AP WORLD STUDY GUIDE UNIT 1
Around 10,000 years ago, during the Neolithic Age, humans began to cultivate plants and to domesticate animals in various parts of the world. Climate change is probably the major reason for the switch from food gathering to food production. Although farming is often harder than hunting and gathering, agriculturalists, because of their capacity to increase their population, expanded across much of the planet at the expense of hunter-gatherers. The process was gradual and largely peaceful. In some places pastoralism, the dependence on herd animals prevailed. Megaliths and other monumental structures are products of the diverse religious beliefs and practices of Neolithic societies. In some places small agricultural villages developed into towns that were centers of trade and home to craftsmen and other specialized professions. Jericho and Çatal Hüyük are two excavated sites that give us vivid glimpses of early Neolithic towns. Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia was home to a complex civilization that developed in the plain of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers beginning in the fourth millennium B.C.E. The elements of civilization initially created by the Sumerians, the earliest known people to live in Mesopotamia, were later taken over and adapted by the Semitic peoples who became dominant in the region. The temples of the gods, the earliest centers of political and economic power, gradually became subordinate to kings. City-states, centered on cities that coalesced out of villages and controlled rural territory, were initially independent but later were united under various empires. Mesopotamian society was divided into three classes: free landowners and professionals in the cities, dependent peasants and artisans on rural estates, and slaves in domestic service. Mesopotamians feared their gods, who embodied the often-violent forces of nature. Cuneiform writing, which originally evolved from a system of tokens used for economic records, came to have a wide range of uses in several languages. A range of technologies (metallurgy, ceramics, transportation, and engineering) and sciences (mathematics and astronomy) enabled Mesopotamians to meet the challenges of their environment. Egypt
Most of the population of ancient Egypt lived alongside the Nile River or in the delta. Egypt was well-endowed with natural resources and largely self-sufficient. Because the king was the essential link between the people of Egypt and their gods, lavish resources were poured into the construction of pyramids and other royal tombs. Hieroglyphic and other systems of writing were used by administrators and also for many genres of literature. The population of Egypt was physically diverse, and there was no formal system of classes. The status and privileges of Egyptian women were superior to that of their Mesopotamian counterparts, and poetry reveals an ideal of romantic love. Obsessed with the afterlife, Egyptians used mummification to preserve dead bodies, constructed elaborate tombs, and employed the Book of the Dead to navigate the hazardous journey to a blessed final destination. Egyptians acquired substantial knowledge about medicine, mathematics, astronomy and engineering. The Indus Valley Civilization
The Indus Valley civilization occupied a large territory, including the fertile Indus floodplain as well as adjacent regions. Both the major urban centers and smaller settlements exhibit a uniformity of techniques and styles that indicates a possible strong central control. The Indus Valley people were technologically advanced in irrigation, ceramics, and construction. Metals were more widely available than in Mesopotamia and Egypt. The writing system has not been deciphered. The Indus Valley had widespread trading contacts, reaching as far as Mesopotamia. Cities were abandoned and the civilization declined after 1900! B.C.E., probably as a result of natural...
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