Stone Age – prehistoric cultural stage, or level of human development, characterized by the creation and use of stone tools. The Stone Age, whose origin coincides with the discovery of the oldest known stone tools, which have been dated to some 3.3 million years ago, is usually divided into three separate periods—Paleolithic Period, Mesolithic Period, and Neolithic Period—based on the degree of sophistication in the fashioning and use of tools. While Neolithic societies could be completely self-sufficient, growing their own food and making all essential equipment from local materials, luxury objects were transmitted quite long distances by some sort of trade.

Bronze Age – The overall period is characterized by widespread use of bronze, though the place and time of the introduction and development of bronze technology were not universally synchronous. Human-made tin bronze technology requires set production techniques. The Bronze Age was a time of extensive use of metals and of developing trade networks. Trade and industry played a major role in the development of the ancient Bronze Age civilizations. Early long distance trade was limited almost exclusively to luxury goods like spices, textiles and precious metals. Not only did this make cities with ample amounts of these products extremely rich but also led to an inter-mingling of cultures for the first time in history.

Iron Age – The characteristic of an Iron Age culture is mass production of tools and weapons made from steel, typically alloys with a carbon content between approximately 0.30% and 1.2% by weight. Trade in the Iron Age became very far reaching and more intensive than in the Bronze Age. People of higher status could afford wine from the Roman Empire and would trade large quantities of grain produced on their land for such a luxury commodity. People of lower status might be able to afford pottery from France or Switzerland.Most communities manufactured their own goods for trade or use, including pottery, beer, iron tools, weapons, and ornaments.

[kleo_divider text=”Stone Age – Bronze Age – Iron Age”]

Classical antiquity

Classical antiquity is the long period of cultural history centered on the Mediterranean Sea, comprising the interlocking civilizations of ancient Greece and ancient Rome, collectively known as the Greco-Roman world. Conventionally, it is taken to begin with the earliest-recorded Epic Greek poetry of Homer (8th–7th century BC), and continues through the emergence of Christianity and the decline of the Roman Empire (5th century AD). It ends with the dissolution of classical culture at the close of Late Antiquity (300–600), blending into the Early Middle Ages (600–1000). Such a wide sampling of history and territory covers many disparate cultures and periods. It is the period in which Greek and Roman society flourished and wielded great influence throughout Europe, North Africa and Western Asia.

[kleo_divider text=”Classical Antiquity”]

Middle Ages

First was the expansion and growth of civilization into new geographic areas across Asia, Africa, Europe, Mesoamerica, and western South America. However there were no common global political trends during the post-classical period, rather it was a period of loosely organized states and other developments, but no common political patterns emerged. In Asia, China continued its historic dynastic cycle and became more complex, improving its bureaucracy. The creation of the Islamic Empires established a new power in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. Africa created the Songhai and Mali kingdoms in the West. The fall of Roman civilization not only left a power vacuum for the Mediterranean and Europe, but forced certain areas to build what some historians might call new civilizations entirely. An entirely different political system was applied in Western Europe, as well as a different society. But the once East Roman Empire, Byzantium, retained many features of old Rome, as well as Greek and Persian similarities. Kiev Rus’ and subsequently Russia began development in Eastern Europe as well. In the isolated Americas, Mesoamerica saw the building of the Aztec Empire, while the Andean region of South America saw the establishment of the Inca Empire.

Middle Ages Religions

The growth and geographical spread of major world religions occurred, with Islam seeing a large expansion during this time. Christianity continued into Scandinavia, the Baltic area, and the British Isles – ousting the old pagan religions; an attempt was even made to incur upon the Middle East during the Crusades. The split of the Catholic Church in Western Europe and the Orthodox Church in Eastern Europe encouraged religious and cultural diversity in Eurasia. Additionally, Buddhism spread from India into China and flourished there briefly before using it as a hub to spread to Japan, Korea, and Vietnam; a similar effect occurred with Confucian revivalism in the later centuries. Once again, however, the most prominent world religion at the time was Islam. Starting in the Arabian Peninsula, it unified the warring Bedouin clans and through conquest, trade, and missionaries, spread to Persia, Indonesia, Central Asia, India, North Africa, and the Iberian Peninsula.

