AP World History : Environmental Interactions from Prehistory to 600 BCE

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP World History

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Environmental Interactions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

The state-building efforts of Yu the Great were primarily organized around __________.

Possible Answers:

preventing invasion from neighboring barbarian tribes

preventing the flooding of the Yellow River

universal public education and the establishment of social welfare

preventing invasion from neighboring empires

Confucian religious tradition

Correct answer:

preventing the flooding of the Yellow River

Explanation:

Yu the Great founded the Xia Dynasty approximately four thousand years ago. He is a partially mythological figure, it is not known exactly when he lived. His organization of Chinese rural communities, to prevent the flooding of the Yellow River, are primarily responsible for the foundation of the Chinese state. Yu was an innovator and organizer - he implemented a system of irrigation and a system to prevent flooding, and then tirelessly worked to ensure the system was uniformly carried out by local Chinese communities. In so doing he created a communal purpose and identity. 

Example Question #2 : Environmental Interactions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

At the end of the most recent Ice Age these two continents were cut off from one another, dramatically affecting the course of human history?

Possible Answers:

Asia and North America

Europe and Asia

Africa and Europe

South America and Africa

North America and South America

Correct answer:

Asia and North America

Explanation:

During the most recent ice age Asia and North America were connected via a land bridge in the Bering Strait. This allowed humans to migrate from Asia to North America and led to human settlement throughout the Americas. The native people of the Americas are all descended from this group of people who crossed the Bering Strait approximately fifteen thousand years ago. When the ice age ended, Asia and North America were no longer connected, thus isolating the Americas from the rest of the world until European colonization in the 1500s.

Example Question #3 : Environmental Interactions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

The land between which two rivers is known as Mesopotamia?

Possible Answers:

Nile and Ganges

Euphrates and Danube

Nile and Congo

Ganges and Indus

Tigris and Euphrates

Correct answer:

Tigris and Euphrates

Explanation:

Mesopotamia is translated as “The land between two rivers.” It is also the cradle of civilization, for it is here that the Neolithic Revolution first took place. The two rivers in question are the Tigris and Euphrates.

Example Question #4 : Environmental Interactions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

Which of these best describes the difference between the impact of geography on civilization in Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia?

Possible Answers:

Egypt was geographically isolated giving it protection from invaders, whereas Mesopotamia lacked natural barriers and was under constant threat of invasion

Mesopotamia was well-suited to the development of agriculture, whereas Egypt lacked access to rivers and had a very arid climate

Mesopotamia was geographically isolated giving it protection from invaders, whereas Egypt lacked natural barriers and was under constant threat of invasion

None of these answers are correct; geography affected Egypt and Mesopotamia in very similar ways

Egypt was well-suited to the development of agriculture, whereas Mesopotamia lacked access to rivers and had a very arid climate

Correct answer:

Egypt was geographically isolated giving it protection from invaders, whereas Mesopotamia lacked natural barriers and was under constant threat of invasion

Explanation:

Ancient Egypt was geographically isolated from other civilizations. It was protected on all sides by either desert, sea, or mountains. Ancient Mesopotamia on the other hand lacked natural barriers of any kind. It lies in a fertile valley that was under constant threat of invasion. Many historians speculate that this intensity of competition in Mesopotamia contributed a great deal to the innovations made by Mesopotamian societies.

Example Question #5 : Environmental Interactions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

After the Neolithic Revolution pastoralism was most common in which of these environments?

Possible Answers:

Plains and grasslands

Hills and tundra

Hills and mountains

Deserts and floodplains

Valleys and floodplains

Correct answer:

Plains and grasslands

Explanation:

Pastoralism refers to the practice of keeping domesticated animals. During the later Neolithic Revolution many societies were organized around the domestication of animals such as cows, horses, pigs, sheep, goats, buffaloes, and oxen. Pastoral societies most commonly emerged in wide open plains with plenty of flat grassland. This is compared to agricultural societies which would most likely have emerged in valleys and in the fertile floodplains.

Example Question #6 : Environmental Interactions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

The Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt was able to survive for so long because __________.

Possible Answers:

it had peaceful relations with neighboring tribes who feared Egypt’s great might

it was isolated by geographic features from other human civilizations

it had a fluid social structure that encouraged meritocracy and innovation

it was a highly militarized society that suppressed the surrounding civilizations

it focused heavily on defensive structures like walls and rudimentary castles

Correct answer:

it was isolated by geographic features from other human civilizations

Explanation:

The Old Kingdom of Ancient Egypt was geographically isolated from other human civilizations. Protected by inhospitable deserts, the Mediterranean Sea, and several mountain ranges the ancient Egyptians never developed much of a military culture and were fairly easily conquered by the first militaristic civilization they encountered - the Hyksos.

Example Question #7 : Environmental Interactions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

Which two species of animal are native to South America and impacted the development of Native American societies?

Possible Answers:

oxen and bison

llamas and alpacas

mules and water buffalo

donkeys and longhorns

pigs and cows

Correct answer:

llamas and alpacas

Explanation:

Llamas and alpacas are two species of camel that are native to South America. Unlike their cousins in Arabia and Central Asia, llamas and alpacas are not renowned for their strength or resilience. The lack of a true “workhorse” type animal in South America (an animal like an ox, camel, horse, or buffalo) decelerated the growth of civilization in the continent for several millennia.

Example Question #8 : Environmental Interactions From Prehistory To 600 Bce

Which of these statements is most accurate?

Possible Answers:

Viking traders in the Atlantic preserved the interaction between the Americas and Eurasia until the arrival of European settlers in the 1400s.

Interaction between the Americas and Eurasia was common throughout the classical era.

Until the 1400s, the Americas developed in cultural isolation from the rest of the world.

Until the 1700s, the Americas developed in cultural isolation from the rest of the world.

Asian traders in the Pacific preserved the interaction between the Americas and Eurasia until the arrival of European settlers in the 1400s.

Correct answer:

Until the 1400s, the Americas developed in cultural isolation from the rest of the world.

Explanation:

During and after the most recent ice age the Bering Strait (which had connected North America to Asia via a land bridge from Alaska) was flooded and the Americas were isolated from the rest of the world. This geographic separation enforced an environmental and cultural isolation which had a profound impact on the development of American society.

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