Crash Course: World History

Crash Course: World History

2012, History  -   93 Comments
Ratings: 7.98/10 from 121 users.

Crash Course: World HistoryCrash Course is a YouTube channel featuring short, fast-paced video lessons about World History.

Videos move very quickly, almost frantically at times, making them more like entertaining overviews of these topics than serious lessons.

There are a couple of innuendos thrown into both videos, so watch them and use your discretion before showing them in your classroom.

John Green investigates: The dawn of human civilization. How people gave up hunting and gathering to become agriculturalists. How that change has influenced the world we live in today.

Indus Valley Civilization, one of the largest of the ancient civilizations. Who, how, when, where and why of the Indus Valley Civilization. Mesopotamia, and the early civilizations that arose around the Fertile Crescent. The birth of territorial kingdoms, empires, Neo-Assyrian torture tactics, sacred marriages, ancient labor practices, the world's first law code.

Condensed history of India, post-Indus Valley Civilization. John explores Hinduism and the origins of Buddhism. He also gets into the reign of Ashoka, the Buddhist emperor who, in spite of Buddhism's structural disapproval of violence, managed to win a bunch of battles.

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93 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Lizabeth

    Fantastic springboard for kids and history lovers. good for those seeking a basic time line. Lots of information squeezed into 11 minutes. John is sincere, smart, original.

  2. Lizabeth

    Fantastic for kids and folks looking for a springboard into a deeper study of the topic. good for establishing a basic time line. All squeezed into 11 minutes. The presenter is charming, entertaining, original.

  3. misha

    Manic presentation. Cannot watch this ! What is this guy on ?

  4. Jeanne

    My son's high school teacher is actually having them take notes from Green's videos. I can see it as a quick overview and entertaining but not to study and take a test from.

  5. Leahh

    World History today is biased. They don't mention all the killing that socialist leaders have inflicted on their people. Hitler was a Socialist. They mention child labor in Capitalism but today there are laws against such labor. Kids did not go to college but learned a trade within their family business. Even today kids of farmers get up early to do work on the farm before school. Im sure the attitude of kids today is different who do nothing but go to school for socializing and come home to TV and video games and never get punished. US educational scores keep going down while more money is put into education for more indoctrination. They are indoctrinated by videos and teaching such as these videos to accept Socialism, Communism and hate our Constitution. You are just making drone children who will go with whatever video they are influenced by. I am not showing this to my kids.

    1. Jeff

      While its true that world history can be biased your comments are also apparently biased. Hitler was not a socialist, he was a fascist, do your homework. You want to vilify socialism the same way others do capitalism. People throw these labels around calling people socialists, communist or capitalist without even knowing what they mean or why they should hate or love these labels.

      Blaming low educational scores on socialism is just stupid. Many countries in the world that are far more socialist than the US have much higher educational scores. Not to mention some of the most conservative states in the US also have the lowest educational scores.

      I agree with you most kids today are more interested in watching tv and playing video games then going to school but you can't blame that on socialism anymore than you can blame it on capitalism for selling them those tv's and video games. its just bad parenting.

  6. LeeCzere

    It would be nice to see this guy run for office.

  7. JohnnyBoy

    Sweet Videos man. I have limited perspective knowledge of History and it's nice to sample a couple of videos on this one day at a time. It give's me insight and sparks curiosity into the subject. Don't listen to the elitist haters watching expecting a PHD lecture on minute details spanning an hour or more, it's a fantastic lecture summary of a subject in bite size pieces! Keep up the good work! You are educating our household in a social which is great!

  8. Mike Chambers

    These are very poor videos. It's too silly and so much important stuff is just glossed over or ignored. It's like it's designed for people with severe ADHD. It goes full speed ahead at all times trying to keep the viewer's attention, but at the cost of details. Even the information that is given is gone through so fast that you may even have a hard time remembering some of it right after watching. I wouldn't even recommend this for middle and high school students. If you really want to learn history, you shouldn't even consider watching these crash course videos.

    1. Jim

      The video's aren't poor they are quite nicely done, quality wise. Maybe you don't agree with the content, but I don't think they had people seeking, in-depth information in mind. I think it's made to be a catalyst, to incite people for this subject. And if you see something you like, there are links in the description with more information.

    2. Justin Strickland

      These videos are great for students!!! I use them every year since they've been out and my students love them!!! They don't have to remember them!! Why would a teacher test over these?? They are great for review and add on information at the end of a unit. And guess what??? Most high school students have a very short attention span and the high production value, witty commentary, and fast pace holds their attention very well!

