The Classical Era  set the scene.  It brought us the major civilizations, religions, and trade routes.  But, what happens when all of the major world powers collapse?  This is the Post-Classical era.  The major world powers come from places you might not expect.  There are some powers that are similar to the ones before and the ones after (Byzantine, China).  But, the major players in the Post-Classical era come from totally backwards places.  One sprouts out of a cave in the Arabian desert.  The other comes from the base of a mountain on the steppes in Central Asia.  I call this era, Muslims & Mongols.  That's not everything, but it just about sums up the basics. (Of course, Trade, Migrations, Religion, and Labor are important...) The Post Classical Era is the FIRST era that represents 20% of the test.  From here on out, these eras are worth more than the first two.  Pay attention...

The Classical Era  set the scene.  It brought us the major civilizations, religions, and trade routes.  But, what happens when all of the major world powers collapse?  This is the Post-Classical era.  The major world powers come from places you might not expect.  There are some powers that are similar to the ones before and the ones after (Byzantine, China).  But, the major players in the Post-Classical era come from totally backwards places.  One sprouts out of a cave in the Arabian desert.  The other comes from the base of a mountain on the steppes in Central Asia.  I call this era, Muslims & Mongols.  That's not everything, but it just about sums up the basics. (Of course, Trade, Migrations, Religion, and Labor are important...) The Post Classical Era is the FIRST era that represents 20% of the test.  From here on out, these eras are worth more than the first two.  Pay attention...

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GEOGRAPHY BANNER FREEMANPEDIA WORLD HISTORY II.JPG

Although Afro-Eurasia and the Americas remained separate from one another, this era witnessed a deepening and widening of old and new networks of human interaction within and across regions. The results were unprecedented concentrations of wealth and the intensification of cross-cultural exchanges. Innovations in transportation, state policies, and mercantile practices contributed to the expansion and development of commercial networks, which in turn served as conduits for cultural, technological, and biological diffusion within and between various societies. Pastoral or nomadic groups played a key role in creating and sustaining these networks. Expanding networks fostered greater interregional borrowing, while at the same time sustaining regional diversity. The prophet Muhammad promoted Islam, a new major monotheistic religion at the start of this period. It spread quickly through practices of trade, warfare, and diffusion characteristic of this period. (2012 CONTINUITIES & CHANGE ESSAY

KC 3.1: A DEEPENING AND WIDENING OF NETWORKS OF HUMAN INTERACTION WITHIN AND ACROSS REGIONS CONTRIBUTED TO CULTURAL, TECHNOLOGICAL, AND BIOLOGICAL DIFFUSION WITHIN AND BETWEEN VARIOUS SOCIETIES.

1. Improved transportation technologies and commercial practices led to an increased volume of trade, and expanded the geographical range of existing and newly active trade networks.

*New for 2018=Mississippi River Valley

C. The growth of inter-regional trade in luxury goods (silk and cotton textiles, porcelain, spices, precious metals and gems, slaves, exotic animals) was encouraged by significant innovations in previously existing transportation and commercial technologies--including caravanserai, compass use, the astrolabe, larger ship designs in sea travel--and new forms of credit and the development of money economies (Bills of exchange, Credit, Checks, Banking Houses, Use of Paper Money).

C. The growth of inter-regional trade in luxury goods (silk and cotton textilesporcelainspices, precious metals and gems, slaves, exotic animals) was encouraged by significant innovations in previously existing transportation and commercial technologies--including caravanserai, compass use, the astrolabe, larger ship designs in sea travel--and new forms of credit and the development of money economies (Bills of exchange, Credit, Checks, Banking Houses, Use of Paper Money).

E. The expansion of EMPIRES facilitated Trans-Eurasian trade and communication as new peoples were drawn into their conquerors’ economies and trade networks.

