Ten of the Most Interesting Moments in History From Around the World

Ten of the Most Interesting Moments in History From Around the World

World history is more general than traditional history and emphasizes trends that transcend cultural boundaries. World history stresses the treatment of inter-action between societies. In eras where such inter-action is limited, it compares different patterns of development around the world. Hence a world history study may involve cultures that actually had contact and influence on one another or cultures that went through various stages of development with little or no outside influence. World history tends to be more superficial and general than local or national histories. This is not meant in a negative way but in the sense of a comprehensive view of history. The old cliche of not seeing the forest for the trees applies here. World history looks at the forest for the overall, global meaning of history.

World history in its contemporary connotation is not a synthesis of known fact or a juxtaposition of the histories of different continents or cultures, arranged in some sort of order of relative importance; rather it is a search for the links and connexions across political and cultural frontiers. It is concerned not so much with development in time or with the goal and meaning of history– western preoccupations which non-western cultures for the most part do not share– as with the perennial problems which have assailed mankind everywhere and with the different responses to them. It [world history] has turned them [world historians] away from linear development, from the thread allegedly running through history from its earliest beginnings to the present day, to the comparative study of the institutions, habits, ideas and assumptions of men in all times and places.

My list below is based on having all the sound information about the top ten historical regions of all the continents in the world…

10. History of America

10. History of America

The history of the United States traditionally starts with the Declaration of Independence in the year 1776, but its territory was inhabited by Native Americans since prehistoric times and then also by European colonists who followed the voyages of Christopher Columbus starting in 1492. The largest settlements were by the English on the East Coast, starting in 1607. By the 1770s the Thirteen Colonies contained two and half million people, were prosperous, and had developed their own political and legal systems. The British government’s threat to American self-government led to war in 1775 and the Declaration of Independence in 1776. With major military and financial support from France, the patriots won the American Revolution. In 1789 the Constitution became the basis for the United States federal government, with war hero George Washington as the first president. The young nation continued to struggle with the scope of central government and with European influence, creating the first political parties in the 1790s, and fighting a second war for independence in 1812.

U.S. territory expanded westward across the continent, brushing aside Native Americans and Mexico, and overcoming modernizers who wanted to deepen the economy rather than expand the geography. The slavery of Africans was abolished in the North, but heavy world demand for cotton let it flourish in the Southern states. The 1860 election of Abraham Lincoln calling for no more expansion of slavery triggered a crisis as eleven slave states seceded to found the Confederate States of America in 1861. The bloody American Civil War (1861–65) redefined the nation and remains the central iconic event. The South was defeated and, in the Reconstruction era, the U.S. ended slavery, extended rights to African Americans, and readmitted secessionist states with loyal governments. The national government was much stronger, and it now had the explicit duty to protect individuals. Reconstruction was never completed by the US government and left the blacks in a world of Jim Crow political, social and economic inferiority. The entire South remained poor while the North and West grew rapidly.

Thanks to an outburst of entrepreneurship in the North and the arrival of millions of immigrant workers from Europe, the U.S. became the leading industrialized power by 1900. Disgust with corruption, waste and traditional politics stimulated the Progressive movement, the 1890s-1920s, which pushed for reform in industry and politics and put into the Constitution women’s suffrage and Prohibition of alcohol (the latter repealed in 1933). Initially neutral in World War I, the U.S. declared war on Germany in 1917 and funded the Allied victory. The nation refused to follow President Woodrow Wilson’s leadership and never joined the League of Nations. After a prosperous decade in the 1920s, the Wall Street Crash of 1929 marked the onset of the decade-long worldwide Great Depression. A political realignment expelled the Republicans from power and installed Democrat Franklin D. Roosevelt and his elaborate and expensive New Deal programs for relief, recovery, and reform. Roosevelt’s Democratic coalition, comprising ethnics in the north, labour unions, big-city machines, intellectuals, and the white South, dominated national politics into the 1960s. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the U.S. entered World War II alongside the Allies and helped defeat Nazi Germany in Europe and, with the detonation of newly-invented atomic bombs, Japan in Asia and the Pacific.

The Soviet Union and the U.S. emerged as opposing superpowers after the war and began the Cold War confronting indirectly in an arms race, the Space Race, and intervention in Europe and eastern Asia. Liberalism reflected in the civil rights movement and opposition to war in Vietnam peaked in the 1960s–70s before giving way to conservatism in the early 1980s. The Cold War ended when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991, leaving the U.S. to prosper in the booming Information Age economy that was boosted, at least in part, by information technology. International conflict and economic uncertainty heightened by 2001 with the September 11 attacks and subsequent War on Terror and the late-2000s recession.