    3. Vadnev

      Why so serious? If you dont like skip. There is a lot of effort being put on these videos. And I dont see any disclaimer saying it was only made for students. Give credit to these guys, its far better than what comes out of the cable TV any day. On the contrary these crash courses could be good for students because it can spark an interest for History and get them hooked on to it

    4. Ryan Wiley

      The videos are literally called Crash Course.

  9. Charlie Sharpless

    BTW, besides all the other things he mentions the silk road carrying, he should have added religious ideas.

  10. Charlie Sharpless

    Wow, Lee Gee. Your attention span is so short and your perspective so biased that you assumed the whole story he wanted to tell wan enveloped in the first 45 seconds. The rest of you, watch the whole thing - a beautiful tour de force of world history, with social reflection interespersed

  11. Lee Gee

    the presenter was so annoying and unfunny that I could not bring myself to watch what was obviously going to be a stupid dumbed down American McHistory lesson

    1. Justin Strickland

      John Green is one of the smartest and thought provoking people that I have the pleasure of listening to! It might be your taste in comedy or a generation gap, because he is freaking hilarious. I just know that I have a very dry, sarcastic sense of humor and this is right up my alley. I am a Honors World History teacher and I make sure to show every single one of these to my classes. They love them! These are tailored made to higher achieving high school students. The jokes are way over the lower level student's heads. Anywho, the production value is awesome and the overall world history is awesome because it brings up the BIG questions and connections that world history is suppose to focus on. In high school world history, you have to focus on the broad and sweeping. There is no time to focus on really, really specific things. I find that this is good, because it gets students an understanding of how we're all connected and where we come from. They can take the specific classes when they get older, if they so choose.

  12. Laura Maria Zanini

    great to see the script now! thank you!

  13. Harriet Leeck

    Was wondering about Taboos

    Things That shoul Not Be Done



    Where am i going with this, one wonders-
    Well, cannibalism and incest really became taboos and were socially internalised, sauf the odd exception

    but rape and slavery; Things That ShoulD Not Be Done . . ALSO

    yet they were massively done, in war in peace alike

    Can t say I understand human morality all that well -

  14. Harriet Leeck

    where to start, if the beginning is just an artificial concept-
    and Hey , i m just talking about beginning my commentary
    this documentary is indeed Hyper and clappy and so many Awsomes in it that it grates on the average Nonamerican s NERVE a little bit but its also brilliantly witty and informative, i d venture to say everybody can watch it , not just the very Old who might ve forgotten, or the very young who mightn know anything

    he entioned selectively ashoka,who was also highlighted in HG Well s History of the world ,yet most ppl still havent ever heard of him
    And yessss, that includes Indians, apparently
    i think despite the prsenters obvious awareness of patriarchy , he could ve make more or indeed SOME MENTION OF MATRIRCHY BECAUSE BECAUSE AS A HISTORICAL AND CULRURAL CONCEPT THERE S STILL V LITTLE ATTENTION PAID TO IT BY, PEOPLE OF BOTH GENDERS

    1. molluscdude

      Are you drunk?

  15. Martin Chris Sheehy

    Viewed them all #1 to #42 at one sitting.
    V. nice.
    I look forward to the literature course.

  16. Martin Chris Sheehy

    Why " BCE " & " CE " rather than " BC " & " AD "?.

    1. pride-and-parliament

      BC and AD stand for "Before Christ" and "Anno Domini" (Latin for "After Christ"). Thus, when people say a date BC or AD, they're actually telling you its position in time relative to the year of Jesus Christ's birth.
      It's become a Western standard to measure years based on the Christian calendar, but the official terms were changed so as not to appear discriminatory to other religions and atheism (basically we thought we wanted to be tolerant to other religions but at the same time wanted to keep the Christian calendar we'd gotten used to). BCE and CE now stand for Before Common Era and Common Era.

    2. billserey

      B.C. actually refers to Before (the) COmmon Era, Christ was said/presumed to have been born in 4 BC

  17. Harry Nutzack

    unless, of course.... wait for it.... you're the mongols. light hearted, rapid fire, tongue in cheek, yet informative. however, don't believe vlatko, there's actually like 8 hours of these on the playlist (42 episodes at between 11 and 14 minutes each). well worth the watch.

  18. Hyshkabob

    The 99 cent double cheeseburger in the 1st? episode is a good metaphor.
    -fast food -Fast!

