Friday, December 31, 2010

#7 Social Studies- America is Discovered

In 1492, while Spain was under the rule of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, the Italian navigator Christopher Columbus received permission and support to find a faster trade route to China and East Indies. He believed that by sailing directly west, instead of south around the Cape of Good Hope as other explorers had done, he would discover a more direct route. It is because of this historic journey, during which he landed in an unknown hemisphere, that we celebrate the discovery of America.

The Reformation Divides Christianity

The Catholic Church suffered a great upheaval in 1517, when a German monk named Martin Luther made a list of complaints against the church. These 95 complaints sparked another split in Christianity. The new group was called Protestants; their split from the Catholic Church started a reformation period throughout Europe. The Reformation gave local noblemen the chance to stop the payment of taxes to Rome and seize local Roman Catholic land for themselves.

  The royal family of England also had quarrels with Roman Catholic Church. King Henry VIII wanted to annual his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, since after 18 years of marriage she had not produced a son to be the next heir to the English throne. The Pope refused to give the king an annulment of his marriage so he would be free to marry Anne Boleyn. In 1529, Henry VIII took control of the church in England, and by 1534 the Act of Supremacy had given the king power over the English church. 

  After Henry VIII's death, his first daughter, Mary Tudor, inherited the throne. She was raised as a Catholic and attempted to return England to Catholicism. Because of her persecutions of those who did not follow her lead back to the Roman church, she was given the nickname Bloody Mary. When Mary died, her Protestant half-sister, Elizabeth I, became queen.

  In the 1500s, Philip II of Spain attempted to centralized power over all Europe. The Netherlands in northern Europe had long been establishing itself as a center of trade and banking. Philip II sent many troops to reassert Catholic theology over the Dutch who, with the help of Calvinist preachers, were becoming increasingly Protestant. The Dutch revolt won their independence in 1581 with some support from the English, who did not want to see Catholic rule spread to their own shores. The Spanish sent a fleet of ships called an armada to England, only to have them sink in a terrible storm as they approached the English Channel.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

#6 Social Studies- The Hundred Years' War

In addition to the plague, a war of great duration also weakened the European economy during this time. In 1337, England held some of northern France as the result of a royal marriage. Conflict grew because of economic rivalries between the two countries. Finally, when King Edward III of England tried to claim the French throne, the Hundred Years' War broke out.

  After English victories, the winning commanders allowed their soldiers to pillage the French countryside. Further financial pressure was put on the French people by their king in order to pay debts. The peasants revolted under the stress of war, famine, and taxes. A peasant girl named Joan of Arc inspired them to fight with her against the English and to show loyalty for France. Her faith and patriotism helped lead the French troops to successfully beat back the enemy. Joan was eventually captured by the English and burned at the stake for heresy because she claimed she was instructed by heavenly voices.

The Renaissance 

Periods in the world history shift between times of great warfare and times of intellectual development. In the late Middle Ages, about A.D. 1400, Western Europe was becoming more stable, both politically and economically. Many wealthy Europeans were in positions of power. These wealthy nobles and merchants were able fund cultural pursuits such as music, art, and literature. This period of time is known as the Renaissance, from a French word meaning "rebirth." Not since the fall of the Roman Empire had there been such a revitalized interest in and support of arts, crafts, and architecture. The depression of the past several hundred years had ended. This was a time when wealthy patrons supported great French and Italian artists. Michelangelo created the sculpture of David; and other artists, such as Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael Sanzio completed their timeless masterpieces during the golden years of the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Great poets, writers, and inventors also flourished at this time.

  One invention that greatly advanced culture in Europe and eventually the world was the printing press. In the 1440s a German engraver, Johannes Gutenberg, created the first printing press that used movable pieces of type. Because the teachings of the Bible were a major influence upon most of Europe., it was only fitting that Gutenberg's first published book was the Bible. His invention started a revolution in printing, which made books available to all classes of people.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

#5 Social Studies- The Middle and Feudal Systems

With the fall of the Roman Empire in A.D. 476 western Europe was thrown into chaos. Tribal chiefs and kings of small regions took control for local protection. Most of the population, except for royalty and clergy, was illiterate. It was a time when art and literature and architecture no longer flourished. This period was called the Dark Ages.

