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- Unit II Reading Guide 600-1450

AP World history

U2/600-1450 Reading Guide


WEEK ONE:  Chapter 11, The Americas on the Eve of Invasion


Enrichment:  “Journey to the Land of the Tartars” by William of Rubruck




  • Mesoamerica Toltecs and Aztecs (234-244)
  • Inca (244-252)


Study Questions:


1.     What impressed the Spanish when they saw this city? List several features.


2.What was the capital of the Toltecs?


3.Cite the most persuasive evidence that Indians in the southeastern portion of the United States MAY have had contact with the Toltecs.


4.After the fall of Tula, the center of population and political power in central Mexico shifted to what area?


5.What reputation made the Aztecs both valued and feared?


6.     What city did the Aztecs establish ca. 1325 C.E. on a marshy island in Lake Texcoco?


7.List the three requirements that the Aztecs made of their subject peoples.





8.     Like pyramid building, polytheism, corn cultivation, and a ball game/sport played on a court, the Aztecs copied another long standing practice among Mesoamerican Indians. What was it and how did they change it?


9.Aztec religion was very complex; however, this complex array of gods can be organized into three major themes or cults.  List them.

10.  Explain how the cult of the sun was linked with human sacrifice. 


11.  What was the ingenious system of irrigated agriculture the Aztecs adopted? Describe it in your own words.


12.  How did this interesting system help increase the Aztec’s population?


13.  What was the state’s role in the Aztec economy?


14.  How does the Aztec economic system compare to many Classic and Postclassical Afro-Eurasian civilizations regarding the distribution of tribute/goods? (HINT: social classes)


15.  What was a calpulli, and explain its function in the Aztec city.


16.  List the important functions of the Calpulli.


17.  How did social classes/groups in Aztec society distinguish themselves?


18.  What was the significant difference between the life of women in Mesoamerica and in the Mediterranean world?


19.  Who held the real power in Aztec society and how was he chosen?


20.  What were two of the most notable achievements of the Incas?


21.  The capital of the Inca empire was ____________________________.


22.  Define the term “split inheritance.”


23.  How did the practice of split inheritance encourage warfare and expansion of Inca authority?


24.  What did the Incas and Aztecs’ religion have in common?


25.  What incentives did the Incas give local rulers to obey? (give both positive AND negative)


26.  The Incas built a very impressive system of roads. Besides communication, note the key purpose and compare it to that of the Roman road system on page 92 (last paragraph).


27.  Describe the Mita system.


28.  How do the Incas and Aztecs compare regarding the importance of trade?




Quetzalcoatl                           Cortez

Chinampas                              Temple of the Sun

Moctezuma II                         Tenochtitlan




WEEK TWO:  Chapter 12 Chinese Civilization, Chapter 13 Imperial Japan




  • Sui-Tang Era (256-264)
  • Song Dynasty (265-276)


Study Questions:


