Culture refers to an individuals or groups way of life. Includes art, religion, dress, language, food, etc

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Concept Vocabulary Terms

World History I

Culture- refers to an individuals or groups way of life. Includes art, religion, dress, language, food, etc.

Tools- man made, hand held objects created for a specific job or purpose.
Codified law- laws that have been written down or recorded so that all people are aware of a society’s rules.
Hierarchy- social ranking from most to least important or from most powerful to least powerful.
Geography- the physical characteristics, especially the surface features of an area.
Artifacts- an object of archaelogical or historical interest.
BCE- before Common Era
CE- common era
Polytheism- the worship or belief in more than one god
Monotheism- the worship of one God

Traditional economy- an economy based on farming

Clan- a large group of relatives, friends or associates

Extended family- a family unit that consists of aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc.

Nuclear family- a family unit that consists of a mother, father and children.
Stereotype- judgements or preconceived ideas about a group based on gender, race, religion, etc.

Infrastructure- transportation and communication systems – foundation of any society.

Technology-The application of science, especially to industrial or commercial objectives

Values- A principle, standard, or quality considered worthwhile or desirable.

Absolute Monarchy- total (absolute) unchallenged rule by a king or queen.

Anarchy- absence of any form of political authority.
Communism- An economic and political system in which the state plans and controls the economy and a single party holds power.
Feudalism- a political system of Europe (9th-15th century) based on the holding of land in exchange for protection.
Democracy- government by the people either directly or thru elected officials.
Citizen- a resident of a city or town entitled to enjoy privileges there.
Dictatorship- a political system in which one person exercises complete control of his people.
Divine Right Theory- political theory that a ruler derives his or her power from God and is accountable only to God.
Fascism- political system based on supreme nationalism. Authority is held by a dictator whom surpresses control through terror and censorship.
Monarchy- rule by a king or queen.
Nonalignment- not allied with any other nations.
Republic- A political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.
Theocracy- a government where the ruler is both a religious and political authority.
Economy- The system or range of economic activity in a country, region, or community
Agrarian- farming
Barter System- an economic system where goods rather than money are exchanged.
Capital- money.
Capitalism- an economic system based on private ownership.
Cash crop economy- crops that are grown to be sold or traded by a farmer.
One crop economy- when a single crop is grown for export.
Command Economy- An economy that is planned and controlled by a central administration, as in the former Soviet Union.
Interdependence- when one country is dependent on another.
Market Economy- economic system based on production and consumption of goods and services based on a voluntary exchange in markets.
Mercantilism- wealth equals power
Modernization- to accept or adopt modern ways.
Class system- social rank based on wealth
Cultural Diffusion- the exchange of goods, ideas and customs among many different cultures.

Diversity- variety
Ethnocentrism- belief that your ethnic group is superior to others
Nationalism- pride in one’s own nation: a desire for independence
Social Mobility- the ability to move from one society to another
Subsistence farming- when a farmer grows only enough food to provide for his family or village
Westernization- the spread of European culture
Human Rights- the right to life without persecution (live free)
Imperialism- policy of building an empire-a strong nation goes into a weaker nation for economic or political gain
Urbanization- the spread of city living
Supply and Demand - Demand means the quantity of a given article, which would be purchased at a given price. Supply means the quantity of that article which could be purchased at that price
Free Enterprise- The freedom of private businesses to operate competitively for profit with minimal government regulation
Desertification: The growth of the desert