  During the Dark Ages in Europe, a social order known as the feudal system was instituted. This was a well-defined system of classes or levels within society. It was based on the belief that if everyone had a place in society, there would be less conflict. The feudal system had top-ranking nobles: the king, the lords, the lesser lords, and the knights. The peasants and the townspeople made up 90 percent of the population. The lord was responsible to the king and managed the estate that the peasants worked in return for protection from invading enemies. To keep them from taking advantage of unarmed peasants, knights followed a code of honor called chivalry, which combined bravery and Christian values.

  In the early 13th century, battles for land were being fought in England. Invasion by the Vikings and ongoing conflicts with the Romans Church kept England constantly fighting. The split that finally divided the church in England started with Henry II, when he and Thomas Becket, the Archbishop of Canterbury, argued over the supreme authority of the king and the church. Henry's son, John, made an attempt to settle the conflict after his father's death. This required the barons of England to pay heavy taxes to the church. When tha barons complained, the Magna Carta was written in 1215 to protect their rights. This document served to establish rights of even those who were not nobles. It limited the powers of the monarchy, forcing even the king to obey the laws.

  The economic structure of the feudal system was very weak. Poor harvests led to famines. A weakened population was not able to fight off infectious disease, which had spread  throughout the trade routes. During the 14th century, a terrifying plague hit Europe. Infected fleas carried by rats through the towns transmitted the bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death. The villages and early cities had inadequate sewage systems, which contributed greatly to spread of the plague. This plague is said to have killed one-third of all Europeans; no class, from peasants to royalty, escaped. Towns and farms were completely abandoned. Without farming, trading, and craft working, the economy collapsed even further. Western Europe took more than 100 years to recover.  

Sunday, December 26, 2010

#4 Social Studies- Civilizations Develop Religions

At the time of the expansion of the Roman Empire in the first century B.C., the belief systems of the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans still centered on a group of gods. The tribes in what is now Israel practiced Judaism and believed in one God. With the birth of Jesus Christ in the Palestine town of Bethlehem, the religious practices and beliefs of the Western world would soon be affected by a new religion called Christianity. This new religion was founded on the belief that Jesus was a Messiah that Jewish law had prophesied.

  After Jesus' death, Christian ideas and beliefs were spread by a small group of men called disciples. Eventually, because Rome was the center of western civilization at that time, it became the center of the Church.The leader of the new church was given the title Pope. The regional leaders, called bishops, expanded Christianity throughout Europe in a variety of methods, including religious war.

  Beginning in A.D. 1095, Europe kings organized the Crusades to fight the enemies of the Roman Catholic Church. Christian knights and soldiers battled for ownership of the Holy Land (in current day Israel and Palestine) against the Muslims. The Muslim Arabs followed the religion of Islam, founded by the prophet Mohammed in A.D. 612. They held Palestine until Islamic Turks took it and began preventing Christians from making safe pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to reconnect the two branches of Christianity (Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox) that had been separated since the fall of Rome.

  Religions developed in the Far East as well. Hinduism is a long-established religion practiced by millions. This religion is based on a belief that all people are born into a particular caste, or class, and must do what is expected within that caste. Like Hinduism, Buddhism is practiced by millions. It began in the sixth century B.C. in India, and teaches that one's soul will attain Nirvana, a divine state free of earthly ills, through self-denial and correct living.

  The Chinese philosopher Confucius was a contemporary of Buddha. Confucius teachings stressed social harmony and challenged everyone to live under high moral codes of conduct. Unlike Hinduism and Buddhism, however, Confucius is not a religion but a philosophy, whose goal is harmony on earth.

Chinese Dynasties

  Even before the Roman Empire, Chinese dynasties had been flourishing in Asia for centuries. Confucius lived during the Chou dynasty, a time of warfare among land-owning feudal lords. The first emperor of China founded the Ch'in Dynasty (221 B.C.-206 B.C.).
Historian have traced the origin of the name China back to this word. Ch'in centralized the monarchy, organized the country into regions called provinces and appointed officials to carry out imperial rule. One of the longest lasting contributions of this dynasty was the construction of the Great Wall to serve as a protective border against invaders. 

  The next dynasty in China was the Han Dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220). The Han ruler was responsible for successfully driving back the nomadic warriors that threatened to take over the north and west sides of China. He also reestablished the importance of education and Confucian thought .

Chinese Dynasties- EXERCISE 4

Directions: Read the following questions and select the best answer.

 Based on the information regarding the Chinese dynasties, label the statements as fact (F) or opinion (O).

