Cradle of Civilization

In the history of the world, the cradle of civilization is a title claimed by several regions of the world owning to their development of writing, social systems, and cities. Human history's beginning, as opposed to its prehistory, has been said to begin with the invention, independently at several sites on Earth, of writing, which created the infrastructure for lasting, accurately transmitted memories and thus for the diffusion and growth of knowledge. Writing, in its turn, had been made necessary in the wake of the Neolithic Revolution, which had given rise to civilization, i.e., to create civilizations with permanent settled communities, which fostered a growing diversity of trades.

Scholars educated in various parts of the world look at the question differently. There are five rivers that scholars cite as being possible sites for the 'Cradle of Civilization.' They are: the Tigris-Euphrates in modern day Iraq, the Nile in Africa, the Indus in South Asia, and the Huang-He-Yangtze in China.

Prosperous conditions throughout the world in fertile river locations prompted nomadic people in the various given regions to form a sedentary, agrarian community and, thus, become a "Cradle of Civilization." It is not clear where the actual beginning took place or whether there were many beginnings in many locations so that mankind's societal development cannot be attributed to only one primary location. The inhabitants of these areas built cities, created writing systems, learned to make pottery and use metals, domesticated animals, and created complex social structures with class systems.

Middle East

Historically, the ancient city states of Mesopotamia in the fertile crescent are most cited by Western and Middle Eastern scholars as the cradle of civilization. The convergence of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers produced rich fertile soil and a supply of water for irrigation. The civilizations that emerged around these rivers are among the earliest known attempts humanity made at establishing non-nomadic agrarian societies. But it is due to the fact that Ubaid, Sumer, Akkad, Assyria and Babylon civilizations all emerged around the Tigris-Euphrates, the theory that Mesopotamia is the cradle of civilizations might be the strongest. It's also due to the fact that Ubaid (5500 B.C.) the oldest civilization known to exist was in the same area.[1]

Sumer

Further information: The legacy of ancient Sumer


The Mesopotamian civilization of Sumer is believed to have begun around 4000-3500 BC, and although some claim it ended in 2334 BC with the rise of Akkad, the following Ur III period saw a Sumerian renaissance. This period came to an end with Amorite and Elamite invasions, after which Sumerian retained its importance only as a written language (similar to Latin in the Middle Ages). It is generally recognized that Sumer, in what is now Iraq, was the world's first civilization.

Eridu was the oldest Sumerian site, settled during the proto-civilized Ubaid period. Situated several miles southwest of Ur, Eridu was the southernmost of a conglomeration of early temple-cities, in Sumer, southern Mesopotamia, with the earliest of these settlements carbon dating to around 5000 BC. By the 4th millennium BC, in Nippur we find, in connection with a sort of ziggurat and shrine, a conduit built of bricks, in the form of an arch. Sumerian inscriptions written on clay also appear in Nippur. By 4000 BC an ancient Elamite city of Susa, in Mesopotamia, also seems to emerge from earlier villages. Whilst Elam originally adopted their own script from an early age they adapted the Sumerian cuneiform script to their own language. The earliest recognizable cuneiform dates to no later than about 3500 BC. Other villages that began to spring up around this time in the Ancient Near East (Middle East) were greatly impacted and shifted rapidly from a proto-civilized to a fully civilized state (eg. Ebla, Mari and Asshur).

Egypt

Further information: Ancient Egypt: Ancient Achievements


The rise of dynastic Egypt in the Nile Valley occurred with the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt in approximately 3200 BC, and ended at around 343 BC, at the start of the Achaemenid dynasty's control of Egypt. It is one of the three oldest civilizations in the world. Anthropological and archaeological evidence both indicate that the Kubbaniya culture was a grain-grinding culture farming along the Nile before the 10th millennium BC using sickle blades. But another culture of hunters, fishers and gathering peoples using stone tools replaced them. Evidence also indicates human habitation in the southwestern corner of Egypt, near the Sudan border, before 8000 BC. From around 7000 BC to 3000 BC the climate of the Sahara was much moister, offering good grazing land even in areas that are now very arid. Natural climate change after 3000 BC led to progressive arification of the region. It has been suggested that as a result of these changes, around 2500 BC early tribes from the Sahara were forced to concentrate along the Nile river where they developed a settled agricultural economy and more centralized society. However it should be borne in mind that indigenous tribes would always have been present in the fertile Nile Valley and may have developed complex societies by themselves. Domesticated animals had already been imported from Asia between 7500 BC and 4000 BC (see Sahara: History, Cattle period), and there is evidence of pastoralism and cultivation of cereals in the East Sahara in the 7th millennium BC. The earliest known artwork of ships in ancient Egypt dates to 6th millennium BC.