  • Required examples of empires:

*WARNING: THE FOLLOWING ARE NOT REQUIRED SOCIETIES BY THE COLLEGE BOARD... BUT THEY'RE STILL IMPORTANT.*

II. The movement of peoples caused environmental and linguistic effects.

A. The expansion and intensification of long-distance trade routes often depended on environmental knowledge and technological adaptations to it

A. The expansion and intensification of long-distance trade routes often depended on environmental knowledge and technological adaptations to it

B. Some migrations had a significant environmental impact, including the migraiton of Bantu speaking peoples who facilitated transmission of iron technologies and agricultural techniques in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the maritime migrations of the Polynesian peoples who cultivated transplanted foods and domesticated animals as they moved to new islands. 

B. Some migrations had a significant environmental impact, including the migraiton of Bantu speaking peoples who facilitated transmission of iron technologies and agricultural techniques in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as the maritime migrations of the Polynesian peoples who cultivated transplanted foods and domesticated animals as they moved to new islands. 

Bantu Migrations from Jared Diamond.

POLYNESIAN MIGRATIONS

C. Some migrations and commercial contacts led to the diffusion of languages (spread of Bantu languages including Swahili, Spread of Turkic and Arabic languages)throughout a new region or the emergence of new languages.

C. Some migrations and commercial contacts led to the diffusion of languages (spread of Bantu languages including Swahili, Spread of Turkic and Arabic languages)throughout a new region or the emergence of new languages.

III. Cross-cultural exchanges were fostered by the intensification of existing, or the creation of new, networks of trade and communication.

A. Islam, based on the revelations of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), developed in the Arabian Peninsula. The beliefs and practices of Islam reflected interactions among Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians with the local Arabian Peoples. Muslim rule expanded to many parts of Afro-Eurasia due to military expansion, and Islam subsequently expanded through the activities of merchants, missionaries, and Sufis

B. In key places along important trade routes, merchants set up diasporic communities (Muslim merchant communities in the Indian Ocean regionChinese merchant communities in Southeast Asia, Sogdian merchant communities throughout Central Asia, Jewish communities in the Mediterranean, Indian Ocean Basin, or along the silk roads)where they introduced their own cultural traditions into the indigenous culture.

C. As exchange networks intensified, an increased number of travelers within Afro-Eurasia wrote about their travels (Ibn Battuta, Marco Polo, Xuanzang).

C. As exchange networks intensified, an increased number of travelers within Afro-Eurasia wrote about their travels (Ibn BattutaMarco PoloXuanzang).

IV. There was continued diffusion of crops and pathogens, including epidemic diseases like the bubonic plague along trade routes. 

-Diffusion of Crops Examples:  (Bananas in Africa, New rice varieties in East Asia, Spread of Cotton, sugar, and citrus throughout Dar-al-Islam and the Mediterranean basin) 

-Diffusion of Crops Examples:  (Bananas in Africa, New rice varieties in East Asia, Spread of Cotton, sugar, and citrus throughout Dar-al-Islam and the Mediterranean basin) 


State formation in this era demonstrated remarkable continuity, innovation and diversity in various regions. In Afro-Eurasia, some states attempted, with differing degrees of success, to preserve or revive imperial structures, while smaller, less centralized states continued to develop. The expansion of Islam introduced a new concept — the Caliphate— to Afro-Eurasian statecraft. Pastoral peoples in Eurasia built powerful and distinctive empires that integrated people and institutions from both the pastoral and agrarian worlds. In the Americas, powerful states developed in both Meso-America and the Andean region.

I. Empires collapsed in different regions of the world, and in some areas were replaced by new imperial states or political systems. 

A. Following the collapse of empires, imperial states were reconstituted in some regions, including the Byzantine Empire and the Chinese dynasties — SuiTang, and Song — combining traditional sources of power and legitimacy (Patriarchy, Religion, Land-owning elites) with innovations (New methods of taxation, Tributary systems, Adaptation of Religious Institutions) better suited to the current circumstances. 

B. In some places, new political entities emerged, including those developed in various Islamic states,  the Mongol Khanates, new Hindu and Buddhist states in South, East, and Southeast Asia; city-states (Italian PeninsulaEast Africa, Southeast Asia), and decentralized government (feudalism) in Europe and Japan.

