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Presentation on theme: "EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION"— Presentation transcript:


UNIT 8 EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION KEY CONTENT Why Did Civilizations Expand? 11 The Four World Zones How Did the World Become Interconnected? 13 Ibn Battuta, Marco Polo, and Zheng He 14 Systems of Exchange and Trade The First Silk Roads Lost on the Silk Road LOOKING AHEAD 18 What’s Next in Unit 9? UNIT 8 BASICS 3 Unit 8 Overview 4 Unit 8 Learning Outcomes 5 Unit 8 Lessons Unit 8 Key Concepts LOOKING AHEAD 8 Looking Back: What Happened in Unit 7? BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION

3 UNIT 8 OVERVIEW Key Discipline: History Timespan:
Civilizations expanded and world zones connected between 500 CE and 1750 CE Driving Question: What are the positive and negative impacts of interconnection? Threshold for this Unit: There is no new threshold for this unit BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION

By the end of Unit 8, students should be able to: Analyze what propelled the expansion and interconnection of agrarian civilizations. Investigate the implications of interconnected societies and regions by looking at how commerce has spread. Explain how new networks of exchange accelerated collective learning and innovation. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION

5 UNIT 8 LESSONS 8.0 Expansion
In 1400, the world was divided into four world zones. The expansion, exploration, and the desire to expand trade led these world zones to be connected. The resulting connections dramatically increased the opportunities for collective learning. 8.1 Exploration and Interconnection Exploration required crossing dangerous deserts and deep ocean waters. Connecting the four world zones posed many challenges, but after 1400, innovation and collective learning took a giant leap forward. 8.2 Commerce and Collective Learning Systems of exchange and trade made the world a smaller place. The Afro-Eurasian world zone gained power and the possibility for collective learning in every world zone expanded dramatically. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION

6 UNIT 8 KEY CONCEPTS Anthropocene epoch Industrial Revolution
Black Death Malthusian cycles carrying capacity Modern Revolution exchange networks Silk Roads globalization Steam engines Holocene epoch steppe lands hub region world zones BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION


8 WHAT HAPPENED IN UNIT 7? Unit 7 focused on the emergence of agriculture, as well as the first cities and civilizations. We learned: How the development of agriculture changed humans’ lifestyle. How cities, states, and civilizations developed to organize agricultural societies. About the development of writing and the impact that has on what evidence is available to modern-day historians. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION


Video / Craig Benjamin Agrarian civilizations needed to expand because they derived their wealth primarily from resources they grew from the land. A parcel of land was only able to produce a limited number of crops each year, and environmental fluctuations affected the quality and size of the crops. The only certain way to increase productivity was to take over more land. However, innovations designed to improve the effectiveness of armies were also used to improve economic productivity. Iron developed for weapons could be used to make better plows, which improved farm productivity. Similarly, roads built to allow armies to move from region to region also allowed merchants to trade over wider areas, thus making for more productive economies. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION

11 THE FOUR WORLD ZONES Article / Cynthia Stokes Brown In the era of agrarian civilizations, the world was divided into four major zones: Afro-Eurasia, the Americas, the Australasian, and the Pacific. Afro-Eurasia was the dominant zone because it was the first to develop agriculture, was the largest zone in terms of area, had the largest population, the most resources, and the largest network for collective learning. People settled the three other zones much later in this age. While farming was critical to life in the Americas, foraging was still the dominant lifestyle for much of this age in the Australasian and Pacific zones. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION

Video Talk / David Christian David Christian discusses the four world zones and how the connections between them increased over time. In the age of agrarian civilizations the world was divided into four zones: Afro-Eurasian, Americas, Australasian, and Pacific. Some innovations increased the possibility for collective learning within agrarian civilizations. Writing, paper, and printing revolutionized the storage of information, leading to a huge increase in collective learning. Some innovations increased the possibility for collective learning among agrarian civilizations. Advances in transportation, communication, and road systems also helped to increase connections and increase collective learning. Growth resulted from innovations, but it was hard to sustain. Population growth tended to outpace innovation during this time, and starvation, disease, and famine often arose, bringing this growth to a halt. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION

Articles / Cynthia Stokes Brown Explorers from different parts of the Afro-Eurasian world zone played a key role in helping to connect the different parts of this massive world zone. The accounts they published about the places they visited and the new objects, ideas, and peoples they encountered contributed immensely to collective learning and stimulated further interaction. Ibn Battuta left his home in Tangier in 1325, returning in His travels took him to many places in Africa, Asia, and Europe. Along the way he visited many important cities, including Mecca, Baghdad, and Delhi. Marco Polo made two trips from Europe to China, spending the better part of the years 1271– 1295 traveling and exploring. His experiences of life in China, as well as in the other areas he visited, were recorded in the book The Travels of Marco Polo. Zheng He lead seven overseas voyages in the name of the Chinese emperor between the years and On these voyages, he directed massive fleets and crews that visited ports throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans, reestablishing Chinese tribute relationships that had been interrupted by Mongol control of China. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION

Video Talk / Craig Benjamin As the world zones connected, trade between agrarian civilizations facilitated the transfer of goods, ideas, and diseases. Innovations in transportation and communications helped make increased trade possible. When the exchange network grew and diversified, collective learning increased. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION

15 THE FIRST SILK ROADS Video Talk / Craig Benjamin Exchange networks not only facilitated the movement of goods, but they also stimulated innovation because they helped spread collective learning further and create more diverse networks. Agrarian civilizations were critical to the operation of the Silk Road because they created stability and security, built and maintained road networks, and innovated to support traders. Important trade goods moved in both directions along the Silk Road. The Romans imported Chinese silk, Han iron, Arabian and Indian spices, and agricultural products. The Chinese imported agricultural products, art, glassware, and horses from Central Asia, India, and the Mediterranean. Innovations like the use of the Bactrian camel and the discovery and use of the trade winds across the Indian Ocean were critical to the success and expansion of the Silk Roads. Trade on the Silk Road stimulated economic growth, which benefited the agrarian civilizations involved. The Silk Road also made the Afro-Eurasian zone more connected and its networks more diverse than those of the other world zones. These benefits, coupled with the many advantages that Afro-Eurasia already enjoyed over other world zones, allowed it to dominate the others after 1492 when the world became interconnected. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION

16 LOST ON THE SILK ROAD Article/ Peter Stark Traders and travelers using the Silk Road faced a number of major challenges. They encountered a great variety of climate zones and landforms, and in some places they were vulnerable to attack by nomadic raiders. Some of the specific challenges that users of the Silk Road encountered were mountains, cliffs, thin air, sudden thunderstorms, raging rivers, and log footbridges. Because they relied on yaks to carry their goods, many of these challenges were magnified. Despite these challenges, traders persevered and exchanged a great variety of things. Silk was carried from China to Europe. Chinese merchants bargained for horses, cattle, leather, furs, ivory, and jade. The Chinese were introduced to grapes, wine, music, stories, and religions from the other zones. Ideas were also traded back and forth. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION


18 WHAT’S NEXT? In Unit 9, we will focus on the last threshold in the Big History course. This threshold is the modern world. We will learn: How the pace of innovation and change has accelerated in the last 500 years. How increasing speeds of communication and transportation, as well as greater connection between world zones, has led to a tremendous appetite for energy. About the effect our species has had on the biosphere in the time since the Industrial Revolution. Some of the ways that commerce, labor, and the global economy have changed in recent years. BIG HISTORY PROJECT / UNIT 8 / EXPANSION & INTERCONNECTION


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