This page gives guidance on Middle School teaching resources for world history which are provided by this TimeMap. The list includes both free and premium resources.
The focus here is on our maps. We have not included encyclopedia articles, as these are not primarily aimed at middle school students. However, able students – and of course teachers – may well find them useful. They are all listed in our Timemap of World History Encyclopedia.
What do the maps offer?
The free maps in the atlas form sequences of maps which track the histories of different areas, all through the same series of dates.
The areas are at three levels of geographical coverage. The top level consists of world maps. Below them are maps of the big regions of the world: North America, South America, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, East Asia. South East Asia and Oceania.
At the bottom are maps of individual countries, or groups of countries (if no country in the neighbourhood is big enough). Again, these are all at the same dates as the larger map levels, except that they start when the countries in question step onto the stage of history.
The Premium units do the same for specific civilizations and key episodes in world history, but they do not follow a uniform sequence of dates, as the free maps do. Instead, they each have their own sequence. This enables the maps to show each key step in the history of the civilization or empire they are covering, rather than conform to an overall framework.
Why not try these Premium units and subscribe now! If you don’t find them to be useful in your teaching within 6 months, let us know and, no quibble, we’ll refund your fee!
As the start date for the Timemap of World History is 3500 BCE, there are no free maps covering the human story prior to this date. However, there is a Premium unit relevant to this period:
A sequence of maps of the world provides a broad overview of ancient world history from 3500 BCE up to 500 CE:
Click here for some ideas for using these maps for teaching Ancient World history in middle schools.
Premium map units:
A sequence of world maps shows the spread of trade routes in the ancient world, between c. 3500 BCE and 200 CE. This is interesting in showing how the different regions of Europe and Asia gradually became linked together by trans-continental trade systems:
World Trade Routes : Ancient World I: Early Civilizations – Teachers Notes coming soon
World Trade Routes : Ancient World II: Classical Civilizations – Teachers Notes coming soon
For Mesopotamia’s place in the Middle East, the following maps will also be useful:
These cover nations such as the Hittites who lived outside Mesopotamia but had an influence on it.
One premium unit gives the “Big Region” context for the rise and fall of Ancient Mesopotamian civilization.
The unit gives an broad overview of the region’s history between 3500 BCE and 500 BCE. As such, it is ideal for providing crucial background when teaching about Ancient Mesopotamia at grade 6.
It includes episodes not covered by the free maps, such as the Akkadian empire of Sargon, the Babylonian empire of Hammurabi, the Kassite kingdom which came after, and the Assyrian Empire, Chaldean (Later Babylonian) Empire and Persian Empire. It also traces the history of the Israelites, whose history was intimately connected to that of Mesopotamia.
More premium resources
There are also Premium resources which place Mesopotamian civilization in the broad context of ancient world history as a whole – see the section above, on The Ancient World.
For Egypt’s place in the Middle East, the following maps will also be useful:
As with the Ancient Mesopotamian topic, one premium unit gives the “Big Region” context for the rise and fall of Ancient Egyptian civilization:
This clearly shows the changing place of Ancient Egypt in the broader Middle Eastern region. It includes episodes not covered by the free maps, such as the unification of Ancient Egypt in the pre-dynastic period, the rise and fall of the Old Kingdom, of the Middle Kingdom, and of the New Kingdom (including the height of its imperial period, which the free maps don’t show). Finally, it shows Ancient Egypt in decline, with the rise of regional superstates such as the Assyrian and Persian empires.
It also traces the history of the Israelites, whose history was intimately connected to that of Ancient Egypt.
More premium resources
There are also Premium resources which place Egyptian civilization clearly in the broad context of ancient world history: see the section above, on The Ancient World.
The Kingdom of Kush
For broader context:
This Premium unit is useful in including episodes, in particular the period when Kush conquered Egypt, which is not covered in the free maps.
For the Indus Civilization and the later Classical Indian Civilization, see:
This is useful in covering episodes not included in the free maps, such as the rise and fall of the Maurya and Gupta empires.
This unit does not cover the Indus Valley Civilization. For this, see Premium resources listed in the section above, on The Ancient World.
For the origins and development of civilization in ancient China, see:
For Ancient China, including the Shang and early Zhou dynasties, see:
For a broader perspective on East Asia, showing the spread of farming and civilization from China to neighbouring countries such as Korea and Japan, see:
Even the world maps are of interest, particularly those showing what a major empire Han China was in the later ancient world:
This is useful in covering episodes not included in the free maps, such as the Warring States period and the unification of China under the Qin dynasty.
It does not cover the earliest period of Chinese history, the Shang and early Zhou dynasties. For these, see Premium resources listed in the section above, on The Ancient World.
Ancient Greece and the Greek World
In geographical terms, these maps are limited to the Greek mainland, the Aegean Sea and western Asia Minor – i.e. the heartland of the Greek world.
The Greek diaspora, which took in the Mediterranean and Black Sea coasts, can be seen in:
This follows the major events in the Greek world from just before the Greek-Persian Wars to the fall of the Greek states to Rome. It also looks at the much-neglected (but pivotal) Persian world. It includes the conquests of Alexander the Great and the divisions which followed his early death.
This unit does not cover the Greek-Persian Wars in any detail, but these have their own one:
Neither of these cover the early centuries of Greek history. For these, see the Premium resources listed in the section above, on The Ancient World.
