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The history of humanity is a record of progress through a number of stages

Updated on March 17, 2016

Early man with his family

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early man hunting - group picture

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Animal hunt

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How do we know about these people

Historians believe that human beings first appeared on earth about 1.5 million years ago. The development of human beings on this Earth is a very interesting process. Earliest humans were food gatherers, hunters and nomads. Always in search of food and shelter, they travelled from one place to another, hunted animals and gathered fruits, roots, seeds and nuts.

When there was shortage of animals or plants in one area, they moved to another area in search of food. They considered it safer to move in groups rather than wander about all alone. A group generally consisted of a few men and women and children who stayed together with the elders. Early humans led a primitive life. They remained without clothes during summers but in the winter season, they wore animal skins, leaves and the bark of trees to keep themselves safe from severe cold. They used to spend their nights on trees or in rock shelter and caves, that protected them from wild animals when asleep.

How do we know about these people

We come to know a lot about the earliest human beings from their evidences in the form of stone tools and weapons. During the prehistoric period, human beings defended themselves against all types of wild animals using stones by attaching them to handles of bones or wood by making weapons in the form of spears or arrows. They also hunted animals with these weapons. The stone helped early humans in different ways. For example- a) the stone were used to hunt animals. b) they were used to remove the skin of animals, cut meat and bones. c) stones were also used to cut trees and clear forests.

Human Civilization

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the life of harappan

The valleys of major rivers in India, Mesopotamia, China and Egypt

The palaeolithic or the old stone age is the first stage in the history of the evolution of human society about which we have some definite information. During that stage human beings lived in small groups of families which are described as bands by modern sociologists. They lived by hunting animals and gathering wild fruits, nuts and roots. The bands used to wander from place to place in search of food. By by the next stage of development, known as the neolithic or the new stone age, human beings had used their better understanding and knowledge of the environment to start practising agriculture and animal husbandry. Practice of Agriculture increased the production of food and made it possible for larger numbers to live together at one place.

At the same time agriculture also compelled them to stay permanently near their fields to look after them from the time of sowing till harvesting of crops. The farmers and herders became organized into clans or groups of families which believed that they had descended from the same ancestor. In many areas of the world, clans living in close proximity to each other and sharing a common language and cultural traditions came together to form tribes which were larger and more complex social units.

The next stage known as the chalcolithic or copper bronze age was marked by increasing use of metal for productive purposes along with stone tools. Metals like gold, silver, copper and even meteoric iron were known even to many of the neolithic cultures but were not used systematically for making tools. The use of copper and bronze, an alloy of copper and, led to the making of more efficient tools and increased productivity in some areas. As most of the copper age civilizations had learnt making and using bronze, the same bronze age is more popular among historians.

The bronze age was the period which between 3,500 and 2,500 BC saw the rise of civilizations in the valleys of major rivers in India, Mesopotamia, China and Egypt.


People in the Indus Valley buried dead people

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