History of Africa

9. History of Africa

The history of Africa begins with the prehistory of Africa and the emergence of Homo sapiens in East Africa, continuing into the present as a patchwork of diverse and politically developing nation states. Agriculture began about 10,000 BCE and metallurgy in about 4000 BCE. The history of early civilization arose in Egypt and later in the Maghreb and the Horn of Africa. During the Middle Ages, Islam spread through the regions. Crossing the Maghreb and the Sahel, a major centre of Muslim culture was at Timbuktu. States and polities subsequently formed throughout the continent.

From the late 15th century, Europeans and Arabs were sold slaves from West, Central and Southeast Africa by native tribes in the African slave trade. European colonization of Africa developed rapidly in the Scramble for Africa of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Following independence and struggles in many parts of the continent, decolonization took place after the Second World War.

Africa’s history has been a challenge for researchers in the field of African studies because of the scarcity of written sources in large parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Scholarly techniques such as the recording of oral history, historical linguistics, archaeology and genetics have been crucial.

History of Russia

8. History of Russia

The history of Russia begins with that of the Eastern Slavs and the Finno-Ugric peoples. The state of Garðaríki ( “the realm of towns”), which was centred in Novgorod and included the entire areas inhabited by Ilmen Slavs, Veps and Votes, was established by the Varangian chieftain Rurik in 862 (the traditional beginning of Russian history). Kievan Rus, the first united East Slavic state, was founded by Rurik’s successor Oleg of Novgorod in 882. The state adopted Christianity from the Byzantine Empire in 988, beginning the synthesis of Byzantine and Slavic cultures that defined Russian culture for the next millennium. Kievan Rus’ ultimately disintegrated as a state because of the Mongol invasion of Rus’ in 1237–1240. During that time a number of regional magnates, in particular Novgorod and Pskov, fought to inherit the cultural and political legacy of Kievan Rus’.

After the 13th century, Moscow came to dominate the former cultural centre. By the 18th century, the Grand Duchy of Moscow had become the huge Russian Empire, stretching from the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth eastward to the Pacific Ocean. Expansion in the western direction sharpened Russia’s awareness of its separation from much of the rest of Europe and shattered the isolation in which the initial stages of expansion had occurred. Successive regimes of the 19th century responded to such pressures with a combination of halfhearted reform and repression. Russian serfdom was abolished in 1861, but its abolition was achieved on terms unfavourable to the peasants and served to increase revolutionary pressures. Between the abolition of serfdom and the beginning of World War I in 1914, the Stolypin reforms, the constitution of 1906 and State Duma introduced notable changes to the economy and politics of Russia, but the tsars were still not willing to relinquish autocratic rule, or share their power.

The Russian Revolution in 1917 was triggered by a combination of economic breakdown, war-weariness, and discontent with the autocratic system of government, and it first brought a coalition of liberals and moderate socialists to power, but their failed policies led to the seizure of power by the Communist Bolsheviks on 25 October. Between 1922 and 1991, the history of Russia is essentially the history of the Soviet Union, effectively an ideologically based state which was roughly conterminous with the Russian Empire before the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. The approach to the building of socialism, however, varied over different periods in Soviet history, from the mixed economy and diverse society and culture of the 1920s to the command economy and repressions of the Joseph Stalin era to the “era of stagnation” in the 1980s. From its first years, the government in the Soviet Union was based on the one-party rule of the Communists, as the Bolsheviks called themselves, beginning in March 1918. However, by the late 1980s, with the weaknesses of its economic and political structures becoming acute, the Communist leaders embarked on major reforms, which led to the fall of the Soviet Union.

The history of the Russian Federation is brief, starting from late 1991. Russia was recognized as the legal successor to the Soviet Union on the international stage. However, Russia has lost its superpower status as it faced serious challenges in its efforts to forge a new post-Soviet political and economic system. Scrapping the socialist central planning and state ownership of property of the Soviet era, Russia attempted to build an economy with elements of market capitalism, with often painful results. Even today Russia shares many continuities of political culture and social structure with its tsarist and Soviet past.

History of Japan

7. History of Japan

The history of Japan encompasses the history of the islands of Japan and the Japanese people, spanning the ancient history of the region to the modern history of Japan as a nation-state. Following the last ice age, around 12,000 BC, the rich ecosystem of the Japanese Archipelago fostered human development. The earliest known pottery belongs to the Jōmon period. The first known written reference to Japan is in the brief information given in Twenty-Four Histories in the 1st century AD. The main cultural and religious influences came from China.

