Hist 111 - Course

Chapter 1 Summary:
Monuments of “rock art” from tens of thousands of years ago have been found all
over the world, including Africa, Asia, Australia, the Americas, and Europe. Early
societies had different opinions on where the human race came from. The Yoruba
believed people came down from the sky, and the Hopi believed that people emerged
from a hole in the earth.
Neanderthals were a type of human common in Europe forty thousand years ago.
Biologists classify australopithecines and humans as members of hominids, a family of
primates. The earliest trait that distinguishes humans from primates is bipedalism, or
being able to walk upright on two feet. Ten millions years ago, a drop in temperature lead
to the Great Ice Age. In the early 1960s, in Tanzania, Louis Leakey discovered Homo
Habilis, part of a new species that were the first to be classified with humans. Then came
Homo erectus, which appeared in eastern Africa. Through evolution during four hundred
thousand and one hundred and thirty thousand years ago came Homo sapiens.
Production of art and tools are evaluated to understand a society’s culture. The
development, transmission, and transformations of cultural practices constitute history.
The time from 2 millions years ago to 4,000 years ago has been called the Stone Age
because tools were made of stone and not metal. The Stone Age is made up of the
Paleolithic and the Neolithic. Human activity was focused on gathering for food as well
as making tools. In the Ice Age the hunter-gatherers lived in small groups. 10,000 years
ago the Agricultural Revolutions saw more domesticated plants and animals. Around
9000 BCE the temperatures warmed and the Holocene began. In 6400 BCE,
metalworking became an important occupations in the late Neolithic period.
Chapter 2 Summary:
Mesopotamia is the plain area around and between the Tigris and Euphrates
Rivers. By 4000 BCE farmers were using plows and cultivating barley, and shortly after
3000 BCE they developed irrigations systems that could bring water from nearby rivers.
The earliest people of Mesopotamia were the Sumerians, who date back to 5000 BCE.
Societies were made up of cities and villages, with each depending on the other for
certain resources. The villages provided crops, whereas the cities provided military
protection. The two political institutions of Mesopotamia were temples and palaces.
Secular leadership came from people who were leaders of armies. Some city-states were
powerful enough to absorb smaller surrounding city-states. Hammurabi, known for the
Hammurabi Code, established the Old Babylonian State. Kings and Priest controlled the
majority of the wealth.
Egypt is the land surrounding the Nile river. The climate was good for agriculture
but depended on irrigation. The agriculture also depended on regular flooding from the
Nile river. Until 3100 BCE, Egypt was ruled by local Kings, until Egypt was unified.
Egypt was ruled by a Divine Kingship, represented by pharaohs. Egypt was governed
through villages bureaucracies that originate with the capital city. The Egyptians had
hieroglyphics and a cursive script. Tensions between central and local government were
constant. Egypt regarded all strangers as enemies but did trade with Levant and Nubia.
Egyptian religion was heavily based on the cycles of nature. The Egyptians spent a great
deal of time and money on erecting large temples. The Egyptians believed in the afterlife,
and the tombs of their dead were buried on the edge of the desert, as not to disrupt land
that could be used for farming.
The main part of the Indus valley was located in what is now the Sind region of
Pakistan. Rainfall was scarce but the surrounding rivers flooded frequently making
agriculture possible. A lot remains unknown about the people of Indus Valley. The two
major cities of the Indus valley were Harappa and Mohenjo-daro. The Indus valley is
known for advanced city planning and architecture. The Indus valley was abandoned in
1900 BCE, most likely due to an invasion.
Chapter 3 Summary:
Of the two areas that China is divided into, the eastern zone is much more suitable
for agriculture. The Shang period is from 1750 to 1027 BCE, and the Chinese writing
system was developed during this time. Under the concept of “Mandate of Heaven,” the
Zhou dynasty defeated the Shang in 11th century BCE. The Zhou developed a Kingship
that was similar to the Chinese. The eastern Zhou is known for the development of
Legalism, Confucianism, and Daoism.
Nubia is in the Nile valley and forms a link between the Mediterranean world and
Africa. The need for irrigation and trading with Egypt developed much of Nubia’s
culture. In 1750 BCE, Kush was heavily involved in construction and metal working. In
8th century BCE a Nubian kingdom ruled Egypt with its capital at Napata, later moving it
to Meroe. Meroe would later declined in importance because of different trade routes and
rising competitors.
In Central Europe during the first millennium, there were the Celtic civilization.
In 500 BCE they expanded in several directions. The Celts were divided into warriors,
priests and bards, and the common people. Celtic women enjoyed more freedoms than
they would in other civilizations during their time. The Celts worshipped many gods and
During 1200 and 400 BCE, there were the Olmecs. The Olmecs were located
along the coast of Mexico, with the center located at San Lorenzo, then La Venta in 900
BCE, and finally Tres Zapotes in 600 BCE. Olmec architecture was fairly advanced, and
they played a large part in the development of astronomy and writing.