Archaeologists and historians have allowed us to understand the events and cultures that have shaped our society today through the discovery of fossils, artifacts, and ruined cities that are linked to our ancestors. Through their findings, the origin and growth of civilization has been established. Although some civilizations like Atlantis and Rama are surrounded by myth and legend, others actually existed in the world. It is nearly impossible to rank civilizations based on their importance, as each was important in shaping the world. However, it is possible to rank them in chronological order .
Below are 10 of the oldest civilizations in the world.
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Mesopotamia was the first civilization to arise in human history. The area was established between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers and lies between Asia Minor and the Persian Gulf. The region is known for its fertile agricultural land. Civilization dates back to 10,000 BC when the people of the area discovered the concept of agriculture and began to domesticate animals. Mesopotamia gave rise to written literature and various other inventions such as art, culture, and commerce. The timeline of ancient Mesopotamia is estimated between 3300 B.C. C. and 750 a. C. with the Babylonians, Sumerians and Assyrians who play key roles in civilization.
9. ANCIENT EGYPT
The civilization of ancient Egypt took place between 3100 B.C. E. and 2686 a. C. It is the most famous and admired culture in the world. The culture developed along the banks of the Nile River . The magnificent pyramids are some of the evidence of the booming culture along the river bank and act as a reminder of the existence of a mighty Empire in the Egyptian desert. The Egyptian civilization was the result of the unification of Upper and Lower Egypt by the first pharaoh. In addition to the pyramids, civilization gave rise to the embalming of corpses in mummies, solar calendars, and much more. The vibrant Egyptian culture, art and architecture that we know today are linked to the Egyptian civilization.
8. ROMAN CIVILIZATION
The Roman civilization dates back to the 6th century BC. C. Although the founding of ancient Rome is shrouded in myth and legend, it became so powerful that it took control of the land surrounding the present-day Mediterranean Sea. The early Romans were ruled by kings, but after seven kings, they seized power and became a republic. Rome witnessed the rise and fall of some of the mighty emperors like Julius Caesar and Augustus. The Roman civilization gave birth to politicians, statesmen, writers, and soldiers. Rome’s fingerprint is still evident in Europe, with classic sites still attracting tourists.
7. SMALL NORTH
The Norte Chico civilization was a complex society in the pre-Columbian era that was composed of more than 30 major population regions in modern Norte Chico in Peru . Civilization was at its height between the fourth and second millennium BC. The first city was formed around 3500 BC. C. in the region of Fortaleza. However, from around 3100 B.C. BC onwards, communal building and widespread human settlement became very evident until around 1800 BC. C. The Norte Chico civilization took place along the banks of three rivers, namely the Pativilca, Fortaleza and Supe. The river valleys have large groups of sites known for their immense architecture. Monumental architecture is considered the greatest achievement of civilization.
Also Read: Ancient civilizations of the world
The Mayan culture began with the Shang dynasty. The Maya lived from around 1200 B.C. C. until 250 a. C. in areas of Central America and Mexico , present-day Guatemala, Salvador, Mexico, Belize, and Honduras . The ancient Mayan civilization flourished around 2600 B.C. C. Once established, the civilization became one of the most complex civilizations that was characterized by a population boom of approximately 19 million people at its peak. The Mayans devised their method of writing for the year 700 a. C. and used the writings to create a solar calendar on stones. They were gifted astronomers who calculated dates by studying the movement of the heavens.
The Aztecs were not considered ancient civilizations by European standards. Yet they were among the oldest, most organized, and powerful people in the Americas. They came on the scene when the Incas were beginning to assert their dominance in South America. They were mainly based in present-day Mexico , but also spread to Central America. Their rise almost coincided with the fall of the Maya. The Aztec civilization was at its height in the early 1500s.
4. INDUS VALLEY CIVILIZATION
The Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Civilization, began 5,300 years ago. It flourished in areas that today stretch from Afghanistan to Pakistan and India . The Indus Valley Civilization is one of the three earliest Old World civilizations along with the Egyptian and Mesopotamian civilizations. The Indus Valley people settled around the Indus River basin. The civilization lasted from 2600 B.C. C. until 1900 a. C. and was characterized by a technologically advanced urban culture. The people were skilled mathematicians, developing precise means of measuring length, mass, and time. They were also gifted in the work of weaponry and ceramics, as is evident in their culture, which was rich in arts and crafts.
The Jiahu settlement was located in the central plain of ancient China. The inhabitants of the settlements developed some of the aspects of Chinese culture. The people were primarily rice farmers, but are known primarily for producing the world’s oldest wine. Some of the older musical elements, such as flutes, have also been linked to them. The earliest forms of Chinese writing date back to the Jiahu. They had distinct markings on the artifacts indicating that they used signs instead of systematic writing.
2. ABORIGINAL AUSTRALIANS
Although the Mesopotamian civilization is considered the oldest in world history, some researchers believe that the Australian aborigine is the oldest. Aboriginal people date back 75,000 years, but became a genetically distinct group about 50,000 years ago. They are believed to have first settled in Australia approximately 40,000 years ago and are considered the direct ancestors of present-day Australians. Some of the latest discoveries indicate that the aborigines practiced cremation.
The Inca Empire became the largest empire in South America during the pre-Columbian era. The civilization flourished between 1438 AD and 1532 AD around present-day Peru. Ecuador and Chile. Its administrative capital was located in Cusco or in present-day Peru. The Incas were dedicated to the sun god and had a king named “Sapa Inca” (son of the sun). The city of Cusco resembled a puma. The Incas were great builders who built fortresses and sites like Machu Picchu and Cusco itself that still stands.