1. How long was the Era of Divisions, the time between the Han and Sui Dynasties?


2. What religion/philosophy flourished, because of this period of chaos?


3. How did Wendi rise to power?  What did Wendi do at the beginning of his reign that was typical of a new dynasty?


4. What did Yangdi, Wendi’s successor, continue that would contribute to and consolidate his empire?


5. What were some of the things Yangdi began to do to signal the end of a dynasty?


6. Who rose to power to create the Tang Dynasty?


7. Who dominated power-wise during the Tang and why?


8. Who administered the civil service exams? What purpose was there to have different types of civil service exams?


9. Who held the highest positions in the bureaucracy?


10. Which type of Buddhism was attractive to the elite?


11. How did Empress Wu patronize Buddhism?


12. How did the Daoist compete with Buddhist?


13. Which group had the biggest problem with the Tang favoring Buddhism?


14. Although Buddhism was weakened, what did they have a lasting influence on?


15. What military commander reunited China?  What was so unique about him compared to others?


16. What was he renamed and what dynasty did he found?


17. Who did the Song have a problem overcoming? 


18. What types of interaction did the Song have with them over time?


19. How did the Song try to further Confucianism?


20. What view of foreigners did Neo-Confucianism support that may lead to future loss of importance?


21. What nomadic empires challenged what parts of the Song?


22. What was the importance of the Grand Canal? 


23. What area was becoming the biggest producer of food?


24. What did the Tang expansion do for trade?


25. How were Confucian ideals reflected in the family? Punishments?


26. Describe marriage practices.


27. What were some of the more positive examples of life for women during the Tang and early Song?


28. What Neo-Confucian beliefs were oppressive to women?


29. What was the most dramatic and oppressive action upper class men toward women?  Why?


30. What were some new inventions and technology in the Tang and Song era?






Chang’an                                                        Shoguns

Grand Canal                                                    Sinification

Tang Empire                                                   Shintoism

Tributary System                                            daimyo

Mahayana Buddhism                                     


Sui empire

Song Empire


Gun Powder

foot binding

Zheng He


WEEK TWO CONTINUED:  Chapter 13, Japan





Study Questions:


1.  When did Japan’s contact with China peak? Why?


2.  How did the Japanese use/or look to Buddhism?


3.  What was life like for the aristocratic classes in the Hein Era? 


4.  How did women’s roles compare to men?


5.  During the decline of Imperial power in the mid 9th century, who became the power family at court?  How?


6.What Buddhist practices were the court aristocrats participating in?


7. What kind of estates did various families carve out?  Why?


8. Who’s rule did the estates fall under?  How was it administered? 


9. According to warrior code, if you were beaten or disgraced what was required of you?


10. Which of the two families gained the upper hand in the 1180s, after the Gempei Wars?  How?  What age did this usher in? 


11.Through all the power struggles, who ultimately (sometimes ceremonially) the head of the government?


12. Why did the Japanese decide to discontinue its embassy at the Tang court?


13. How did the Ashikaga Tukuaji (1336-1573) establish themselves as the new ruling group?


14.  As a result, how many kingdoms were established and who had the power?


15.  What aspect of the bushi era declined in the 15th-16th century?


16.  How did the roles of women change in the warrior age?






WEEK THREE:   Chapter 14,  Mongolian Empire




  • Mongol empire and Ghengis Khan (302-310)
  • Mongol expansion west (310-314)
  • Mongols in China (315-321)


Study Questions


1.  How long did the Mongols dominate Asia?


2. How are the Mongols justly and unjustly portrayed by history?


3. How did the Mongols contribute to globalization of the time?


4. What nomadic groups dominated Asia and Europe prior to the Mongolian speaking people?


5. What happened at the kuriltai in 1206? 


6. What were some of the weapons the Mongol warriors? Describe the war machine or the Mongol   armies’ organization.


7. What types of innovations/technology gave the Mongols an edge?


8. How did Chinggis adapt to coming up against large, fortified cities with extensive defensive works?


9. What were his feelings toward these fortified towns and what was his punishment for them? Who did he spare?


10. Which khanate set its eyes on Europe?


11. Which khanate set its eyes on the remains of the Islamic Empire?


12. How was the Russian campaign viewed by the Mongols?


13. How did the Tartars, handle the Russians? What great feat did the Tartars achieve?  How did they use the difficulty to their advantage? What was the only Russian city spared and why?


14. What role did the Russian princes submit to?  What despair fell on the Russian peasants?


15. What were the positive and negative effects of Mongol rule in Russia?


16. How close did the Mongols get to realizing their goal of taking the Christian West?


17. Describe the Mongol capture of Baghdad in 1258.


18. Who was able to hold back the Mongols from engulfing the entire Muslim world?


19. What came with the Mongols that had the greatest impact on Europe and the West?


20.  Describe Mongol rule of China.  What were some of the laws that Kubilai passed to keep Mongols from assimilating too much?


21. Even though Kubilai Khan wanted to keep Chinese separate, what were some of his actions that showed appreciation of what the Chinese had to offer?


22. What was the new social structure under the Mongols?  What happened to the Imperial Examination System?


23. What type of rights did Mongol women have in China?


24. Who was the most famous Christian traveler to come to the Mongol court?  How many years did he stay?


25. Who emerged as the next  Chinese dynasty?


26. Who was the next great nomadic leader?  Describe him.





Genghis Khan




bubonic plague


Mongol bow


Kubilai Khan

Yuan dynasty

Marco Polo

Golden Horde