History and Social Science Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools – January 2008
World History and Geography to 1500 a.d. (c.e.)
These standards will enable students to explore the historical development of people, places, and patterns of life from ancient times until 1500 a.d. (c.e.) in terms of the impact on Western civilization.
The study of history rests on knowledge of dates, names, places, events, and ideas. Historical understanding, however, requires students to engage in historical thinking, raise questions, and marshal evidence in support of their answers. Students engaged in historical thinking draw upon chronological thinking, historical comprehension, historical analysis and interpretation, historical research, and decision making. These skills are developed through the study of significant historical substance from the era or society being studied.
WHI.1 The student will improve skills in historical research and geographical analysis by
a) identifying, analyzing, and interpreting primary and secondary sources to make generalizations about events and life in world history to 1500 a.d. (c.e.);
b) using maps, globes, artifacts, and pictures to analyze the physical and cultural landscapes of the world and interpret the past to 1500 a.d. (c.e.);
c) identifying major geographic features important to the study of world history to 1500 a.d. (c.e.);
d) identifying and comparing political boundaries with the locations of civilizations, empires, and kingdoms from 4000 b.c. (b.c.e.) to 1500 a.d. (c.e.);
e) analyzing trends in human migration and cultural interaction from prehistory to 1500 a.d. (c.e.);
f) analyzing the impact of economic forces, including taxation, government spending, trade, resources, and monetary systems, on events to 1500 a.d. (c.e.).
Era I: Human Origins and Early Civilizations, Prehistory to 1000 b.c. (b.c.e.)
WHI.2 The student will demonstrate knowledge of early development of humankind from the Paleolithic Era to the agricultural revolution by
a) explaining the impact of geographic environment on hunter-gatherer societies;
b) listing characteristics of hunter-gatherer societies, including their use of tools and fire;
c) describing technological and social advancements that gave rise to stable communities;
d) explaining how archaeological discoveries are changing present-day knowledge of early peoples.
WHI.3 The student will demonstrate knowledge of ancient river valley civilizations, including those of Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus River Valley, and China and the civilizations of the Hebrews, Phoenicians, and Nubians, by
a) locating these civilizations in time and place;
b) describing the development of social, political, and economic patterns, including slavery;
c) explaining the development of religious traditions;
d) describing the origins, beliefs, traditions, customs, and spread of Judaism;
e) explaining the development of language and writing.
Era II: Classical Civilizations and Rise of Religious Traditions, 1000 b.c. (b.c.e.) to 500 a.d. (c.e.)
WHI.4 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the civilizations of Persia, India, and China in terms of chronology, geography, social structures, government, economy, religion, and contributions to later civilizations by
a) describing Persia, including Zoroastrianism and the development of an imperial bureaucracy;
b) describing India, with emphasis on the Aryan migrations and the caste system;
c) describing the origins, beliefs, traditions, customs, and spread of Hinduism;
d) describing the origins, beliefs, traditions, customs, and spread of Buddhism;
e) describing China, with emphasis on the development of an empire and the construction of the Great Wall;
f) describing the impact of Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.
WHI.5 The student will demonstrate knowledge of ancient Greece in terms of its impact on Western civilization by
a) assessing the influence of geography on Greek economic, social, and political development, including the impact of Greek commerce and colonies;
b) describing Greek mythology and religion;
c) identifying the social structure and role of slavery, explaining the significance of citizenship and the development of democracy, and comparing the city-states of Athens and Sparta;
d) evaluating the significance of the Persian and Peloponnesian wars;
e) characterizing life in Athens during the Golden Age of Pericles;
f) citing contributions in drama, poetry, history, sculpture, architecture, science, mathematics, and philosophy, with emphasis on Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle;
g) explaining the conquest of Greece by Macedonia and the formation and spread of Hellenistic culture by Alexander the Great.