  19. Joseph Goseph

    Funny, fast.
    dont complain if you cant keep up, as i know i can read a hell of a lot faster than he can speak, so why on earth cant you keep up with a man speaking?
    your attention is too short to actually listen to somebody other than your own voice for any extended period of time,
    thats why : P

  20. Terry Dashner

    I find it interesting that you use the word "Christianity" with a broad stroke to say that slavery in America was perpetuated by the Old Testament, specifically the Mosaic Law. I would remind you that the denominations of Christian churches in America were split over issue of slavery, much like the Roman Catholic Church and Protestants in general are over the issue of birth control and abortion.

    One example of church disagreement over slavery in America was the Baptist church. The Southern Baptist Church of today finds its roots in an effort to promote slavery as "God ordained" from the pulpit. The Baptists in the North usually sided with Abolitionalists.

    Love your series. Keep up the good word--history rocks!

  21. fattrick

    Where can i buy all of these videos
    I teach high school history and govt and i love your videos
    please let us know

  22. orobertopetersono

    This is pretty good, I wish he didnt take the lolsorandom angle so much but still theres a lot of information here and I like the fast paced delivery, possibly because I have a very short attention span

  23. tristan fernandes

    Could the Columbian Exchange be a bigger picture of evolution as a whole?

  24. Master

    A comedy told from the socialist point of view, and, based on presentation, aimed at six year olds.

    Don't waste your time

    1. Harriet Leeck

      A comedy told from the socialist point of view, "

      and, based on presentation, aimed at six year olds.
      i m almost ten times multiplied by six and I watch it so you cant be entirely right there

      Don't waste your time ,^you said

      . . this might apply to your "advice" more accurately -

    2. LeeCzere

      so is a capitalist view (not really the oppostie but im guessing you think so) trying to keep knowledge out of people hands? Try listening to opposing arguements once on a while and youll find people arent so far apart as politicians and media tell you they are. Sorry for the trolling, im just getting tired of dismissal based on vague buzzwords.

    3. Laurie

      I agree. I think these are fine for elementary school or people just wanting a flash lecture. That said, it horrifies me that high school teacher uses these. If you are really interested in history check out some of the lecture course on iUniversity. Joanne Freeman's Yale course on the American Revolution is great.

  25. Cassandra Leigh Wang

    This is really great. He's not all about comedy. If you get to the later videos he asks really meaningful questions. See "Colombian Exchange" and the ones about slavery.

  26. Laura

    wonderful. is the script available? i am asking because i want to watch the whole thing many additional times, and having the transcript would help me - and probably many others - to keep up with the pace and to look up things we wish to learn more about... but if not, I will start taking fast and furious notes! thank you thank you.

    1. Steven

      Yes, I do a lot pf stopping, backing up, changing windows and searching. But hey, it works, just not very efficient.

  27. Mnz145

    He needs to slow down and allow people time to filter. There are millions of students all over the world that could and would benefit, if he learned to be less hyper.

  28. Noelle

    On the second video, at 3:08, what were the two rivers, the Indus and something with a S

    1. Chris


  29. Chvck Price

    You would think a "historian" who claims to know something about Roman history and culture would know the definition of, and not misuse, the word "decimation", as most people seem to do these days. Epic failure.

    1. Laura

      Mr. Price: "Epic Failure"? Kind of an exaggeration, given the very nice job they do in synthesizing huge volumes of information + inserting some lightness to the whole thing. But, more relevant to your comment, the word "decimation" is used correctly here, at least when I heard it in reference to the plague, so I suggest you to reconsider, or at least to explain: what is "decimation" for you? And where do they misuse it? Now I am curious. Best regards.

    2. Chvck Price

      "Decimation" was a Roman tradition of military punishment. "Deci-", meaning one tenth, or ten percent. They executed every tenth man in a unit as punishment for failure/cowardice. That is where the term originally comes from. Sorry, only been two years for me to get back. =P

  30. nohandlebars

    this guy is hilarious

  31. B Murrietta

    God I love Crash Course.

  32. Ashwatha Narayana

    I loved this video like anything... We need this kind of TV programs in Indian television, We are really bored with never ending TV serials and other boring stuff- Ashwatha

  33. Katherine Taylor

    I love that Crash course got on here!

  34. Gabriel Malmqvist

    A very welcome initiative this is.

  35. Charlie Skutt


  36. Simone Pomerleau-Leidl

    I'll stick with William Federer

  37. Charlie Skutt


  38. Solon Johnson

    This is absolutely brilliant.

  39. Chris Rieth

    The need for this "teacher" to crack childish jokes every two minutes is an indicator of the quality of these videos and their depth of historical understanding.