Middle Ages Trade

Communication and trade across Afro-Eurasia increased rapidly. The Silk Road continued to spread cultures and ideas through trade and throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa. Trade networks were established between West Europe, Byzantium, early Russia, the Islamic Empires, and the Far Eastern civilizations. The Islamic Empires adopted many Greek, Roman, and Indian advances and spread them through the Islamic sphere of influence, allowing these developments to reach Europe, North and West Africa, and Central Asia. Islamic sea trade helped connect these areas, including those in the Indian Ocean and in the Mediterranean, replacing Byzantium in the latter region. The Christian Crusades into the Middle East brought Islamic science, technology, and goods to Western Europe. Western trade into East Asia was pioneered by Marco Polo. Importantly, China began the sinicization of regions like Japan, Korea, and Vietnam through trade and conquest. Finally, the growth of the Mongol Empire in Central Asia established safe trade such as to allow goods, cultures, ideas, and disease to spread between Asia, Europe, and Africa.

[kleo_divider text=”Middle Ages”]

Early Modern European Period

This era in Western Europe is referred to as the early modern European period and includes the Protestant Reformation, the European wars of religion, the Age of Discovery and the beginning of European colonialism, the rise of strong centralized governments, the beginnings of recognizable nation-states that are the direct antecedents of today’s states, the Age of Enlightenment, and from the associated scientific advances the first phase of the Industrial Revolution. The emergence of cultural and political dominance of the Western world during this period is known as the Great Divergence.
The early modern period is taken to end with the French Revolution, the Napoleonic Wars, and the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire at the Congress of Vienna. At the end of the early modern period, the British and Russian empires had emerged as world powers from the multipolar contest of colonial empires, while the three great Asian empires of the early modern period, Ottoman Turkey, Mughal India and Qing China, all entered a period of stagnation or decline.

Early modern period Asia

India and China were the most important Asian empires in the early modern era, and they shared many similarities.
The governments of early modern India and China traditionally focused their attention on the enormous wealth gained from their inland agricultural empires rather than the emerging trade taking place on their shorelines. They depended on peasants and the expansion of territory inland. And they had lots of both. Both empires relied heavily, for their wealth and stability, on taxes derived from agriculture. They both benefitted from thriving manufacturing sectors—Indian cotton and indigo, and Chinese silk and porcelain.
The powerful empires in Asia were surely economically dominant throughout the early modern era, but, at the same time, they were gradually declining in ways that were initially hidden from view.
The powerful empires in Asia were surely economically dominant throughout the early modern era, but, at the same time, they were gradually declining in ways that were initially hidden from view.

Early modern period Africa

While no doubt smaller and less organized than European states, West African states were well-developed and could be quite powerful. Several small empires rose and fell in this period, some building their strength very much on indigenous African resources and conflicts, others emerging from the opportunities afforded by increased trade with Europeans.
Early modern West Africa had a rich and sophisticated economy​, and much of that was based on trade. Slaves were, in some places and some times, part of that trade, but it was not until the arrival of Portuguese and then other European traders that slaves came to form such a major component.

early modern American period

Christopher Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492. Subsequently, the major sea powers in Europe sent expeditions to the New World to build trade networks and colonies and to convert the native peoples to Christianity. What is now called Latin America, a designation first used in the late 19th century, was claimed by Spain and Portugal.Spain called its overseas empire there “The Indies,” with Portugal calling its territory in South America Brazil, after the dyewood found there. Spain concentrated building its empire where there were large indigenous populations, “Indians,” who could be compelled to work and large deposits of precious metals, mainly silver.

Spain had founded small settlements in Florida and Georgia but nowhere near the size of those in New Spain or the Caribbean islands. France, The Netherlands, and Great Britain held several colonies in North America and the West Indies from the 17th century, 100 years after the Spanish and Portuguese established permanent colonies. The Thirteen Colonies, in lower British North America, rebelled against British rule in 1775, largely due to the taxation that Great Britain was imposing on the colonies. The British colonies in Canada remained loyal to the crown, and a provisional government formed by the Thirteen Colonies proclaimed their independence on July 4, 1776 and subsequently became the original 13 United States of America. With the 1783 Treaty of Paris ending the American Revolutionary War, Britain recognised the former Thirteen Colonies’ independence.

[kleo_divider text=”Early modern period”]

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