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- Unit I Reading Guide 600-1450

AP World History

U1/ 600-1450 Reading Guide



Unit One:  Islam, Africa, Kievan Russia, Western Europe.  Chapters 8-10, Bulliet Chapter 9


WEEKS ONE AND TWO: World Trade Networks,  Bulliet Chapter 9 Rise of Islam;  Stearns, Chapter 8 Africa and the Spread of Islam




  • Bulliet                                                 

      -Sasanid Empire (224-28)

      -Rise of Islam (229-243) (333-338)

      -Islamic Civilization (240-247)


  • Stearns Chapter 8

      -African Societies:  Diversity and Similarities (172-177)

      - Kingdoms of the grasslands (177-184)

            -People of the Forest and Plains (185-191)


Enrichment:  Islam:  Empire of Faith Part 2 (53 minutes)




·       1 page of notes on the video, due at the end of the unit.  To be completed at the students leisure. 


Study Questions Chapter 8:


1. What valuable raw material did the West African kingdom of Mali possess?


2. Although Islam and Christianity spread into northern and eastern Africa, much of central and southern Africa was mostly unaffected. Why do you think that is?


3. Why did Africa never unify under one political system/state?


4. Describe authority and power in a stateless society, including where it was located and how extensive it was.


5. What were some of the disadvantages of stateless societies


6. What language dominated Africa and how did this benefit many Africans?


7. Three similarities in religious beliefs across Africa were?


8. International trade was mainly with what areas of the world?


9. Why was Christianity weak and not a unifying force in North Africa at the time Islam moved into the area?


10. Who stopped the expansion of Islam into Western Europe?  Where?


11. Identify the appeal of Islam to both rulers and common people:


12. How was geography important to the spread of Christianity in Northeast Africa?


13. What two outside powers were drawn into a conflict between Muslim states and Christian Ethiopia? What do you think their motivation was for getting involved? What was the end result of this conflict?


14. List some of the characteristics the Sudanic states had in common:


15.  the relationship between rulers in the Sudanic states and Islam.


16. What was the importance of Timbuktu and Jenne to Islam?


17. What was the connection between strong militaries, trade, and intellectual endeavors in the Sudanic states?


18. What military force/technology was used by the Songhay and later Hausa peoples to expand their borders and protect trade routes?


19. Give an example of how the fusion of Muslim and pagan belief sometimes caused tension with devout Muslims in the region.


20. Sharia law is patrilineal. What accommodation had to be made by devout Muslims in some areas of the Sudan and why?


21. Why was the East African coastal region so cosmopolitan?


22. How did Islam contribute to trade between East Africa, India, and Indonesia?


23. Identify the extent to which Islam was adopted in East Africa and among what groups.


24. What important feature of most civilizations was lacking in most areas of Africa not exposed to either Christianity or Islam?


25. What was the original home of the Bantu speaking peoples?


26. Central African peoples replaced old political systems based on kinship groups with what system?


27. Early European explorers believed Phoenicians or Arabs built Great Zimbabwe. Why was this and who did build it?


28. How do we know that the Great Zimbabwe was trading with East African coastal cities?




Muhammad                                          Silk Road                                 Quran

Mecca                                                  Indian Ocean trade                    Hadith

Muslim                                                 Mediterranean trade                  Sundiata

Islam                                                    monsoon winds                          Ibn Batutta

Medina                                                 Bantu migrations                       Benin

WEEK THREE:  Chapter 9 and 10 Western Europe





  • The Spread of Civilization in E. Europe—Kievan Russia (203-208)
  • Stages of Postclassical Development (210-220)
  • Western Culture in the Postclassical Era (221-224)
  • Changing Economy (224-229)
  • The Decline of Medieval society (229-232)



Study Questions: Kievan Russia Chapter 9


What ethnic group of people settled this area of Eastern Europe? 


Briefly describe their political and cultural tradition.


What group of people migrated into this area?  How? Why?


Who set up a principality in Kiev?


What did Yaroslav do to build unity?


How were Russian aristocrats different than in Western Europe?


What internal problems did they have?


Externally what affected their economy?


What nomadic group struck the final blow? What did they call them?


How long did they control Russia?


Russians were left to their day to day activities as long as they did what?


What was the Byzantine Empire’s influence on the development of Russia?














Study Questions: Europe Chapter 10



What is the postclassical period in Western Europe referred to as?  What was its defining characteristic?


With whom did medieval Europe have contact?  What did medieval Europe gain as a result?


Where was the center of the postclassical West?  Why?


What caused the West to be so weak (politically and economically)?


What institution kept learning alive during this rough period?


Define manorialism.


Describe the life of a serf.  What type of rights did a serf have?


What improved agriculture production?


In what ways were the lines between church and state blurred?  What did the pope do


What purpose did the monasteries serve?


What positive strides did Charlemagne make toward civilization?


What area claimed the title of “Holy Roman Emperor”?  What was its true nature?


What economic gains did contact with the East bring?


What innovation gave landlords military dominance?


What happened to the Vikings in the 10th century?


What was evidence of the new economic vitality of Europe?


How did their economic vitality and urban centers compare to China?


Define and explain feudalism.


How was the governmental bureaucracy paid?


What other method did kings use to bring more land under their control?


Who extended the system of feudalism into England?


Who used this system earlier?


How did the Magna Carta show the continued power of the aristocrats?


Who held the power in the newly developed parliaments?


What was the key issue parliaments ruled on?


What determined a person’s rights?


What was the “reconquest”?  About how long did it take?

Who called for the First Crusade? When? How were people persuaded to join?


How did the West benefit from the Crusades though their initial goal was a failure?


What secular problem did the Church struggle with?


What was one way they sought to reform it?


What did Pope Gregory VII institute to try to uphold the purity of the church? When?


What did Pope Gregory VII do to end state interference in the church?


What political, cultural, and social tensions existed during the High Middle Ages?


How did Thomas Aquinas link reason and faith?


What is scholasticism?


What was the Christian view of scientific research?


Give examples of the first capitalist ventures.


What group of people benefited from the rejuvenated Mediterranean trade post-Crusades?


What commodities were mainly sought?


What was the purpose of a guild?


Compare and contrast women in Christianity and Islam.





Black Death                              Battle Tours

Charles Martel                          Crusades

Cluny                                       Guilds

Holy Roman Empire

Magna Carta


Three-field system



Pope Gregory VII