The first permanent capital was founded at Nara in 710 AD, which became a centre of Buddhist art, religion and culture. The current imperial family emerged about 700 AD, but until 1868 (with few exceptions) had high prestige but little power. By 1550 or so political power was subdivided into several hundred local units or “domains” controlled by local “daimyō” (lords), each with his own force of samurai warriors. Tokugawa Ieyasu came to power in 1600, gave land to his supporters, set up his “bakufu” (military government) at Edo (modern Tokyo). The “Tokugawa period” was prosperous and peaceful, but Japan deliberately terminated the Christian missions and cut off almost all contact with the outside world. In the 1860s the Meiji Period began, and the new national leadership systematically ended feudalism and transformed an isolated, underdeveloped island country into a world power that closely followed Western models. Democracy was problematic because Japan’s powerful military was semi-independent and overruled—or assassinated—civilians in the 1920s and 1930s. The military moved into China starting in 1931 but was defeated in Pacific War by the United States and Britain.

Occupied by the U.S. after the war and stripped of its conquests, Japan was transformed into a peaceful and democratic nation. After 1950 it enjoyed very high economic growth rates, and became a world economic powerhouse, especially in automobiles and electronics. Since the 1990s economic stagnation has been a major issue, with an earthquake and tsunami in 2011 causing massive economic dislocations.

History of India

6. History of India

The history of India begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago. The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent from c. 3300 to 1300 BCE, was the first major civilization in India. A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture developed in the Mature Harappan period, from 2600 to 1900 BCE. This Bronze Age civilization collapsed before the end of the second millennium BCE and was followed by the Iron Age Vedic Civilization, which extended over much of the Indo-Gangetic plain and which witnessed the rise of major polities known as the Mahajanapadas. In one of these kingdoms, Magadha, Mahavira and Gautama Buddha were born in the 6th or 5th century BCE and propagated their śramanic philosophies.

Almost all of the subcontinent was conquered by the Maurya Empire during the 4th and 3rd centuries BCE. It subsequently became fragmented, with various parts ruled by numerous Middle kingdoms for the next 1,500 years. This is known as the classical period of Indian history, during which India has sometimes been estimated to have had the largest economy of the ancient and medieval world, controlling between one third and one-fourth of the world’s wealth up to the 18th century.

Much of northern and central India was once again united in the 4th century CE, and remained so for two centuries thereafter, under the Gupta Empire. This period, witnessing a Hindu religious and intellectual resurgence, is known among its admirers as the “Golden Age of India”. During the same time, and for several centuries afterwards, southern India, under the rule of the Chalukyas, Cholas, Pallavas, and Pandyas, experienced its own golden age. During this period, aspects of Indian civilization, administration, culture, and religion (Hinduism and Buddhism) spread to much of Asia.

The southern state of Kerala had maritime business links with the Roman Empire from around 77 CE. Islam was introduced in Kerala through this route by Muslim traders. Muslim rule in the subcontinent began in 712 CE when the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab in modern-day Pakistan, setting the stage for several successive invasions from Central Asia between the 10th and 15th centuries CE, leading to the formation of Muslim empires in the Indian subcontinent such as the Delhi Sultanate and the Mughal Empire.

Mughal rule came from Central Asia to cover most of the northern parts of the subcontinent. Mughal rulers introduced Central Asian art and architecture to India. In addition to the Mughals and various Rajput kingdoms, several independent Hindu states, such as the Vijayanagara Empire, the Maratha Empire, Eastern Ganga Empire and the Ahom Kingdom, flourished contemporaneously in southern, western, eastern and northeastern India respectively. The Mughal Empire suffered a gradual decline in the early 18th century, which provided opportunities for the Afghans, Balochis, Sikhs, and Marathas to exercise control over large areas in the northwest of the subcontinent until the British East India Company gained ascendancy over South Asia.

Beginning in the mid-18th century and over the next century, large areas of India were gradually annexed by the British East India Company. Dissatisfaction with Company rule led to the India Rebellion of 1857, after which the British provinces of India were directly administered by the British Crown and witnessed a period of both rapid developments of infrastructure and economic decline. During the first half of the 20th century, a nationwide struggle for independence was launched by the Indian National Congress and later joined by the Muslim League. The subcontinent gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1947 after the British provinces were partitioned into the dominions of India and Pakistan and the princely states all acceded to one of the new states.

