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World History

Our history is amazing. The planet Earth has been around for over 4.5 billion years and we've been here for hardly a blink of an eye. Within that time our ancestors have come down from the trees, learnt to grow plants, built cities, created religion, fought wars, multiplied, industrialized, and even placed someone on the moon. Whether good or for ill that is an entirely different matter. 

All of our history has shaped who we are today. How we think, how we speak, how we interact, how we worship and how we view ourselves. The past tells us much about ourselves and where we are going. There is no straight path to a gleaming future nor is there a list of progress after progress until we reach some utopia. Knowing our past understands why this is. I have been told that history is a pointless subject. Although history might not create medicines to heal ourselves as chemistry does, technology to make our lives easier as engineering does, help us understand our body as biology does, or give us the ability to power our homes as physics does its use can be seen all around us. Our past lives on through us. The actions of men, women, the elite, the commoners, the peasants, the workers, the monarchs, and the agitators shaped the people who we are today. Celebrated author Michael Crichton once said 'If you don't know history, then you don't know anything. You are a leaf that doesn't know it is part of a tree.' This perfectly shows why history is important. Without it we lose our place in the world. Knowing history helps us preserve it and stops people from abusing it. 

That is why I have started my World History series. A look at humanity's history from our distant past to today. By knowing the history of our species we can all see what we've accomplished and no matter if it's oceans, mountains, continents, or deserts which separates us our kind is more similar than we could ever imagine.

