• Kandinsky and Chagall
      In The Sound of Music, Julie Andrew's sang about her favorite things.  Of course, we all have our favorite things.  Indeed, when I visit the Museum of Modern Art, I encounter many of my favorite things, especially the art of Kandinsky and Chagall which just happen to be conveniently located in the same wing of the museum.   But just as individuals have favorite things, so, too, do the creators of examinations.  In fact, there are certain questions that regularly appear.  I like to think of these questions as the test-makers favorite things.  So, on this page, learners will sample questions that have appeared rather frequently on the New York State Global History and Geography Regents.  Each "favorite" will be presented in the form it appeared on the examination and will be followed by the correct answer as well as a brief explanation.  This page will be periodically updated.  So, stop by and take a stroll through the Regents "favorite things".
    The Question:

    One similarity between the Sepoy Rebellion in India and the Boxer Rebellion in China is that both were

    (1) religious reform movements

    (2) reactions to the opium trade

    (3) attempts to end foreign interference

    (4) successful revolts against absolute monarchs


    Answer: Attempts to end foreign interference

    Explanation: The Sepoy Rebellion (the Sepoy Mutiny) began in 1857 as Indians were developing a sense of a national identity.  Indians resented the presence of the British in India and the insensibility of the British to their religious practices.  Sepoys or Indian soldiers serving under British command rebelled against the British when rumors surfaced that the cartridges for their guns needed to be greased with pork and beef fat, a violation of religious dietary rules (Hindus - no beef and Muslims - no pork).  While the rebellion was eventually put down, the British government forced the East India Company to relinquish control and India became a British colony.  However, the Sepoy Rebellion marked the beginning of India's long journey towards independence.  Likewise, the Boxer Rebellion in China was an attempt to remove the foreigners from China.  The Boxer Rebellion was a response to the humiliating treaties the Chinese government was forced to sign and to the "carving up" of China into spheres of influence.  The Rebellion began with a series of attacks on Chinese Christians, then on foreigners in the interior, and finally on foreign diplomats in Peking (Beijing).  While the Boxer Rebellion was eventually ended by an international force, it, too, revealed a clear dissatisfaction with foreign rule.

    The Question:

    Filial piety and the five relationships are most often associated with

    (1) Hinduism                      (3) animism

    (2) Daoism                         (4) Confucianism


    Answer: Confucianism

    Explanation: Confucius (551 – 479 B.C.E.) was a Chinese philosopher during a time of warfare and disorder.  Confucius wanted to restore social order and harmony.  He believed that there were five important relationships in society: Emperor and subject, Husband and wife, Father and son, Elder brother and younger brother, and Friend and friend.  In each relationship, Confucius believed there was a superior and an inferior.  The superior had to set a good example and protect the inferior.  The inferior had to obey.  Confucius also believed in filial piety. Filial piety is the belief that respect must be given to parents and ancestors.  Confucianism eventually became the official philosophy of many Chinese dynasties.  

    The Question:

    The slogan “Blood and Iron” and a united Germany are most closely associated with

    (1) Prince Metternich                  (3) Camillo Cavour

    (2) Simón Bolívar                       (4) Otto von Bismarck


    Answer: Otto von Bismarck


    Explanation: Otto von Bismarck (1815-98) was responsible for the expansion of the Kingdom of Prussia into the German Empire.  As the Prime Minister of Prussia, the most powerful German state, Otto von Bismarck used a policy of “Blood and Iron” to unify Germany.  Prussia was able to combine the German states into a unified Germany through military aggression.  Bismarck was a nationalist who changed the course of world history.  The Regents frequently compares Bismarck to Giuseppe Garibaldi, the man who helped to achieve Italian unification and another prominent nationalist. 

    The Question:

    The Magna Carta, the Petition of Right, and the English Bill of Rights led the English government to develop a political system in which

    (1) rulers were responsible to the people

    (2) religious authorities controlled the lawmaking process

    (3) the power of the monarch came from God

    (4) the individual was denied a trial by jury


    Answer: Rulers were responsible to the people


    Explanation:  In England, a unique form of monarchy developed – limited monarchy.  In limited monarchy, the monarch or king shared his power with Parliament or the English legislative body.  This movement towards limited monarchy occurred over time.  It began with the medieval document known as the Magna Carta which limited the power of the king.  The king could no longer do whatever he wished.  He could no longer act as an absolute ruler.  This was followed by other documents and even a civil war.  Ultimately, the English came to believe that the ruler was responsible to his people and that individuals had certain rights and liberties.

