NCERT Textbook Chapter 1 - Early Societies, History(Theme in World History), Class 11 UPSC Notes | EduRev

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UPSC : NCERT Textbook Chapter 1 - Early Societies, History(Theme in World History), Class 11 UPSC Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


1
i
From the Beginning of Time
Writing and City Life
 early societies
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


1
i
From the Beginning of Time
Writing and City Life
 early societies
© NCERT
not to be republished
2 THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
I
N this section, we will read about two themes relating to
early societies. The first is about the beginnings of human
existence, from the remote past, millions of years ago. You will
learn how humans first emerged in Africa and how archaeologists
have studied these early phases of history from remains of bones and
stone tools.
Archaeologists have made attempts to reconstruct the lives of early
people – to find out about the shelters in which they lived, the food
they ate by gathering plant produce and hunting animals, and the
ways in which they expressed themselves. Other important
developments include the use of fire and of language. And, finally, you
will see whether the lives of people who live by hunting and gathering
today can help us to understand the past.
The second theme deals with some of the earliest cities – those of
Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq. These cities developed around temples,
and were centres of long-distance trade. Archaeological evidence –
remains of old settlements – and an abundance of written material are
used to reconstruct the lives of the different people who lived there –
craftspeople, scribes, labourers, priests, kings and queens. You will
notice how pastoral people played an important role in some of these
towns. A question to think about is whether the many activities that
went on in cities would have been possible if writing had not developed.
You may wonder as to how people who for millions of years had
lived in forests, in caves or temporary shelters began to eventually live
in villages and cities. Well, the story is a long one and is related to
several developments that took place at least 5,000 years before the
establishment of the first cities.
One of the most far-reaching changes was the gradual shift from
nomadic life to settled agriculture, which began around 10,000 years
ago. As you will see in Theme 1, prior to the adoption of agriculture,
people had gathered plant produce as a source of food. Slowly, they
learnt more about different kinds of plants – where they grew, the
seasons when they bore fruit and so on. From this, they learnt to
 early societies
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


1
i
From the Beginning of Time
Writing and City Life
 early societies
© NCERT
not to be republished
2 THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
I
N this section, we will read about two themes relating to
early societies. The first is about the beginnings of human
existence, from the remote past, millions of years ago. You will
learn how humans first emerged in Africa and how archaeologists
have studied these early phases of history from remains of bones and
stone tools.
Archaeologists have made attempts to reconstruct the lives of early
people – to find out about the shelters in which they lived, the food
they ate by gathering plant produce and hunting animals, and the
ways in which they expressed themselves. Other important
developments include the use of fire and of language. And, finally, you
will see whether the lives of people who live by hunting and gathering
today can help us to understand the past.
The second theme deals with some of the earliest cities – those of
Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq. These cities developed around temples,
and were centres of long-distance trade. Archaeological evidence –
remains of old settlements – and an abundance of written material are
used to reconstruct the lives of the different people who lived there –
craftspeople, scribes, labourers, priests, kings and queens. You will
notice how pastoral people played an important role in some of these
towns. A question to think about is whether the many activities that
went on in cities would have been possible if writing had not developed.
You may wonder as to how people who for millions of years had
lived in forests, in caves or temporary shelters began to eventually live
in villages and cities. Well, the story is a long one and is related to
several developments that took place at least 5,000 years before the
establishment of the first cities.
One of the most far-reaching changes was the gradual shift from
nomadic life to settled agriculture, which began around 10,000 years
ago. As you will see in Theme 1, prior to the adoption of agriculture,
people had gathered plant produce as a source of food. Slowly, they
learnt more about different kinds of plants – where they grew, the
seasons when they bore fruit and so on. From this, they learnt to
 early societies
© NCERT
not to be republished
3
grow plants. In West Asia, wheat and barley, peas and various kinds of
pulses were grown. In East and Southeast Asia, the crops that grew
easily were millet and rice. Millet was also grown in Africa. Around the
same time, people learnt how to domesticate animals such as sheep,
goat, cattle, pig and donkey. Plant fibres such as cotton and flax, and
animal fibres such as wool were now woven into cloth. Somewhat
later, about 5,000 years ago, domesticated animals such as cattle and
donkeys were harnessed to ploughs and carts.
These developments led to other changes as well. When people grew
crops, they had to stay in the same place till the crops ripened. So,
settled life became more common. And with that, people built more
permanent structures in which to live.
This was also the time when some communities learnt how to make
earthen pots. These were used to store grain and other produce, and
to prepare and cook a variety of foods made from the new grains that
were cultivated. In fact, a great deal of attention was given to processing
foods to make them tasty and digestible.
The way stone tools were made also changed. While earlier methods
of making tools continued, some tools and equipment were now
smoothened and polished by an elaborate process of grinding. New
equipment included mortars and pestles for preparing grain, as well as
stone axes and hoes, which were used to clear land for cultivation, as
well as for digging the earth to sow seeds.
In some areas, people learnt to tap the ores of metals such as copper
and tin. Sometimes, copper ores were collected and used for their
distinctive bluish-green colour. This prepared the way for the more
extensive use of metal for jewellery and for tools subsequently.
There was also a growing familiarity with other kinds of produce
from distant lands (and seas). This included wood, stones, including
precious and semi-precious stones, metals and shell, and hardened
volcanic lava. Clearly, people were going from place to place, carrying
goods and ideas with them.
With increasing trade, the growth of villages and towns, and the
movements of people, in place of the small communities of early people
there now grew small states. While these changes took place slowly,
over several thousand years, the pace quickened with the growth of
the first cities. Also, the changes had far-reaching consequences.
Some scholars have described this as a revolution, as the lives of
people were probably transformed beyond recognition. Look out for
continuities and changes as you explore these two contrasting themes
in early history.
Remember too, that we have selected only some examples of early
societies for detailed study. There were other kinds of early societies,
including farming communities and pastoral peoples. And there were
other peoples who were hunter-gatherers as well as city dwellers, apart
from the examples selected.
EARLY SOCIETIES
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


