I. Prehistoric Times > M. Later Old World Prehistory (3000 B.C.E. and Afterward)
  PREVIOUS NEXT  
CONTENTS · SUBJECT INDEX · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
M. Later Old World Prehistory (3000 B.C.E. and Afterward)
1. State-Organized Societies
 
Within 5,000 years of the appearance of farming villages in the Near East, state-organized societies developed in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Subsequently, other preindustrial civilizations of great complexity emerged—not only in the Near East, but also in south Asia, Southeast Asia, and China. They also flourished in Central America and the Andean region of South America (See Mesoamerican Civilizations) (See Andean Civilizations). Such state-organized societies operated on a large scale with centralized political and social organization. They were marked by class stratification, intensive agriculture, and were based on assumptions of social inequality. All had complex government bureaucracies and were often ruled by despotic leaders who governed as divine monarchs.  1
State formation was not a universal phenomenon. Many archaeologists theorize that states emerged because they were beneficial as a way of organizing both food supplies increased through intensified agriculture and trade, and external relations with neighbors. They believe states emerged in environmental settings with severe population problems or shortages of agricultural land. Effective, centralized management of trade monopolies, and of food production, through state-organized irrigation systems and other means, could bring ecological imbalance under control. For example, both Ancient Egyptian pharaohs and Aztec rulers in Mexico employed hundreds of officials to ensure that all available land was cultivated efficiently.  2
 
 
 
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.

CONTENTS · SUBJECT INDEX · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUS NEXT