    The Question:

    Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta are best known for

    (1) exploring the Western Hemisphere

    (2) leading religious movements

    (3) opening trade between Africa and Japan

    (4) providing extensive information about lands and people


    Answer: Providing extensive information about lands and people


    Explanation: It is believed that Marco Polo traveled the Silk Roads and visited Kublai Khan’s China.  Kublai Khan’s dynasty, the Mongol dynasty of China, was known as the Yuan Dynasty and it lasted from 1271 to 1368.  In his travels, Marco Polo stated that he had seen in China printed paper money, broad streets, police patrols at night, public carriages, drains under the streets, and landscaped roadsides – all of which he had never encountered in Europe.  Marco Polo’s travels greatly increased European interest in China.  Another famous traveler also visited China.  This famous Muslim traveler from the Middle East, Ibn Battuta, mentions China in his travel journal too.  Ibn Battuta was in Beijing in the 1340s.  Over a period of 30 years, Ibn Battuta had traveled some 75,000 miles throughout the Middle East, southern and eastern Asia, and Africa.  He mostly traveled throughout Dar al-Islam (the House of Islam).

    The Question:

    Which geographic feature most directly influenced the development of Greek city-states?

    (1)  deserts                                  (3) vast plains

    (2) mountainous terrain               (4) monsoons


    Answer: Mountainous terrain

    Explanation: The ancient Greeks developed separate political units partly because of the geographic isolation of the Greek countryside.  The Greeks settled in the valleys where fertile soil was available, but in doing so they were completely cut off from their neighbors by the rugged nature of the intervening terrain, the mountainous terrain.  Yes, mountains separated the Greek city-states.  By the way, the Greek word for city-state was “Polis”.

    The Question:

    Between 1923 and 1938, which leader instituted a modernization program in Turkey?

    (1)  Shah Reza Pahlavi                (3) Kemal Atatürk

    (2)  Jawaharlal Nehru                   (4) Ho Chi Minh


    Answer: Kemal Atatürk

    Explanation: Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was a Turkish nationalist and the first President of the Republic of Turkey.  Atatürk set about implementing radical reforms to change the face of Turkey and created a modern, westward-looking country.  Education was taken out of religious hands and made universal; women were granted rights including the franchise; the fez and purdah were outlawed; Islam was disestablished as the state religion; Islamic law was replaced by a new code based on European models; polygamy became illegal; the Arabic alphabet was outlawed and replaced by the Latin one; family names were adopted.  Kemal took the name of Atatürk or father of the Turks.  Turkey had once been part of the now defunct Ottoman Empire, the “Gunpowder Empire” that had once ruled the eastern Mediterranean Sea.

    The Question:

    Which leader’s policies included glasnost and perestroika?

    (1) Fidel Castro                    (3) Mikhail Gorbachev

    (2)  Nikita Khrushchev           (4) Deng Xiaoping


    Answer: Mikhail Gorbachev

    Explanation: In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev became the Soviet leader.  To improve social and economic conditions, Gorbachev developed two new programs.  One, perestroika (restructuring), was a program to make the Soviet economy more efficient.  Citizens gained the right to set up their own businesses.  Heads of large factories were told to make their plants profitable.  Another reform, glasnost (openness), granted increased freedom of speech and the press to Soviet citizens.  But in spite of his efforts, Russia, Ukraine, and the 13 other republics that had once formed the Soviet Union declared their independence.  At the end of 1991, Gorbachev resigned as president.

    The Question:

    The best definition of subsistence agriculture is

    (1) supplying crops for overseas exports

    (2) bartering crops for manufactured goods

    (3) storing surplus food in case of famine

    (4) producing just enough food for a family’s use


    Answer: Producing just enough food for a family’s use

    Explanation: The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines subsistence as “the minimum necessary to support life” and “a source or means of obtaining the necessities of life.”  To subsist, therefore, is to acquire the necessities of life.  But notice, to obtain necessities does not mean surplus.  Indeed the subsistence farmer has no surplus.  Such a farmer only produces enough for the family’s use.  There is nothing extra to trade.  There is no opportunity for profit.  The subsistence farmer is often barely surviving.  In fact, it may be helpful to think of subsistence farming as survival farming.  Of course, this question is primarily a vocabulary question and therefore, reminds learners of the importance of increasing vocabulary. 

