World History Module – Sample Free Content

world history


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General Studies Paper 1 – World History Notes


history in depth


·        4m B.C – First hominds appear in Africa

·        4m to 3m – Australopitheciens. First human like creature to walk upright.

·        3m B.C – Homo habilis. First to make stone tools.

·        1.6m B.C – Homo erectus appear in East Africa

·        Homo sapiens:

·        2.5m B.C – Paleolithic age begins

·        1.6 B.C – Homo erectus appears

·        200,000 B.C to 30,000 BC – Neanderthals.

·        40,000 B.C – Cro Magnons appear. Fully modern humans.

·        8000 B.C – Neolithic age begins. First agriculture takes place.

·        3000 B.C – Bronze age well established in Mesopotamia.

·        2600 B.C – City of Ur flourishes in Sumer

·        3950 – 1000 B.C – first China civilization

·        3000 – 2000 B.C Ancient Egypt civilization.

·        2500 B.C – 1700 B.C – Indus valley civilization

·        1792 B.C – Hammurabi code of laws in Babylonian empire.

·        1750 B.C – Indus Valley civilization declines.

·        1027 B.C – Zhou dynasty forms in China.




Beginnings of Civilization- 4million B.C to 200 B.C


Chapter 1: Prehistory


Old stone age/Paleolithic age: 2.5million to 8000 BC

  • It occurred during the Ice age. During this time, glaciers alternatively retreated and advanced 18times.
  • Before the australopitheciens eventually vanished, new hominids, Homo habilis, appeared in East Africa around 2.5millions years ago.
    • Homo habilis used tools to cut meat and crack open bones.
  • Homo erectus: Before homo abilis left the earth, homo erectus arrived around 1.6million years ago.
    • They used intelligence to develop technology. They made tools for digging, scrapping and cutting.
    • They became skilful hunters, first hominids to migrate or move from Africa.
    • They were the first to use fire. Fire was used for warmth in cold climates, cook food and frighten animals. Control on fire help them settle new lands.
    • They may have developed language. They might have names objects, places, animals and also exchanged ideas.
    • Control on their environment boosted their chances of survival.
  • Homo Sapiens: They have much larger brain than previous hominids.
    • Neanderthals – 200,000 to 30,000 BC.
      • They are first to have ritual burials. About 60,000 years ago, they held funeral for a man in Shanidar Cave, Iraq.
      • They were resourceful. They survived harsh winters, in the sub-arctic, in caves or temporary shelters. They developed tools to hunt and cut animals.
      • They had also developed music.
    • Cro-Magnons: migrated from north Africa to Europe and Asia.
      • They planned their hunts, studied animal habits and stalked their prey.
      • They had advanced skill in spoken language and this helped them plan more difficult projects.

History through art

  • The earliest cave paintings date back to 35,000 years. They are found in Europe and Africa.
  • The painting depicted hunting rituals, magical rites, mark events during various seasons or just depicting surrounding events.
  • Cave painting, Tassili n’Ajer, Algeria. Cuevas de las Manos in Argentina. Australian Aboriginal Cave Painting in Kakadu national park.

early human migration

Early advances in technology and art.

Humans had become fully modern in their physical appearance. People developed new technology, artistic skills and most importantly agriculture.

  • Tools: Cro-magnons were nomads. They were mobile people, moved from place to place foraging and searching for new food. They were hunters gathers, developed tools using stone, bone and wood– harpoons, chisel like cutters and knife.
  • Art: Necklaces of seashells, lion teeth and bear claws. They ground mammoth tusks into polished beads.
    • They carved small realistic sculptures of animals that inhabited their world.
    • Cave artists made colours from charcoal, mud and animal blood.

New stone age/Neolithic age: 8000BC to early 3000BC

  • Neolithic revolution/agricultural revolution.
  • Causes for agricultural revolution: Though we don’t know the exact reasons for coming of agriculture revolution, the factors that led to agriculture revolution are: rising temperatures, longer growing seasons, drier land for cultivating wild grass. Rich supply of grain led to increase in population and growing pressure to find new lands.
  • Early farming methods: slash and burn agriculture.
  • Domestication of animals along with farming: earlier hunter knowledge helped them to domesticate animals like dogs, horses, goats and pigs.
    • The nomadic people moved with their animals to new pastures and watering places.
    • Ex: Jarmo, foothills of Zagros mountain in northern Iraq. Catal Huyuk Village in south central Turkey.
  • Villages grow and propser:
    • People settled from being hunter gatherers to farmers or nomadic settlers.