By 6000 BC predynastic Egyptians in the southwestern corner of Egypt were herding cattle. Symbols on Gerzean pottery, c.4th millennium BC, resemble traditional hieroglyph writing. In ancient Egypt mortar was in use by 4000 BC, and ancient Egyptians were producing ceramic faience as early as 3500 BC. There is evidence that ancient Egyptian explorers may have originally cleared and protected some branches of the Silk Road. Medical institutions are known to have been established in Egypt since as early as circa 3000 BC. Ancient Egypt gains credit for the tallest ancient pyramids and early forms of surgery, mathematics, and barge transport.

Indus Valley and Indian subcontinent

See also:


Enlarge picture
Ancient Lothal as envisaged by the Archaeological Survey of India.
The earliest-known farming cultures in South Asia emerged in the hills of Balochistan, Greater India. These semi-nomadic peoples domesticated wheat, barley, sheep, goat and cattle. Pottery was in use by the 6th millennium BC. The oldest granary yet found in this region was the Mehrgarh in the Indus Valley, which dates from 6000 BC.

Their settlement consisted of mud buildings that housed four internal subdivisions. Burials included elaborate goods such as baskets, stone and bone tools, beads, bangles, pendants and occasionally animal sacrifices. Figurines and ornaments of sea shell, limestone, turquoise, lapis lazuli, sandstone and polished copper have been found. By the 4th millennium BC, Technologies included stone and copper drills, updraft kilns, large pit kilns and copper melting crucibles. Button seals included geometric designs.

By 4000 BC, a pre-Harappan culture emerged, with trade networks including lapis lazuli and other raw materials. The Indus civilization is known to have comprised two large cities, Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, and more than 100 towns and villages, often of relatively small size. The two cities were perhaps originally about a mile square in overall dimensions, and their outstanding magnitude suggests political centralization, either in two large states or in a single great empire with alternative capitals. Or it may be that Harappa succeeded Mohenjo-daro, which is known to have been devastated more than once by exceptional floods [1]. The southern region of the civilization in Kathiawar and beyond appears to be of later origin than the major Indus sites. Villagers also grew numerous other crops, including peas, sesame seed, dates, and cotton. The Indus valley civilization is credited for a regular and consistent use of decimal fractions in a uniform system of ancient weights and measures.[2][3]

Major cities of the civilization included Lothal (2400 BC), Harappa (3300 BC), and Mohenjo-Daro (2500 BC), Rakhigarhi and Dholavira. Streets were laid out in grid patterns along with the development of sewage and water systems. This civilization of planned cities came to an end around 1700 BC either through external invasion and perhaps due to drying of rivers flowing from the Himalayas to the Arabian sea and geological/climatic changes in the Indus valley civilization area which resulted in the formation of the Thar desert. The origins of the invaders are a matter of conjecture. As a result, the cities were abandoned and populations reduced and people moved to the more fertile Ganga-Yamuna river area. The Indus Valley script remains un-deciphered. This theory is called the Aryan Invasion Theory. An alternative theory proposed is the Out of India theory, according to which there was no Aryan invasion into India, there was a continuity between the Indus Valley Civilization and the subsequent Vedic Age and that the decline of the Indus Valley Civilization was related to geological events.