History of Pakistan

5. History of Pakistan

The first known inhabitants of the modern-day Pakistan region are believed to have been the Soanian (Homo erectus), who settled in the Soan Valley and Riwat almost 2 million years ago. Over the next several thousand years, the region would develop into various civilizations like Mehrgarh and the Indus Valley Civilization. The Indus region, which covers a considerable amount of Pakistan, was the site of several ancient cultures including the Neolithic era’s Mehrgarh and the bronze era Indus Valley Civilization (2500–1500 BCE) at Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro.

The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilization (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE) The Indus Valley is one of the world’s earliest urban civilizations, along with its contemporaries, Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. At its peak, the Indus Civilization may have had a population of well over five million. Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley developed new techniques in metallurgy and handicraft (carneol products, seal carving), and produced copper, bronze, lead, and tin. The civilization is noted for its cities built of brick, roadside drainage system, and multistoried houses.

The mature phase of this civilization is known as the Harappan Civilization, as the first of its cities to be unearthed was located at Harappa, excavated in the 1920s in what was at the time the Punjab province of British India (now in Pakistan). Excavation of Harappan sites has been ongoing since 1920, with important breakthroughs occurring as recently as 1999. To date, over 1,052 cities and settlements have been found, mainly in the general region of the Ghaggar-Hakra river and its tributaries. Among the settlements were the major urban centres of Harappa, Lothal, Mohenjo-Daro (UNESCO World Heritage Site), Dholavira, Kalibanga, and Rakhigarhi.

The Indus Valley Civilization (also known as Harappan culture) has its earliest roots in cultures such as that of Mehrgarh, approximately 6000 BCE. The two greatest cities, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa, emerged circa 2600 BCE along the Indus River valley in Punjab and Sindh. The civilization, with a writing system, urban centres, and diversified social and economic system, was rediscovered in the 1920s after excavations at Mohenjo-Daro (which means “mound of the dead“) in Sindh near Sukkur, and Harappa, in west Punjab south of Lahore. A number of other sites stretching from the Himalayan foothills in east Punjab, India in the north, to Gujarat in the south and east, and to Balochistan in the west have also been discovered and studied. Although the archaeological site at Harappa was partially damaged in 1857 when engineers constructing the Lahore-Multan railroad (as part of the Sind and Punjab Railway), used brick from the Harappa ruins for track ballast, an abundance of artefacts has nevertheless been found. The bricks discovered were made of red sand, clay, stones & were baked at very high temperature.

Mohenjo-Daro is an archaeological site situated in what is now the province of Sindh, Pakistan. Built around 2600 BC, it was one of the largest settlements of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, and one of the world’s earliest major urban settlements, existing at the same time as the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, and Crete. Mohenjo-Daro was most likely one of the largest cities of the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, which is also known as the Harappan Civilization after Harappa, another important IVC site, located to the north of Mohenjo-Daro in Punjab, Pakistan.

The prehistoric Indus culture blossomed over the centuries and gave rise to the Indus Valley Civilization around 3000 BC. The civilization spanned much of what is now Pakistan and North India but suddenly went into decline around 1900 BC. Indus Civilization settlements spread as far west as the Iranian border, with an outpost in Bactria, as far south as the Arabian Sea coast of western India in Gujarat. Among the settlements were the major urban centres of Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, as well as Lothal.

At its height, Mohenjo-Daro was the most developed and advanced city in South Asia, displaying remarkably sophisticated engineering and urban planning for its time.

History of Rome

4. History of Rome

The history of Rome spans 2,800 years of the existence of a city that grew from a small Italian village in the 9th century BC into the centre of a vast civilization that dominated the Mediterranean region for centuries. Its political power was eventually replaced by that of peoples of mostly Germanic origin, marking the beginning of the Middle Ages. Rome became the seat of the Roman Catholic Church and the home of a sovereign state, the Vatican City, within its walls. Today it is the capital of Italy, an international worldwide political and cultural centre, a major global city, and is regarded as one of the most beautiful cities of the ancient world.

The traditional date for the founding of Rome, based on a mythological account, is 21 April 753 BC, and the city and surrounding region of Latium have continued to be inhabited with little interruption since around that time.

The founding of Rome goes back to the very early days of civilization. It is so old, it is today known as ‘the eternal city. The Romans believed that their city was founded in the year 753 BC. Modern historians though believe it was the year 625 BC.

