29

The Sumerians are widely credited with being the first real civilisation on Earth, beginning in around the 5th millennium BC. Cities and agricultural communities existed before this time, but are generally not considered to have constituted a civilisation. The Sumerians, who were situated in modern-day lower Iraq and Kuwait, are widely believed to have ...


29

When Europeans discovered Americas they also imported plagues. These plagues were one factor of the collapse of the pre-columbian cultures. http://www.examiner.com/article/apocalypic-mysterious-plague-killed-millions-of-native-americans-the-1500s : The deaths of somewhere between 40 and 100 million people during a relatively short span of time was not ...


24

To some extent, the answer depends on your definitions of "abundant" and "major city." Generally, the supply of water needs merely be adequate to support a population, not "abundant," so I would argue that the situation you describe is rather common, with perhaps hundreds of important cities present and past thriving despite their distance from a major ...


22

This is, in fact, the big question of history. Subquestion 1 here: Why didn't Native North Americans (let's say the Mound Builders, for the sake of argument) conquer the world? The problem here, by the very logic you go over in your own question, is that the MB's were inhabiting a continent that was relatively biologically deprived. By comparison to ...


20

According to historian A. Roger Ekirch's At Day's Close, peoples in pre-industrial societies actually went to bed as soon at it was too dark to work, and slept (and still do sleep in such areas today) in two fourish-hour phases, interrupted by a short period of activity. He found numerous references to this in literature, from Medieval literature to Homer. ...


18

Australian cultures did not have access to good starter crops. This is explored at depth in an allo-history available here: http://alternatehistory.net/discussion/showthread.php?t=110941 on the topic of what crops could have been good starter crops. Indigenous Australian cultures were highly developed, including development of aquacultural structures and ...


18

I am talking about Terra nullius which are lands occupied by countries not individuals .(Most of my question is from the wikipedia link , I picked the most important) you can find them in : Svalbard was considered to be a terra nullius until Norway was given sovereignty over the islands in the Svalbard Treaty of 9 February 1920. Greenland Norway ...


18

This thesis is manifestly false, and is indicative of the weaknesses of "Guns, germs and steel". For example, the making of iron tools was probably passed up the Nile, to Kush and Meroe, and then across to East Africa; they were making iron tools well before 1000 AD; evidence of iron work by the Nok of Nigeria exists as earlier than 400 BC. Nok culture - ...


17

The direct answer is that in modern Egyptian geographical terms, they came from central Egypt. In ancient historical terms, from "Upper Egypt". First off, I need to address a misconception in the question. Modern Egyptians mostly speak Arabic, but the Egyptian language spoken by the Ancient Egyptians was not Semitic. It was part of another branch of the ...


16

City where I live, Bangalore (in southern India) would be an example. It has a population of about 8.5 million (which is slightly more than that of New York city), so it definitely can be considered a major city. It is not built on the shores of any significant water body. It has been around since at least 1537, if not earlier. I am guessing that there ...


15

I also believe the answer is "no". It sure is tempting to put forth one's own theories here, but I'm unaware of any one that is generally accepted. I will point out one thing though: That chart you posted is essentially a chart of literacy. If you use the dates there, you are asking a question about the discovery of writing in various places, not the "...


15

(Most of what I'm writing is a summary of "After the Ice: A global human history 20,000-5,000 BC" by Steven Mithen - published 2003 so it's pretty up to date as an overview of what is known). It is indeed tied to the end of the last ice age. All the sites known from the ice age and immediately afterwards are temporary hunter gatherer camps. In the middle ...


12

While not a student of Toynbee AFAIK, Carroll Quigley worked from Toynbee's theories in The Evolution of Civilizations with a lengthy discussion of the state of Western Civilization. This was written in 1961 with a second edition in 1979, so also predated the end of the Cold War. However he made some predictions for what stage Western Civilization is in ...


12

Its actually a pretty astute observation that independent river-valley "cradles of civilization" tend to have their own crops associated with them. I've personally had a lot of luck researching plant domestication and its association with nearby river valleys, even in some unexpected places. The two definitely seem related. However, this isn't a hard and ...


11

Well, these days I'd say Spanish certainly counts. It is spoken as a first language in just about every country in the Americas south of the Rio Grande (Brazil being the most prominent exception). North of there, English has roughly the same status. Historically, the best analog I know of is Mongol, which at one point was spoken across Asia from Russia to ...


