World Civilizations: The Global Experience Glossary

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Fourth edition

Abbasid

Dynasty that succeeded the Umayyads as caliphs within Islam; came to power in 750 C.E.

Abbas the Great

Safavid ruler from 1587 to 1629; extended Safavid domain to greatest extent; created slave regiments based on captured Russians, who monopolized firearms with Safavid armies; incorporated Western military technology.

Abdallahi, Khalifa

Successor of Muhammad Achmad as leader of Mahdists in Sudan; established state in Sudan; defeated by British General Kitchener in 1598.

Abduh, Muhammad

Disciple of al-Afghani; Muslim thinker at the end of 19th century; stressed need for adoption of Western scientific learning and technology, recognized importance of tradition of rational inquiry.

Abdul Hamid

Ottoman sultan who attempted to return to despotic absolutism during reign from 1878 to 1908; nullified constitution and restricted civil liberties; deposed in coup in 1908.

Abelard, Peter

Author of "Yes and No"; university scholar who applied logic to problems of theology; demonstrated contradictions within established doctrine.

absolute monarchy

Concept of government developed during rise of nation-states in western Europe during the 17th century; featured monarchs who passed laws without parliaments, appointed professionalized state churches, imposed state economic policies.

African National Congress

Black political organization within South Africa; pressed for end to policies of apartheid; sought open democracy leading to black majority rule; until the 1900s declared illegal in South Africa.

Afrikaner National Party

Emerged as the majority party in the all-white South African legislature after 1948; advocated complete independence from Britain; favored a rigid system of racial segregation called apartheid.

Akbar

Son and successor of Humayan; oversaw building of military and administrative systems that became typical of Mughal rule in India; pursued policy of cooperation with Hindu princes; attempted to create a new religion to bind Muslim and Hindu populations of India.

al-Afghani

Muslim thinker at the end of the 19th century; stressed need for adoption of Western scientific learning and technology; recognized importance of tradition of rational inquiry.

al-Ghazali

Brilliant Islamic theologian; struggled to fuse Greek and Quranic traditions; not entirely accepted by ulama.

al-Mahdi

Third of the Abbasid caliphs; attempted but failed to reconcile moderates among Shi'is to Abbasid dynasty; failed to resolve problem of succession.

al-Rashid, Harun

Most famous of Abbasid caliphs; renowned for sumptuous and costly living; dependent on Persian advisors early in reign; death led to civil wars over succession.

Ali

Cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad; one of the orthodox caliphs; focus for Shi'is.

Ali, Muhammad

Won power struggle in Egypt following fall of Mamluks; established mastery of all Egypt by 1811; introduced effective army based of Western tactics and supply and a variety of other reforms; by 1830s was able to challange Ottoman governments in Constantinople; died in 1848.

Allah

Supreme God in strictly monotheistic Islam.

Allende, Salvador

President of Chile; nationalized industries and banks; sponsored peasant and worker expropriations of lands and foreign-owned factories; overthrown in 1973 by revolt of Chilean military with the support of the United States.

Alliance for Progress

Begun in 1961 by the United States to develop Latin America as an alternative to radical political solutions; enjoyed only limited success; failure of development programs led to renewal intervention programs.

Almohadis

A reformist movement among the Islamic Berber tribes of northern Africa; later than the Almoravids; penetrated into sub-Saharan Africa.

Almoravids

A puritanical reformist movement among the Islamic Berber tribes of northern Africa; controlled gold trade across Sahara; conquered Ghana in 1076; moved southward against African kingdom of the savanna and westward into Spain.

Cabral, Pedro Alvares

Portuguese leader of an expedition to India; blown off course in 1500 and landed in Brazil.

Amaru, Tupac

Mestizo leader of Indian in Peru; supported by many among lower social classes; revolt eventually failed because of Creole fears of real social revolution.

American Civil War

Fought from 1861 to 1865; first application of Industrial Revolution to warfare; resulted in abolition in slavery in the United States and reunification of North and South.

American Revolution

Rebellion of English American colonies along Atlantic seaboard between 1775 and 1783; resulted in independence for former British colonies and eventual formation of United States of America.

amigos del país

Clubs and associations dedicated to improvements and reform in Spanish colonies; flourished during the 18th century; called for material improvements rather than political reform.

anarchists

Political group that sough the abolition of all formal government; particularly prevalent in Russia; opposed tsarist autocracy; eventually became a terrorist movement responsible for assassination of Alexander II in 1881.

Anglican church

Form of Protestantism set up in England after 1534; established by Henry VIII with himself as head at least in part to obtain a divorce from his first wife; became increasingly Protestant following Henry's death.

