World history 1 (to 1500) – vocabulary grading period 4 name: directions

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DIRECTIONS: Study the words regularly. Be prepared to take quizzes on ten to fifteen words at a time. Keep this sheet in your notebook. You may wish to make review cards.


1. Axum

East African kingdom and trade center near present-day Ethiopia, it was a Christian area surrounded by Islamic territory

2. Great Zimbabwe

Southeastern African trading kingdom that encountered merchants from the Middle East and Asia and is identified by a large fortified enclosure.

3. West African Kingdoms

The civilizations of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai that were important areas for trade.

4. Timbuktu

West African trade center and city with a university and Islamic center.

5. Trans-Saharan


Extensive trade networks that crossed northern African and focused on the trade of gold and salt.

6. Animism

Belief that spirits inhabit everything; Tribal/indigenous religions of North Africa

7. Griot

Highly trained speakers and entertainers in West Africa who memorized the oral traditions.

8. Bantu

Root language in Africa that eventually spread east and south as the people migrated in search of arable land

9. Swahili

An African language that developed in Zimbabwe and was known as the language used for trade.

10. Shintoism

A religion that began in Japan and focused on the importance of nature, ancestors, and worshipping the emperor.

11. Zen

Sect of Buddhism that stresses meditation as a means of enlightenment.

12. Shogun

Chief military and government office in feudal Japan.

13. Samurai

Japanese warriors hired for protection by wealthy landlords in feudal Japan.

14. Bushido

“Way of the Warrior;” Code of behavior of the Japanese warrior that stressed bravery, loyalty, and honor.

15. Mayas

The indigenous people of the Yucatan Peninsula who built cities in the jungles like Chichen Itza and Palenque.

16. Aztecs

Indigenous people of the Valley of Mexico who built causeways and cities; practiced human sacrifice; and were conquered by the Spanish in 1521.

17. Incas

Indigenous people of western South America (Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Ecuador) who used terrace farming and built the city of Machu Picchu.

18. Tenochtitlan

Aztec capital city that was an engineering accomplishment since it was constructed on a lake with causeways.

19. Yucatan Peninsula

Geographical location for the first civilizations in the Americas including the Olmecs and the Mayas.

20. Andes Mountains

Geographical location for the Incan and Moche civilizations in South America.

21. Chinampas

The Aztec method of farming on floating islands that were made from mud and grass piled in lakes

22. Terrace Farming

Mountain farming that uses flat steps cut into the side of the mountain; used in China as well as in South America.

23. Islam

The third monotheistic religion to arise in the Middle East; it began in Mecca with the actions of Muhammad.

24. Hinduism

A religion that arose in India that combined Dravidian and Aryan beliefs and also believed that one god was represented in many forms; the goal is to reach moksha through reincarnation, karma, and dharma.

25. Buddhism

A religion that began in ancient India by Siddhartha Gautama that focused on the Four Noble Truths and the Eight Fold Path to reach nirvana.

26. Judaism

First monotheistic religion; developed in the Middle East by the Hebrews.

27. Zoroastrianism

A Persian religion that focused on good versus evil; Sacred text was the Zend Avesta

28. Reincarnation

A belief shared by Hindus and Buddhist that when one person dies he/she will be reborn into a new life (cycles of rebirth)

29. Karma

A belief shared by Hindus and Buddhists that a person’s actions and behavior determine how that person will be reborn in his/her next life.

30. Caste System

A hereditary, rigid social class hierarchy brought to India by the Aryan invaders and used with the Hindu religion.

31. Mecca

Located in Saudi Arabia, it is the holy city for Muslims; pilgrimage location for the Hajj.

32. Mandate of Heaven

In China, power from the gods that was given to the ruler; justification for the dynastic cycle in China.

33. Silk Road

A trade route that connected China and Asia to Rome and Europe.

34. Cuneiform

Sumerian pictographic writing (Mesopotamia) that used wedge shaped marks made on clay tablets and resembled geometric designs.

35. Polis

The name for a city-state in ancient Greece.

36. Acropolis

The elevated portion of a Greek city-state where the temples were usually located.

37. Athens

A Greek city-state known for culture.

38. Sparta

A Greek city-state known for military training.

39. Democracy

Type of government that originated in Greece and involved active citizen participation; rule by the people

40. Persian War

Conflicts that the united Athens and Sparta to gain control of the Aegean Sea; occurred from 499 BC - 449 BC

41. Peloponnesian War

A conflict that occurred between Athens and Sparta from 431 BC to

404 BC; Sparta wins

42. Alexander the Great

Macedonian king who conquers Greece to the Indus River valley and was instrumental in spreading Greek culture.

43. Patricians

The upper class or powerful nobles (few in number) in Rome.

44. Plebeians

The lower class and majority of the population in Rome.

45. Twelve Tables

Roman laws

46. Pax Romana

A time of peace and prosperity (roughly 200 years) during the Roman Empire that began with Augustus

47. Feudalism

A system of government during the Middle Ages where a greater lord granted land and some power to lesser lords in exchange for loyalty, service, and military assistance.

48. Fief

Land granted by a feudal lord to a noble.

49. Vassal

A Medieval noble who pledged loyalty and services to a feudal lord in exchange for a grant of land.

50. Serf

Medieval peasant legally bound to live and work on a specific piece of land.

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