History, map and timeline of ancient Iraq or Mesopotamia in 3500 BC, showing the rise of the first civilization and cities in world history.
The first true civilization in world history has appeared in Mesopotamia. This development has taken place on the fertile flood plains of the rivers Tigris and Euphrates. Here, the fertile soil brought down from the mountains by the great rivers has given rise to much denser populations than elsewhere. The arid climate, plus dangerous spring floods, has called for the creation of large-scale water-control systems, to channel and store water for crops, and to protect communities from the raging waters.
A network of ditches, channels, dykes, dams, tanks and canals has grown up over many generations. To construct and maintain these water-control systems requires constant hard work – and management. This has, over the centuries, led to the growth of large communities with densely concentrated populations of many thousands of people. These are the first cities in world history.
In order to organize the labour of the people efficiently, the groups of priests who control these cities are gradually perfecting the first known writing script and numeral system. These are key developments in the emergence of civilization.
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