  40. Etienne Motz

    I'm not a native english speaker and I don't find this to be too fast-paced to be followed. It's very instructive and I love having a lot of information given to me quickly, I think it helps make connections between everything he says. Sometimes when he goes off topic it's a bit annoying because you have to refocus and discard the information that has been given to you. But please continue doing this.

  41. nwr323

    This is a great idea, he talks way too fast and I find it worthless.

  42. Lawrence L. Bish

    What a wonderful idea! What a great way to bring people up to speed.

  43. KooKookaChoo

    I absolutely love this -- it makes me think of Good Eats with Alton Brown, so maybe I am used to the fast-paced style -- but it is exactly what I wanted in a history series. I do love the slower, narrative type docs like Victorian Farm or History of the Home, but this is a lot more fun. I would show these to students after teaching the topics, as a review -- crash course, after all.

  44. Tia Holiday

    Anyone who complains about this show clearly does not understand how John and Hank Green are and run their channels. They're an incredible team with so many side projects, amazing books authored by John Green and just good people all around!

    1. magarac

      Because of the way they are they can´t be questioned?
      I doubt strongly that they really have reached that kind of level.

  45. Winston Smith

    ugh unwatchable! There is a big difference between speaking to someone and AT someone.

    1. Jeremy

      I've shown it to several people, young and old, not a single complaint. Are you ADD/ADHD? that would explain it.

    2. magarac

      If one has forgotten 90% of the information given in a "documentary" within 5 minutes its really just entertainment and not learning.
      But people watch things for different reasons.

  46. Cristi Vidrascu

    People who consider others very stupid and talk down to them like this host (especially when doing so with elitist compassion) are so annoying... even when I was a child I found adults who treated me like this very annoying. Just because my brain wasn't fully developed and I didn't have much life experience didn't mean I was completely brain-dead, nor that I had the attention span of a goldfish...

    1. Jeremy

      Not one time during the entire viewing did me, or my buddy also watching, get the sense that the host was talking down to us or saying that we were stupid. Did you even watch it? Seriously....

    2. Jeremy

      And his pace is pretty frenetic, if you consider that "goldfish" attention span then I dunno what to tell you, I found myself actually rewinding to re-listen and forcing myself to pay Greater attention so as to not miss details.

      Also, I have met many people in my life that consider anyone that knows more than they do, to be Elitists, much akin to how poor people consider guys that make 80k a year to be Elite, noobs call veterans "elitists" in games. It's all perspective and generalizations are weak arguments btw.

  47. Matthew Criuis

    That is scoodlypooping awesome! However, honey badger doesn't give a ****.

    Really, thanks for this epic series. It is obvious that lots of efforts were made. Narrator is great, funny graphics and minute details bring a nice comforting and inspiring feeling. Stay awesome!

  48. Mauricio Gomez

    I had to shut down, this unfunny "PG" family pinky "Documentary" or show

  49. morsie2

    My laptop couldn't keep up, so had to close it before lappy had a nervous breakdown!

  50. Imightberiding

    Fun for the whole family.

  51. Sieben Stern

    hoooh~~ love the thought bubble! XD

    he forgot that Hatsheput had herself declared a man and dressed as a man with a beard! :3

  52. Xercès Des Stèles

    woah topaz fist, that was hilarious

  53. Brandon Cooper

    the sub title is way off ....dont need it but was reading along anyhow !!! Doc is cool but not for falling asleep

  54. Xercès Des Stèles

    full on positive renforcement during my learning is funny

  55. Donald Edward Goodman

    "Never make fun of others." That's what my Father taught me. Sorry YOU haven't "learned your lesson."

  56. Z o h a i b K h a n


  57. alans

    Hot Mess-o-potamia, good one

  58. Aaylsworth

    Tried to watch this twice... but I don't have ADD or ADHD so I couldn't follow along.

    1. spikebat

      Failing to give close attention to details is actually a trait of ADHD sufferers.....

  59. adilrye

    This guy is funny and exciting, the animation is good, the humor is spot on and he's got a passion about him that could excite anyone. I'll subscribe. It'd be good just to watch these when I want a funny little shot of history.

  60. Blair Czitterberg

    Before agriculture, civilization did not exist... Specifically, early humans lived a nomadic existence and it follows that they NEVER settled in a specific place. They simply couldn't sustain life without consistent migration. There was competition among early people, yes. But, they lived an active lifestyle with a healthy balanced diet. Agriculture led to a more sedentary lifestyle and the associated benefits AND costs. PeSO, you fail to understand that agriculture brought a class structure that had never existed before in nature. With the new social structure, agriculture brought malnutrition, famine and poverty into the vast majority of the human population. This is basic biological / human evolution. The average life span of human populations was far greater before agriculture.

