What Time Period Is Unit 2 of AP World History?

In AP World History, Unit 2 covers the time period of 600 BCE to 600 CE. This era witnessed significant changes worldwide that have had lasting impacts on modern-day society. From the rise of empires to technological advancements, there’s a lot to explore during this period.

The Rise of Empires

One of the most notable events during this time was the emergence of powerful empires that shaped global politics and culture. The Persian Empire, for instance, saw its peak under King Cyrus in the mid-sixth century BCE. Under his rule, Persia expanded its territories and established a centralized government that allowed for greater control over its subjects.

Meanwhile, in China, the Qin Dynasty came into power in 221 BCE and established a system of legalism that emphasized strict laws and harsh punishments. Similarly, the Han Dynasty rose to power in 206 BCE and brought about significant cultural advancements such as Confucianism.

Technological Advancements

During this time period, human civilization saw significant technological developments that have had a lasting impact on our daily lives. One such advancement was the development of iron tools and weapons which allowed for more efficient farming and warfare.

In addition, paper was invented in China during this time and rapidly spread across Asia and Europe. This invention revolutionized communication by making it easier to create written records.

Religious Evolution

The period from 600 BCE to 600 CE also saw a surge in religious evolution across various parts of the world. For example, Buddhism began with Siddhartha Gautama’s teachings around 500 BCE in India before spreading across Asia.

Similarly, Christianity emerged from Judaism around the first century CE under Jesus Christ’s teachings. This new religion quickly spread throughout Europe through preaching by followers such as Paul of Tarsus.


Overall, Unit 2 of AP World History covers a critical period that paved the way for many of the advancements we enjoy today. From the rise of empires to technological innovations, this era was full of significant changes that have shaped modern society. By understanding this period, we can gain greater insight into our world’s history and appreciate how far we’ve come.