Hy1010 Ch1

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Category: World History

Date Submitted: 01/30/2013 06:52 AM

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Today’s West is typically though to comprise the regions of Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the America’s. The inclusion of these places in the West is the result of a long history of European expansion through colonization and conquest. The west begins with cities, kingdoms, and empires along the Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile River valleys. This history started with the domestication of animals, cultivation of crops, and the establishment of long distance trade routes. During the last century , however , the West came to be less about geography than about culture, identity, and technology. (Levack, Muir, Veldman, 2011, p. 3)

In addition to being a place, the West is the birth place of Western civilization, a civilization that encompasses a cultural history – a tradition stretching back thousands of years to the ancient world. The definition of the West also changed as a result of European colonialism, which began about 500 years ago. When European powers assembled overseas empires, they introduced Western languages, religions, technologies, and cultures to many distant places in the world, making Western identity a transportable concept. (Levack, Muir, Veldman, 2011, p. 4) As a result of colonialism Western culture sometimes merged with other cultures, and in the process, both were changed.

The questions one should ask when studying this course is What, When, Where, Who, How, and Why. The what will vary according to time and place. By learning when things happened, one can identify the major causes and consequences of events and thus see the transformations of Western Civilizations. The key to understanding the shifting borders of the West is to study how peoples within the West thought of themselves and how they identified others as “not Western.” Answering the who question requires an evaluation of how much individuals and groups of people were in control of events and how much events controlled them. The how question is a question about processes and how...