    The Question:

    An objective of the European Union (EU) for the early 21st century is to

    (1) withdraw from its military alliances

    (2) further integrate its economic system

    (3) establish a nuclear buffer zone

    (4) limit production of alternative fuels


    Answer: Further integrate its economic system

    Explanation: The European Union traces its roots back to 1957, when six nations of Western Europe organized the European Community (EC), or Common Market.  The Common Market’s goal was to encourage economic cooperation among the major non-Communist industrial countries of the region.  Over the years, the EC moved beyond the status of a common market.  In 1992, the members signed a treaty in the Dutch city of Maastricht that changed the EC into the European Union as of 1994.  The Maastricht Treaty removed almost all barriers to the movement of people, goods, and services across national borders in Western Europe.  The treaty also committed members to establish a single European currency, the euro, by 2002, and to coordinate foreign and defense policies.  Today, an increasing number of countries from Eastern Europe are seeking admission into the EU. 

    The Question:     

    Enlightenment thinkers encouraged the improvement of society through the

    (1) teachings of the church

    (2) use of reason

    (3) development of absolutism

    (4) establishment of a rigid social hierarchy


    Answer: Use of reason

    Explanation: It is important to remember that the Enlightenment is also referred to as the Age of Reason.  The Enlightenment was a period of skepticism toward tradition, secularization of thought, a new attitude toward government, and a profound belief in reason.  Three writers symbolized the Enlightenment – Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Rousseau – and their writings were to have a profound influence on the fate of Europe.  Voltaire (1694-1778) wrote for the new bourgeois middle class. His main concern was freedom of thought.  Around 1740, he began preaching religious tolerance and crying out against bigotry, censorship, and the power of the clergy.  He also attacked superstition.  Montesquieu developed an intricate system of separation of powers and balance of power (and, in part, inspired the American constitution and the American system of government with its legislative, executive, and judicial branches).  Rousseau (1712-1778) wrote the Social Contract in which he argued that governments were formed by an agreement among the people themselves.

    The Question:

    In which economic system used by early civilizations are decisions about the distribution of goods based primarily on customs, beliefs, and habits?

    (1) mixed

    (2) free-market

    (3) traditional

    (4) command


    Answer: Traditional

    Explanation: There are four primary economic systems.  An economic system determines what goods and services are produced in a society, how those goods and services are produced, and who consumes those goods and services.  In a traditional economy, the oldest economic system, tradition “answers” these fundamental questions.  In other words, people do as their ancestors had done.  For example, sons perform the same jobs as their fathers.  In a free market system, individuals are free to buy and sell as they please.  In a command economy, the government makes all economic decisions.  Finally, in a mixed economy, various elements of the other economic systems are combined.  Most modern economies are mixed.  However, mixed economies are “mixed” differently depending on what each society values.

    The Question:

    By closing Japanese harbors to most foreigners in the 1600s, the Tokugawa shogunate attempted to

    (1) protect Japan from European influence

    (2) increase Japanese agricultural production

    (3) eliminate Japan’s influence on Southeast Asia

    (4) destroy traditional Japanese culture


    Answer: Protect Japan from European influence

    Explanation: In the early 1600s, the Tokugawa Shogunate claimed control of Japan and attempted, until its downfall in 1868, to close the door to foreign influence and maintain the domestic status quo.  During the Tokugawa years, Japan was closed to the rest of the world.  Foreign trade was eliminated, except for a restricted Dutch port; Japanese were not allowed to travel abroad; and those who lived overseas were not allowed to return.  Christianity was outlawed, and many Japanese Christians were martyred.  Punishments for Christians who would not renounce their faith were severe, including crucifixion.  Ultimately, the Tokugawa policy of isolationism lasted for over two hundred years until Commodore Perry, sailing for the United States, “opened” Japan to trade.  The Japanese opened their ports but also ended the feudal system and restored the emperor to power.  The Meiji Restoration which followed the Tokugawa years set about modernizing and industrializing Japan.

    The Question:

    One way in which knights, samurai, and warlords are similar is that they all

    (1) were traditional religious leaders

    (2) occupied military posts in the Chinese Empire

    (3) expelled the Moors from Spain

    (4) held positions of power in feudal systems


    Answer: Held positions of power in feudal systems

    Explanation: Feudalism is a political and military system.  In a feudal system, pledges of loyalty are given in exchange for land.  This means that land is exchanged for military service.  Typically, in a feudal system, decentralization occurs as the ruler is not strong enough to maintain order and must enlist the support of powerful lords.  With the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, Europe entered a period of feudalism during the Middle Ages.  Japan also experienced a period of feudalism that began in the 1100s when the Japanese emperor lost authority and a shogun or chief military general came to power.  In Japan, the daimyo or landowning class received land in exchange for promises of loyalty and military service.  Of course, in all feudal systems, warriors were very important.  Knights were skilled soldiers in Medieval Europe while Samurai were skilled warriors in Japan.  Finally, Europe and Japan were not the only nations to experience feudalism.  Whenever a central government is weak, feudalism can develop.  In Chinese history, there were periods of weak dynasties and powerful warlords.  During these feudal periods, warlords exercised military and civil power over particular regions.

