8th Grade World History II Online
Unit 1: Beginning
History is the study of the human past—the story of change over time. It’s a story based on evidence. Our physical world is the setting that helps shape the story, and real people are its heroes. Historians ask questions about all of these elements. Why did Europeans of the Middle Ages build cathedrals? How did the shoguns of Japan maintain their power? What inspired explorers to set sail across the seas? Join our odyssey through history. The questions are endless; the answers, amazing.
- Getting Started
Unit 2: A Renaissance Begins in Europe
Most Europeans lost touch with classical Greece and Rome in the centuries after the fall of the Roman empire. They lost touch with each other and with Asia when trade declined. But in Italy, there were constant reminders of what had been. People used stones from the Colosseum to build their homes. They walked beneath great aqueducts, and scholars still read classical works. When the plague subsided and trade picked up in the fourteenth century, Italian artists, scholars, and authors were ready to try out new ideas, and there were merchants who could afford to help them. We know this period of enormous achievement as the Renaissance.
- Europe Reborn: Discovering Greece and Rome
- Cities Spur Change
- Genius in Florence
- Rome Revived
Unit 3: The Spread of New Ideas
The Renaissance wasn’t limited to Italy, and it wasn’t limited to new styles of art and literature. Ideas spread north from Italy and artists and thinkers across Northern Europe used those ideas to create their own distinct styles. Renaissance ideas spread into other fields as well. Ideas that we take for granted today in politics and religion came about during the Renaissance. Machiavelli questioned the political world, while Luther and Calvin questioned the practices and beliefs of the Christian Church, and the Church examined itself. Europe and the world would never be the same.
- The Renaissance Beyond Italy
- The Reformation Splits Christendom
- The Counter-Reformation and Beyond
Unit 4: New Powers in Asia
While European culture grew and redefined itself, political and cultural changes occurred in Asia, too. Almost every part of Asia had suffered hardship during Mongol rule. Now, each region developed its own political and cultural identity. Great Muslim empires rose in Western and Southern Asia, and the religious differences within Islam led to political conflict in some places. Farther east in China, the Ming dynasty achieved greatness and supported tremendous cultural accomplishment. In Japan, a feudal system maintained control. And in Russia, rulers borrowed cultural ideas that would become distinctly Russian.
- Three Islamic Empires
- Ming China and Feudal Japan
- Russia Rising
Unit 5: Europe Seeks Asia and Meets the Americas
Asia had much to offer and Europeans knew it. But how could they get the spices, silks, porcelain, and all the rest? The Ottomans controlled the ancient Silk Road, and it was terribly dangerous to travel through mountains and deserts anyway. But what if ships could sail to Asia and back again? New ship design and new navigation aids might make such trips possible. The race was on. The explorers and those who sent them knew what they were after. They had no idea that they would actually find whole worlds unknown to them. At the same time, the people of the powerful empires across the seas knew nothing of Europe or Asia or Africa. They had no idea what was about to happen.
- Portugal and Spain Explore, and the Age of Exploration
- Filling in the Map
- Old Civilizations
Unit 6: Exploration Changes the World
Gold, glory, and God. The Spanish and Portuguese conquistadors and their sponsors knew what their goals were, and they were willing to go to great lengths to achieve them. Guns and germs helped them defeat two great empires. But the conquistadors could not have predicted the long-term and often unintended consequences of their actions. Farming changed on three continents. Diets changed. Thousands of people willingly crossed the oceans to start new lives. Millions were kidnapped and forced to cross the oceans as slaves. And millions more died of disease and abuse. We still feel the consequences today.
- Clash of Civilizations
- The Spanish and Portuguese Empires
- The Columbian Exchange
- Songhai, Benin, and the New Slave Trade
Unit 7: Changing Empires, Changing Ideas
Elizabeth I was quite a woman and quite a ruler. One of England’s most powerful monarchs, she had an entire age named for her, and the explorations she sponsored led to the colonies that became the United States. But England faced difficult times after Elizabeth, and a political revolution there meant that no English monarch would ever again have so much power. At the same time, a revolution in science changed the way people think and started “modern times.” Have you ever examined something to find out more about it? Or conducted a small experiment? Do you believe you can figure a lot of things out for yourself by using your mind? Then you are part of an enlightened age.