    1. PeSO821

      Yes I agree, Civilization brought organized and systematic class division. But that does not mean that there was equality before. Quite the opposite.

      After natural predators were not a real threat to humans any more, populations inevitably grew, and we had to deal with limited resources!
      There is only so much food you can hunt and gather on certain space. And once we go beyond our capacity we had only two choices: die of hunger or kill somebody else to get the food.

      This kind of behavior is actually very natural - chimpanzees behave in vary similar manner. As soon as population grows over the limit, there is a fight for territory
      And there is very strict hierarchy inside group too. Cannibalism, slavery, blood sacrifices - this are all things that can be found in tribes that lived in remote places only few decades ago (some probably still do)

      Until invention of agriculture there simply was not enough food to sustain so many people. And even with agriculture societies hit the limit very fast again. Famine and war made populations relatively stable for such a long time periods.

      Most people I meet believe that tribes live in some kind of pre-sin state, almost like Adam and Eve in a bible.
      I think I know why this is. It is because we are never really happy in society - it limits our desires, but unfortunately we have no choice. Tribal life is even worse.

    2. Blair Czitterberg

      Equality or not, fighting for territory is natural competition for resources. I believe that is fair. Enslaving people to produce resources for the wealth of a few is in my opinion not fair. Nobody, including the guy from the video is arguing for tribal life. I'm just pointing out that way before Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations, agriculture was the beginning of economics and a major problem of human inequality that persists to this day.

    3. adilrye

      Hunter-gathering also brought war, malnutrition and famine. Food sources were not dependable, conflict over resources happened all the time. But, basic evidence suggests that life spans were longer before humans acquired diseases from animals (as a result of animal husbandry). But I still think agriculture's benefits FAR outweigh the costs.

    4. Blair Czitterberg

      Food sources were just as dependable for early humans as they are for the other primates living today! They didn't hunt until well into the stone age with the advent of hitting things with rocks... Early humans were scavengers who drank bone marrow after the main predators ate there fill. Fire and better tool making techniques helped develop hunting. I would agree with you that early hunters most likely began war. I disagree with malnutrition and famine existed at this time... Hunter-gatherers ate a variety of food sources not a steady diet of grains (hence malnutrition not starvation). Famine came about after a population boom in these early cities when the grain wasn't available due to insufficient harvest.

  61. Epicurus

    this is not for people who have no idea about this stuff. its not meant to teach.

    it is a great tool for people who already have learned it and need to study.

    i found it entertaining and accurate. really enjoyable.

  62. wald0

    Informative and somewhat entertaining in small doses. It gets really silly at times which starts getting on my nerves after a short while. I would say this is perfect for younger students though. Its good to see someone try to make history more entertaining and exciting. Most history teachers bore their students to death with dates and dry facts, it becomes more about memorizing than learning. Thats why most people know very little about history really, which allows crazy theories about the ancient past to be presented as viable possibilities to the general public.

  63. CapnCanard

    History Cliff notes, a little bit too hyper for me, but I predict it would be good for Middle School and High School kids.

  64. PeSO821

    I am kind of enjoying the show. Relevant topic in easy to listen format.

    OK put this aside, I do want to make a comment on first part.
    It is about how human life was so much better when we were hunter gatherers. And how it all went wrong when we started with agriculture.
    It presumes there was no competition among people, because they were all more or less equal.
    Well - there is no equality in nature, why should it be with early humans?
    Here are reasons:
    Average female in societies without contraception has somewhere between 5 to even 10 or more children.
    In order to keep the population steady (which it certainly was on long scale) on average only 2 can survive and have children again.
    And what happens to others - they die of disease, hunger or war. You pick which is more horrible.

    So - to put it simply - thank you civilization - thank you agriculture, government, and yes taxes, which pay for police, school, law, and all the things we like to hate.
    Life outside the civilization is much much more difficult.

    1. bobthebboy

      i want to challenge you in that view. there have been a pretty sucseful attempt at educated people in western world into believing, which is part of propaganda to justify the expantion of the civilised world and the killing of native people and stealing there lands.that native peoples were primative and life was miserable and hard.and it is even harder or the modern western man who is so unaware to think that people would choose live close to the earth and pick a hard dirt floor over comfort of a house and bed because of the benifits to awareness and conciousness expansion such a lifestyle has. and i like to finish of by putting a question to you. if life is so pleasant in civilised then how come its people with wealth and all the comforts of civilised world that per capita commit suicide far greater than people from any other lifstyle.

  65. Tadeusz Zukowski

    Is this how we intend to educate? Good Luck and Good Night!