Anschluss

Hitler's union of Germany with the German-speaking population of Austria; took place in 1938, despite complaints of other European nations.

apartheid

Policy of strict racial segregation imposed in South Africa to permit the continued dominance of whites politically and economically.

appeasement

Policy of Neville Chamberlain, British prime minister who hoped to preserve peace in the face of German aggression; particularly applied to Munich Conference agreements; failed when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939.

Aquinas, Thomas

Creator of one of the great syntheses of medieval learning; taught at University of Paris; author of several "Summas"; believed that through reason it was possible to know much about natural order, moral law, and nature of God.

Aquino, Corazon

First president of the Philippines in the post-Marcos era of the late 1980s; husband was assassinated by thugs in pay of Marcos regime; one of the key leaders in the popular movement that toppled the dictator.

Aragon

Along with Castile, a regional kingdom of the Iberian Peninsula; pressed reconquest of peninsula from Muslims; developed a vigorous military and religious agenda.

Arevalo, Juan José

Elected president of Guatemala in 1944; began series of Socialist reforms including land reform; Nationalist program directed against foreign-owned companies such as United Fruit Company.

Argentine Republic

Replaced state of Buenos Aires in 1862; result of compromise between centralists and federalists.

Asante Empire

Established in Gold Coast among Akan people settled around Kumasi; dominated by Oyoko clan; many clans linked under Osei Tutu after 1650.

asantehene

Title taken by rule of Asante Empire; supreme civil and religious leader; authority symbolized by golden stool.

Ashikaga Takuaji

Member of the Minamoto family; overthrew the Kamakura regime and established the Ashikaga Shogunate from 1336-1573; drove emperor from Kyoto to Yoshino.

Asian sea trading network

Prior to intervention of Europeans, consisted of three zones: Arab zone based on glass, carpets and tapestries; India based on cotton textiles; and China based on paper, porcelain, and silks.

Atlantic Charter of 1941

World War II alliance agreement between the United States and Britain; included a clause that recognized the right of all people to choose a form of government under which they live; indicated a sympathy for decolonization.

audiencia

Royal court of appeals established in Spanish colonies of New World; there were ten in each viceroyalty; part of colonial administrative system; staffed by professional magistrates.

Aurangzeb

Son and successor of Shah Jahan in Mughal India; determined to extend Mughal control over whole of subcontinent; wished to purify Islam of Hindu influences; incessant warfare exhausted empire despite military success; died in 1707.

ayan

The wealthy landed elite that emerged in the early decades of Abbasid rule.

Babur

Founder of Mughal dynasty in India; descended from Turkic warriors; first led invasion of India in 1526; died in 1530.

Baibars

Commander of Mameluk forces at Ain Jalut; originally enslaved by Mongols and sold to Egyptians.

Bakr, Aby

One of Muhammad's earliest converts; succeeded Muhammad as first caliph of Islamic community.

bakufu

Military government established by the Minamoto following the Gempei Wars; centered at Kamakura; retained emperor, but real power resided in military government and samurai.

Balboa, Vasco de

First Spanish captain to begin settlement on the mainland of Mesoamerica in 1509; initial settlement eventually led to conquest of Aztec and Inca empires by other captains.

Balfour Declaration

British minister's promise of support for the establishment of Jewish settlement in Palestine during World War I; issued in 1917.

Balkan nationalism

Movements to create independent nations within the Balkan possessions of the Ottoman Empire; provoked a series of crises within the European alliance system; eventually led to World War I.

banana republics

Term given to conservative governments supported or created by the United States government in Latin America; believed to be either corrupt or subservient to U.S. interests.

Bangladesh

Founded as an independent nation in 1972; formerly East Pakistan.

banner armies

Eight armies of the Manchu tribes identified by separate flags; created by Nurhaci in early 17th century; utilized to defeat Ming emperor and established Qing dynasty.

Batavia

Dutch fortress located after 1620 on the island of Java.

Batista, Fulgencio

Dictator of Cuba from 1934 to 1944; returned to presidency in 1952; ousted from government by revolution led by Fidel Castro.

Battle of River Zab

Victory of Abbasids over Umayyds; resulted in conquest of Syria and capture of Umayyad capital.

Battle of Siffin

Fought in 657 between forces of Ali and Umayyads; settled by negotiation that led to fragmentation of Ali's party.

Batu

Ruler of Golden Horde; one of Chinggis Khan's grandson's; responsible for invasion of Russia beginning in 1236.

bedouin

Nomadic pastoralists of the Arabian peninsula; culture based on camel and goat nomadism; early converts to Islam.