1
i
From the Beginning of Time
Writing and City Life
 early societies
© NCERT
not to be republished
2 THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
I
N this section, we will read about two themes relating to
early societies. The first is about the beginnings of human
existence, from the remote past, millions of years ago. You will
learn how humans first emerged in Africa and how archaeologists
have studied these early phases of history from remains of bones and
stone tools.
Archaeologists have made attempts to reconstruct the lives of early
people – to find out about the shelters in which they lived, the food
they ate by gathering plant produce and hunting animals, and the
ways in which they expressed themselves. Other important
developments include the use of fire and of language. And, finally, you
will see whether the lives of people who live by hunting and gathering
today can help us to understand the past.
The second theme deals with some of the earliest cities – those of
Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq. These cities developed around temples,
and were centres of long-distance trade. Archaeological evidence –
remains of old settlements – and an abundance of written material are
used to reconstruct the lives of the different people who lived there –
craftspeople, scribes, labourers, priests, kings and queens. You will
notice how pastoral people played an important role in some of these
towns. A question to think about is whether the many activities that
went on in cities would have been possible if writing had not developed.
You may wonder as to how people who for millions of years had
lived in forests, in caves or temporary shelters began to eventually live
in villages and cities. Well, the story is a long one and is related to
several developments that took place at least 5,000 years before the
establishment of the first cities.
One of the most far-reaching changes was the gradual shift from
nomadic life to settled agriculture, which began around 10,000 years
ago. As you will see in Theme 1, prior to the adoption of agriculture,
people had gathered plant produce as a source of food. Slowly, they
learnt more about different kinds of plants – where they grew, the
seasons when they bore fruit and so on. From this, they learnt to
 early societies
© NCERT
not to be republished
3
grow plants. In West Asia, wheat and barley, peas and various kinds of
pulses were grown. In East and Southeast Asia, the crops that grew
easily were millet and rice. Millet was also grown in Africa. Around the
same time, people learnt how to domesticate animals such as sheep,
goat, cattle, pig and donkey. Plant fibres such as cotton and flax, and
animal fibres such as wool were now woven into cloth. Somewhat
later, about 5,000 years ago, domesticated animals such as cattle and
donkeys were harnessed to ploughs and carts.
These developments led to other changes as well. When people grew
crops, they had to stay in the same place till the crops ripened. So,
settled life became more common. And with that, people built more
permanent structures in which to live.
This was also the time when some communities learnt how to make
earthen pots. These were used to store grain and other produce, and
to prepare and cook a variety of foods made from the new grains that
were cultivated. In fact, a great deal of attention was given to processing
foods to make them tasty and digestible.
The way stone tools were made also changed. While earlier methods
of making tools continued, some tools and equipment were now
smoothened and polished by an elaborate process of grinding. New
equipment included mortars and pestles for preparing grain, as well as
stone axes and hoes, which were used to clear land for cultivation, as
well as for digging the earth to sow seeds.
In some areas, people learnt to tap the ores of metals such as copper
and tin. Sometimes, copper ores were collected and used for their
distinctive bluish-green colour. This prepared the way for the more
extensive use of metal for jewellery and for tools subsequently.
There was also a growing familiarity with other kinds of produce
from distant lands (and seas). This included wood, stones, including
precious and semi-precious stones, metals and shell, and hardened
volcanic lava. Clearly, people were going from place to place, carrying
goods and ideas with them.
With increasing trade, the growth of villages and towns, and the
movements of people, in place of the small communities of early people
there now grew small states. While these changes took place slowly,
over several thousand years, the pace quickened with the growth of
the first cities. Also, the changes had far-reaching consequences.
Some scholars have described this as a revolution, as the lives of
people were probably transformed beyond recognition. Look out for
continuities and changes as you explore these two contrasting themes
in early history.
Remember too, that we have selected only some examples of early
societies for detailed study. There were other kinds of early societies,
including farming communities and pastoral peoples. And there were
other peoples who were hunter-gatherers as well as city dwellers, apart
from the examples selected.
EARLY SOCIETIES
© NCERT
not to be republished
4 THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
This timeline focuses on the
emergence of humans and the
domestication of plants and animals.
It highlights some major technological
developments such as the use of fire,
metals, plough agriculture and the
wheel. Other processes that are shown
include the emergence of cities and the
use of writing. You will also find
mention of some of the earliest
empires – a theme that will be
developed in timeline II.
How to Read Timelines
You will find a timeline like this
one in every section.
Each of these will indicate some of
the major processes and events in
world history.
As you study the time lines,
remember—
? Processes through which
ordinary women and men have
shaped history are far more
difficult to date than events
such as a war between kings.
? Some dates may indicate the
beginning of a process, or when
it reaches maturation.
? Historians are constantly
revising dates in the light of
new evidence, or new ways of
assessing old data.
? While we have divided
the timelines on a geographical
basis as a matter of
convenience, historical
developments often transcend
these divisions.
? Also, there is a chronological
overlap in historical processes.
? Only some landmarks in human
history have been shown
here – we have highlighted the
processes dealt with in the
themes that follow, which also
have separate timelines.
? Wherever you see a *, you will
also find an illustration related
to the date along the column.
? Remember that blank spaces
do not mean that nothing was
happening – sometimes these
indicate that we do not as yet
know what was happening.
? You will be learning more
about South Asian history in
general and Indian history in
particular next year. The dates
selected for South Asia
are only indicative of some
of the developments in the
subcontinent.
Timeline  i
(6 MYA TO 1 BCE)
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


