II. Ancient and Classical Periods, 3500 B.C.E.–500 C.E. > A. Global and Comparative Dimensions > 1. Origins of Civilizations, 4000–2000 B.C.E. > b. Later Primary Civilizations
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  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
 
 
b. Later Primary Civilizations
 
In other regions, civilized societies developed independently but later than the early river valley civilizations. The origins of CHINESE CIVILIZATION are in the agricultural societies in the northern Chinese YELLOW RIVER VALLEY. The loess soil of the region provided a fertile basis for agriculture using labor-intensive methods of garden cultivation. Irrigation was not a major element, but flood control was a significant activity. Civilized life developed out of expanding Neolithic villages around 2500–2000 B.C.E. Chinese tradition describes this time as an era of rule by five Heavenly Emperors who were succeeded by the human rulers of the Xia dynasty (See 2357–2256 B.C.E). Scholars assume that some formal state existed by 2000 B.C.E., but little direct evidence of the Xia exists. The Shang dynasty, which controlled northern China by the 1500s B.C.E., is the first for which clear archeological evidence exists. Its capital, Anyang, was a major city by 1300 B.C.E.  1
MESOAMERICAN CIVILIZATIONS in the areas of modern Mexico and Guatemala and ANDEAN CIVILIZATIONS started in complex agricultural communities that developed possibly as early as 2500 B.C.E. Distinctive crops, especially corn, and, in the Andes, potatoes, along with the absence of major domesticated draft animals made the emerging civilizations quite different in character from those in the Eastern Hemisphere. The OLMECS created the first major Mesoamerican urban society by c. 1200 B.C.E., with large stone structures and statues and ceremonial centers with some urban functions (See Olmec). Olmec civilization disappears from the historical record by 400 B.C.E. but its heritage may have influenced the MAYA CIVILIZATION which flourished from c. 200–800 C.E., followed by a long decline (See Teotihuacán).  2
In the Andes region in Peru, the Chavin developed a powerful urban-based state by c. 1000 B.C.E. which flourished until c. 200 C.E. This was followed by division of the region into smaller states that were not brought together again until the Inca Empire in the 15th century C.E.  3
 
 
 
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.

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