Civilization is a term used to describe societies that have become organized into political, economic, and religious organizations. These institutions have developed a variety of different cultural traits. These features include written language, government, religion, division of labor, and a variety of other innovations that help a society function as a whole.
People have inhabited the Earth for thousands of years, living in small settlements and villages. But as food supplies became more reliable and cities began to develop, humans needed more sophisticated ways to organize themselves.
The development of agriculture and animal domestication made it easier for people to live in one place. It also allowed them to have larger populations, a more specialized economy, and unique architecture and art. These urban civilizations had a surplus food supply, systems of government, different social classes, and a division of labor.
Early civilizations often had religious leaders who could tell people how to act and what to believe. These leaders gained power and special status as a result of their ability to influence a large number of people.
Eventually, religion came into its own as a formal institution. These religious leaders were important not only for communicating with their god or gods, but also for making decisions about other issues that affected the entire society, such as whether to go to war.
These leaders also were the first to establish rules and regulations that governed the way people lived in their society. These rules created a sense of order and helped keep everyone safe.
A large population in a single area meant that there had to be ways for a city to stay safe from raiders and robbers. This required a system of government, or ruling, that could enforce these rules.
The earliest civilizations started small, and gradually developed into bigger and more complex communities. They began to rely on writing, which provided an opportunity for people to communicate their knowledge and stories.
As these larger and more complicated communities evolved, they began to rely on a wide range of technologies. These included tools for building and maintaining their homes, specialized weapons for fighting enemies, and new forms of transportation.
But, as with all sedentary cultures, these civilizations had a problem. They depleted the land and resources in the surrounding areas. Eventually, as they became more populated and developed technology, they had to start drawing these resources from farther away.
These civilizations also had to be able to support a centralized government that was devoted to the welfare of its citizens. The first centralized governments were built in the Mesopotamian and Egyptian cultures around 1500 BC.
During this time, people were able to build and use a wide array of technologies, including water-powered engines and telegraphs. They also invented a number of different writing systems, such as hieroglyphs and pictorial writing.
These civilizations were the cradle of human history, and they have taught us a lot about how to live. But they are just a small part of the story, and there were many other kinds of societies that did not produce civilization.