Early Rome was governed by kings, but after only seven of them had ruled, the Romans took power over their own city and ruled themselves. They then instead had a council known as the ‘senate’ which ruled over them. From this point on one speaks of the ‘Roman Republic’. The word ‘Republic’ itself comes from the Latin (the language of the Romans) words ‘res publica’ which mean ‘public matters’ or ‘matters of state’.

The senate under the kings had only been there to advise the king. Now the senate appointed a consul, who ruled Rome like a king but only for one year. – This was a wise idea, as, like that, the consul ruled carefully and not as a tyrant, for he knew that otherwise he could be punished by the next consul, once his year was up.
Rome knew four classes of people. This division was very important to the Romans.

The lowest class were the slaves. They were owned by other people. They had no rights at all. The next class were the plebeians. They were free people. But they had little said at all. The second highest class were the equestrians (sometimes they are called the ‘knights’). Their name means the ‘riders’, as they were given a horse to ride if they were called to fight for Rome. To be an equestrian you had to be rich.

The highest class were the nobles of Rome. They were called ‘patricians’. All the real power in Rome lay with them.

The Roman Republic was a very successful government. It lasted from 510 BC until 23 BC – almost 500 years. In comparison, the United States of America only exist since 1776 – less than 250 years.

The greatest challenge the Roman Republic faced was that of the Carthaginians. Carthage was a very powerful city in North Africa which, much like Rome, controlled its own empire. The fight between the two sides was a long one and took place on land and on sea.

The most famous incident came when the great Carthaginian general Hannibal crossed the mountain chain of the Alps to the north of Italy with all his troops, including his war-elephants and invaded Italy.

Though Rome in the end won and Carthage was completely destroyed in the year 146 BC.

Rome’s most famous citizen was no doubt, Julius Caesar. He was a Roman politician and general who, without having any orders to do so, conquered the vast territory of the Gauls to the north of his province in France.

In the year 49 BC Caesar crossed the small river between his province and Italy, called the river Rubicon, and conquered Rome itself which he then ruled as a dictator.
His military campaigns also took him to Egypt where he met the famous Cleopatra.

His life though was ended as he was infamously murdered in the senate in Rome.

So famous and respected was Caesar that a month of the year is still named after him and his heirs today, July (after Julius Caesar). Also the great English poet Shakespeare wrote a famous play called Julius Caesar about his famous murder.

The Roman empire in the end was overrun by millions of barbarians from the north and east of Europe. It is believed to have happened two or three times in history that huge migrations took place across Europe, where peoples moved to settle in new territories. The great migration proved too much for the Romans to stem. Their armies were designed to defeat other armies, not entire folks and peoples flooding toward them. The collapse was completed when Rome itself was conquered by the Visigoth Odoacer and his men in the year AD 476

But what is generally referred to as ‘the Fall of Rome’ doesn’t include the eastern empire. This, with its centre in Constantinople, managed to cling on for almost another thousand years until it was eventually conquered by the Turks under their leader Mohammed II in the year AD 1453.

History of China

3. History of China

Chinese civilization originated in various regional centres along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world’s oldest civilizations. The written history of China can be found as early as the Shang Dynasty (c. 1700 – 1046 BC), although ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian (ca. 100 BC) and Bamboo Annals assert the existence of a Xia Dynasty before the Shang. Oracle bones with ancient Chinese writing from the Shang Dynasty have been radiocarbon dated to as early as 1500 BC. Much of Chinese culture, literature and philosophy further developed during the Zhou Dynasty (1045-256 BC).

The Zhou Dynasty began to bow to external and internal pressures in the 8th century BC, and the kingdom eventually broke apart into smaller states, beginning in the Spring and Autumn Period and reaching full expression in the Warring States period. This is one of the multiple periods of failed statehood in Chinese history (the most recent of which was the Chinese Civil War).

In between eras of multiple kingdoms and warlordism, Chinese dynasties (or, more recently, republics) have ruled all of China (minus Xinjiang and Tibet) (and, in some eras, including the present, they have controlled Xinjiang and/or Tibet as well). This practice began with the Qin Dynasty: in 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang united the various warring kingdoms and created the first Chinese empire. Successive dynasties in Chinese history developed bureaucratic systems that enabled the Emperor of China to directly control vast territories.

The conventional view of Chinese history is that of alternating periods of political unity and disunity, with China occasionally being dominated by Inner Asian peoples, most of whom were in turn assimilated into the Han Chinese population. Cultural and political influences from many parts of Asia, carried by successive waves of immigration, expansion, and cultural assimilation, are part of the modern culture of China.

