Ch 7: Development & Fall of World Civilizations

About This Chapter

Watch these video lessons, and learn about the rise and fall of early civilizations throughout the world. Explore similarities and differences among them, and see what kind of affect landmark events had on economic, cultural and other changes.

Development and Fall of World Civilizations - Chapter Summary

Use the following video lessons to learn how various civilizations developed around the world and what led to their downfall. Professional instructors provide you with an overview of events and places key to the settlement of people in permanent, fixed communities, like the Great Flood and the Fertile Crescent.

Lessons also give you a broad understanding of the similarities and differences among disparate civilizations from the end of the last Ice Age up to the Norman conquest of England in the early 11th century. You'll learn about major developments in agriculture, government and colonization. At the end of this chapter, you'll be familiar with the following and more:

  • How the last Ice Age contributed to civilization
  • The Great Flood and the population migration it caused
  • Hierarchy in civilization, from chiefs to emperors
  • Characteristics of major civilizations in Africa, Asia, Mesoamerica and pre-Columbian South America
  • Colonization and expansion
  • Early and imperial dynasties in China
  • Milestones in Viking history
  • The Normans

We make it easy to learn about the development and fall of world civilizations through our brief yet engaging video lessons and their accompanying transcripts and self-learning tools. The videos are tagged, allowing you to jump to the main points at any time, and many of the transcripts are linked to some of our other articles, which can make your learning experience even more thorough.

15 Lessons in Chapter 7: Development & Fall of World Civilizations
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Last Ice Age: Thawing Ice and New Human Opportunities

1. The Last Ice Age: Thawing Ice and New Human Opportunities

What is an ice age? How did the latest period of glaciation form our species? How has the abundance of this latest period of interglaciation changed our behavior? Watch this lesson to find out.

Neolithic Agricultural Revolution: Causes and Implications

2. Neolithic Agricultural Revolution: Causes and Implications

A long, long time ago, human beings roamed the earth looking for food. Then the agricultural revolution struck! What are the benefits of an agrarian society, and how have they shaped the way we live today?

Development of Hierarchical Structures: Chiefs to Emperors in History

3. Development of Hierarchical Structures: Chiefs to Emperors in History

This lesson will explore society's need for hierarchies, as well as kinship as a basis of hierarchical structures. Various forms of hierarchy will be briefly explored and...spoiler alert...they all come back to kinship.

Villages to Cities: How Cities Were Invented

4. Villages to Cities: How Cities Were Invented

In this video lesson, you'll meet Uruk, a lone farmer living in ancient Mesopotamia. As Uruk tries to become a successful farmer, he realizes the difficulties in sustaining a fruitful farm without the help of a community. Watch to understand how these difficulties contributed to the creation of villages and cities throughout history.

The Great Flood and Population Migrations

5. The Great Flood and Population Migrations

The Great Flood myth has been around for over eight millennia. Could it be more than a myth? What could have caused such a flood, and what effects has it had on humans?

Horse People and Nomadic Pastoralism: What is Civilization?

6. Horse People and Nomadic Pastoralism: What is Civilization?

This lecture examines the downsides and limits of settled agriculture and civilization. It then explores how 'civilized' forces are able to displace other systems. Horse people are introduced as a counterpoint to civilization and nomadic pastoralism as a successful alternative method of living. Finally it follows the conflict between nomadic pastoralists and settled agriculturalists throughout history.

Mesoamerican Civilizations: The Olmecs to Cortes

7. Mesoamerican Civilizations: The Olmecs to Cortes

This lesson focuses on the early cultures of Mesoamerica. The Olmec, Maya, and Aztecs developed great civilizations in Mesoamerica over millennia. Then, after all of this development and the building of a great empire, the Aztec were quickly defeated by Hernando Cortes.

The Inca Civilization and Pizarro: Pre-Columbian South America

8. The Inca Civilization and Pizarro: Pre-Columbian South America

The Incan Empire was an amazing empire of the early Americas. Their accomplishments rival those of many other great empires, but they were defeated by the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro in only a few years.

The Fertile Crescent: Cradle of Civilization

9. The Fertile Crescent: Cradle of Civilization

Complex civilization wasn't always the norm. In this lesson, we are going to check out the origins of civilization as we know it, and see where, when, and how this new system of living first began.

History of the Vikings

10. History of the Vikings

This lesson covers the history of the Vikings. We examine the Viking longships and their role in raids. Then we explore the impact these raids had on European history. Next we look at some of the other things the Vikings did besides raiding.

Mongolians and Their Contributions to Western Civilization

11. Mongolians and Their Contributions to Western Civilization

This lesson covers the contributions of the Mongols to Western civilization. We begin by examining the tale of Marco Polo. Next, we look at some common misconceptions about the Mongols. Finally, we enumerate the many technologies brought to Europe by this group.

The Norman Conquest of England

12. The Norman Conquest of England

The Norman Conquest is a central event in England's history. Learn how William the Conqueror subdued the Anglo-Saxons in England and created a new regime with long-lasting effects.

Ancient China: Shang & Zhou Dynasties

13. Ancient China: Shang & Zhou Dynasties

In this lesson, we will study the Shang and Zhou Dynasties. We will pay close attention to the founding, major accomplishments and characteristics, and decline of these dynasties.

China's Xia Dynasty: Timeline, Culture & Achievements

14. China's Xia Dynasty: Timeline, Culture & Achievements

According to many who study China, the Xia Dynasty is just a dream of earlier Chinese rulers. For others, it is the link between the farming settlements of the Huang He civilization and Chinese history.

Ancient West Africa: Bantu Migrations & the Stateless Society

15. Ancient West Africa: Bantu Migrations & the Stateless Society

In this lesson, we will discuss some of the characteristics of ancient West Africa. We will focus especially on the Bantu migrations, the stateless society, and the city of Jenne-jeno.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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