WHI.6 The student will demonstrate knowledge of ancient Rome from about 700 b.c. (b.c.e.) to 500 a.d. (c.e.) in terms of its impact on Western civilization by
a) assessing the influence of geography on Roman economic, social, and political development;
b) describing Roman mythology and religion;
c) explaining the social structure and role of slavery, significance of citizenship, and the development of democratic features in the government of the Roman Republic;
d) sequencing events leading to Roman military domination of the Mediterranean basin and Western Europe and the spread of Roman culture in these areas;
e) assessing the impact of military conquests on the army, economy, and social structure of Rome;
f) assessing the roles of Julius and Augustus Caesar in the collapse of the Republic and the rise of imperial monarchs;
g) explaining the economic, social, and political impact of the Pax Romana;
h) describing the origin, beliefs, traditions, customs, and spread of Christianity;
i) explaining the development and significance of the Church in the late Roman Empire;
j) listing contributions in art and architecture, technology and science, medicine, literature and history, language, religious institutions, and law;
k) citing the reasons for the decline and fall of the Western Roman Empire.
Era III: Postclassical Civilizations, 300 to 1000 a.d. (c.e.)
WHI.7 The student will demonstrate knowledge of the Byzantine Empire and Russia from about 300 to 1000 a.d. (c.e.) by
a) explaining the establishment of Constantinople as the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire;
b) identifying Justinian and his contributions, including the codification of Roman law, and describing the expansion of the Byzantine Empire and economy;
c) characterizing Byzantine art and architecture and the preservation of Greek and Roman traditions;
d) explaining disputes that led to the split between the Roman Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Church;
e) mapping and assessing the impact of Byzantine influence and trade on Russia and Eastern Europe.
WHI.8 The student will demonstrate knowledge of Islamic civilization from about 600 to 1000 a.d. (c.e.) by
a) describing the origin, beliefs, traditions, customs, and spread of Islam;
b) assessing the influence of geography on Islamic economic, social, and political development, including the impact of conquest and trade;
c) identifying historical turning points that affected the spread and influence of Islamic civilization, with emphasis on the Sunni-Shi’a division and the Battle of Tours;
d) citing cultural and scientific contributions and achievements of Islamic civilization.
WHI.9 The student will demonstrate knowledge of Western Europe during the Middle Ages from about 500 to 1000 a.d. (c.e.) in terms of its impact on Western civilization by
a) sequencing events related to the spread and influence of Christianity and the Catholic Church throughout Europe;
b) explaining the structure of feudal society and its economic, social, and political effects;
c) explaining the rise of Frankish kings, the Age of Charlemagne, and the revival of the idea of the Roman Empire;
d) sequencing events related to the invasions, settlements, and influence of migratory groups, including Angles, Saxons, Magyars, and Vikings.
Era IV: Regional Interactions, 1000 to 1500 a.d. (c.e.)
WHI.10 The student will demonstrate knowledge of civilizations and empires of the Eastern Hemisphere and their interactions through regional trade patterns by
a) locating major trade routes;
b) identifying technological advances and transfers, networks of economic interdependence, and cultural interactions;
c) describing Japan, with emphasis on the impact of Shinto and Buddhist traditions and the influence of Chinese culture;
d) describing east African kingdoms of Axum and Zimbabwe and west African civilizations of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai in terms of geography, society, economy, and religion.
WHI.11 The student will demonstrate knowledge of major civilizations of the Western Hemisphere, including the Mayan, Aztec, and Incan, by
a) describing geographic relationships, with emphasis on patterns of development in terms of climate and physical features;
b) describing cultural patterns and political and economic structures.
WHI.12 The student will demonstrate knowledge of social, economic, and political changes and cultural achievements in the late medieval period by
a) describing the emergence of nation-states (England, France, Spain, and Russia) and distinctive political developments in each;
b) explaining conflicts among Eurasian powers, including the Crusades, the Mongol conquests, and the fall of Constantinople;
c) identifying patterns of crisis and recovery related to the Black Death (Bubonic plague);
d) explaining the preservation and transfer to Western Europe of Greek, Roman, and Arabic philosophy, medicine, and science.
WHI.13 The student will demonstrate knowledge of developments leading to the Renaissance in Europe in terms of its impact on Western civilization by
a) identifying the economic foundations of the Italian Renaissance;
b) sequencing events related to the rise of Italian city-states and their political development, including Machiavelli’s theory of governing as described in The Prince;
c) citing artistic, literary, and philosophical creativity, as contrasted with the medieval period, including Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Petrarch;
d) comparing the Italian and the Northern Renaissance, and citing the contributions of writers.