1. Introduction and Human Evolution Our first stop looking at possibly our earliest bipedal ancestor Sahelanthropus who lived 7 million years ago up until our species, Homo sapiens sapiens, started to migrate across the globe.
2. Origins of Agriculture A look at how humans started planting seeds and domesticating wild animals all across the world from China, to Mesopotamia, to Africa, to the Americas. A bonus also for the first human made structures leading to the first cities.
3. The Three River Civilizations A look at the Indus Valley Civilization, Mesopotamia and Egypt. Three of the first civilizations.
4. Ancient Mesopotamia The civilizations which originated between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Here the first empires emerged.
5. Ancient Egypt Possibly the most famous Bronze Age civilization. A civilization which has enraptured the world for thousands of years.
6. Ancient China A look at the first dynasties to emerge in China as well as the rise of Confucianism which would shape China for centuries to come.
7. Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism Looking at the origins of three of the world's largest religions and how they fit into the society of Ancient India.
8. Achaemenid Empire The empire which almost conquered Greece where slavery was illegal and religious tolerance was the norm.
9. Ancient Greece The collection of city states which has fascinated the world for generations and helped Europe develop many ideas.
10. Alexander the Great The man who inspired figures ranging from Cesar to Napoleon to Oliver Stone and why venerating 'great men of history' may not be a good way to study history.
11. The Silk Road The trade system which emerged spanning from Rome to China and how goods and ideas spread across the world.
12. Rome: Kingdom to Republic to Empire Often seen as the forger of European civilization and if it was not an empire all along...
13. The Decline and Fall of the (Western) Roman Empire How did an empire spanning most of Europe crumble? 
14. Han to Sui China Looking at one of China's most successful dynasties and its struggle for stability once it fell.
15. The Rise of Islam Islam is the second largest religion in the world. How did it come to be?
16. The Byzantine Empire When Rome was sacked by barbarians not all of the empire crumbled. This is the history of the eastern half of the empire.
17. The Maya There has been much disinformation about the Mayan cities. What was true and what was false about these city states?
18. Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire Charlemagne is often called the 'Father of Europe'. We'll see if that title is true and if the empire he created was truly Rome's successor.
19. Taika Reforms and Heian Japan A look at court culture in what is sometimes referred to as 'Japan's Renaissance' where women in the court wrote some of Japan's best literature, and how the government was eventually replaced by samurai.
20. Vikings The feared warriors from the north. Were the Vikings truly bloodthirsty warriors or is there something more to these seafaring people?
21. The Crusades. Often seen as a clash of civilizations we look at the Crusades and how much level of political intrigue was involved. Also, we look at Crusades against other Christians and pagans.
22. Great Zimbabwe. Sometimes history can be told through a single archaeological site. Great Zimbabwe shows us a story of trade and royalty in medieval southern Africa.
23. The Mongols Savage barbarians or secret nobles? We look at the Mongols to see if they and Genghis Khan really deserves their infamy.
24.The Origins of Russia Russia has been seen as straddling the East and the West. We look to see if this is accurate and see how Russia came into existence.
25. Mali and Songhai West Africa was home to two major Islamic empires. We look at how these empires came into existence and how different they were from other Islamic states.
26. The Black Death The Black Death killed millions across Eurasia. We look at how one disease became so destructive and why it can act as a warning from history.
27. Indian Ocean and Mediterranean Trades Trade helped shape the societies of the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean. However, here it was the people and not monarchs or rulers which shaped this crucial aspect of Eurasian history.
28. The Ming The Ming dynasty is possibly the most famous of all Chinese dynasties. They built the Forbidden Palace, revolutionized printing, and their ceramics are the reason why we call ceramics 'china'. Who exactly were the Ming though?
29. The Age of Exploration A look at fifteenth and early fifteenth centuries where China, Spain and Portugal went on a series of voyages which connected most of the world for the first time. We also see how this acts as a prelude to genocide, slavery and imperialism.
30. The Aztecs With this post we look at the famous Aztec Empire looking at what is fact and what is fiction about this collection of city states which over the years has appeared in media countless times in incorrect ways.
31. The Inca Located in the Andes an empire was built using a series of sophisticated roads, no markets and a unique writing system using knots/string. Just who were the Inca and what is their legacy on South America?
32. Colonialism This is perhaps one of the darkest periods of world history which features genocide, exploitation, slavery, and greed. These three hundred years caused untold suffering for millions and shaped the world in which we live today.
33. Atlantic Slave Trade. The slave trade is one of the darkest period of world history alongside colonialism. It destroyed societies, broke up families, led to the later domination of Africa, and led to the rise of racism all in the name of profit.
34. The Little Ice Age. Climate has greatly shaped human history and with this post we look at a period of global cooling from the 1300s to the 1800s called the Little Ice Age. This event helped cause revolts, wars, and witch-burnings across the globe and offers us a chance to learn from the past.
35. The Reformation. The Reformation divided Europe between Protestant and Catholic regions which still affects Europe today. Why did this event affect Europe the way it did? Was the Catholic Church as reactionary as once believed?
36. The Wars of Religion. The Reformation escalated into a series of destructive wars lasting over one hundred years. However, these wars greatly influenced the shape of Europe for years to come.
37. The Rise of Russia. Russia has long been a Eurasian power but how did this come to pass? From the reign of Ivan the Terrible we see the shifts in Russian politics, society and culture as it emerged as a multi-ethnic, autocratic empire.
38. Renaissance and Scientific Revolution. The Renaissance is renowned for its beautiful art and fantastic sculptures while the Scientific Revolution is known for challenging religious dogma. With this post we look to see how much more nuanced these are and whether we should actually use these events to periodize European history.
39. Sengoku jidai. The Sengoku jidai saw Japan splintered between various warring factions. With this post we look to see how culture, economics and politics survived during this period. We also look at some of the most famous aspects of Japanese history including warring samurai like Oda Nobunaga and ninjas.
40. The Ottoman Empire. The first of the three 'Gunpowder Empires' this empire lasted for centuries and covered many different ethnic and religious groups. We'll look at what made this empire so successful.
41. The Safavids. The second of the 'Gunpowder Empires' this empire was the first for almost a thousand years where Iranians ruled Iranians, and it proved to be one of the most influential empires in Iranian history.
42. The Mughals. The last of the 'Gunpowder Empires' existing in India the Mughals ruled over an extremely diverse people with themselves exemplifying this. The Mughals would greatly shape South Asia and many of their art projects are synonymous with India like the Taj Mahal.
43. The Tokugawa Shogunate. The Tokugawa shoguns were the last samurai ran government in Japanese history which oversaw the process which would result in the emergence of modern Japan.

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