History of Egypt

2. History of Egypt

The roots of Egyptian civilization go back more than 6,000 years to the beginning of settled life along the banks of the Nile River. The country has an unusual geographical and cultural unity that has given the people a strong sense of identity and pride in their heritage as descendants of humankind’s earliest civilized community.

Within the long sweep of Egyptian history, certain events or epochs have been crucial to the development of society and culture. One of these was the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt sometime in the third millennium B.C. The ancient Egyptians regarded this event as the most important in their history, comparable to the “First Time,” or the creation of the universe.

With the unification of the “Two Lands” by the legendary, if not mythical, King Menes, the glorious Pharaonic Age began. Power was centralized in the hands of a pharaoh, and, thus, the country became the first organized society.

The ancient Egyptians were the first people of antiquity to believe in life after death. They were the first to build in stone and to fashion the arch in stone and brick. Even before the unification of the Two Lands, they had developed a plough and a system of writing. They were accomplished, sailors and shipbuilders. They learned to chart the heavens in order to predict the Nile flood. Their physician’s prescribed healing remedies and performed surgical operations. They sculpted in stone and decorated the walls of their tombs with naturalistic murals in vibrant colours.

The legacy of ancient Egypt is written in stone across the face of the country from the pyramids to the rock tombs in the Valley of the Kings to the Old Kingdom temples of Luxor and Karnak to the Ptolemaic temples of Edfu and Dendera and to the Roman temple to Isis on Philae Island.

Old Kingdom

Within several generations of the Unification of the Red and White Lands, Egypt became a highly centralized state, united by a god-king and an imperial bureaucracy. The King was in essence a god on earth and the chief mediator between humanity and the higher gods of the heavens. This was much like the archaic nome chieftains and their tutelary demons but on a much grander scale. The Kings ordered the construction of pyramids, specialized burial chambers from whence it was believed their souls would ascend to the heavens and reside with the gods. At this point in history, eternal life was considered the province of the King only.

Beneath the king were his priests, the nobles of the court, the local notables in the nomes, the scribes and other staff of the bureaucracy. A small part-time army was retained, but Egypt’s vast deserts helped defend the country from outsiders. The remaining 80% of the population were serfs. They spent three months of the year farming the Nile. The rest of the year they were conscripted by the State for various building projects. The Biblical account of foreign slaves constructing pyramids is not supported by history or archaeology. Egypt traded with some of her neighbours and occasionally went to war.

Middle Kingdom

The chaos gradually subsided and a new line of Kings emerged around 1991 BCE. It-Towy became the political capital, and Thebes the chief religious city. The powers of the nobles were curtailed by the central court, and a new middle class of skilled labour and traders emerges to replace them. However, about this time the King came increasingly to share power with his deputy, called the vizier, who would later become a force in politics in his own right.

On the foreign front, Egypt re-initiated trading relations and military campaigns to regain the international status it had lost in the previous anarchy. It was during this time frame that Egypt made contact with Minos, the proto-Hellenic civilization. On the domestic front, the new kings reordered the construction of pyramids and other burial chambers, despite the fact that their economic burden had contributed to the social collapse of the previous era.

New Kingdom

The Theban princes established themselves as the new rulers of Egypt around 1570 BCE. The mood of Egypt had changed. A once generally peaceful people were altered by the Hyksos invasion. They grew increasingly warlike and Xenophobic and desired an overseas empire to defend themselves and increase their status. The Thebans used the military lessons fighting the Hyksos to establish Egypt’s first professional army and conquered parts of West Asia. The military became the second most important institution in the New Kingdom.

The most important institution was the clergy. The Thebans attributed their success to their chief god Amun. The Egyptians, already a deeply religious people, became all the more so after the Hyksos were repelled. Amun, the Theban god of Winds, was associated with Re, the Memphis solar god of the Old Kingdom. This new “Amen-Re” was regarded as an all-powerful creator and warrior deity, the patron of the New Kingdom. The Theban priests of Amen-Re became the powers behind the throne as they confirmed the right of the king to rule. The priesthood also came to exercise considerable influence over the New Kingdom’s burgeoning economy.

In an effort to wrest political and religious authority from the priesthood and return it to the Monarchy, a King by the name of Amenhotep revolted. Amenhotep denied the existence of Amen-Re, and indeed all other gods. According to him, the only god was Aten, the sun disk, and he was the high priest of this one true god. Amenhotep renamed himself Akhenaten (“servant of Aten”). He closed all the temples and constructed a new capital around his solar monotheism. Not only the priests but the people at large were scandalized. Once he died, the Theban priests again took control. The cults of the old gods were restored and it would be centuries before Monotheism was again inflicted upon the population.