    The Question:

    The term monsoons can be defined as

    (1) seasonal winds

    (2) sand deposits

    (3) ocean currents

    (4) mountain avalanches


    Answer: Seasonal Winds


    Explanation: Monsoons are seasonal winds.  The summer monsoons in India and adjacent areas are characterized by heavy rainfall.  In fact, it might be helpful to think of monsoons in India as the winds that bring the rains in the summer season.  Of course, too much rain can lead to flooding and not enough rain can lead to famine or starvation.  Still, many Indians consider the monsoons to be life.  But it is always important to remember that monsoons are winds.  Monsoon winds helped early sailors in the Indian Ocean trade network.  Sailors could use the winds to help sail their vessels.  Yes, monsoons are winds.  Some monsoon winds are dry and some monsoon winds are not.  But all monsoons are seasonal winds.

    The Question:

    The leadership of Genghis Khan, the use of the stirrup, and excellent horsemanship skills contributed directly to the

    (1) collapse of Silk Road trade

    (2) defeat of Tokugawa Japan

    (3) beginning of European exploration

    (4) rise of the Mongol Empire


    Answer: Rise of the Mongol Empire

    Explanation: The Mongols created the largest contiguous land empire ever seen in the history of the world.  In the 13th century, the nomadic Mongol horsemen of Central Asia were united by Genghis Khan.  The great Khan led his fierce warriors on a wave of conquest that lasted twenty years.  After the death of Genghis Khan, his descendants continued to rule vast parts of the Eurasia, although in separate khanates or kingdoms.  The Mongols were able to conquer a vast empire because of their superb horsemanship which included the use of the stirrup.  The Mongols also created peace and security along the Silk Roads.  Kublai Khan, a grandson of Genghis Khan, established the Yuan Dynasty in China and was visited by a very impressed Marco Polo.  The Mongols were skilled and disciplined warriors who changed the history of Eurasia for a time.

    The Question:

    Five-year plans and collectivization are most closely associated with

    (1) Joseph Stalin

    (2) Mikhail Gorbachev

    (3) Adolf Hitler

    (4) Deng Xiaoping


    Answer: Joseph Stalin

    Explanation: Joseph Stalin was the second dictator of the Soviet Union.  After the death of Lenin (1924), the leader of the Bolshevik Revolution (1917), Stalin outmaneuvered his primary opponent, Leon Trotsky, to lead the Soviet Union.  Stalin was a brutal dictator who imprisoned political dissidents in gulags or labor camps in Siberia and executed his enemies during the Great Purge of the Communist Party.  Stalin also sought to fully industrialize the Soviet Union through his Five-year plans.  The first of his Five-year plans called for total industrial output to increase by 250 percent in just five years.  In order to bring about these increases, the government took control of all industries.  It also took the peasants’ land away.  Peasants were forced to work on big, government-owned farms called collective farms.  Kulaks or wealthier peasants tried to resist but were either executed or imprisoned.  Yet collective farms were not productive farms and a terrible famine ensued.  Between 1932 and 1933, millions of people died of starvation and diseases caused by malnutrition. 

    The Question:

    One way in which the Great Leap Forward and the Four Modernizations are similar is that each was an attempt to

    (1) increase farm and factory output

    (2) develop a democratic government

    (3) strengthen economic ties with communist neighbors

    (4) reduce the gap between rich and poor


    Answer: Increase farm and factory output

    Explanation: Mao Zedong was the leader of the Chinese Communist Party.  The Communists fought a civil war against Jiang Jieshi and the Nationalist Party.  In 1949, when the Communists won the civil war, Mao immediately set about to transform China economically, politically, and socially.  In 1958, Mao initiated the “Great Leap Forward" in an attempt to rapidly industrialize China and establish farming collectives.  Like Stalin’s Five-year Plans and his collectivization of agriculture in the Soviet Union, Mao forced peasants to combine their lands in huge communes or agricultural communities.  In these communes, the state owned everything.  The peasants owned nothing.  But strong peasant resistance to collectivization reduced output.  Those who protested were “reeducated” in prison camps or killed.  Although industrial production did increase somewhat, Mao was unable to modernize China as fast as he had promised.  It was not until the death of Mao and the rise to power of Deng Xiaoping that China became a great industrial power.  Unlike Mao Zedong, Deng introduced elements of capitalism or the free market to China.  In his “Four Modernizations,” Deng sought to transform agriculture, industry, science and technology, and the military.  In the field of industry, Deng gave limited freedom to industry and permitted Western manufacturers to open factories in China.  Chinese citizens were also given more freedom in the marketplace.  They were now encouraged to set up small businesses.  In agriculture, the government no longer forced peasants to work on large collective farms.  Instead, it allowed peasants to farm in small family units and decide which crops to grow.  Food production greatly increased.

