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."

Browse the glossary using this index

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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.

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