C. Some states synthesized local and borrowed traditions (Persian traditions that influenced Islamic States, Chinese traditions that influenced Japan)

C. Some states synthesized local and borrowed traditions (Persian traditions that influenced Islamic StatesChinese traditions that influenced Japan)

D. In the Americas, as in Afro-Eurasia, state systems expanded in scope and reach; networks of city-states flourished in the Maya region and, at the end of this period, imperial systems were created by the Mexica (“Aztecs”) and Inca.

II. Inter-regional contacts and conflicts between states and empires encouraged significant technological and cultural transfers.


Changes in trade networks resulted from and stimulated increasing productive capacity, with important implications for social and gender structures and environmental processes. Productivity rose in both agriculture and industry. Rising productivity supported population growth and urbanization but also strained environmental resources and at times caused dramatic demographic swings. Shifts in production and the increased volume of trade also stimulated new labor practices, including adaptation of existing patterns of free and coerced labor. Social and gender structures evolved in response to these changes.

I. Innovations stimulated agricultural and industrial production in many regions.

B. Demand for luxury goods increased in Afro-Eurasia. Chinese, Persian, and Indian artisans and merchants expanded their production of textiles and porcelains for export; industrial production of iron and steel expanded in China.  

II. The fate of cities varied greatly, with periods of significant decline, and with periods of increased urbanization buoyed by rising productivity and expanding trade networks.

More than one city "declined" because the Vikings "visited".

Many, many cities are gone because of these guys.

The Little Ice Age is tied directly to the decline in urban population.

III. Despite significant continuities in social structures and in methods of production, there were also some important changes in labor management and in the effect of religious conversion on gender relations and family life.

A. The diversification of labor organization that began with settled agriculture continued in this period. Forms of labor organization inluded free peasant agriculture, nomadic pastorialism, craft production and guild organization, various forms of coerced and unfree labor, government imposted labor, and military obligations. 

B. As in the previous period, social structures were shaped largely by class and caste hierarchies. Patriarchy continued, however (see above)

B. As in the previous period, social structures were shaped largely by class and caste hierarchies. Patriarchy continued, however (see above)

C. New forms of coerced labor appeared. The demand for slaves for both military and domestic purposes increased particularly in central Eurasia, parts of Africa, and the Eastern Mediterranean.

C. New forms of coerced labor appeared. The demand for slaves for both military and domestic purposes increased particularly in central Eurasia, parts of Africa, and the Eastern Mediterranean.

D. The diffusion of Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Neoconfucianism often led to significant changes in gender relations and family structure

D. The diffusion of BuddhismChristianity, Islam, and Neoconfucianism often led to significant changes in gender relations and family structure


The information that follows is not specifically mentioned by the College Board.  However, it will make you a more culturally well-rounded person; so... you're welcome.

The information that follows is not specifically mentioned by the College Board.  However, it will make you a more culturally well-rounded person; so... you're welcome.


What's the largest religious monument in the world? You're looking at it.  Angkor Wat ("Temple City")'s such a big deal, it's on Cambodia's flag!  It began as a Hindu temple to Vishnu, but later became a buddhist temple (which it remains to this day). 50% of every tourist who visits Cambodia, visits Angkor Wat. Two Indonesian airlines offer direct flights just to see this structure. 

What's the largest religious monument in the world? You're looking at it.  Angkor Wat ("Temple City")'s such a big deal, it's on Cambodia's flag!  It began as a Hindu temple to Vishnu, but later became a buddhist temple (which it remains to this day). 50% of every tourist who visits Cambodia, visits Angkor Wat. Two Indonesian airlines offer direct flights just to see this structure. 

What's the Greatest thing in Zimbabwe? A: Great Zimbabwe.  I know what you're thinking, "The other buildings/art in this era are more impressive.  But, it was built 5,000 miles south of Europe.  It's the second oldest structure in Southern Africa.  It once held 18,000 people.  The walls are built without mortar! So, don't hate on Great Zimbabwe... It was the seat of one of the greatest kingdoms in Southern Africa. 