Belisarius

One of Justinian's most important military commanders during period of reconquest of western Europe; commanded in North Africa and Italy.

Benedict of Nursia

Founder of monasticism in what had been the western half of the Roman Empire; established Benedictine Rule in the 6th century; paralleled development of Basil's rules in Byzantine Empire.

Benin

City state formed in 14th century under Ewuare the Great (1400-1473); control extended from Niger River to coast near modern Lagos. A large and powerful kingdom of West Africa near the coast (in present-day Nigeria), the city-state came into contact with the Portuguese in 1485 but remained relatively free of European influence; remained an important commercial and political entity until the 19th century.

Berke

Ruler of the Golden Horde; converted to Islam; his threat to Hulegu combined with the growing power of Mameluks in Egypt forestalled further Mongol conquests in the Middle East.

Berlin Wall

Built in 1961 to halt the flow of immigration from East Berlin to West Berlin; immigration was in response to lack of consumer goods and close Soviet control of economy and politics. Wall was torn down at the end of the Cold War in 1991.

Bernard of Clairvaux

Emphasized role of faith in preference to logic; stressed importance of mystical union with God; successfully challenged Abelard and had him driven from the universities.

bhaktic cults

Groups dedicated to gods and goddesses; stressed the importance of strong and emotional bonds between devotees and the god or goddess who was the object of their veneration; most widely worshipped gods were Shiva and Vishnu.

Bhutto, Benazir

Twice prime minister of Pakistan in the 1980s and 1990s; first ran for office to avenge her father's execution by the military clique then in power.

Bismark, Otto von

Conservative prime minister of Prussia; architect of German unification under Prussian king in the 1870; utilized liberal reforms to attract support for conservative causes.

Black Death

Plague that struck Europe in the 14th century; significantly reduced Europe's population; affected social structure.

blitzkrieg

German term for lightning warfare; involved rapid movement of troops, tanks, and mechanized carriers; resulted in early German victories over Belgium, Holland, and France in the World War II.

bodhisattvas

Buddhist holy men; built up spiritual merits during their lifetime; prayers even after death could aid people to achieve reflected holiness.

Boer republics

Transvaal and Orange Free State in southern Africa; established to assert independence of Boers from British colonial government in Cape Colony in 1850s; discovery of diamonds and precious metals caused British migration into the Boer areas in 1860s.

Boer War

Fought between 1899 and 1902 over the continued independence of Boer republics; resulted in British victory, but began the process of decolonization in South Africa.

Boers

Dutch settlers in Cape Colony.

Bolívar, Simon

Creole military officer in northern South America; won series of victories in Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador between 1817 and 1822; military success led to creation of independence state of Gran Colombia.

Bolshevik Revolution

After initial revolution in March 1917 had set up a liberal regime in Russia, the well-organized Bolshevik faction of the communist party, under Lenin, seized power in November (October by the Russian calendar, hence often called the October Revolution); the Bolsheviks capitalized on worker strikes and widespread discontent with Russia's continued participation in World War I; quickly moved to set up a new political and social regime.

Bolsheviks

Literally, the majority party; the most radical branch of the Russian Marxist movement; led by V.I. Lenin and dedicated to his concept of social revolution; actually a minority in the Russian Marxist political scheme until its triumph in the 1917 revolution.

Bonaparte, Napolean

Rose within the French army during the wars of the French Revolution; eventually became general; led a coup that ended the French Revolution and established the French empire under his rule; defeated and deposed in 1815.

Boxer Rebellion

Popular outburst in 1898 aimed at expelling foreigners from China; failed because of intervention of armies of Western powers in China; defeat of Chinese enhanced control by Europeans and the power of provincial officials.

boyars

Russian aristocrats; possessed less political power than did their counterparts in western Europe.

British East India Company

Joint stock company that obtained government monopoly over trade in India; acted as virtually independent government in regions it claimed.

British Raj

Government of the British East Company; developed as a result of the rivalry between France and Britain in India.

Bulgaria

Slavic kingdom established in northern portions of Balkan peninsula; constant source of pressure on Byzantine Empire; defeated by Emperor Basil II in 1014.

bushi

Regional warrior leaders in Japan; ruled small kingdoms from fortresses; administrated the law, supervised public works projects, and collected revenues; built up private armies.

Buyids

Regional splinter dynasty of the mid-10th century; invaded and captured Baghdad; ruled Abbasid Empire under name of sultan; retained Abbasids as a figureheads.

Byzantine Empire

Eastern half of Roman Empire following collapse of western half of old empire; retained Mediterranean culture, particularly Greek; laster lost Palestine, Syria, and Egypt to Islam; capital at Constantinople.

