Key events & turning points

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Objective: To understand the causes, effects and significance of key turning points in World History.


when? 11 thousand years ago

  • came after the Paleolithic Stone Age

when people hunted and gathered. ( Nomads)

  • Neolithic era started when people invented stone tools for farming.

  • people began to settle_

in villages, often near

rivers such as the

Nile, Huang, Indus or Tigris and Euphrates.

  • Civilization began.

  • Each civilization was

accompanied by the develop-

ment of a

Economic system,

Political system,

Social system,

Belief system.



when? 476 AD (CE)

  • political causes:

Rulers fight each other for control

  • social cause:

People lose interest in giv’t

  • economic causes:

High Taxes

  • political power changed

from Centralized

to Feudal-Decentralized

  • Middle Ages began.

political term: Feudalism

  • huge buildings called

Castles were built for

shelter and protection

  • land surrounding castles:

Fiefs. Economic term: Manorialism

  • people made everything

they needed.

term: Self Sufficient

  • Catholic Church

became the most powerful

institution in Europe.


when? 1095-1295

why? To free Constantinople from Seljuk Turks


  • trade between Europe

and Middle East resumed.

  • Europe rediscovered

Greek and Roman

classics by Plato, Aristotle,

and Socrates.

  • these classics had been

preserved by Arab

and Byzantine


  • Muslims kept

Christians from

regaining the Holy Land.

led to the rise of towns and cities the decline

of feudalism.

  • the rebirth of

Greek and Roman ideas led

to a new era called the



when? 1300-1600s

  • main cause: Crusades

  • Renaissance means

Reawakening (rebirth)

  • Main concept: HUMANISM

emphasized Individuality.

  • artworks featuring humanism:

Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo,

Last Supper by Leonardo.

  • Entrepreneurs,

business owners who took risks,

grew rich through trade

  • A Market economy

emerged so that people wouldn’t

have to barter.

  • Banks were started

(where people kept money safe).

  • rich Patrons of the

arts, such as the Medicis,

funded great art works.

  • City States such

as Venice, Florence, and Rome

were like Athens in Ancient Greece.

  • people began to question

the authority of the Catholic Church leading to

the Protestant Reformation

  • as the power of the Catholic

Church declined, the power of

Monarchs increased.

  • ultimately, this led to the rise

of Absolute monarchs

such as Louis XIV of France,

Ferdinand of Spain, and

Henry VIII of England.



when? 1492

  • First permanent contact

between Old World and

New World

  • Cause: Ottoman Turks

blocked trade routes to

the Middle East after

conquering the Byzantine Empire

Empire in 1453.

  • led to the Age of

Exploration and

“ Triangular Slave trade” between Europe, Africa and the Americas

  • Two countries from Iberian

peninsula that conquered Latin

America: Spain and Portugal

  • main reason why Native

Americans were conquered:

Europeans had better technology and weapons

  • Spanish term for conqueror:


  • Cultural diffusion:

products to the Old world-

Cocoa, potato, corn, beans, tobacco

products to the New World-

Sugar, bananas, pigs, diseases

  • effect of European diseases:

Killed many Native Americans

  • terrible impact: Slave

trade caused great human suffering and change of

life in western Africa.

  • led to Mercantilism,

where ‘mother’ countries

acquired raw materials

and new markets.



when? 1517

  • started with Martin Luther

from Germany who protested

Sale of Indulgences.

  • He nailed the 95

theses onto a church door.

  • ended religious unity

in Western Europe

  • Luther translated the

Bible into German (vernacular)

  • new technology that

spread the Bible’s message:

Printing Press

  • Henry VIII, king of

England broke from the

Catholic Church because

Pope wouldn’t grant him a


  • Catholic Church became

weak therefore

gov’t became

stronger. This led to the rise

of Absolute Monarchs

such as Louis XIV.


French Revolution

when? 1789

political cause-three estates:

1) Clergy – 1st Estate

2) Nobility- 2nd Estate

3) Peasants/Bourgeoisie- lacked political power

economic cause:

France, led by Louis XIV,

was deeply in debt caused by costly wars
social cause:

Enlightened thinkers

challenged the absolute

authority. People revolted and

stormed the Bastille in order

release the political prisoners and

get weapons
major events:

  1. tennis Court Oath

  2. King Louis XVI and his wife,

Marie Antoinette were beheaded

by Committee of Public Safety

3) But eventually M. Robespierre

was also beheaded

How? guillotine

4) Napoleon gained

control and expanded France’s


main results:

  1. middle class ( Bourgeoisie )

gained political power.

  1. French Revolution inspired

struggles for independence in Haiti (San Domingo )

and in Bolivia and Columbia

( New Granada).

  1. expanded voting rights

to all males, whether they owned

property or not.

Industrial Revolution

when? 1750

where? England

why England?