Bolstered by a strong military and a feeling of religious patriotism, the Egyptians of the New Kingdom successfully repelled an invasion of the Sea Peoples. The Sea Peoples were a mysterious race of marauders who had managed to destabilize other parts of the Mediterranean. The New Kingdom finally abandoned the practice of Pyramid building. Instead, they buried kings in rock-cut tombs. It was in such a tomb where Tutankhamun was famously discovered.

Medieval History of Egypt

The Arab conquest of Egypt of 641 by the military commander Amr ibn al Aas was perhaps the next most important event in the history of Egypt because it resulted in the Islamization and Arabization of the country, which endures to this day. Even those who clung to the Coptic religion, a substantial minority of the population in 1990, were Arabized; that is, they adopted the Arabic language and were assimilated into Arab culture.

Although the country was formally under Arab rule, beginning in the ninth century hereditary autonomous dynasties arose that allowed local rulers to maintain a great deal of control over the country’s destiny. During this period Cairo was established as the capital of the country and became a centre of religion, learning, art, and architecture.

In 1260, the ruler, Qutuz, and his forces stopped the Mongol advance across the Arab world at the battle of Ayn Jalut in Palestine. Because of this victory, Islamic civilization could continue to flourish when Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid caliphate, fell to the Mongols. Qutuz’s successor, Baybars I, inaugurated the reign of the Mamluks, a dynasty of slave-soldiers of Turkish and Caucasian origin that lasted for almost three centuries.

In 1517 the country was conquered by Sultan Selim I and absorbed into the Ottoman Empire.

Since the Turks were Muslims, however, and the sultans regarded themselves as the preservers of Sunni Islam, this period saw institutional continuity, particularly in religion, education, and the religious law courts.

In addition, after only a century of Ottoman rule, the Mamluk system reasserted itself, and Ottoman governors became at times virtual prisoners in the Cairo Citadel, the ancient seat of the country’s rulers.

Modern History of Egypt

The modern history of Egypt is marked by Egyptian attempts to achieve political independence, first from the Ottoman Empire and then from the British.

In the first half of the nineteenth century, Muhammad Ali, an Albanian and the Ottoman viceroy, attempted to create an Egyptian empire that extended to Syria and to remove the country from Turkish control. Ultimately, he was unsuccessful, and true independence from foreign powers would not be achieved until midway through the next century.
Foreign, including British, investment in Egypt and Britain’s need to maintain control over the Suez Canal resulted in the British occupation in 1882. Although the country was granted nominal independence in 1922, Britain remained the real power.

Genuine political independence was finally achieved between the 1952 Revolution and the 1956 War. In 1952 the Free Officers, led by Lieutenant Colonel Gamal Abdul Nasser, took control of the government and removed King Faruk from power. In 1956 Nasser, as Egyptian president, announced the nationalization of the Suez Canal, an action that resulted in the tripartite invasion by Britain, France, and Israel.

Ultimately, however, Egypt prevailed, and the last British troops were withdrawn from the country by the end of the year.

History of Greece

1. History of Greece

The history of Greece encompasses the history of the territory of the modern state of Greece, as well as that of the Greek people and the areas they ruled historically. The scope of Greek habitation and rule has varied much through the ages, and, as a result, the history of Greece is similarly elastic in what it includes. Each era has its own related sphere of interest.

The first (proto-) Greek-speaking tribes, known later as Mycenaeans, are generally thought to have arrived in the Greek mainland between the late 3rd and the first half of the 2nd millennium BC–probably between 1900 and 1600 BC When the Mycenaeans invaded there were various non-Greek-speaking, indigenous pre-Greek people, practising agriculture, as they had done since the 7th millennium BC.

At its geographical peak, Greek civilization spread from Greece to Egypt and to the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan. Since then, Greek minorities have remained in former Greek territories (e.g., Turkey, Albania, Italy, and Libya, Levant, Armenia, Georgia etc.), and Greek emigrants have assimilated into differing societies across the globe (e.g., North America, Australia, Northern Europe, South Africa, etc.) Nowadays most Greeks live in the modern state of Greece (independent since 1821) and Cyprus.

Ancient Greece

There are no fixed or universally agreed dates for the beginning or the end of the Ancient/Classical Greek period. In common usage, it refers to all Greek history before the Roman Empire, but historians use the term more precisely. Some writers include the periods of the Minoan and Mycenaean civilizations, while others argue that these civilizations were so different from later Greek cultures that they should be classed separately. Traditionally, the Ancient Greek period was taken to begin with the date of the first Olympic Games in 776 BC, but most historians now extend the term back to about 1000 BC.