    The Question:

    Mohandas Gandhi’s protests during India’s independence movement were often successful because of his application of

    (1) an appeasement policy

    (2) civil disobedience

    (3) traditional caste beliefs

    (4) divide-and-conquer principles


    Answer: Civil Disobedience

    Explanation: Mohandas K. Gandhi was the nonviolent leader of India’s independence movement.  Gandhi (1869-1948) was a lawyer and became the head of the Indian National Congress.  Gandhi believed very strongly in nonviolence and encouraged many Indians to practice passive resistance to British rule.  Indians refused to buy or use British goods, serve in the armed forces, pay taxes, or obey British law.  Indeed civil disobedience is the refusal to obey unjust laws in an effort to change laws.  When Gandhi encouraged Indians to make salt in violation of a British monopoly on salt production, he was encouraging civil disobedience.  Ultimately, nonviolent protesters believe that by revealing injustices, individuals in power will recognize the harm they do and change.  While the British imprisoned Gandhi many times, they ultimately realized that India belonged to Indians and independence was declared in 1947.  But independence did not bring all that nationalists had hoped for.  Bloody riots between Hindus and Muslims broke out throughout India and finally to prevent further bloodshed, the British and the Indians agreed to division of the subcontinent.  Pakistan was created for Indian Muslims while the greater portion of the subcontinent became the newly independent Republic of India.  Today, India is the world’s largest democracy.

    The Question:

    The policy of establishing colonies to gain wealth by controlling colonial trade is called

    (1) socialism

    (2) fascism

    (3) mercantilism

    (4) communism


    Answer: Mercantilism

    Explanation: Mercantilism was an economic theory.  It was popular during the Age of Exploration and the subsequent conquest of the Americas.  According to mercantilist theory, colonies existed only to enrich their founding, or mother, country.  In other words, colonies existed for the benefit of the mother country.  The colonies sent to the mother country raw materials or natural resources and the mother country sent manufactured products back to the colonies at a profit.  This kept more wealth flowing into the mother country, creating a favorable balance of trade for the mother country.  Indeed colonies were not allowed to produce manufactured goods.  They could only sell their resources to the mother country and not to any other country.  The mother country had a monopoly on the colony’s trade.  Mercantilism economically benefitted the mother country but harmed the colony.  Finally, mercantilists believed that a country’s wealth was determined by how much gold or silver it held.  Colonies could be a controlled source of gold and silver.  Mercantilists also believed in the use of tariffs or taxes on imported goods to protect their home industries from competition.  Taxes on imported goods raised the prices of these goods.  This encouraged people to buy the cheaper goods manufactured in their own country rather than foreign-made goods.  Mercantilism made the Atlantic nations of Europe economically and politically strong.

    The Question:

    What was a result of the Neolithic Revolution?

    (1) Civilizations developed.

    (2) Humans first learned to use fire.

    (3) Life expectancy declined.

    (4) People began hunting and gathering for food.


    Answer: Civilizations developed.

    Explanation: The Neolithic Age refers to the period of time when people learned to farm and domesticate animals.  This dramatic turning point occurred independently in a number of locations, primarily river valleys, and spread over time.  During this period, people began to produce food by domesticating animals – the dog was probably the first – and by cultivating plants – wheat and barley first.  Weapons and tools became more refined and were of polished stone.  The production of food resulted in a more settled, less nomadic existence, and this in turn led to the growth of permanent villages (the earliest cities known were Jericho in Palestine and Byblos in Lebanon).  A reliable food supply also led a population increase and, thus, to the development of social order or social hierarchy.  Of course, as the food supply increased and not all individuals were needed for farming, specialization or people performing different jobs occurred.  Finally, the Neolithic Revolution eventually gave rise to civilizations or complex societies.  The word civilization stems from the Greek word civis or city.  The arts of civilization – writing, literature, political organization, and science – developed in the fertile valleys of Mesopotamia and Egypt, where people first began to experience an urban life.  The beginning of what historians call civilization is generally assumed to be the Bronze Age – the era when metal (copper and bronze) was used for tools, when pottery and weaving were developed, and when the wheel was invented in Mesopotamia.  But back to the dramatic turning point in world history when hunters and gatherers learned to farm and settle: The Neolithic Revolution occurred around 10,000 B.C.E. and it changed humanity more profoundly than any other event in world history.  It truly was revolutionary.