- Elizabethan England and North American Initiatives
- England: Civil War and Empire
- The Scientific Revolution
- The Enlightenment: An Age of Reason
Unit 8: Writing
The world changed in many ways between 1300 and 1800. Think of all that happened and all the people who influenced what happened. Which individual had the most influence on the way people thought, particularly in Europe? Could it have been Leonardo da Vinci? Or Johannes Gutenberg? How about Martin Luther, or John Locke, or Isaac Newton? Prepare to choose someone who interests you as a topic for research and writing.
- Writing from Research
Unit 9: Age of Democratic Revolutions
England’s revolution was just the beginning. Educated people in many places read and thought about what had happened in England and what John Locke had said about the purpose of government. They gathered in French salons to discuss politics as well as philosophy and art. And the more they thought about it, the more they grew dissatisfied with the status quo—the way things were. In British colonies like Virginia and Massachusetts, in France, in the Spanish colonies of Latin America, and even in Russia, the time had come for change. A revolution is just that—a dramatic change—and the world was about to witness a series of revolutions. How many would succeed? How difficult would they be?
- The World Turned Upside Down: The American Revolution
- The French Revolution
- Napoleon: From Revolution to Empire
- Latin American Independence Movements
- The Russia of the Romanovs
Unit 10: Revolutions in Arts, Industries, and Work
The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw remarkable political revolutions. But not all revolutions are about government. In the midst of the political changes taking place in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there were revolutions taking place in arts and industries, in economics, and in communication and transportation, too. Everyday life may have changed more between 1750 and 2000 than in all the human history before that. Much of that change gave people longer lives and less labor. But some of it brought human misery and indescribable hardship—problems the world is still trying to solve.
- Romantic Art in an Age of Revolution
- Britain Begins the Industrial Revolution
- A Revolution in Transportation and Communication
- Hard Times
- Slavery in a Modern World
Unit 11: Picturing Your Thoughts
A picture is worth a thousand words. So what is a whole collage of pictures worth? When you put it together thoughtfully, a collage can speak volumes and even prove a point.
- Picturing Your Thoughts
Unit 12: Nations Unite and Expand
Can you name the nations of Europe? If you thought of Italy and Germany as two of them, you would be right. But that wasn’t true 150 years ago. As old as their cultures and histories are, Italy and Germany are fairly young as unified nations. The United States had to fight to be unified 150 years ago, too. But once those issues were settled, there was time for enormous innovation. A new industrial revolution occurred and it resulted in both astonishing inventions and a need for raw materials and markets. A new race started; this one for empire.
- Growing Nationalism in Italy and Germany
- The United States Fights and Unites
- Age of Innovation
- The New Imperialism
Unit 13: Answers and Questions
People of the nineteenth century were confident that they could change things for the better. So when cities grew too fast and workers lived there in filth, it was time to take action. Scientists worked on disease. City governments worked on sanitation. Industrial workers organized unions to gain better conditions, and women demanded a voice. Writers and artists looked for answers to serious questions, too, as did musicians. And entrepreneurs—business leaders with vision—saw the cities and the people in them in a whole new way.
- Organizing for Change
- Reaching Millions
- Culture Shocks
- Remarkable Individuals
Unit 14: The Dawn of the Twentieth Century
The world seemed to be getting smaller and smaller as the twentieth century opened. Canals made travel from one part of the world to another faster and safer. Soon, people would be traveling at unimaginable speeds through the air, as well. And ideas about who people are and what rights they have brought people together in their demands for self-rule. In Southeastern Europe, in Central Europe, in India, and in China and parts of Africa, people developed a sense of nationalism, identity with their own country. And they demanded the freedom to throw off the old empires and rule themselves.
- Rising Expectations in Waning Empires
- Linking the Seas and Reaching for the Skies
- Wrapping Up
Unit 15: End-of-Course Review and Assessment
Congratulations! You have almost finished the course. To wrap up World History, read some conclusions about the world between 1400 and 1917, and draw some conclusions of your own. Then, demonstrate your knowledge in the Year-End Assessment.