11

I think this probably falls into the same category as questions like "When did the Roman Empire Fall?" If you're ever on Jeopardy and somebody asks you that question, you should probably answer "476 AD," but there are entire books written about how and why that isn't the case. Kind of the same deal here, especially depending on how you want to interpret ...


11

Archeologists have found evidence of religious rituals in Neanderthal burial sites 300,000 years ago. So this was likely a behavior we shared with our common ancestor, Homo Rhodensiensis at least 350K years ago when they diverged. Unsurprisingly, the first literate societies, Sumer and Egypt, used their literacy to record some of their religious practices. ...


9

The Indus Valley Civilization (IVC) was a Bronze Age civilization (3300–1300 BCE; mature period 2600–1900 BCE) extending from what today is northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India At its peak, the Indus Civilization may have had a population of over five million. Inhabitants of the ancient Indus river valley developed new techniques in ...


8

in the current historical view has the onset of agriculture stimulate permanent settlements, and food surplus and storage allow the onset of specialized "careers" (including priests) This is incorrect. Permanent settlements and specialized societies require large food surpluses. This is generally produced by agriculture, but can also (in rare cases) be ...


8

Europe was pretty much a poor smelly underdeveloped backwater in global terms for most of history, although the culture and civilization of the middle east and Africa often reached across the Mediterranean and especially into the areas near the middle east. The change from poor backwater to rulers of the world started with the conquering of the Americas, ...


8

Guns, Germs, and Steel presents a very important argument that geography plays a critical role in the course of human social and economic development. To the extent that geography is important, it excludes alternate explanations that may be religious, racist, or nihilistic. GGS Argument The orientation of the continents - North-South for the Western ...


8

Several factors will have to come together: They look at patterns in the artifacts. How do they build their houses, make their tools, etc.? When many techniques match, they're assumed to be the same culture. Consider the Beaker Culture. Just one technique could be coincidence, but if many techniques match there seems to be a common culture. They detect ...


8

Blame the weather. The reason it took so long for agriculture to develop can be summed up in this chart which shows variation in global temperature against time. The analysis in the academic paper from which this chart is taken, isn't terribly insightful. But, the chart really says it all. In a nutshell, temperatures fluctuated wildly (as much as four ...


7

Your question deals more with historiography, and philosophy of history, whereas most of the questions on this site are about specific historical events. That is the short answer to your question and my reasoning for that answer is what follows. My history classes focused mainly on three things: particular geographic areas of the world, particular time ...


7

Spengler uses one definition (around 8 civilizations), Toynbee uses another (around 23 civilizations), Huntington has its own (actually close to 10 civilizations). Therefore the question is quite open. in fact, Toynbee dedicates almost half volume to describe the definition of civilization as a study field. Under Toynbee definition: A civilization would be ...


7

I believe one of the most interesting examples is Varosha in Cyprus. It's an abandoned city in the UN buffer zone that was abandoned quite suddenly (I believe people intend to return, so all their things are still there) in 1974 during the Turkish invasion. In fact there are many examples of UN buffer zones. I don't know whether this is quite "No-mans land" ...


7

Religions are cultural concepts, they evolve through the time, adapting some ideas from others, providing some new ones, etc. For example, having Christianity of 500 AD, you'd be able to point out some concepts taken (directly or not quite so) from Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Neoplatonism, etc. Then, Christianity itself influenced Islam, Manicheism, lots of ...


7

These are both good answers but I think I can offer some extra points not included in them (after I have +1ed them both)! This is all cloaked in the wool of human history (there is always a counter example somewhere and a lot of this deals only in the general cases): The driver seems to be (as stated previously) the multiple states of almost equal power ...


6

Definitions from Free Dictionary, Dictionary.com, and Oxford dictionary (subscriber only) should tell you the official definition. The Roman Republic and Byzantine Empire are different because of religion, geographical location, population, language and customs. Although the Byzantine did consider themselves the heirs of the Roman Empire. In the same ...


6

Hinduism is considered to be the oldest religion in terms of those religions which are still recognized and practiced to this day but it is far from the oldest religion ever practiced. The first religious practices that we know of is referred to as Paleolithic Religion. Though not written, evidence uncovered by archeologists suggests that Neanderthals ...


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