Global History & Geography 9 Course Description & Essential Questions for each Unit

Global History & Geography 9 is the first year of a two year course that explores World History using a Regional approach. The history and culture of the following regions will be addressed as part of the NYS curriculum: 

  1. Africa (September-November)
  2. India (November-January)
  3. China (February-March)
  4. Japan & Korea (April)
  5. Latin America (May)

The first Unit on African history (from Ancient times-Present Day) is preceeded by an introductory Unit on Culture & Civilization which addresses the following:

  1. What is Culture?
  2. What are the elements of culture?
  3. Why is the study of diverse cultures important to us?
  4. How did Civilization develop?
  5. What are the main features of a Civilization?
  6. Explain "Cultural Diffussion".
  7. What does the term "Interdependance" mean?
  8. Why is the study of history essential?  How does history "fall" into the Social Sciences?
  9. What is a primary-source document?
  10. Explain how geography can influence the development of a civilization.

The following are essential questions asked as part of the Unit on Africa:

  1. How has geography influenced the development of civilization in Africa?  How has geography led to much diversity amongst African peoples?
  2. What was the impact of the West African Trading Kingdoms (Gold/Salt Trade) on African history, culture & tradition?
  3. What is a golden age?  Why was the Kingdom of Mali under the leadership of Mansa Musa a "Golden Age"?  Explain.
  4. Explain animist beliefs.  What other religions can animism be compared to?
  5. What is remarkable about Zimbabwe?
  6. Why was trade important to the Eastern City-States of Africa?
  7. Why were the Europeans interested in "carving up" the European continent during the "Age of Imperialism"?
  8. Explain the term "White Man's Burden".  How did the Europeans justify imperialism?
  9. What were the positive & negative effects of Imperialism on the African continent?
  10. When and how did nationalism grow which resulted in independance movements across Africa?
  11. By what means did different leaders/areas achieve independance from foreign rule?
  12. Explain the different types of governments that were established as a result of the independance movements.
  13. Explain the system of Apartheid in South Africa.
  14. How was apartheid brought to an end and the presidency of Nelson Mandella achieved/established?
  15. Name/Explain 4-5 current political, economic & social problems that Africa faces today.

Two films are integrated into this Unit: "Cry Freedom" which depicts the story of Steven Biko who fights for change in South Africa and finds an unlikely friend in a News editor named Donald Woods who writes a book that this movie is based on named "Biko"; AND "Hotel Rwanda" which depicts the true story of a hotel manager who risks his life to save many during the Genocide that occurred in Rwanda in 1994

The following are essential questions asked as part of the Unit on India:

1. What was significant about the Indus Valley Civilization?  Explain the technologies found in the city of Mohenjo-Daro. 

2. Identify the similarities and differences between the religions of Hinduism and Buddhism. 

3.  Explain the conection between the Hindu religion and the Indian Caste System.  Name each caste and the role that each caste plays in society.  Who are the "untouchables"?

4.  How has geography impacted the development of Indian civilization?  What influence have the monsoons played in this regard?

5.  Explain the significance and achievements made during the Gupta empire?

6.  When and how were the people of India invaded by foreigners?  When did Muslim rulers come to power?

7.  When and How did India become a colony of Great Britain?  What restrictions were placed on India by the British (mercantilism)?

8.  Who became an important leader for independance and preached "non-violent" resistance to the British?  What techniques did he utilize in his non-resistance movement?


The following are essential questions asked as part of the Unit on China: