Chapter 4
Unit 2 World History
The Step Pyramid of El Castillo near current day Cancun Mexico. (From my personal files)
Beaumaris Castle in Wales. (From my personal files)
This is a large chapter in terms of the amount of well-known history it covers. I chose to connect all of the cultures surrounding the Mediterranean into this one chapter due to the amount of inter-connectivity that was occurring during this time period. This starts with the rise of Islamic Empires in the Middle East and the height of power for the Arab people. This is continued with the rise of powerful and rich trading empires in West Africa. These empires would eventually connect with both the Islamic Empires and Western Europe. Finally we cover the “Dark Ages” in Europe including the rise of Russia as a power. The students obviously come to class with a decent amount of knowledge about the European Middle Ages, due to the amount of times it is shown in popular culture, but the interplay between these cultures allows the students to understand even this society on a much more deep level than before. As always, this information also helps in the understanding of later history in these areas also.

Essential questions

The following questions are meant to be studied during the chapter as possible essay questions for your exam.
Please be ready for any of the following questions.
  1. What were the reasons for the schism in either the Catholic faith or Islam during this era and how do the two sides differ currently?
  2. What made West Africa and the Middle East so much more advanced than Europe during this era despite being so close to the continent? How did they differ culturally or intellectually that created this difference? (hint: think about the Caliphate of Cordoba)
  3. What were the causes and effects of the Crusades for both Europe and the Middle East?
  4. What were the causes of the investiture controversy and how was it eventually finished?
  5. How would you compare and contrast the Umayyad and Abbasid Dynasties? Be sure to include the rise and fall as well as how they were constructed.

Chapter Content

Use the following links to find the content you are interested in or use the search bar at the top right to look for specific concepts.

The Byzantine Empire

Slow Decline After Justinian

Conquest Under The Umayyad Dynasty

The Fall Of The Umayyads

The Rise Of The Abbasids

The Golden Age Of Learning In The Middle East

The Fall Of The Abbasids

The Continent Of Africa

Invasion Of Africa

Kingdoms Of The Grasslands

The Empire Of Mali

The Songhai Kingdom

Diverse African Societies

Trans-Saharan Slavery

The Middle Ages

The Catholic Church During The MA’s

The Rise Of Feudalism

Fights Over Power Between Churches & Kings

The Conquest Of Iberia

Life In Spain Under The Moors

Life In Europe

The Crusades

Lesser Known Crusades

Normandy Becomes An Issue

The Bubonic Plague

The Scottish Revolution

Other European Powers

Europe Starts To Move Past The Medeival Era


The following are a list of helpful resources that can be used in studying for this chapter.

Class Notes

These are the notes that I use for class. All information found in these notes lead directly to the test so they should be used in studying if you want the correct answers. This can only be accessed by students logged into their school account.

Chapter Powerpoint

This link will lead you to the PowerPoint for this unit. Those who missed class can use this to catch up on what was taught in class and what specific concepts to focus on in your studying.

Exam Review

This is the review that should be used to prepare for the exam. All exam questions will be connected directly to this document. Students are expected to answer all questions and are encouraged to know the rest also.

Review Videos

The videos to the right are placed here so that you can find other ways to study if that is your desire. Crash course videos tend to work pretty well for this type of studying as many of the AP World students use them to prep for tests. Please feel free to click on any of the videos in this feed for more info.

This Chapter in the news

Many students don’t realize that history is being debated and rewritten daily. These are stories related to our chapter from the news.

Why Some Women Choose Circumcised

This is a concept that is almost completely unique to Africa (with a few exceptions) and is rooted in the slave trade, but why would women want to voluntarily allow themselves to do it?

The True diversity of Africa

Many people in this country tend to think of Africa as a country instead of a diverse continent. This article shows the true diversity of the continent to those with this idea.

Why is the Magna Carta important

This article takes a look at those who have been influenced by the Magna Carta in history as a way to understand why it is so important. It is a unique article that gives context.