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600 - 1450

Eastern Dominance:
With the collapse of the Roman Empire, the balance of power shifts towards the East.

The Rise of Islam

While the date 600 C.E. can refer to the final fall of the Roman Empire, it also coincides with the dates for the founding of Islam. This new religion began in Sauid Arabia around 600 with the life of the Prophet Muhammed. Muslims believe that he was spoken to by the angel Jabril (Gabriel) and given the words to the Quran, the Islamic holy book. This makes him their final prophet, but he is seen in no way as a deity. Islam is now based on 6 beliefs and 5 pillars:

1. Belief in God (Allah), the one and only one worthy of all worship (tawhid).

2. Belief in all the prophets (nabi) and messengers (rasul) sent by God.

3. Belief in the books (kutub) sent by God:
The Suhuf-i-Ibrahim (Scrolls of Abraham)
The Tawrat sent to Musa (Moses)
The Zabur sent to Daud (David)
The Injil sent to Isa (Jesus)
The Qur'an sent to Muhammad

4. Belief in the Angels

5. Belief in the Day of Judgement (qiyama) and in the life after death (heaven and hell).

6. Belief in Fate (predestination) (qadar).


1. Shahadah: Testifying that there is none worthy of worship except God (Tawheed) and that Muhammad is his servant and messenger (Nubuwwah).

2. Salah: Performing the five daily prayers.

3. Sawm: Fasting from dawn to dusk in the month of Ramadan.

4. Zakat: Giving Zakaah (charity).

5. Hajj: The Pilgrimage to Mecca during the month of Dhul Hijjah, which is compulsory once in a lifetime for one who has the ability to do it.

After Muhammed's death in 632, Islam quickly began to spread out of the region. The by 750 the Islamic Empire covered nearly the entire Middle East, Persia, Afghanistan, North Africa, Spain, Turkey, Constantinople, and even some of Southeast Asia. The empire would later be split into smaller empires and caliphates due to internal conflicts.

For an in depth look at the history of Islam visit here:

A Chronology of Muslim History

age_of_caliphs.gif

The West

This time period in Europe is generally referred to as the Middle Ages. Historians then divde it into 3 sub-periods: The Early Middle Ages, The High Middle Ages, and the Late Middle Ages.

Early Middle Ages
Without a strong unifying power, the West divided into smaller feudal states. Most government was local and based on rule of vassals by a lord. By the 800's the regrowth of centralized power that would take place in the high middle ages, began with the Frankish-ruled Holy Roman Empire.

High Middle Ages
The regrowth of Centralized Power did occur with the creation of monarchies across Europe. Christianity played and important role in this period. With the Great Schism, the Roman Catholic Church was divided in two. Also very important were the crusades. These attempted reconquests of the holy land were a strong unifying force in the West.

Late Middle Ages
The Late Middle Ages can be viewed as a low point. The Great Famine of 1315-1317 took place leaving millions to starve to death. The Black Death pandemic swept the countryside in the 14th century killing an estimated 34 million people. And while Nation-States had begun to form, they had not led to a decrease in wars. The Hundred Years War between Britain and France took place during this period.

China

The Tang, Song, and Ming dynasties were three of the greatest empires of there times, with the inventions of gunpowder and many technologies still used today. The territory of the Tang dynasty surpassed that of the once great Han. China during this time controlled massive armies and navies. During the Ming Dynasty, admiral Zheng He led epic naval expeditions on massive junks through the South China sea. He traveled to Southeast Asia, India, Persia, Arabia, Africa, and some even say America. His missions made impressive demonstrations of China's technological might. the admiral died on his last voyage and was buried at sea. After his passing, China cut funding for foreign explorations and began to focus inward.

The ships in Zheng He's fleet were nearly
zheng_he_skib.jpg
5 times as large as Columbus's Santa Maria

The Mongols

The explosion of Mongol power is a defining element of this time period. The Mongols were a nomadic peoples from Central Asia. Under the rule of Ghengis Khan, they created the second largest empire in history. Ruling 13.8 million sq. miles and over 100 million people, they were only second to the later British empire in total land area.

Height of the Mongol Empire
mongol.jpg

The Americas

Amerindians
Mayans
Aztecs
Incas
Dates
250-900
1100-1521
1200-1535
Location
Yucatan Peninsula
Central Mexico
Andean Mountains
Accomplishments
Calendar, Astronomy
Pyramids, Island Cities
Quecha, Quipu, Roads, Irrigation

The Byzantine Empire

The Byzantine or Eastern Roman Empire flourished during this time period. With the fall of Western Rome, Byzantium was the last remaining pat of the former Empire. With its capital at Constantinople, it was a gateway for trade between the Europe and Asia. The fall of Byzantium began with the invasions of the Turks in the 11th century. After many hard fought battles over hundreds of years, the Empire was reduced to its walled capital in 1453. The final Emporer, Constantine XI, died and the Byzantine Empire ceased to exist. Crusades were attempted but none were successful. The fall of the Eastern Roman Empire marks the end of this time period in history.



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