The traditional date for the end of the Ancient Greek period is the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC. The period that follows is classed as Hellenistic. Not everyone treats the Ancient and Hellenic periods as distinct, however, and some writers treat the Ancient Greek civilization as a continuum running until the advent of Christianity in the 3rd century AD.

Ancient Greece is considered by most historians to be the foundational culture of Western Civilization. Greek culture was a powerful influence in the Roman Empire, which carried a version of it to many parts of Europe. Ancient Greek civilization has been immensely influential on the language, politics, educational systems, philosophy, art and architecture of the modern world, particularly during the Renaissance in Western Europe and again during various neo-Classical revivals in 18th and 19th century Europe and the Americas.

Archaic Greece

In the 8th century BC, Greece began to emerge from the Dark Ages which followed the fall of the Mycenaean civilization. Literacy had been lost and Mycenaean script was forgotten, but the Greeks adopted the Phoenician alphabet, modifying it to create the Greek alphabet. From about the 9th century BC, written records begin to appear. Greece was divided into many small self-governing communities, a pattern largely dictated by Greek geography, where every island, valley and plain is cut off from its neighbours by the sea or mountain ranges.

The Archaic period can be understood as the Orientalizing period when Greece was at the fringe, but not under the sway, of the budding Neo-Assyrian Empire. Greece adopted significant amounts of cultural elements from the Orient, in art as well as in religion and mythology. Archaeologically, Archaic Greece is marked by Geometric pottery.

Classical Greece

Classical Greece was a 200 year period in Greek culture lasting from the 5th through 4th centuries BC. This classical period had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and greatly influenced the foundation of Western civilizations. Much of modern Western politics, artistic thought, such as architecture, scientific thought, literature, and philosophy derives from this ancient society. In the context of the art, architecture, and culture of ancient Greece, the Classical period corresponds to most of the 5th and 4th centuries BC (the most common dates being the fall of the last Athenian tyrant in 510 BC to the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC). The Classical period in this sense follows the Archaic period and is in turn succeeded by the Hellenistic period.

The city of Athens during the classical period of Ancient Greece (508-322 BC) was a notable polis (city-state) of Attica, Greece, leading the Delian League in the Peloponnesian War against Sparta and the Peloponnesian League. Athenian democracy was established in 508 BC under Cleisthenes following the tyranny of Hippias. This system remained remarkably stable, and with a few brief interruptions remained in place for 180 years, until 322 BC (aftermath of Lamian War) . The peak of Athenian hegemony was achieved in the 440s to 430s BC, known as the Age of Pericles.

In the classical period, Athens was a centre for the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato’s Akademia and Aristotle’s Lyceum, Athens was also the birthplace of Socrates, Pericles, Sophocles, and many other prominent philosophers, writers and politicians of the ancient world. It is widely referred to as the cradle of Western Civilization, and the birthplace of democracy, largely due to the impact of its cultural and political achievements during the 5th and 4th centuries BC on the rest of the then known European continent

Hellenistic Greece

The Hellenistic period of Greek history begins with the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC and ends with the annexation of the Greek peninsula and islands by Rome in 146 BC. Although the establishment of Roman rule did not break the continuity of Hellenistic society and culture, which remained essentially unchanged until the advent of Christianity, it did mark the end of Greek political independence. During the Hellenistic period, the importance of “Greece proper” (that is, the territory of modern Greece) within the Greek-speaking world declined sharply.

The great centres of Hellenistic culture were Alexandria and Antioch, capitals of Ptolemaic Egypt and Seleucid Syria respectively. Cities such as Pergamon, Ephesus, Rhodes and Seleucia were also important, and increasing urbanization of the Eastern Mediterranean was characteristic of the time.

During this time, Greek cultural influence and power were at their zenith in Europe and Asia. It is often considered a period of transition, sometimes even of decline or decadence, between the brilliance of the Greek Classical Era and the emergence of the Roman Empire. Usually taken to begin with the death of Alexander in 323 BC, the Hellenistic period may either be seen to end with the final conquest of the Greek heartlands by Rome in 146 BC; or the final defeat of the last remaining successor-state to Alexander’s empire, the Ptolemaic kingdom of Egypt in 31/30 BC, after the Battle of Actium. The Hellenistic period was characterized by a new wave of colonists which established Greek cities and kingdoms in Asia and Africa.

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