Portal:Modern history

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The Modern History Portal

World population, 10,000 BCE – 2,000 CE (vertical population scale is logarithmic)

Human history (or world history) is the narrative of humanity's past. It is understood through archaeology, anthropology, genetics, linguistics, and (since the advent of writing) primary and secondary source documents.

Humanity's written history was preceded by its prehistory, beginning with the Palaeolithic ("Old Stone Age") era. This was followed by the Neolithic ("New Stone Age") era, which saw the Agricultural Revolution begin in the Near East's Fertile Crescent between 10,000 and 5,000 BCE. During this period, humans began the systematic husbandry of plants and animals. As agriculture advanced, most humans transitioned from a nomadic to a settled lifestyle as farmers in permanent settlements. The relative security and increased productivity provided by farming allowed communities to expand into increasingly larger units, fostered by advances in transportation.

Whether in prehistoric or historic times, people always needed to be near reliable sources of drinking water. Settlements developed as early as 4,000 BCE in Iran, Mesopotamia, the Indus River valley on the Indian subcontinent, as well as on the banks of Egypt's Nile River, along China's rivers and the short rivers that flow from the Andes in the central coast of Peru. As farming developed, grain agriculture became more sophisticated and prompted a division of labour to store food between growing seasons. Labour divisions led to the rise of a leisured upper class and the development of cities, which provided the foundation for civilization. The growing complexity of human societies necessitated systems of accounting and writing. Hinduism developed in the late Bronze Age on the Indian subcontinent. The Axial Age witnessed the introduction of religions such as Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and Jainism. (Full article...)

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