China

The history of China is told in traditional historical records that refer as far back as the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors about 5,000 years ago, supplemented by archaeological records dating to the 16th century BC. China is one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations. Turtle shells with markings reminiscent of ancient Chinese writing from the Shang Dynasty have been carbon dated to around 1500 BC. The Yellow River was irrigated around 2205 BC, reputedly by an Emperor named Yu the Great, starting the semi-mythical Xia Dynasty. Archaeologists disagree whether or not there is archaeological evidence to support the existence of the Xia Dynasty, with some suggesting that the Bronze Age society, the Erlitou culture, was the site of this ancient, first recorded dynasty of China. The earliest archaeologically verifiable dynasty in recorded Chinese history, the Shang Dynasty, emerged around 1750 BC. The Shang Dynasty is attributed for bronze artifacts and oracle bones, which were turtle shells or cattle scapula on which are written the first recorded Chinese characters and found in the Huang He valley in Yinxu, a capital of the Shang Dynasty.

The oldest pre-civilized Neolithic cultures found in China to date are the Pengtoushan, the Jiahu, and the Peiligang, all dated to about 7000 BC. Pengtoushan has been difficult to date and has a date variance from 9000 BC to 5500 BC, but it was at this site that remains of domesticated rice dated at about 7000 BC were found. At Jiahu, some of the earliest evidence of rice cultivation was found. Another notable discovery at Jiahu was playable tonal flutes, dated around 7000 BC to 6600 BC. Peiligang was one of the earliest cultures in China to make pottery. Both Jiahu and Peiligang developed millet farming, animal husbandry, storage and redistribution of crops. Evidence also indicates specialized craftsmenship and administrators in these Neolithic cultures (see History of China: Prehistoric times).

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China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and countries linked to Chinese cultural and political history.
The early history of China is complicated by the lack of a written language during this period coupled with the existence of documents from later time periods attempting to describe events that occurred several centuries before. The problem in some sense stems from centuries of introspection on the part of the Chinese people which has blurred the distinction between fact and fiction in regards to this early history. By 7000 BC, the Chinese were farming millet, giving rise to the Jiahu culture. At Damaidi in the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, 3,172 cliff carvings dating to 6,000-5,000 BCE have been discovered "featuring 8,453 individual characters such as the sun, moon, stars, gods and scenes of hunting or grazing." These pictographs are reputed to be similar to the earliest characters confirmed to be written Chinese.[4][5]. Later Yangshao culture was superseded by the Longshan culture around 2500 BC. Archaeological sites such as Sanxingdui and Erlitou show evidence of a Bronze Age civilization in China. The earliest bronze knife was found at Majiayao in Gansu and Qinhai province dated 3000 BC.

Chinese civilization originated with city-states in the Yellow River valley. 221 BC is the commonly accepted year when China became unified under a large kingdom or empire. Successive dynasties in Chinese history developed bureaucratic systems that enabled the Emperor of China to control the large territory.

The Americas

In the history of the Americas, civilizations were established long after migration. Several large, centralized civilizations developed in the Western Hemisphere : Norte Chico, Chavin, Nazca, Moche, Huari, Chimu, Pachacamac, Tiahuanaco, Aymara and Inca in the Central Andes (Peru and Bolivia); Muisca in Colombia ; Olmecs, Toltecs, Mixtecs , Zapotecs, Aztecs and the Mesoamerican Mayas in Central America).

The ancestors of today's Native Americans were hunter-gatherers who migrated into North America. The most popular theory asserts that migrants came to the Americas via the Bering Land Bridge, Beringia, the land mass covered by the cold ocean waters in the Bering Strait. Small Paleo-Indian groups probably followed the mammoth and other prey animals. It is possible that groups of people may also have traveled into North America on shelf or sheet ice along the northern Pacific coast.

Cultural traits brought by the first immigrants later evolved and spawned such cultures as Iroquois on North America and Pirahã of South America. These cultures later developed into civilizations. In many cases, these cultures expanded at a later date than their Old World counterparts. Cultures that may be considered advanced or civilized include: Cahokia, Zapotec, Toltecs, Olmec, Aztecs, and the Inca.

Norte Chico 3000-1600 BC

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Caral of the Norte Chico, the oldest known civilization in the Western Hemisphere.


The oldest known civilization in South America, as well as in the Western Hemisphere as a whole, the Norte Chico civilization comprised several interconnected settlements leading to the Peruvian coast, including the urban centers at Aspero and Caral. The presence of Quipu (an Andean recording medium) at Caral indicates its potential influence on later Andean societies, as well as the antiquity of this unique recording system. The stone pyramids on the sites are thought to be contemporary to the great pyramids of Giza. Unusually among Andean cities, no evidence of fortifications, or of other signs of warfare, have yet been found in the Norte Chico.

Olmec (New World) 1200–450 BC

The Olmec civilization was the first Mesoamerican civilization, beginning around 1200 BC and ending around 400 BC. By 2700 BC, settlers in the Americas had begun to grow their first crop, maize, and a number of cities were built. Around 1200 BC, these small cities coalesced into this civilization. A prominent civilization thus emerged. The centers of these cities were ceremonial complexes with pyramids and walled plazas. The first of these centers was at San Lorenzo, with another one following it at La Venta. Olmec artisans sculpted jade and clay figurines of Jaguars and humans, and giant heads of the emperor stood in every major city. The domestication of maize is thought to have begun around 7,500 to 12,000 years ago (corrected for solar variations).. The earliest record of lowland maize cultivation dates to around 5,100 calendar years BC [3]. The ruling families, however, eventually lost their grip on the surrounding regions, and the civilization ended in 400 BC, with the defacing and destruction of San Lorenzo and La Venta, two of the major cities. This civilization is considered the mother culture of the Mesoamerican civilizations. It spawned the Mayan civilization whose first constructions began around 600 BC and continued to influence future civilizations.

See also

External articles

Citations ans notes
1. ^ Ubaid Civilization
2. ^ andrews.ac.uk/history/Projects/Pearce/Chapters/Ch3.html Early Indian culture - Indus civilization
3. ^ Kenoyer, Jonathan (1998). Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization. Oxford University Press. 
4. ^ [5]
5. ^ "Carvings may rewrite history of Chinese characters", Xinhua online, 2007-05-18. Retrieved on 2007-05-19.Xinhua%20online&rft.date=2007-05-18"> 
history of the world, by convention, is human history, from the first appearance of Homo sapiens to the present. Human history is marked both by a gradual accretion of discoveries and inventions, as well as by quantum leaps — paradigm shifts, and revolutions
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The Cradle of Humankind or, alternatively Cradle of Humanity, Cradle of Mankind or Cradle of Man may refer to:
  • History of the world, the history of humanity.

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history of the world, by convention, is human history, from the first appearance of Homo sapiens to the present. Human history is marked both by a gradual accretion of discoveries and inventions, as well as by quantum leaps — paradigm shifts, and revolutions
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Writing, is the representation of language in a textual medium; that is with the use of signs or symbols. It is distinguished from illustration such as cave drawings and paintings, and recording language via a non-textual medium such as magnetic tape audio.
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Social structure is a term frequently used in sociology and more specifically in social theory — yet rarely defined or clearly conceptualised (Jary and Jary 1991, Abercrombie et al 2000).
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city is an urban settlement with a particularly important status which differentiates it from a town.

City is primarily used to designate an urban settlement with a large population. However, city may also indicate a special administrative, legal, or historical status.
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Prehistory (Latin, præ = before Greek, ιστορία = history) is a term often used to describe the period before written history. Paul Tournal originally coined the term Pré-historique
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The Neolithic Revolution is the first agricultural revolution, describing the transition from nomadic hunting and gathering communities and bands, to agriculture and settlement, as first adopted by various independent prehistoric human societies, in numerous locations on
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Civilization (British English also civilisation) is a kind of human society or culture; specifically, a civilization is usually understood to be a complex society characterized by the practice of agriculture and settlement in cities.
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Origin Eastern Turkey
Mouth Shatt al-Arab
Basin countries Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran
Length 1.900 km (1.180 mi)

The Tigris is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, along with the Euphrates, which flows from
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Origin Eastern Turkey
Mouth Shatt al Arab
Basin countries Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran
Length 2,800 km
Source elevation 4,500 m

Avg.
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Motto
الله أكبر    (Arabic)
"Allahu Akbar"   (transliteration)
"God is the Greatest"
Anthem

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Origin Africa
Mouth Mediterranean Sea
Basin countries Sudan, Burundi, Rwanda, DR Congo, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Egypt
Length 6,650 km (4,132 mi)
Source elevation 1,134 m (3,721 ft)

Avg.
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Africa is the world's second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. At about 30,221,532 km² (11,668,545 sq mi) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area, and 20.4% of the total land area.
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Indus
Sindh, Sindhu, Hindu, Abasin, Sengge Chu
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South Asia, also known as Southern Asia, is a southern geopolitical region of the Asian continent comprising territories on and in proximity to the Indian subcontinent. It is surrounded by (from west to east) Western Asia, Central Asia, Eastern Asia, and Southeastern Asia.
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Origin Bayankala Mountains, Qinghai Province
Mouth Bohai Sea
Basin countries China
Length 5464 km (3398 mi)
Source elevation 4500 m (14,765 ft)

Avg.
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Basin countries China
Length 6,300 km (3,915 mi)[1]
Source elevation 5,042 m (16,542 ft)

Avg. discharge 31,900 m³/s (1,127,000 ft³/s)
Basin area 1,800,000 km² (695,000 mi²) The Yangtze River or Chang Jiang
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This page contains Chinese text.
Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Chinese characters.
China (Traditional Chinese:
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History is the study of the past, focused on human activity and leading up to the present day.[1] More precisely, history is the continuous, systematic narrative and research of past events as relating to the human race [1]
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Mesopotamia was a cradle of civilization geographically located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, largely corresponding to modern-day Iraq. Sumer in southern Mesopotamia is commonly regarded as the world's earliest civilization.
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Fertile Crescent is a historical crescent-shape region in the Middle East incorporating the Levant, Ancient Mesopotamia, and Ancient Egypt. The term "Fertile Crescent" was coined by University of Chicago archaeologist James Henry Breasted.
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Middle East is a historical and political region of Africa-Eurasia with no clear boundaries. The term "Middle East" was popularized around 1900 in Britain, and has been criticized for its loose definition.
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The tell (mound) of Ubaid (Arabic: عبيد) near Ur in southern Iraq has given its name to the prehistoric Pottery Neolithic to Chalcolithic culture, which represents the earliest settlement on the alluvial plain
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Ancient Mesopotamia

Euphrates Tigris
Cities / Empires
Sumer: Uruk ' Ur ' Eridu
Kish ' Lagash ' Nippur
Akkadian Empire: Akkad
Babylon ' Isin ' Susa
Assyria: Assur Nineveh
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Ancient Mesopotamia

Euphrates Tigris
Cities / Empires
Sumer: Uruk ' Ur ' Eridu
Kish ' Lagash ' Nippur
Akkadian Empire: Akkad
Babylon ' Isin ' Susa
Assyria: Assur Nineveh
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Ancient Mesopotamia

Euphrates Tigris
Cities / Empires
Sumer: Uruk ' Ur ' Eridu
Kish ' Lagash ' Nippur
Akkadian Empire: Akkad
Babylon ' Isin ' Susa
Assyria: Assur Nineveh
..... Click the link for more information.
Ancient Mesopotamia

Euphrates Tigris
Cities / Empires
Sumer: Uruk ' Ur ' Eridu
Kish ' Lagash ' Nippur
Akkadian Empire: Akkad
Babylon ' Isin ' Susa
Assyria: Assur Nineveh
..... Click the link for more information.
Origin Eastern Turkey
Mouth Shatt al-Arab
Basin countries Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran
Length 1.900 km (1.180 mi)

The Tigris is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia, along with the Euphrates, which flows from
..... Click the link for more information.
Origin Eastern Turkey
Mouth Shatt al Arab
Basin countries Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran
Length 2,800 km
Source elevation 4,500 m

Avg.
..... Click the link for more information.


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