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This blog does what it says on the box. It quite simply narrates, from the start to the present day, a history of the world, and virtually everything of note in it. Follow the saga that the World's story is, by checking in for our daily updates! Contact us at worldhistoryblog@yahoo.co.uk

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Early Civilization

The achievements of the Urban Revolution in the Middle East, and the later invention of writing and metallurgy slowly spread throughout Europe and Asia. The period after 5000BC saw a gradual, full transition to agriculture in Western Europe. Forest clearing made room for farming on a larger scale than was managed before, and a subsequent rise in populations, beginning first in fertile river valleys such as the Indus and the Nile regions. We know that the Wheel was in use in Northern Europe by about 4000 years ago, and the horse was being used in Ireland by 2500BC. The third millennium BC saw the widespread use of bronze to make tools and weapons.

Agriculture first came to Africa (mainly north of the Equator) through Egypt from 5000BC onwards. As the Sahara dried out, farmers were forced south. There is an interesting reason why farming spread more slowly to sub-equatorial Africa. The natural abundance of food made farming an unnecessary evolution. It remained for a long time, far less laborious to hunt for food. The same was the case in North America and with the aboriginies in Australia, who never developed agriculture. Europe and Asia for several reasons were optimally “designed” for agriculture, where in other parts of the world it would have been too difficult, or unnecessary.

But it wasn’t a zero-sum game: agriculture or gathering only. In the Steppes of Russia and Eastern Europe, animal domestication appeared first (in 4500 BC) and agriculture came after. Also, the Scythians of the Steppes during the first millennium BC, had a hybrid normadic-agricultural lifestyle. Bronze was in use in the Urals from around 1500 BC. Eastern Europe’s unique position in the Eurasian geography makes it something of a cultural bridge between East and West and this was reflected in how civlization developed there. Initially, most of the influence came from the West (ultimately, the Middle East), but from 1200 BC onwards, we start to see increasing Chinese influence.

Ultimately, the Middle East was the cradle and messenger of Civilization: it did not spring up independently in Europe and Asia, but rather, through conquest and trade, spread outwards from one centre – the Middle East. It took route firmly first in India in the third millennium BC, followed by Crete in the second, and then China a few hundred years after. It was only in the first millennium BC that these civilizations reached a stage of comparable development to those of the Middle East. The process is explored on these pages.

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