    The Question:

    Korea has frequently served as a cultural bridge between

    (1) Cambodia and Vietnam

    (2) Russia and India

    (3) Thailand and Indonesia

    (4) China and Japan


    Answer: China and Japan

    Explanation:  It is important to remember the geography component of the Global History and Geography curriculum.  As such, students must know the location of nations, especially in relation to other nations as well as the impact of geography on the development of cultures.  So, if the student is not standing near a world map, it is important to find one.  Look carefully at East Asia, it is clear that China, Korea, and Japan are in geographic proximity to one another.  Yes, Korea is a peninsula in East Asia but notice that it is located next to China.  To the east of the Korean peninsula are the islands of Japan (Japan is an archipelago or a series of islands).  Of course, today, the Korean peninsula is home to two countries: the Communist North Korea and the non-Communist South Korea.  However, even before the partitioning of the peninsula, Korea was important in world history.  Korea had its own dynamic kingdoms and civilization but was influenced by its neighbor, China.  Through cultural diffusion, many new ideas and inventions entered Korea from China.  Buddhism, an Indian religion, entered Korea from China and in turn, spread to Japan.  In addition, Chinese inventions like papermaking, the compass, and gunpowder also spread from China to Korea and then to Japan.  Yes, Korea served as a cultural bridge between China and Japan due to its critical location.  Yes, Korea was a bridge for cultural diffusion.

    The Question:

    What was a result of the Industrial Revolution in England?

    (1) the growth of the middle class

    (2) an increase in nomadic herding

    (3) a decline in urban population

    (4) a decrease in international trade


    Answer: The growth of the middle class

    Explanation: The Industrial Revolution began in Britain in 1750.  Prior to the Industrial Revolution, products were made by hand at home or in small workshops (the domestic system).  With the Industrial Revolution, products were manufactured with machines in factories (the factory system).  Industrialization greatly transformed the nature of society as the production of goods greatly increased and the prices of goods fell. Of course, with so many benefits, the Industrial Revolution quickly spread to other countries in Western Europe and beyond.  Yet every region that industrialization spread to experienced profound changes or consequences.  Urbanization or the growth of cities was a direct consequence of the Industrial Revolution as workers had to live in the immediate location of factories.  Another consequence of industrialization was the low wages, long hours, and unsafe working conditions of early factory workers.  Finally, industrialization led to the growth of the middle class.  The middle class can be defined as a social class existing between the working class and the upper class.  Typically, the middle class consisted of white-collar workers.  White-collar workers were not factory workers but rather office workers or workers in the non-production realm of industries.  White-collar workers did not make goods at machines but rather were managers, accountants, and office workers.  Yes, industrialization led to many changes: increased production, cheaper goods, an increased standard of living as more individuals could afford cheaper manufactured goods, and the growth of the middle class – the class between the working class and the  upper class.

    The Question:

    A similarity between Shinto in Japan and animism in African societies is that both

    (1) use the Torah to establish law codes

    (2) stress the importance of the Eightfold Path

    (3) believe that spirits exist in nature

    (4) base social rank on a caste system


    Answer: Believe that spirits exist in nature

    Explanation: The earliest belief system of most societies was animism.  Animism is the belief that spirits exist in the natural world.  The word animism comes from “anima,” which is another word for spirit.  In order to keep their environments safe and productive, animists acted to please the spirits in nature.  Animists believed that success in farming, fishing, and hunting depended on the goodwill of the spirits of the earth, water, seeds, forests, animals, and fish.  Priests were responsible for creating rituals that the people believed allowed them to communicate with the spirits.  Often animism had ancestor worship.  Animists believed that the spirits of human beings lived on after their bodies died.  The spirits of the dead could influence the other spirits in favor of their living relatives.  Animism was practiced in many societies but it was particularly popular in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.  Even today, animism is practiced in parts of Africa, although Islam and Christianity are also popularly practiced in Africa.  Finally, Shinto is the traditional belief of the Japanese people.  Shinto is essentially a Japanese interpretation of animism.  The word Shinto means “the way of the gods.”  Practitioners of Shinto honor the spirits that inhabit the natural world such as rocks, trees, and mountains.  Therefore, a common belief of African animists and practitioners of Shinto is the belief in the existence of spirits in nature.  The Japanese word for spirit is kami.  The Japanese also believed that the emperor was a descendant of the sun goddess who ruled all the other nature spirits and protected Japan.  After Japan’s defeat in World War II, the emperor was forced to announce that he was not divine.  However, Shinto is still a popular belief in Japan.  Of course, the Japanese also practice Buddhism, the Indian religion that taught that life has suffering but suffering can end.

