What Are the Periods in AP World History?

If you’re planning on taking the AP World History exam, you’ll need to know about the various periods that make up the course. These periods play a crucial role in understanding the history of the world and how it has evolved over time. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what these periods are and what they entail.

What Are the Periods in AP World History?

The AP World History course is divided into six different periods that span from prehistory to the present day. Each of these periods covers a specific time frame and focuses on certain themes and topics that are relevant to that era. Here’s a breakdown of each period:

Period 1: Prehistory to 600 BCE

This period covers the earliest human societies and civilizations, including those in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. Key themes in this period include human migration patterns, early forms of agriculture, and the development of early belief systems.

Period 2: 600 BCE – 600 CE

During this period, civilizations began to expand and interact with one another on a larger scale. Major empires emerged during this era including those in Rome, China, India, and Persia. Key themes in this period include trade networks, cultural diffusion, and the rise of world religions.

Period 3: 600 – 1450 CE

This period saw major changes in global trade patterns as well as advancements in technology and transportation. The world’s major religions continued to spread during this era while new empires emerged such as those in Byzantium and Mali.

Period 4: 1450 – 1750 CE

This period marked significant changes in global power dynamics as European nations began to dominate through colonization and exploration. The Renaissance also occurred during this time which led to advancements in the arts and sciences.

Period 5: 1750 – 1900 CE

This period saw the rise of industrialization and nationalism in Europe and North America. The Atlantic slave trade also played a major role during this era.

Period 6: 1900 – Present Day

The final period covers the events that have occurred in the world since the start of the 20th century. This includes World War I, World War II, and major global conflicts such as the Cold War.

  • Key Takeaways:
  • AP World History is divided into six periods that cover different eras in human history.
  • Each period has its own themes and topics that are relevant to that time frame.
  • Understanding these periods is crucial for success on the AP World History exam.


In conclusion, knowing about the different periods in AP World History is essential for understanding how the world has evolved over time. Each period offers a unique perspective on human history and helps to explain how we’ve arrived at where we are today. By studying these periods, you’ll gain a better understanding of global issues and be better prepared for success on the AP World History exam.