Belief Systems Vocabulary
1. Monotheism - Belief in one god
2. Polytheism - Belief in more than one god.
3. Animism – The oldest known type of belief system in the world. Animists believe that all living and nonliving objects in the universe has a spirit and also practice ancestor worship (Nature)
4. Ancestors worship – A ritual that is a means of communicating with and showing respect to ancestors.
5. Medicine Man - a healer, act as a guide for people
6. Ceremonies - ritual or celebration. Usually held to honor the gods or an ancestor.
7. Fetish - good luck charms (Ex: necklaces made out of bones)
8. Griot - professional storyteller
9. Hinduism - A polytheistic religion that was formed in India. Hinduism’s main beliefs consist of reincarnation, karma, dharma, Moksha and the practice of the caste system
10. Aryans – A nomadic group from central Asia that settled in India and is believed to be the earliest people to practice Hinduism.
11. Brahma - Hindu god known as the creator
12. Vishnu - Hindu god known as the preserver of life
13. Shiva - Hindu god known as the destroyer
14. Vedas - collection of Hindu prayers and verses about creation and reverence of life. “Books of knowledge”
15. Upanishads - Hindu holy writings regarding discussions about the soul and proper ways of behavior. GUIDELINES TO LIFE
16. Karma – Deeds (Actions, thoughts, words) committed in a previous life that affect your future. “What goes around comes around.”
17. Dharma - duties of your caste.
18. Moksha - The ultimate goal of Hinduism, the highest state of being, represents the end of the life cycle.
19. Caste System - Hindu hierarchy that explains one’s station (social class) in life. You are born into this station and only through reincarnation can you hope to attain a better life.
20. Reincarnation – The belief that when you die, your soul is reborn into another body

21. Buddhism – Belief system founded in India founded by Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) that spread to East Asia and SE Asia; It’s main beliefs include reincarnation, karma, the Four Nobles Truths, the Eight-Fold Path and Nirvana
22. Buddha – Name given to Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism which means “Enlightened One”
23. Four Noble Truths - Siddhartha Gautama’s (Buddha) teaching that suffering is a result of one’s people’s desire and that desire can be eliminated by following the 8-Fold Path
24. Noble Eight Fold Path - Guidelines that Buddhists must follow to achieve Nirvana.
25. Nirvana - The goal of all Buddhists and when achieved, a person is the release from the cycle of life.
26. Confucianism – Belief system founded in China by Confucius. It provides guidance on how to live your life and provided social and political order to China; Main beliefs consist of Filial piety and the Five Relationships
27. Confucius - A Chinese scholar and politician. Founded the philosophy of Confucianism.
28. Five Relationships - Confucianism teaches that there is a natural social order to society which can best be explained through the Five Relationships: Ruler to subject, Father to son, Older brother to younger brother, Husband to wife, Friend to friend
29. Filial Piety - Respect for your parents and elders
30. Jen – Human kindness should be shown towards one another.
31. Li - Proper etiquette should always be used, and one should strive to achieve perfect virtue.
32. Gentry - The educated, upper class
33. Daoism/Taoism - Belief system in China founded by Lao-tzu that emphasizes living simply and in harmony with nature; Beliefs include the yin and yang
34. Lao-tzu - Founder of Daoism/Taoism
35. Dao/Tao – It 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.
36. Wu-wei - Philosophy which means "not doing." This means that people should not act unnaturally by doing things, but rather should openly accept the natural way
37. Yin and Yang – In Daoism, they are known as the opposing forces of nature, representing the male and female aspects of life

38. Judaism – Oldest monotheistic religion in the world founded by Abraham in the Middle East (today’s Israel); Main beliefs include: Monotheism, the 10 Commandments, the readings of the Torah and the Talmud
39. Covenant - An agreement between God and his people
40. Torah – The Holy book for Jews (The first 5 books of the Old Testament)
41. Diaspora - The scattering of the Jewish people throughout the world
42. Talmud - A book of ethical decisions written by Jewish religious leaders
43. Salvation - To be saved
44. Ten Commandments - The foundation of ethical and religious beliefs for Christians and Jews. (Guidelines of life)
45. Christianity – Second oldest monotheistic religion founded by Jesus in Jerusalem whose branches include: Roman Catholicism, Protestantism, and Eastern Orthodoxy ; Main beliefs include: The Holy Trinity, the 10 Commandments, atonement, and readings from the Old and New Testaments (Bible)
46. Jesus - Founder of Christianity; Christians believe he is the son of God and the Messiah (Savior)
47. 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.
48. Old Testament - Stories written in the first half of the Bible that were prior to the life of Jesus.
49. New Testament - Section of the Bible that contains stories regarding the life and teachings of Jesus.
50. Bible - Holy book for Christians.
51. Atonement - Forgiveness of sins.

52. Messiah - A savior; name given to Jesus.
53. Great Schism - The split within the Christian church dividing it into Roman Catholicism in the West and Greek Orthodox in the East – 1054 C.E.
54. Roman Catholicism – The largest Christian branch and claims over a billion members, representing approximately half of all Christians. The Church's highest earthly authority is the Pope. This branch of Christianity is predominately practiced in Western Europe and the Latin America. (Latin based)
55. Eastern Orthodoxy - The 2nd largest Christian branch, estimated to number between 225 and 300 million members. The highest earthly authority is the Patriarch. This branch of Christianity is predominately practiced in Eastern Europe and Russia. (Greek)
56. Protestant Christianity – A branch within Christianity, containing many denominations of different practices and doctrines that originated in the sixteenth-century Reformation (Branches include: Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist, Anglican, etc.) These branches of Christianity are predominately practiced in Western Europe and the United States (Vernaclular)
57. Martin Luther – German Monk who started the Protestant Reformation. Wrote and posted the 95 theses (his complaints against the Catholic Church)
58. Indulgences - Certificates the Catholic Church sold in order to forgive one’s sins.
59. Justification by faith - Martin Luther’s theory that any action (sin) can be forgiven by having faith in God.
60. John Calvin - Reformation leader who created a Protestant religious community in Geneva, Switzerland
61. Predestination - John Calvin’s theory that God pre-determined your destiny (Salvation) before you were born
62. Islam – The youngest monotheistic religion in the world; founded by Muhammad, in Mecca.
63. Shia Islam (Shiite Muslim) – Shia is the minority branch of Islam; The followers of Shia Islam are called Shi'ites. Shiite Muslims believe that the that Muhammad's family and certain individuals among his descendants should be the Caliph
64. Sunni Islam (Sunni Muslim) - Sunni Islam is the largest denomination of Islam; Sunni Muslims believe that the Caliph should be chosen from the community.
65. Muslim - A follower of the Islamic faith.
66. Muhammad - In the Islamic faith he is considered a prophet (Messenger of God) and the founder of the faith.
67. Koran (Qur’an) – The Islamic holy book.
68. Jihad - Islam’s holy struggle to spread its faith and can be considered a “Holy War”
69. Jejira/Gejira - Muhammad’s pilgrimage from Mecca to Medina; 1st year in Islamic calendar
70. Five Pillars of Islam (Faith) - Outlines the duties of the Islamic religion.
71. Alms - Giving charity - one of the 5 Pillars of Islam
72. Hajj - Name of the pilgrimage to Mecca that every Muslim must make. One of the 5 pillars of faith.
73. Ramadan - 9th month of the Muslim calendar in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset - one of the 5 Pillars of Islam
74. Caliph – The Religious leader of the Muslim world.
75. Mosque - Holy place of worship for Muslims

Geography Vocabulary

  1. Geography - Study of the Earth and its features (topography, climate and natural resources)


  1. Demographic map A map that shows statistics of an area (population density age, race, and gender)

  1. Political Map – A map that shows man-made borders that divide one area from another.

  1. Physical/Topographical Map - A map that shows the physical features of an area such as mountains, lakes and rivers as well as elevation

  1. Legend/Key - An explanatory caption accompanying a map


  1. Latitude - Imaginary lines that run east to west on the globe but measure areas north and south of the equator.

  1. Longitude – Imaginary lines that run north to south on the globe but measure areas east and west of the Prime Meridian.

  1. Hemisphere – “Half the earth”; the northern and southern halves of the earth divided by the equator and the eastern and western halves of the earth divided by the Prime Meridian.

  1. Equator - Imaginary line that divides the Earth into the northern and southern hemispheres.

  1. Prime Meridian – Imaginary Imaginary line that divides the earth into the eastern and western hemispheres.


  1. Region An area that has common characteristics (ex: gov’t, economies, language, religion, geographic)

  1. Pacific Rim - Nations in the Pacific area with heavy volcanic activity.

  1. East Asia – Eastern region of Asia that includes that countries of: China, North and South Korea, Japan, and Mongolia

  1. South Asia – Southern region of Asia that includes the countries of: Bangladesh, , the India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

  1. Southeast Asia – Southeastern region of Asia that consists of two geographic regions: the Asian mainland, and islands and archipelagoes to the east and southeast. The mainland section consists of Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. The maritime section consists of Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Singapore.