The Roman World
There are no free maps which cover the Roman Empire at its height. However, the following maps are useful:
Even the world maps are of interest, particularly those showing what a major state the Roman was in the later ancient world:
For an overview of the history of the Roman Empire, the following Premium unit is ideal:
For a closer look at a particular theme of Roman history which has had profound influence on all later Western civilization, look at
Also, the Premium unit below shows clearly how the expansion of Roman power was accompanied by the expansion of trade routes. This was the case within the Roman Empire; it was also true in Asia, were the Silk Road connected the Mediterranean world of the Romans with China:
A sequence of maps of the world provides a broad overview of ancient world history from 500 CE through 1453 CE:
A sequence of maps shows the spread of trade routes during the period 500 CE to 1453 CE.
Click here for some ideas for using these maps for teaching Medieval World history in middle schools.
The World of Islam
These maps look only at the Middle East. A Premium unit consisting of a sequence of maps taking in the whole of the Islamic world is planned.
Premium units on the Islamic Caliphate and the Ottoman Empire are planned.
The region which is the focus of most curriculums is West Africa. For this, go to:
A Premium unit on African civilizations is planned.
China (after the Ancient Period)
For the broader region context, showing the connections between China and her neighbours, especially Japan and Korea, see
A Premium unit on Chinese history designed specially for middle school students, is planned. In the meantime, two Premium units aimed at high school students may be useful as classroom presentations:
This sequence includes the middle centuries of the imperial age of Chinese history, when China’s identity as a Confucian, bureaucratic state is tested, confirmed and refined.
Looks at the Ming and Qing dynasties, when imperial China reached its peak. The unit leaves the Qing dynasty at its magnificent height – its decline is dealt with in the next section.
For Japan’s history in the context of East Asia as a whole, see
There no as yet Premium units for Japanese history.
A Premium unit on Indian history, designed specially for middle school students, is planned. In the meantime, two Premium units aimed at high school students may be useful as classroom presentations:
During this period of South Asian history, great cultural changes take place: the decline of Buddhism, the rise of mature Hinduism, and the intrusion of Islam.
Covers the early modern period in the history of the Indian subcontinent, dominated by the rise and fall of the glorious Mughal empire.
Early American civilizations
Central America (for the Maya, Toltec and Aztec civilizations):
For the native American cultures of North America, see:
South America (for the Inca civilization and its predecessors):
For the broader context of Andean civilization, see:
Premium units on Pre-Columbian civilizations are planned.
The Middle Ages in Europe
Some world history programs place the European Renaissance and Reformation with the Medieval period. These can be seen in this unit primarily designed with high school students in mind, but which should also be of use as a classroom presentation in middle schools:
The Early Modern World
The early modern world sees the histories of the different regions begin to be knitted together as Europe expands. A global perspective is therefore necessary for this period, and can be gained here:
An understanding of the expansion of Europe requires a grasp of what was actually happening IN Europe. This can be seen here:
The region that felt the expansion most keenly in this period was the Americas, as can be seen here:
South America, from the end of the Pre-Columbian period through the colonial period:
For Central America, see:
For North America, see:
For North America as a whole, with an emphasis on the Native Americans and how the coming of Europeans impacted their lives, see:
The Atlantic Slave Trade was a feature of much of colonial America, and this had a major impact on Africa:
Asia at this time was less directly affected by European expansion, and each of the major regions saw the blossoming of major states. See
East Asia 1789 (The Manchu, or Qing, dynasty of China, and also Tokugawa Japan)
For more close-ups, see China 1789
For other parts of the world which are not so popular in middle school curricula but are interesting in their own rights, are
and Oceania 1789
Click here for some ideas for using these maps for teaching Early Modern World history in middle schools.
No middle school Premium map units on Modern World history are available yet. However, the following Premium unit, primarily designed for high school students, should be useful, with some adapting, as a classroom presentation in middle schools:
It covers the periods of the Renaissance, Reformation, Counter-Reformation, Wars of Religion, the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment.
A sequence of maps shows the dramatic expansion of trade routes during the early modern era of world history.
The Modern World
The history of the modern world has been global in scope, in a way not true of earlier times. A global perspective is therefore necessary, and can be gained here:
The dominating theme in modern world history up to the 20th century is the accelerating expansion of European power. Then, Europe tore itself apart in two huge wars. This tumultuous history can be seen here:
Within in Europe, certain countries repay special attention:
In the 20th century, the United States took over from Europe as the most dynamic region in the world.
For the United States see:
Other European offshoots also appeared:
as well as:
Much of the world fell under the rule of European empires, before regaining independence in the 20th century:
Other regions did not come under direct rule, or were ruled only briefly, but were deeply impacted by Western power:
Click here for some ideas for using these maps for teaching Modern World history in middle schools.
No middle school Premium units on Modern World history are yet available. However, the following premium units, designed primarily for high school students, should be useful, with some adapting, as classroom presentations in middle schools.
Modern Europe: 1750-1900 CE – Teachers Notes under development
Takes in the French Revolution and Napoleon, the Industrial Revolution, the 1848 revolutions, and the unification of Italy and Germany.
The Raj: British India, 1750-1900 CE – Teachers Notes under development
Looks at the rise of British rule in India, the nature of that rule, and its impact on Indian society.
Modern China: 1760-1901 CE – Teachers Notes under development
Covers the Opium Wars, the Taiping rebellion, The Self-Strengthening Movement, the Sino-Japanese War and the Boxer rebellion.