Calcutta

Headquarters of British East India Company in Bengal in Indian subcontinent; located on Ganges; captured in 1756 during early part of Seven Years' War; later became administrative center for all of Bengal.

caliph

The political and religious successor to Muhammad.

calpulli

Seven clans in Aztec society, later expanded to more than sixty; divided into residential groupings that distributed land and provided labor and warriors.

Calvin, Jean

French Protestant (16th century) who stressed doctrine of predestination; established center of his group at Swiss canton of Geneva; encouraged ideas of wider access to government, wider public education; Calvinism spread from Switzerland to northern Europe and North America.

candomble

African religious ideas and practices in Brazil, particularly among the Yoruba people.

Canton

One of two port cities in which Europeans were permitted to trade in China during the Ming dynasty.

Cape Colony

Dutch colony established at Cape of Good Hope in 1652 initially to provide a coastal station for the Dutch seaborne empire; by 1770 settlements had expanded sufficiently to come into conflict with Bantus.

Cape of Good Hope

Southern tip of Africa; first circumnavigated in 1488 by Portuguese in search of direct route to India.

capitaincies

Strips of land along Brazilian coast granted to minor Portuguese nobles for development; enjoyed limited success in developing the colony.

caravels

Slender, long-hulled vessels utilized by Portuguese; highly maneuverable and able to sail against the wind; key to development of Portuguese trade empire in Asia.

Cárdenas, Lázaro

President of Mexico from 1934 to 1940; responsible for redistribution of land, primarily to create ejidos, or communal farms; also began program of primary and rural education.

Caribbean

First area of Spanish exploration and settlement; served as experimental region for nature of Spanish colonial experience; encomienda, system of colonial management, initiated here.

Carolingians

Royal house of Franks after 8th century until their replacement in 10th century.

Castile

Along with Aragon, a regional kingdom of the Iberian peninsula; pressed reconquest of peninsula from Muslims; developed a vigorous military and religious agenda.

Castro, Fidel

Cuban revolutionary; overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1958; initiated series of reforms to establish Socialist reforms; came to depend almost exclusively on USSR.

Catherine the Great

German-born Russian tsarina in the 18th century; ruled after assassination of her husband; gave appearance of enlightenment rule; accepted Western cultural influence; maintained nobility as service aristocracy by granting them new power over peasantry.

Catholic Reformation

Restatement of traditional Catholic beliefs in response to Protestant Reformation (16th century); established councils that revived Catholic doctrine and refuted Protestant beliefs.

caudillos

Independent leaders who dominated local areas by force in defiance of national policies; sometimes seized national governments to impose their concept of rule; typical throughout newly independent countries of Latin America.

Cavour, Count Camillo di

Architect of Italian unification in 1858; formed an alliance with France to attack Austrian control of Northern Italy; resulted in creation of constitutional monarchy under Piedmontese king.

centralists

Latin American politicians who wished to create strong, centralized national governments to impose their concept of rule; often supported by politicians who described themselves as conservatives.

Chabi

Influential wife of Kubilai Khan; promoted interests of Buddhists in China; indicative of refusal of Mongol women to adopt restrictive social conventions of Chinese.

Chaldiran

Site of battle between Safavids and Ottomans; checked western advance of Safavid Empire.

Chams

Indianized rivals of the Vietnamese; driven into the highlands by the successful Vietnamese drive to the south.

Chan Buddhism

Known as Zen in Japan; stressed mediation and appreciation of natural and artistic beauty; popular with members of elite Chinese society.

Chandragupta Maurya

Founder of Maurya dynasty; established first empire in Indian subcontinent; first centralized government since Harappan civilization.

Changan

Capital of Tang dynasty; population of two million, larger than any other city in the world at that time.

Charlemagne

Charles the Great; Carolingian monarch who established substantial empire in France and Germany c. 800.

Charles III

Spanish enlightened monarch; ruled from 1759 to 1788; instituted fiscal, administrative and military reforms in Spain and its empire.

Chartist movement

Attempt by artisans and workers in Britain to gain the vote during the 1840s; demands for reform beyond the Reform Act of 1832 were incorporated into a series of petitions; movements failed.

Chiang Ching-kuo

Son and successor of Chiang Kaishek as rule of Taiwanese government in 1978; continued authoritarian government; attempted to lessen gap between followers of his father and indigenous islanders.

Chiang Kai-shek

A military officer who succeeded Sun Yatsen as the leader of Guomindang or Nationalist Party in China in the mid-1920s; became the most powerful leader in China in the early 1930s, but his Nationalist forces were defeated and driven from China by the Communists after World War II.

