Get the History of the World in 46 Lectures: A Free Online Course from Columbia University

When you dive into our col­lec­tion of 1,700 Free Online Cours­es, you can begin an intel­lec­tu­al jour­ney that can last for many months, if not years. The col­lec­tion lets you drop into the class­rooms of lead­ing uni­ver­si­ties (like Stan­ford, Har­vard, MIT and Oxford) and essen­tial­ly audit their cours­es for free. You get to be a fly on the wall and soak up what­ev­er knowl­edge you want. All you need is an inter­net con­nec­tion and some free time on your hands.

Today, we’re fea­tur­ing two cours­es taught by Pro­fes­sor Richard Bul­li­et at Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty, which will teach you the his­to­ry of the world in 46 lec­tures. The first course, His­to­ry of the World to 1500 CE (avail­able on YouTube and iTunes Video, or ful­ly stream­able below) takes you from pre­his­toric times to 1500, the cusp of ear­ly moder­ni­ty. The ori­gins of agri­cul­ture; the Greek, Roman and Per­sian empires; the rise of Islam and Chris­t­ian medieval king­doms; trans­for­ma­tions in Asia; and the Mar­itime rev­o­lu­tion — they’re all cov­ered here.

In the sec­ond course, His­to­ry of the World Since 1500 CE (find it on YouTube, iTunes or embed­ded below), Bul­li­et focus­es on the rise of colo­nial­ism in the Amer­i­c­as and India; his­tor­i­cal devel­op­ments in Chi­na, Japan and Korea; the Indus­tri­al Rev­o­lu­tion; the Ottoman Empire; the emer­gence of Social Dar­win­ism; and var­i­ous key moments in 20th cen­tu­ry his­to­ry.

Bul­li­et helped write the pop­u­lar text­book The Earth and its Peo­ples: A Glob­al His­to­ry, and it serves as the main text­book for the course. Above, we’re start­ing you off with Lec­ture 2, which moves from the Ori­gins of Agri­cul­ture to the First Riv­er — Val­ley Civ­i­liza­tions, cir­ca 8000–1500 B.C.E. The first lec­ture deals with method­olog­i­cal issues that under­pin the course. All of the remain­ing lec­tures are avail­able below.

Once you get the big pic­ture with Pro­fes­sor Bul­li­et, don’t for­get to vis­it our col­lec­tion of Free Online His­to­ry Cours­es, a sub­set of our big col­lec­tion, Get the His­to­ry of the World in 46 Lec­tures: A Free Online Course from Colum­bia Uni­ver­si­ty.

His­to­ry of the World to 1500 CE 

His­to­ry of the World Since 1500 CE

Note: An ear­li­er ver­sion of this post appeared on our site in April, 2013.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Big His­to­ry: David Chris­t­ian Cov­ers 13.7 Bil­lion Years of His­to­ry in 18 Min­utes

Down­load 78 Free Online His­to­ry Cours­es: From Ancient Greece to The Mod­ern World

The Com­plete His­to­ry of the World (and Human Cre­ativ­i­ty) in 100 Objects

A Free Yale Course on Medieval His­to­ry: 700 Years in 22 Lec­tures


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