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History of Civilisation

  • Date Submitted: 01/30/2012 12:09 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 39.9 
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Mesopotamia and Egypt: 3100 BC

In about 3200 BC the two earliest civilizations develop in the region where southwest Asia joins northeast Africa. Great rivers are a crucial part of the story. The Sumerians settle in what is now southern Iraq, between the mouths of the Euphrates and the Tigris. Egypt develops in the long narrow strip of the Nile valley.

Rivers offer two main advantages to a developing civilization. They provide water to irrigate the fields, and they offer the easiest method of transport for a society without paved roads. Rivers will play an equally important role in two other early civilizations - those of the Indus and of northern China.

The Indus: 2500 BC

It is not known whether contact with Mesopotamia inspires the first civilization of India or whether it is a spontaneous local development, but by about 2500 BC the neolithic villages along the banks of the Indus are on the verge of combining into a unified and sophisticated culture.

The Indus civilization, with its two large cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, expands over a larger region than Egypt and Mesopotamia combined. It will survive, in a remarkably consistent form, for about 1000 years.

The Aegean: 2000 BC

The next region to develop a distinctive civilization centres on the Aegean Sea. The bays and inlets of the rugged coastal regions of Greece, and the many small islands strung like pearls across this relatively sheltered sea, combine to make this an ideal area for trade (and piracy) among people whose levels of nautical skill make short hops a necessary precaution.

The Aegean civilization stands at the start of the very lively tradition of Mediterranean culture. It begins in the large island which is perfectly placed to guard the entrance to the Aegean - Crete.

China: 1600 BC

The longest consistent civilization in the human story so far is that of China. This vast eastern empire seems set apart from the rest of the world, fiercely proud of its...

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