What's the Greatest thing in Zimbabwe? A: Great Zimbabwe.  I know what you're thinking, "The other buildings/art in this era are more impressive.  But, it was built 5,000 miles south of Europe.  It's the second oldest structure in Southern Africa.  It once held 18,000 people.  The walls are built without mortar! So, don't hate on Great Zimbabwe... It was the seat of one of the greatest kingdoms in Southern Africa. 

The most powerful Christian state in this era was the Byzantine Empire.  In their most famous church (see Hagia Sophia from the last era) they put up a mosaic of Jesus. This is one of many mosaics within the church.  This is considered the beginning of the Byzantine Renaissance.  If you zoomed out, you would see both John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary. 

The most powerful Christian state in this era was the Byzantine Empire.  In their most famous church (see Hagia Sophia from the last era) they put up a mosaic of Jesus. This is one of many mosaics within the church.  This is considered the beginning of the Byzantine Renaissance.  If you zoomed out, you would see both John the Baptist and the Virgin Mary. 

Alhambra ("The Red One") is the most famous piece of Islamic architecture in Spain.  It's a palace complex built by the last Islamic dynasty to rule Spain (Nasrid Dynasty 1232-1492).  Even Charles V (One of Europe's most powerful people in the next era) built his offices within A beg Lhambra.  It actually fell into disrepair before being rebuilt in the 19th Century.  Today, it is one of Spain's biggest tourist attractions. 

Alhambra ("The Red One") is the most famous piece of Islamic architecture in Spain.  It's a palace complex built by the last Islamic dynasty to rule Spain (Nasrid Dynasty 1232-1492).  Even Charles V (One of Europe's most powerful people in the next era) built his offices within A beg Lhambra.  It actually fell into disrepair before being rebuilt in the 19th Century.  Today, it is one of Spain's biggest tourist attractions. 

Notre Dame is probably the most famous church on earth.  From the stained glass to the Flying Buttresses, Notre Dame is an iconic building in the center of Paris.  Speaking of Buttresses.... Check out those Buttresses.  This was one of the first buildings to use buttresses to displace the weight of the roof outward.  Napoleon crowned himself emperor inside.  You want relics? How about a piece of the true cross, the crown of thorns, and a nail from the cross? When it comes to cathedrals, this is your best example.   

Notre Dame is probably the most famous church on earth.  From the stained glass to the Flying Buttresses, Notre Dame is an iconic building in the center of Paris.  Speaking of Buttresses.... Check out those Buttresses.  This was one of the first buildings to use buttresses to displace the weight of the roof outward.  Napoleon crowned himself emperor inside.  You want relics? How about a piece of the true cross, the crown of thorns, and a nail from the cross? When it comes to cathedrals, this is your best example.   


  1. EDICT on BUDDHISM, c. 845, Emperor Wuzong, (CHINA)
  2. CHARTER of FEALTY, 1110, Monk John (FRANCE)
  3. 1,001 ARABIAN NIGHTS, c. 1200, (ARABIA)
  4. EPIC of SUNDIATA, c. 1300 (MALI)
  5. TRAVELS in AFRICA & ASIA, 1354, Ibn Battuta (MOROCCO)


  1. OVER HALF OF THIS ERA IS TRADE.  OLD TRADE ROUTES EXPANDED AND NEW ONES EMERGED (AND ALL THE LOVELY THINGS THAT COME WITH IT; DISEASE, RELIGIONS, CROPS, PEOPLE).

  2. FORGET CLASSICAL PEOPLES, THIS ERA IS DOMINATED BY TWO NEW GROUPS MUSLIMS & MONGOLS. 

  3. REMEMBER THE ASHES OF THE CLASSICAL PEOPLES; FEUDAL EUROPE, BYZANTINES, & RENAISSANCE CHINA.

  4. SPECIFIC PEOPLE MOVEMENTS ARE STRESSED HERE (MIGRATIONS, LANGUAGES, PEOPLES)

  5. QUICK LOOK AT THE LITTLE GUY: LABOR, FARMING, URBAN LIFE