Chapter 1: The Americas, Europe, and Africa Before 1492

Key Terms

an ancient land bridge linking Asia and North America
Black Death
two strains of the bubonic plague that simultaneously swept western Europe in the fourteenth century, causing the death of nearly half the population
Incan relay runners used to send messages over great distances
chattel slavery
a system of servitude in which people are treated as personal property to be bought and sold
floating Aztec gardens consisting of a large barge woven from reeds, filled with dirt and floating on the water, allowing for irrigation
a series of military expeditions made by Christian Europeans to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims in the eleventh, twelfth, and thirteenth centuries
feudal society
a social arrangement in which serfs and knights provided labor and military service to noble lords, receiving protection and land use in return
a campaign by the Catholic Church to root out heresy, especially among converted Jews and Muslims
the sacred book of Islam, written by the prophet Muhammad in the seventh century
a society in which women have political power
the Incan labor tax, with each family donating time and work to communal projects
the practice of taking more than one wife
an ancient Incan device for recording information, consisting of variously colored threads knotted in different ways
Spain’s nearly eight-hundred-year holy war against Islam, which ended in 1492
a peasant tied to the land and its lord


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