    The Question:

    The development of the concept of zero, the use of a decimal system, and the Buddhist cave paintings at Ajanta are all achievements of the

    (1) Inca Empire

    (2) Gupta Empire

    (3) Roman Republic

    (4) Kingdom of Songhai


    Answer: Gupta Empire

    Explanation: The Gupta Empire, also known as the Golden Age of Hindu culture, was established in 320 C.E. (A.D.) in the Indian subcontinent.  A long period of peace followed the military conquests of the early Gupta emperors and led to a time of great intellectual achievements for India.  Indeed, Gupta rulers used their wealth from foreign trade and a prospering economy to enrich Indian culture with new ideas.  Gupta rulers as well as the upper classes established colleges and universities.  Consequently, Indian art, science, and scholarship flourished.  Universities and libraries protected the Sanskrit (the ancient language of the Indian subcontinent – the language of Hinduism and the Vedas, Hindu sacred writings) writings of the past.  Indian writers and artists also produced many masterpieces during this time.  The great poet, Kalidasa, wrote plays and poems that are still cherished today.   In addition, two epic poems and classics in Indian literature, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, were completed during this period.  Both were passed down through the years by oral tradition before they were written down.  These poems are still popular today.  The Ramayana is a tale of a hero who is separated from his wife for many years.  The Mahabharata contains moral lessons and is a source of religious inspiration.  Indeed, the Bhagavad-Gita is part of the Mahabharata.  Of course, in addition to art and poetry, the Gupta period is known for its great advances in mathematics and science.  Indian scientists and mathematicians invented the decimal system and the concept of zero.  The numbers 1 through 9 plus 0 were invented and came to Europe through contacts with the Arab world and thus, are known as Arabic numerals even though these symbols were invented in India.  A mathematician named Ayabhata calculated pi, a necessary concept in geometry.  Pi expresses the relationship between the circumference of a circle and its diameter.  Other Indian scientists discovered theories about gravity.  Finally, the cave paintings of Ajanta were also known for their exquisite beauty and their Buddhist art.  Yes, the Gupta rulers were Hindus and Hinduism was the dominant religion of the subcontinent but it is always important to remember that Buddhism was founded by Siddhartha Gautama in India and as such, in India, many Buddhist monuments and arts can be found.

    The Question:

    Which action taken by the Meiji government encouraged industrialization in 19th-century Japan?

    (1) building a modern transportation system

    (2) limiting the number of ports open to foreign trade

    (3) forcing families to settle on collective farms

    (4) establishing a system of trade guilds


    Answer: Building a modern transportation system

    Explanation: The Meiji Restoration was a significant turning point in Japanese history.  Prior to the Meiji Restoration, Japan was ruled by the Tokugawa shoguns or military generals.  The Tokugawa shoguns ruled a largely feudal Japan and pursued a policy of isolationism.  However, in 1854, with the arrival of Commodore Perry sailing for the United States, the Tokugawa were strongly encouraged to end their policy of isolationism.  In the Treaty of Kanagawa, the shogun agreed to open two Japanese ports to American ships.  Soon other nations gained similar trading rights.  These changes had a powerful impact on the Japanese and some Japanese felt that Japan need to modernize in an effort to compete with the industrialized West.  A rebellion ensued and the shogun was overthrown, the emperor restored to power, and Japan began to modernize and industrialize.  This period from 1868 to 1912 is known as the Meiji Restoration.  Meiji means “enlightened rule” and was the name taken by the Japanese emperor who had been restored to power after the shogun was removed from power.  It is important to remember that during the feudal period in Japan, the emperor had lost his political power.  But with the Meiji Restoration, the emperor was restored to power.  In addition, the reformers of the Meiji Restoration were determined to strengthen Japan by using western methods and machinery to develop an industrial economy in Japan.  The government built factories and sold them to wealthy families.  These families became powerful in banking and industry and were known as zaibatsu.  Meiji reforms also established a system of public education and set up universities with western instructors to teach modern technology.  Finally, as the reformers of Meiji Japan sought to modernize and industrialize Japan, they also needed to build a modern transportation system.  The distribution of manufactured goods is as important as the production of goods.  After all, profits depend on the ability to move goods to markets.

    The Question:

    • Foreign rulers were overthrown.
    • Admiral Zheng He established trade links.
    • Civil service exams were reinstated.