1)Natural Resources (coal and Iron)

2)Irregular Coastlines

3) Supportive Gov’t = $

positive results:

Many more goods made since they could be produced by

Machine. Steam powered iron ships could travel farther and more quickly.

Many inventions were created

along with many factories

that fostered economic growth.


Textile factories/power loom

Ship building


negative results:

Working conditions

Low wages

Long Hours

Unsafe conditions

Child labor

  • Better wages were also

made. Positive? Negative?

  • Karl Marx hated

Capitalism. He wrote

the Communist Manifesto

which called for a over throw

of industrial capitalism

workers. Famous quote: “Workers of the World Unite”!


when? 1800s


  • Italy-Mazzini, Cavour, Garibaldi

  • Germany- Otto von Bismark

  • Turkey- Kemal Ataturk

  • India- Gandhi

  • Israel- Theodore Herzl

  • Kenya- Jomo Kenyatta


  • Latin American revolutions

were inspired by revolutions in

France and the United States

  • Italy was tired of being

colonized, so nationalism

became a popular cause.(against the French)

Germany 1800s- disunity among the states-wanted to be free of French Rule


  • Gangs of nations known

as alliances were


  • Nations wanted more control

to show off their wealth

  • Power hungry leaders

relied on force

to achieve their goals.

  • Along with imperialism,

militarism, alliances, and

nationalism were the MAIN

causes of WWI and WWII

which began in 1914 and 1939.



  • Became a British colony

after the Sepoy Mutiny

in 1857.

  • England took raw materials

such as salt and sold cotton products back to India.

  • Human rights were

violated. ( Human Rights Violations )

Tactics/events: Passive resistance and civil disobedience-Gandhi

  • Salt March which

proclaimed Indian Independence

  • Boycott of British clothing.

  • arrested for treason.

  • General strike which

shut down the country.

  • Fasting to protest

violence against the British

and also to end Muslim-Hindu conflicts.

Results: Gained Independence

in 1947, but Pakistan

was created as a homeland for the


Africa: same motives ( Independence)

Kipling’s “ White man’s Burden”

described British attitudes of


  • Scramble for Africa lasted

from 1880 to 1914.

  • Africans began to resist

oppression. Independence movements (i.e. Kenya ),

were successful after WWII.

CHINA: England gained power

after Opium War (1839 ).

Spheres of Influence were

created. Negative response:

Taiping Rebellion ( 1850-1864 )

led to fall of last dynasty

and creation of a weak central government.


US and great Britain did not colonize Japan. Instead, Japan

became an imperialist

nation. Won wars against Russia

and China. Gained land in

Manchuria and Korea.

Turning point: Meiji Restoration

after Matthew Perry landed in 1853.

World War I

MAIN causes

M iliterism

A lliances

I mperialism

N atioalism

  • Employed new weapons

of the Industrial rev

including tanks, bombs, gas

  • style : trench warfare.

  • casualties:8.5 million

  • Winners: US, Britain, and France

  • Peace Plan: Versailles Treaty

written by Woodrow Wilson

called for a _________________

league of Nations

to prevent future wars. But U.S.

didn’t join and the League of Nations was weak

  • Biggest loser, Germany,

had to pay reparations

which caused inflations

and devastated the German


  • Revenge created a backlash

of German nationalism which

led to the rise of Hitler,

an evil dictator who

murdered millions of

men, women, and children.

  • Hitler’s rise to power was

unchecked due to Neville

chamberlain , a British

Prime Minister, who followed a

policy of appeasement

( backing down to aggression).

World War II

when? 1939-1945
MAIN causes again, this shows how history repeats itself !
Allies: Britain, France, Soviet Union, USA

Axis: Germany, Japan, Italy

Some major events:

  • Japan’s vicious takeover of

Manchuria and Nanjing

in China.

  • Hitler’s invasion of Poland.

  • Bombing of Pearl Harbor

a naval base in Hawaii.

  • D-day, landing of

Allied forces in Europe.

  • Costly battles on islands in

the Pacific Ocean.

  • Atom bombs dropped

on Hiroshima, Nagasaki
Results: Allies win!!!!!!

VE day: May 1945

VJ day: Aug 1945

US and Russia leads

to the Cold War, an

ideological battle which

pitted American Democracy

and capitalism against

the Soviet Union’s Totalitarianism

dictatorship and communism.

  • Cold War conflicts in

Vietnam and Korea

were fought to stop the spread of


  • The outcome was seen as a

triumph of good over Evil

It forced Great Britain, which had been weakened by WWII, to

reevaluate its policy of

imperialism. Soon Britain

gave up colonial claims in

Africa and India.

  • China, under Mao

underwent its communist

Revolution after WWII. Its

effects are still felt today.

(i.e. Human Rights issue)

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