  1. Middle East – The southwestern portion of Asia that also includes territories in North Africa. Middle East nations include: Afghanistan, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.

  1. Latin America – Areas in the western hemisphere that are south of the United States that include: Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean.


  1. Topography - The physical features of a place or region. (Ex; mountains, river valleys, deserts, plains, savannas, plateaus, forests)

  1. Plateaus – An elevated, level landform.

  1. Plains – Flat treeless land region, that is usually suitable for farming. Generally at a low elevation

  1. Savannas - Flat grassland of tropical or subtropical regions that has two different seasons, a wet and dry.

  1. Steppe – An area that is characterized by grassland plain without trees that may be semi-desert, and can also be used to describe the climate.

  1. Tundra - Treeless region located between the ice cap and the tree line of arctic regions; Large areas of frozen land (northern regions of Russia)

  1. Peninsula – A piece of land surrounded by water on 3 sides (Ex: Korea, Spain, Italy)

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

  1. River valley – A valley that is carved out by the river. Often have fertile land, and are the sites for the earliest civilizations (Nile, Tigris-Euphrates, Indus, Yellow)

  1. Desert – Areas of land with sparse vegetation, that lacks arable farmland, and a climate that is usually hot and dry. (Sahara, Gobi)

  1. Strait – A narrow channel of water that connects two larger bodies of water (Gibraltar)

  1. Archipelago A chain of islands (Japan, Philippines)

  1. Irregular coastline - A jagged coastline, with natural harbors that are suitable for trade. Natural harbors (Europe)

  1. Regular coastline - A smooth coastline that lacks natural harbors and are not suitable for trade. (Africa)

  2. Mountains – Areas of land with steep sides that rise sharply from surrounding land (Himalayans)

  1. Rainforests – Forests in a tropical or subtropical region that is characterized by heavy rainfall and a humid climate that produces thick, dense vegetation. (Amazon)


  1. Climate - The average weather pattern of a region (Temperature and Precipitation)

  1. Elevation – The distance or height above sea level

  1. Natural barriers - Physical features of the earth that create obstacles to civilizations (mountains, deserts, oceans, dense forests)

  1. Natural resources - A limited material that comes from the earth that is used for manufacturing (Ex: oil, water, lumber, coal, iron, etc.)

  1. Arid - Dry (lacking moisture)

  1. Drought - Prolonged periods of little or no rainfall.

  1. Arable - Land that is suitable for farming

  1. Agrarian Farming or agricultural society.

  1. Tsunami - Underwater earthquakes that causes violent waves.

  1. Monsoons - Seasonal winds that provide rainfall for South Asia, SE Asia, East Asia (Japan); May also cause damage (Floods).


  1. Cultural Diffusion - The exchange of goods, ideas and customs among different groups of people.

  1. Human-environment Interaction – When humans have adapted to and changed their environment to survive the impact of these changes and adaptations. (Building of bridges, roads, dams, canals, terrace farming)

  1. Geographic Isolation - Areas that are separated from one each other due to physical/natural barriers such as mountains, deserts, dense forests (example: India and China are geographically separated from one another due to the Himalayan Mountain range

  1. Terrace farming - Step-like features that are built into the sides of mountain and hillsides that are sued for farming. (Inca, China, Japan).

  1. Interdependence Mutual assistance or reliance between two or more counties for goods or services they cannot provide for themselves. (U.S. depends on Middle Eastern oil, Middle East depends on the U.S. for grains/food)

  1. Subsistence farming - Farming just enough food to survive

  1. Developing nations - Nations that are working to develop modern industrial economies. These nations are characterized by traditional societies that lack modern infrastructure and technology.

  1. Developed nations - Nations that have developed modern industrial economies. These nations maintain and develop new technologies and systems of infrastructure.

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

  1. Deforestation - The destruction or clearing of forest land for farming, lumber, grazing land for animals or areas settlements. (ex: Rain forest “slash and Burn”)

  1. Homogeneous Having a common ethnic and cultural backgrounds; Caused by geographic Isolation, Natural barriers

  1. Heterogeneous Having a different ethnic and cultural make-up. Caused by cultural diffusion, trade, war, migration

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