What Is Taught in AP World History?

If you’re planning to take AP World History, you may be wondering what kind of content you can expect to learn. This course covers a vast amount of history, from the earliest civilizations to present-day societies. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll likely encounter in this course.


AP World History is designed to cover the breadth of human history from the Paleolithic era to the present day. You’ll learn about different societies, cultures, and regions across time and space. The course is divided into six different historical periods:

Period 1: Technological and Environmental Transformations (to c. 600 BCE)

This period covers the development of early human societies and their technological and environmental adaptations. You’ll learn about the emergence of agriculture, animal domestication, and early civilizations in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

Period 2: Organization and Reorganization of Human Societies (c. 600 BCE – c. 600 CE)

In period 2, you’ll study major world religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. You’ll also learn about classical empires like Rome, Greece, Persia, China’s Han Dynasty as well as trade networks like Silk Road.

Period 3: Regional and Transregional Interactions (c. 600 CE – c. 1450)

Period 3 focuses on interactions between societies across regions such as Europe’s Middle Ages where feudalism was prevalent; Islamic empires like Abbasid Caliphate; African kingdoms like Ghana; East Asian dynasties such as Tang/Song China or Heian Japan; Andean states like Inca Empire where quipu was used for record-keeping.

Period 4: Global Interactions (c. 1450 – c. 1750)

This period is where the world begins to become more interconnected. You’ll learn about the Age of Exploration, the Columbian Exchange, and the rise of European empires such as Spain, Portugal, England, France, and the Netherlands. You’ll also study major gunpowder empires like Mughal India, Ottoman Turkey, Safavid Iran and Qing China.

Period 5: Industrialization and Global Integration (c. 1750 – c. 1900)

Period 5 covers the Industrial Revolution and its impact on global economics as well as imperialism and colonization that resulted from it. You’ll learn about key revolutions such as American Revolution; Haitian Revolution; French Revolution; Latin American Wars of Independence.

Period 6: Accelerating Global Change and Realignments (c. 1900 – present)

In Period 6, you’ll study key events of the modern era including World War I, World War II, the Cold War, decolonization movements in Africa/Asia/Latin America, globalization trends in economy/culture/technology.


AP World History is an extensive course that covers a wide range of topics across human history. By studying this course you will gain a deeper understanding of how societies have developed over time and how they have interacted with one another. Remember to utilize various HTML elements like , ,


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