_____ The Great Wall of China is still a good defense system.
_____ The Han Dynasty was the most successful dynasty.
_____ Confucius lived during the Chou Dynasty.
_____ The name China originated from the Ch'in dynasty.

Answer: opinion, opinion, fact, fact.

#3 Social Studies- Civilization Begin to Interact

The Middle East and the coastal regions of the Mediterranean Sea, as well as the Nile Delta, were the locations for the beginnings of many early civilizations, including Babylonian, Sumerian, Phoenician, Persian, and Greek. This close proximity allowed for trade and also created competition for land and resources. This competition led to many conflicts and wars between rival groups. The interaction among various cultures created changes in and exchanges of traditions and technology. Some civilizations developed vast empires, which expanded their land holdings at the cost of extinguishing smaller culture groups.

  The classical civilizations that had the largest impact on the world's cultural development are Greek and Roman empires. Greek civilization continued the Egyptian priorities of art, literature, music, theater, architecture, and the sciences. The first major citizen participation in government occurred in ancient Athens, a powerful Greek city-state. All male citizens participated in the assembly, which determined laws and policies. 

  During the golden age of ancient Greece (500 B.C. to 300 B.C.), many great philosophers and educators such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle shared their wisdom with the world. For the first time, the improvement of the mind and body was viewed as an important priority for society. The challenge of improved physical fitness was the reason the Olympic Games were begun in ancient Greece. The Olympics as we know them today were revived more than a hundred years ago, in 1896, in Athens, Greece.

  Eventually, the Romans conquered the Greeks, copying their architecture, art forms, poetry, and even some of their mythological gods. Both the Greeks and the Romans had maintained early people's practice of using myth to explain natural phenomenon like seasonal changes, flooding  and severe weather, and success in agriculture. To make the myths easier to understand and appreciate , the Greeks and Romans both had gods with human attributes. Greek and Roman mythology has continued to exist even after our understanding of the universe has outgrown the need for story-like explanations.

  While the Greeks believed in the fitness of the mind and body, the Romans were more interested in military strength and acquiring land for the empire. Thus, athletic competition and training for combat as a form of entertainment developed in Rome. The Roman government differed from the Athenian model as well. One, two, or sometimes three consults were chosen by the Roman senate, a group of the wealthiest landholders, or patricians. The vast majority of the citizens were plebeians-the small farmers, tradesman, artisans, and merchants.

  Wealth and connections among family members thus determined position in the social classes within Roman culture. This status determined if a member of the society was considered worthy of having a vote. This system of government was called a republic. The lower class of slaves and the common class of farmers and tradesmen were limited in their rights of marriage partners and land ownership.

  One lasting contribution of the Romans was the calendar introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. The old calendar had become out of step with the seasons, so Caesar made the months of unequal days and added leap years to make the reckoning more equal to an actual year. This Julian calendar, with some modifications, is still in use today. 


Civilizations Begin to Interact- EXERCISE 3

Directions: Read the following question and choose the best answer.

1. Which of the following is a feature only of the Roman civilization and not the Greek civilization?

 a. athletic competition and training 
 b. military strength to fight off invaders
 c. interest in art and music as entertainment 
 d. citizen participation in government 
 e. creation of an accurate calendar

2. Which of the following activities would not be an example of the Greek philosophy of improvement of mind and body?

 a. going to an educational movie
 b. taking a yoga stretching class
 c. playing a computer strategy game
 d. watching a football game
 e. enrolling in a math class

answers: 1 is b. 2 is d.

#2 Social Studies- Early Civilization

Evidence of much of humanity's early technological advancement has been found in ancient Egyptian civilization. Beginning about 5000 B.C., the Nile River Valley in northeast Africa provided the agricultural conditions for many permanent settlements to develop. The abundance of good harvest allowed for thriving communities that continued to expand. With the support and influence of the rulers and religious leaders, cultural advancement took place in art, music, entertainment, technology, and science.

  The ancient Egyptian are considered one of the most advanced of the early civilizations. Evidence of their contributions to the world can be seen in the magnificent statues of their gods, in pottery and jewelry, in the ruins of their colossal pyramids and tombs, within their written language known as hieroglyphics, and in their perfection of the mummification process.

  Egyptian religion promoted the existence of an afterlife. Rulers, wealthy citizens, and religious leaders believed in preservation of the body after death by means of embalming with chemicals to prevent decomposition. The dead were then wrapped and placed into coffins that had been decorated to resemble their appearance. These rituals assisted the deceased in maintaining their status while crossing into the world of the dead.

  Ordinary citizens and slaves did not have such a burial. In fact, servants were often sealed into the grave with there dead masters so that they could serve them when they reached the other side. The rulers of Egypt, the pharaohs, were thought to be gods among men. This status entitled them to have pyramids or tombs erected for their eventual placement after death. Their earthly treasures of jewelry, statues, weapons, and furniture were buried with them to insure their wealth in the hereafter. Although many of these precious artifacts were stolen or destroyed over the centuries, researchers have been able to learn valuable information about this early civilization through the treasure that remained.

  We learned much about the early Egyptian culture after we were able to translate the symbols and pictures found on the walls of the tombs. This symbolic picture writing, called hieroglyphics, presented accounts of the tomb's occupant and the society he or she lived in. In the early 1800s a French scholar, Jean Champollion, deciphered a slab of black stone. Now know as the Rosetta Stone, it has two hieroglyphic scripts and one ancient Greek script written on it. By 1822 Champollion was able translate from the Greek back through the two sets of hieroglyphic scripts. Since that discovery, archeologists and scholars have been able to translate the written language of ancient Egypt.


Early Civilization- EXERCISE 2
  Direction: Read the following questions and select the best answer.

 1. Which of the following statements is true based on the information about the early Egyptians?

 (a) The Egyptians had an advanced language with a lettered alphabet.
 (b) The Egyptians did not understand written language.
 (c) The Egyptians recorded their history with a symbolic language.
 (d) The Egyptians did not record their early history.
 (e) The Egyptians had only a few people who could write.

 2. Which of the following description of the Egyptian culture is not true?

 (a) The Egyptians were a strong civilization that conquered many other tribes.
 (b) Art and music were very important in the Egyptian culture.
 (c) Wealthy Egyptians were preserved after their deaths.
 (d) The Egyptians were successful farmers because of the fertile Nile Valley.
 (e) Treasures and servants were often buried with the Egyptian dead.

Answers: 1 is (c). 2 is (1)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

#1 Social Studies- World History

To study world history is to read about the origins of the human race and its cultural development from primitive times to ancient civilizations to the present. The world's social, religious, industrial, agricultural, political, and economic traditions can be traced to early humanity.

Early Humanity

The study of the earliest humans is considered prehistory because there is no written account of their lifestyles. From archeologists' discoveries of primitive dwellings, cave drawings, skeletal remains, and artifacts, we know where the earliest human communities existed. Anthropologists have examined these artifacts--items such as tools, weapons, and pottery--and have intensely researched bone fragments and fossil remains to uncover evidence about different periods of human development.

  The earliest stage of cultural development has been classified as the Stone Age because of the evidence that early humans used stone tools. Stones were shaped to use as knives and spear points for hunting and defense and as tools, such as hammers, axes, and scrapers. Later, people made stone and bone tools like needles, harpoons, fishhooks, and arrowheads. These early people were nomadic-they had no permanent shelters and followed herds of animals that they hunted for survival.
  Over time many groups of early humans ceased their nomadic lifestyle to become hunters and gatherers in areas of abundant game, fresh water, and fertile soil. Scientific study of these sites has shown that these early farmers were able to determine which crops would grow best for their soil and climate. With such developing knowledge of agriculture, these people learned to work the land and the domesticate animals. Many of these early groups built more permanent shelters.Gradually communities developed, and societal organization became necessary for survival.

  Within these newly formed communities, some individuals practiced special skills or trades. Commerce developed through bartering goods (e.g., food, cloth, or pottery) or service (e.g., medicinal, labor).As the basic communities grew, a need for rules and organization also grew; so the early forms of government were created. A unifying factor in these early settlements was fear and lack of knowledge about the surrounding world.The ways early humans explained these natural phenomena led to the early forms of religion and the development of traditions and beliefs.

         GED PRACTICE 
  Early Humanity- EXERCISE 1

   Directions: Select the best answer to each question based on what you learned from the passage. 

  1. Which of the following would be considered a fossil?
     (a) a clay pot used for cooking 
     (b) a club used for defense
     (c) the ancient remains of a bird
     (d) the spear of a hunter
     (e) a basket made for gathering food

  2. Identify the skill or trade that did not have its beginnings with early humans. 

     (a) banker 
     (b) tailor
     (c) farmer
     (d) doctor
     (e) carpenter

Answer: 1 is (c). 2 is (a)