting to hold onto its colony. The second war was between the United States and the communist forces of North Vietnam, as the U.S. was attempting to keep South Vietnam free from communism. The North Vietnamese eventually won, forcing the United States to withdraw.


Hindu god called the Preserver. Vishnu is the second member of the triad that includes Brahma the Creator and Shiva the Destroyer.


The use of force to injure someone or to damage something.


(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.

von Bismarck, Otto

(1815-1898) Appointed Prussian chancellor in 1862. he began a program of war to unify all the German states under the control of Prussia. His policy was known as Blüt und Eisen or Blood and Iron. He was the most powerful statesman in Europe as chancellor of the new German Empire from 1871 to 1890. He was known as the Iron Chancellor.


The act of choosing something or someone.


Walesa, Lech

(1943- ) Polish labor union leader, Nobel laureate, and President of Poland from 1990 to 1995. He was instrumental in the collapse of communism in Poland and throughout Eastern Europe through the work of the labor union Solidarity.

Walpole, Robert

(1676-1745) British statesman, and first Prime Minister from 1721 to 1742.

Warsaw Pact

An international defense alliance between the Soviet Union and many of its Eastern European satellite states as a response to NATO. Formed in 1955.

Watt, James

(1736-1819) Improved upon Newcomen’s steam engine. Watt’s steam engine would be the power source of the Industrial Revolution.

Wealth of Nations

British philosopher and writer Adam Smith‘s 1776 book that described his theory on free trade, otherwise known as laissez-faire economics.


To adopt western ideas and culture.

Wheel of Life

important symbol of Buddhism. It represents the endless cycle of life through reincarnation.

White Man's Burden, The

A poem by Rudyard Kipling written in 1899. It is also the name given to the idea that the culture of the native populations where European imperialism was occurring were inferior to western nations. Some interpreted Kipling’s poem to mean that it was the duty of imperializing nations to bring western culture and sensibility to the savage native populations that were encountered in far off lands.

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.

Wilson, Woodrow

(1856-1924) President of the United States during World War I. He was one of the formulators of the Treaty of Versailles. He also proposed a regulating body of nations to avoid future conflicts through diplomacy in his 14 Points Speech.

working class

Lowest class in most social class systems, including factory workers, miners, and others.

World Bank Group

A vast financial resource owned and controlled by its membership of over 180 countries. The purpose of the bank, established in 1944, is to provide loans and economic advice to its member countries. In 2001, the bank provided over 17.3 billion dollars in loans to over 100 different developing nations.

World Health Organization (WHO)

An organization attached to the united Nations that is concerned with the health and well being of all people. The organization works in developing nations to curb disease and other health related problems.

World War I

(1914 – 1918) European war in which an alliance including Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, and the United States defeated the alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Turkey, and Bulgaria.

World War II

(1939 – 1945) A war fought in Europe, Africa and Asia between the Allied Powers of Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States against the Axis Powers of Germany, Italy, and Japan.

Wright, Orville

(1871–1948) American inventor. He is best know for his work with his brother Wilbur in the development of the airplane.

Wright, Wilbur

(1867-1912) American inventor. He is best know for his work with his brother Orville in the development of the airplane.


Yeltsin, Boris

(1931- ) President of Russia. He was elected before the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991. He served until 1999. Yeltsin was instrumental in keeping a cout d’etat from occurring which would have returned hard line communists to power in Russia.

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.

Yom Kippur War

(1973) War between Israel and Egypt and Syria in which Israel defeated the two capturing land from each.

Young Italy

Nationalistic movement that wanted to end foreign control of Italy. Started in 1831 by Guiseppe Mazzini.


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.


Jewish nationalist movement to establish a homeland in Palestine. This movement began in the late 1800s, as anti-Semitic feelings intensified in Europe. The main leader of this movement was a journalist by the name of Theodor Herzl. Herzl's dream of a homeland for Jewish peoples was realized in 1948 with the creation of Israel.


A trade union among other German states formed by Prussia in the 1930s.


The biological study of animals.


The name of a tribe of South Africa people who live in the northern part of Natal. They were the dominate tribe in the late 19th century when European Imperialism began. They resisted both the Boers and the British, but ultimately lost their homeland and freedom by 1879.

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