1.2: Hungry Hungry Humans
In response to warming climates at the end of the last Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago, some groups adapted to the environment in new ways, while others remained hunter-foragers. Settled agriculture appeared in several different parts of the world. The switch to agriculture created a more reliable, but not necessarily more diversified, food supply. Farmers also affected the environment through cultivation of selected plants to the exclusion of others, the construction of irrigation systems, and the use of domesticated animals for food and labor. Populations increased; village life developed, followed by urban life with all its complexity. Patriarchy and forced-labor systems developed, giving elite men concentrated power. Pastoralism emerged in parts of Africa and Eurasia. Like agriculturalists, pastoralists tended to be more socially stratified than hunter-foragers. Pastoralists’ mobility facilitated technology transfers through their interaction with settled populations.
The Neolithic Revolution led to more complex economic and social systems.
- Neolithic Revolution
- Ancient climatic change
- Permanent agricultural villages
- Early agricultural societies -
- Nile River Valley
- Sub-Saharan Africa
- Indus River Valley
- Huang He (Yellow River) Valley
- Papua New Guinea
Agriculture and pastorialism transformed societies.
- Specialization of labor
- New social classes - artisans, warriors, elites
- Patriarchal societies