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Agraria timeline

Palaeolithic man had tools, religion and art but the lifestyle of the hunter-gatherer favoured small groups when large groups could harness the benefits of scale. Agriculture arose independently after the last Ice Age in regions where there were amenable climatic conditions and access to domesticable animals and plants. Crops that could be stored were a source of energy that allowed populations to grow and settled families did not need to carry children. Settled communities produced task specialization and more sophisticated technology, division of labour, hierarchical social structures, scribes to write and maintain commercial and other records, local and external markets. The spaces where people lived and worked were now created by humans who had now moved out of nature.


c.11,000 BP – Earliest evidence of agriculture in the Near East.
c.10,000 BP – Earliest evidence of agriculture in East Asia.
c.6,000 BP – Earliest evidence of agriculture in the Americas and West Africa.
c.5,200 BP – First states in Mesopotamia.
c.5,000 BP – First states in Egypt, first hieroglyphs.
c.4,500 BP – First states in N. India/Pakistan.
c.4,000 BP – First states in N. China.
c.3000 BCE – Silk production begins in China.
c.2,500 BP – First states in Mesoamerica & West Africa.
c.2000 BCE – There is regional trade all along what would become the Silk Roads.
c. 1500-1600 CE – More books published in Europe in a single century than in the previous 800 years.
c.1,500 BP – Chinese invent clay tablet printing.
c. 600 BP – Invention of the printing press.
c. 200 BP – Industrialization of printing and book production.
c. 20 BP – The internet revolution and the continuing digitization of knowledge.
500 BCE – 300 BCE – Persian empire in Mesopotamia extends trades east and west.
334 BCE – 323 BCE – Conquests of Alexander the Great link southwest, south, and southeast Asia with the Mediterranean.
c.200 BCE – First contact between China and the Greco-Bactrian descendents of Alexander the Great’s army.
138 BCE – Han Emperor Wu the Great sends his emissary Zhang Qian to the west, initiating commerce
129 BCE – Parthians conquer Mesopotamia. The Silk Road to China is now controlled by the Parthians.
27 BCE – 14 CE – Reign of Augustus Caesar in Rome, Chinese silk is very popular.
542 CE – The bubonic plague, “Plague of Justinian”. thought to have been brought through the Silk Road, devastates the Byzantine Empire and wider Europe.


First published on the internet – 1 March 2019

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