In this article, we are going to take a look at the breakdown of Strand Three - The History of Europe and The Wider World. Which is part of your three-year junior cycle history course. The course also includes:
- Strand One - The Nature of History
- Strand Two - The History of Ireland
- Multiple Assessments - All assessments for junior cycle history are graded at a common level. There are a total of four assessments (2 classroom-based assessments, 1 assessment task and of course 1 state exam.)
"After two world wars, the collapse of fascism, nazism, communism and colonialism and the end of the cold war, humanity has entered a new phase of its history."
- Hans Kung
The History of Europe and The Wider World - Strand 3
Many topics are covered in The History of Europe and The Wider World, some of the topics you will encounter include:
- The 1960s: Rest of the World
- An Ancient or Medieval Civilisation
- Contribution of Technological Development & Innovation
- Genocide - Including Causes, Course and Consequences of the Holocaust
- Impact of Conquest & Colonisation
- Life in a Communist Country in the 20th Century
- Life in a Fascist Country in the 20th Century
- Medieval Times - Life & Death
- Movement/Organisation in Promoting International Co-operation
- Patterns of Change
- Pre 20th Century Revolutions - Causes, Courses & Consequences
- Reformation - Historical Importance of Religion
- Renaissance - Changes in the Fields of Arts and Science
- The Cold War & Its Importance in International Relations
- World War I & II - Causes, Courses and Long-Term Impact on the Rest of the World
We won't have time to look at each of these topics in-depth in this article, however, we will look at a couple. Strand 3 in Junior Cycle History focuses on the exploration of key personalities, issues and events in the history of Europe and the wider world.
Medieval Times - Junior Cycle History
There are many topics covered in this section of the course, including but not restricted to:
- HOW THE NORMANS CHANGED THE HISTORY OF EUROPE
- THE FEUDAL SYSTEM
- LIVING IN A MEDIEVAL CASTLE
However, in this article, we are going to focus on The Black Death.
The truly devastating disease known as the Black Death spread across Europe in the years 1346-53. Chronicles and letters from the time describe the terror wrought by the illness. As the Black Death ravaged Europe, the pandemic took a greater toll on life than any other known epidemic or war up to that time.
It is believed that the Black Death was a combination of bubonic and pneumonic plague. Bubonic plague does not pass directly from person to person. The bacteria are carried from rodent to person or from person to person by infected fleas. Pneumonic plague, however, is highly infectious. The bacteria can be passed from person to person in droplets from coughs or sneezes. The living conditions in medieval cities and towns encouraged the spread of the disease.
The epidemic of the 14th century originated in China and Central Asia. It was transmitted to Europe in 1347 when a Eurasian army besieged the Genoese trading post of Kaffa in the Crimean Peninsula. The army catapulted plague-infested corpses into the town in an effort to infect the enemy. From Kaffa, Genoese ships carried the disease westward to Mediterranean ports, and from there it spread inland. The plague reportedly reached Sicily in 1347; North Africa, mainland Italy, Spain, England, and France in 1348; Austria, Hungary, Switzerland, Germany, and the Low Countries in 1349; and Scandinavia and the Baltic lands in 1350.
Death rates from the Black Death varied from place to place. The rate of contagion was greater in the more populated towns than in the countryside. The death rate was especially high in monastic communities. The plague spread rapidly through monasteries because monks lived in close contact with one another. The Black Death wiped out whole monasteries. Priests who cared for the sick and administered last rites to the dying were also very vulnerable. As the disease took the lives of the clergy, there were not enough priests to tend to the dying. Pope Clement VI responded by granting forgiveness of sins to everyone who died of the Black Death. He also declared that the dying could make their final confessions to anyone and still achieve salvation. Before that, only clergy could perform last rites.
The study of contemporary archives suggests that the death rates varied in the different regions between one-eighth and two-thirds of the population. French chronicler, Jean Froissart’s statement that about one-third of Europe’s population died in the epidemic may be fairly accurate. The population in England in 1400 was perhaps half what it had been 100 years earlier. In that country alone, the Black Death certainly caused the depopulation or total disappearance of about 1,000 villages. A rough estimate is that 25 million people in Europe died from the plague during the Black Death.
The Black Death was an unprecedented epidemic that brought about many consequences. In the short term, wars stopped and trade slumped. A more lasting consequence was the drastic reduction of the labour force. The shortage of labour proved to be the ruin of many landowners. Hired labourers began to demand higher wages and better food. Peasant tenants, also fewer in number, asked for better conditions of tenure when they took up land. These changes began to blur the lines between the social classes.
An Introduction to World War I Junior Cycle History
"European nations began World War I with a glamorous vision of war, only to be psychologically shattered by the realities of the trenches. The experience changed the way people referred to the glamour of battle; they treated it no longer as a positive quality but as a dangerous illusion."
- Virginia Postrel
World War I was the most deadly and destructive war the world had ever seen at that time.
On July 28th 1914 began the outbreak of the First World War, aka World War 1. More than 25 countries eventually participated, aligned with either the Allied or the Central powers.
The Allies, who won the war, primarily included France, Great Britain, Russia, Italy, Japan, and, from 1917, the United States.
The Central Powers consisted mainly of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire (Turkey).
On 4 August 1914, Germany invaded Belgium, and so, standing by its promise to stick up for Belgium, Britain declared war on Germany. When the First World War began that summer, most people thought it would be over by Christmas, however, WWI lasted for 4 long years. By the winter of 1915, the opposing sides had both dug long ditches called trenches that faced each other. These lines of narrow trenches stretched from the Belgian coast to Switzerland and were known as the Western Front.
The largest battle of World War 1, the Battle of the Somme, is known as one of the bloodiest battles in history. It was fought by the French and British against the Germans on both sides of the River Somme in France and lasted for more than five months. Over a million men were killed or wounded, and it was the first time that a tank was used in combat.
Women weren’t allowed to join the army, but the war still completely changed their lives, in some ways, for the better! Before the war, a woman’s role was in the home. But with the men away at war, help was needed in the workplace– and so millions of women went to work in offices, factories, shops, transport, medicine and on farms.
The platform that connects tutors and students