    These events in history occurred during the rule of the

    (1) Mughal dynasty in India

    (2) Abbasid dynasty in the Middle East

    (3) Ming dynasty in China

    (4) Tokugawa shogunate in Japan


    Answer: Ming dynasty in China

    Explanation: In 1368, about 90 years after the Mongol leader Kublai Khan established the Yuan dynasty in China, Chinese rule was restored.  Many Chinese resented foreign rule and in 1368, a peasant leader, Zhu Yuanzhang, led a rebellion that overthrew the Mongols and established the Ming dynasty.  Under the Ming, China was once again ruled by the Chinese.  Ming leaders sought to restore the country’s greatness and its supremacy in the region.  The Chinese traditionally thought of China as the Middle Kingdom, the center of the earth and the source of civilization.  To restore China to greatness, Ming rulers enacted many reforms.  They brought back the civil service system.  In this system, candidates had to pass a difficult exam for government service.  Confucian learning became important again.  Finally, during the first several decades of the 1400s, the Ming emperor encouraged exploration and the Chinese admiral, Zheng He, established trade links with many distant commerce centers and brought back exotic animals, including a giraffe, to China for the imperial zoo.  Zheng He traveled all the way to East Africa.  However, the following Ming emperor ended the voyages as the influence of Confucian scholars increased in the Chinese court.  Confucian scholars looked to the past and saw no benefit but only unnecessary expenses in the voyages.  They believed that limiting contact with foreign influences was the best way to preserve ancient traditions.  The decision to “withdraw” from the larger world would have disastrous consequences for China, especially with the rise to global power of the Europeans.

    The Question:

    Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels encouraged workers to improve their lives by

    (1) electing union representatives

    (2) participating in local government

    (3) overthrowing the capitalist system

    (4) demanding pensions and disability insurance


    Answer: Overthrowing the capitalist system

    Explanation: Karl Marx was a 19th-century German philosopher who witnessed the early years of industrialization.  Seeing the unsafe working conditions in factories and the slums that workers lived in, Marx believed that workers were being exploited for the benefit of the capitalist factory owners. Indeed Marx blamed the problems faced by workers on the capitalist system.  Under this system, business owners put up the money, or capital, needed to bring workers, machines, and raw materials together to produce goods.  Workers received wages for their labor while capitalists gained profits on their investments.  Marx claimed that it was unfair for workers who produced the goods to get less for their labor than capitalists received for their investments.  According to Marx, workers and capitalists were enemies locked in class struggle.  Marx believed that the working class or proletariat and bourgeoisie or owners of businesses would be in conflict until a revolution occurred.  For Marx, the solution to the problems caused by capitalism was revolution.  He urged workers of every nation to rise up and smash the capitalist system.  After the revolution, the workers would own all the sources of wealth.  Marx believed that a dictatorship of the proletariat would be necessary in the beginning phases of a communist society but that the dictatorship would wither away over time.  In 1848, Karl Marx along with his colleague, Friedrich Engels, wrote The Communist Manifesto.  The last words in the manifesto were: “Let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution.  The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains.  They have a world to win.  Proletarians of all countries, unite!”

    The Question:

    The primary reason the Bantu-speaking people of West Africa migrated southward and eastward between 500 B.C. and A.D. 1500 was to

    (1) flee warfare

    (2) seek religious freedom

    (3) establish a colonial empire

    (4) find land for farming and grazing


    Answer: Find land for farming and grazing

    Explanation: The homeland of the Bantu-speaking people was in what is now southeastern Nigeria and the Cameroons in West Africa.  During the classical era, an accelerating movement of Bantu-speaking peoples occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.  Bantu-speaking people moved throughout Africa south of the Sahara.  However, it is important to remember that Bantu expansion was not a conquest or invasion such as that of Alexander the Great and it was not a massive and self-conscious migration like that of Europeans to the Americas.  It was a slow movement of peoples, perhaps a few extended families at a time, but taken as a whole, it brought to Africa south of the equator a measure of cultural and linguistic commonality.  The Bantu-speaking people were farmers and were therefore, in search of new lands for farming crops and grazing their livestock.  In their migration, the Bantu-speaking people spread agriculture and also iron-making technology.  Among their encounters, none was more significant than that between the Bantu-speaking farmers and the hunters and gatherers they encountered.  Farmers displaced many hunters and gatherers.  Yet Bantu cultures changed too based on the environment of the new lands they settled.  Ultimately, Bantu-speaking farmers spread their agricultural techniques and ironworking technology throughout eastern and southern Africa, probably reaching present-day South Africa by 400 A.D.