Topic 1 - Major eras in world history

  • Stone Age - (2.5 million–3000 B.C.) divided into the Old Stone Age, or Paleolithic Age (2.5 million to 8000 B.C), and  the New Stone Age, or Neolithic Age (8000 B.C. - 3000 B.C.)

  • Neolithic Revolution -  Also the Agricultural Revolution, the transition of many human cultures towards the end of Neolithic period from hunting and gathering to agriculture and settlement.

  • Chalcolithic (5000 – 3000 B.C.) – Use of Copper. The transition from Neolithic to the Bronze age.

  • Bronze Age -(3000–1200 B.C.) - Sumerian metalworkers found the method to produce Bronze

  • Iron Age (1500–1000 B.C. to the present day)

  • Ancient Greece (2000 B.C.–300 B.C.) - The Greek city-states established the first democratic governments.

  • Ancient Roman Empire (500 B.C.–A.D. 500) - the Roman Empire united much of Europe, the north coast of Africa, and a large part of the Middle East. The Romans spread Christianity throughout Europe. Western civilization has its roots in Greco-Roman culture

  • Achaemenid Empire- 550 –331 BC – Led by King Cyrus II (Cyrus the Great) they dominated the region and established the ancient Persian Civilization

  • The Chinese Civilization  - 1600 –1046 BC - Shang Dynasty (Yin Dynasty) ruled around the Yellow River and Yangtze region. Major events include the invention of paper and silk.

  • The Maya Civilization 2600 BC–900 AD -  Established around the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico to southern reaches of  Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, and Honduras. Understood astronomy

  • Ancient Egyptian Civilization  3150 –30 BC -  Established around Nile river. Known for pyramids.

  • Indus Valley Civilization 3300–1900 BC – One of the widespread civilizations. Also one of the earliest urban civilization

  • Mesopotamian Civilization - 3500 BC–500 BC – Around Northeast by the Zagros mountains. Sumer is the earliest known civilization in the historical region of southern Mesopotamia.

  • Middle Ages  - (500–1200 AD) - A new political and military system called feudalism became established. Nobles were granted the use of lands that belonged to their king in exchange for their loyalty, military service, and protection of the peasants who worked the land.

  • Renaissance and Reformation (1300–1600 AD) - The Renaissance was a period of rebirth of learning and the arts based on a revival of classical study. The Reformation was a movement for religious reform that led to the founding of Protestant churches.

  • Exploration and Colonization (1400–1800 AD) – Voyages were financed for riches and spreading Christianity. Seeking spices explorers made long sea journeys to the East. Colonies and trading networks led to worldwide cultural exchange, the devastation of Native cultures, and the enslavement of Africans.

  • Revolution and Independence (1700–1900 AD)- Fights for democracy and nationalism, Revolutionary Wars, Mostly in the western region, nations fought colonial rule and gained their independence.

  • Industrial Revolution - 1700–1900 - Power-driven machines led to the growth of industry, factories established, markets developed with raw materials imported and manufactured goods exported, migration to cities

  • First Industrial Revolution   (1760 - 1840)- transition from hand production to machines(steam and water)

  • Second Industrial Revolution -  (1871 - 1914) -  extensive railroad, telegraph networks, use of electricity

  • Warring World - 1900–1945 – Rivalries among powers led to military alliances and were marked by warfare on a larger scale than ever before.

  • Cold War 1946–1991 – Conflicting systems capitalism and communism competed for control and power lead by US and USSR.

  • Third Industrial Revolution (1950 – 2010) –the Digital Revolution led to more advanced digital developments.

  • Fourth Industrial Revolution (2010 -) -  automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial practices, smart technology, machine-to-machine communication (M2M), and the internet of things.

Topic 2 - Cold War : Understanding the conflict

What is it?

It was the geopolitical conflict/competition between the USA (and its allies) and the USSR (and its allies) just after World War II.



The major point of the conflict was the ideological difference between the USA bloc (Western/ Democratic) and the USSR bloc (Eastern/Communism).

Why is it called ”cold”?

As there were no major wars directly between the two superpowers. But they supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars and indirect conflicts like nuclear stockpiling, space race, sports dominance, psychological warfare, propaganda campaigns, espionage, embargos etc.

How did it start?

The Truman Doctrine (1948) was an American foreign policy with the primary goal of containing Soviet geopolitical expansion during the Cold War.

How did it end?

The disintegration and dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Mikhail Gorbachev introduced the liberalizing reforms of glasnost ("openness", 1985) and perestroika ("reorganization", 1987). Lithuania became the first member of the Soviet Union to proclaim independence.


What is the Iron Curtain?

It was a political boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas supporting the two blocs during the era.

Major events during the period


  • 1948 Marshall Plan (The European Recovery   Program as foreign aid to Western   Europe by the USA to recover from WW-2)

  • 1949 - Formation of NATO (a military alliance of the USA & its allies)

  • 1948–49 - Berlin Blockade (the Soviet Union   blocked the Western Allies railway, road,   and canal access to the sectors of Berlin   under Western control. Western bloc   responded with airlifting everything.)

  • 1949 – End of Chinese Civil War (Defeat of US-backed Nationalist govt)

  • 1950–1953 - Korean War (Split of Korea into   North – USSR backed  & South – the USA   backed and armistice agreement)

  • 1955 – Warsaw Pact (a military alliance of USSR & its allies)

  • 1956 - Hungarian Revolution (Soviet forces   suppressed revolution against the regime)

  • 1956 - Suez Crisis (Invasion of Egypt by Israel,   France, and Britain after the nationalization of the canal by Egypt. International pressure led to the withdrawal of forces. Egypt wanted to be a neutral force. Widely   accepted as the end of Britain as a   superpower.)

  • 1956 -1961 – Sino – Soviet split (difference in   communism philosophy)

  • 1957 – Soviets launched the first ICBM (Intercontinental ballistic missile) and start of the space race with the launch of the first satellite  Sputnik

  • 1959 – Cuban Revolution (Fidel Castro came to   power and after conflict with the US, he   embraced communism.)

  • 1961 - Berlin Crisis (Soviet demand for   withdrawal of all armed forces from   Berlin. This led to the partition of Germany   and erection of the Berlin Wall.)

  • 1961 - Non-Aligned Movement (forum of   developing nations that are not formally   aligned with or against any major power   bloc. It was initiated by India, Yugoslavia,   Ghana, Egypt & Indonesia.)

  • 1962 - Cuban Missile Crisis ( In Oct-Nov 1962,   in response to the deployment of American missiles in Italy and Turkey, Soviets deployed missiles in Cuba. The US took a   non-confrontational approach to de-escalate the situation.

  • 1968 - Prague Spring (Soviet along with   members of the Warsaw pact crushed a   revolution in Czechoslovakia. Led to   separation into the Czech Socialist Republic   and the Slovak Socialist Republic.)

  • 1970s - Major peace phase (détente)

  • 1955-75 – Vietnam War (fought between   communist North Vietnam and anti-communist backed Southern Vietnam led   to the formation of the communist regime.)

  • 1979-85 – Soviet-Afghan War (conflict between   Afghan mujahideen {backed primarily by the United States, Pakistan,   Iran} against the Soviet Army and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan government. With the withdrawal of   Soviet forces in 1985, the disintegration of the Soviet Union started.