  Areas that saw agriculture revolution

PlaceRiverCrops grown
AfricaNile river valleyWheat, barley and others
ChinaHuang Ho(Yellow river)Millet.
ChinaChang Jiang river deltaWild rice
Mexico and central America


 Corn, beans and squash
peruCentral AndesTomatoes, sweet potatoes and potatoes.


Villages to cities

Agriculture changed the way people lived together. They began dwelling in larger and more organised communities such as farming villages and towns. Cities gradually emerged forming a complex way of life called civilization.

visual summary

Settled agriculture —> Dwelling increase in size —> more organised communities —> cities gradually emerged —> birth of civilization.


Growth of villages into cities





Economic change

·       Settled agriculture –>stable communities

·       New tools – sickles, hoes, plough stick – farming easier and bountiful produce.

·       Surplus food –> villagers pursue other jobs

·       New products –> pottery, metal objects and woven cloth created.

·       New class of traders –> profited from wide range of goods.

·       Invention of potter wheel and sail –> long distance trade.

Social change·       Social class with wealth, power and influence began to emerge.

·       Social classes were more well defined.

·       Religion was more organised.

·       People worshipped more gods and goddess believed to have more power in rain, wind and other forces.

·       Rituals developed on religious beliefs.

·       Common spiritual values became lasting religious traditions.

Ex: Civilization in Ur – one of the earliest cities in Sumer, on the banks of the Euphrates river.



Chap 2: Early river valley civilization 3500 BC – 450 BC


Civilization is a defined as a complex culture with 5 characteristics: advanced cities, specialized workers, complex institutions, record keeping and advanced technology.


civilization of ancient world

  civilzation table

 early river valley civilization



Chapter 3: People and ideas on the move 2000 B.C to 250 B.C


The wealthy river valleys attracted a lot of nomadic tribes. The reasons for migration are not so conclusive but migration happened in waves over a long period of time.


The Indo-europeans

  • Nomadic people who migrated around 2500BC from central Asian steppes
  • These primarily pastoral people herded cattle, sheep, and goats.
  • The Indo-europeans also tamed horses and rode into battle in light, two-wheeled chariots.
  • They lived in tribes that spoke forms of a language that we call Indo-European.
  • These Indo-europeans settled in different parts of Asia and Europe.

language family resemblences

                                                                     Similarities in Indo-european languages.


Areas where Indo-europeans settled and consequences of it.

Asia Minor.

  • Hittites, one group of Indo-europeans occupied Anatolia(Turkey).
  • Hittitian empire was formed in 1650 B.C
  • They used Indo-european language for among themselves but used Akkadian for international use(It was the language of Babylonians, whom they conquered).
  • Use of chariots, iron technology(developed weaponry based on Iron)

South Asia.

  • Aryans crossing the Himalayan mountain passes, moved to Indus Valley.
  • Settled in north-western India and slowly moved eastwards.
  • Vedas – source that depicts their life.
  • Used horses, pastoral community, wealth based on cows, prayers to nature.
  • Differences among native inhabitants(Dasas) and Aryans led to social hierarchies and eventually into caste system.
  • By about 650 BC led to birth of Indian kingdoms.

(More in IAS junior Mentorship Program)



  • Artifacts: human made objects such as jewellery and tools
  • Culture: people’s unique way of life.
  • Hominids: Humans and other creatures that walk upright.
  • Australopithecines: first human like creatures to walk upright.
  • Homo erectus: first upright man to appear.
  • Homo abilis: man of skill
  • Homo Sapiens: wise men
  • Cuneiform:
  • Hammurabi code: formed by ruler Hammurabi. single, uniform code of laws that would help unify diverse groups within his empire.
  • Pharaohs: to the Egyptians, kings were gods and these god-kings are called Pharaohs. Pharoah stood at the centre of their govt., regilion and authority.
  • Theocracy: type of government in which rule is based on religious authority.
  • Hieroglyphics: system of writing that was used in ancient Egypt in which a small picture represents a word.

Some of the terms explained in detail


Culture is a way of life. people are not born knowing culture of their place. People learn culture in two ways: observe and imitate behaviour of people in the society and people directly teach culture through written and spoken language. Family, friends, school, media, government, work place and religious institutions – places from which we learn culture.

components of culture

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