Chichimecs

American hunting-and-gathering groups; largely responsible for the disruption of early civilizations in Mesoamerica.

chinampas

Bed of aquatic weeds, mud, and earth placed in frames made of cane and rooted in lakes to create "floating islands"; system of irrigated agriculture utilized by Aztecs.

Chinggis Khan

Born in 1170s in decades following death of Kabul Khan; elected khagan of all Mongol tribes in 1206; responsible for conquest of northern kingdoms of China, territories as far west as the Abbasid regions; died in 1227, prior to conquest of most of Islamic world.

Chongzhen

Last of the Ming emperors; committed suicide in 1644 in the face of a Jurchen invasion of the Forbidden City at Beijing.

Choson

Earliest Korean kingdom; conquered by Han emperor in 109 B.C.E.

Churchill, Winston

British prime minister during World War II; responsible for British resistance to German air assaults.

cientificos

Advisors of the government of Porfirio Díaz who were strongly influenced by positivist ideas; permitted government to project image of modernization.

civilization

Historians use this term in two ways. First, to describe a society organized with cities, writing and a formal structure. Second, to describe a particular such society, e.g., Chinese civilization that has distinctive, shared institutions and culture. Both uses of the term generate debate.

Clive, Robert

Architect of British victory at Plassey; established foundations of British Raj in northern India (18th century).

Clovis

Early Frankish King; converted Franks to Christianity c. 496; allowed establishment of Frankish kingdom.

collectivization

Creation of large, state-run farms rather than individual holdings; allowed more efficient control over peasants; part of Stalin's economic and political planning; often adopted in other Communist regimes.

Columbian exchange

Biological and ecological exchange that took place following Spanish establishment of colonies in New World; peoples of Europe and Africa came to New World; animals, plants, and diseases of two hemispheres were transferred.

Columbus, Christopher

Genoese captain in service of king and queen of Castile and Aragon; successfully sailed to New World and returned in 1492; initiated European discoveries in Americas.

Comintern

International office of communism under USSR dominance established to encourage the formation of Communist parties in Europe and elsewhere.

Communist Party of Vietnam

Originally a wing of nationalist movement; became primary nationalist party after decline of VNQDD in 1929; led in late 1920s by Nguyen Ai Quoc, alias Ho Chi Minh.

compradors

Wealthy new group of Chinese merchants under the Qing dynasty; specialized in the import-export trade on China's south coast; one of the major links between China and the outside world.

Comte, Auguste

French philosopher (19th century); founder of positivism, a philosophy that stressed observation and scientific approaches to the problems of society.

Comunero Revolt

One of popular revolts against Spanish colonial rule in New Granada (Colombia) in 1781; suppressed as a result of divisions among rebels.

Congress of Vienna

Meeting in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars (1815) to restore political stability in Europe and settle diplomatic disputes.

consulado

Merchant guild of Seville; enjoyed virtual monopoly rights over goods shipped to America and handled much of the silver received in return.

consuls

Two chief executives or magistrates of the Roman republic; elected by an annual assembly dominated by aristocracy.

Cook, Captain James

Made voyages to Hawaii from 1777 to 1779 resulting in opening of islands to the West; convinced Kamehameha to establish unified kingdom in the islands.

Copernicus

Polish monk and astronomer (16th century); disproved Hellenistic belief that the earth was at the center of the universe.

Copts

Christian sect of Egypt; tended to support Islamic invasions of this area in preference to Byzantine rule.

core nations

Nations, usually European, that enjoyed profit from world economy; controlled international banking and commercial services such as shipping; exported manufactured goods for raw materials.

Cornwallis, Lord Charles

Reformer of the East India Company administration of India in the 1790s; reduced power of local British administrators; checked widespread corruption.

Coronado, Francisco Vázquez de

Leader of Spanish expedition into northern frontier region of New Spain; entered what is now United States in search of mythical cities of gold.

corporatism

Political ideology that emphasized the organic nature of society and made the state a mediator, adjusting the interests of different social groups; appealed to conservative groups in European and Latin American societies and to the military.

Cortés, Hernán

Led expedition of 600 to coast of Mexico in 1519; conquistador responsible for defeat of Aztec Empire; captured Tenochtitlan.

cossacks

Peasants recruited to migrate to newly seized lands in Russia, particularly in south; combined agriculture with military conquests; spurred additional frontier conquests and settlements.

Council of the Indies

Body within the Castilian government that issued all laws and advised king on all matters dealing with the Spanish colonies of the New World.

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