1
i
From the Beginning of Time
Writing and City Life
 early societies
© NCERT
not to be republished
2 THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
I
N this section, we will read about two themes relating to
early societies. The first is about the beginnings of human
existence, from the remote past, millions of years ago. You will
learn how humans first emerged in Africa and how archaeologists
have studied these early phases of history from remains of bones and
stone tools.
Archaeologists have made attempts to reconstruct the lives of early
people – to find out about the shelters in which they lived, the food
they ate by gathering plant produce and hunting animals, and the
ways in which they expressed themselves. Other important
developments include the use of fire and of language. And, finally, you
will see whether the lives of people who live by hunting and gathering
today can help us to understand the past.
The second theme deals with some of the earliest cities – those of
Mesopotamia, present-day Iraq. These cities developed around temples,
and were centres of long-distance trade. Archaeological evidence –
remains of old settlements – and an abundance of written material are
used to reconstruct the lives of the different people who lived there –
craftspeople, scribes, labourers, priests, kings and queens. You will
notice how pastoral people played an important role in some of these
towns. A question to think about is whether the many activities that
went on in cities would have been possible if writing had not developed.
You may wonder as to how people who for millions of years had
lived in forests, in caves or temporary shelters began to eventually live
in villages and cities. Well, the story is a long one and is related to
several developments that took place at least 5,000 years before the
establishment of the first cities.
One of the most far-reaching changes was the gradual shift from
nomadic life to settled agriculture, which began around 10,000 years
ago. As you will see in Theme 1, prior to the adoption of agriculture,
people had gathered plant produce as a source of food. Slowly, they
learnt more about different kinds of plants – where they grew, the
seasons when they bore fruit and so on. From this, they learnt to
 early societies
© NCERT
not to be republished
3
grow plants. In West Asia, wheat and barley, peas and various kinds of
pulses were grown. In East and Southeast Asia, the crops that grew
easily were millet and rice. Millet was also grown in Africa. Around the
same time, people learnt how to domesticate animals such as sheep,
goat, cattle, pig and donkey. Plant fibres such as cotton and flax, and
animal fibres such as wool were now woven into cloth. Somewhat
later, about 5,000 years ago, domesticated animals such as cattle and
donkeys were harnessed to ploughs and carts.
These developments led to other changes as well. When people grew
crops, they had to stay in the same place till the crops ripened. So,
settled life became more common. And with that, people built more
permanent structures in which to live.
This was also the time when some communities learnt how to make
earthen pots. These were used to store grain and other produce, and
to prepare and cook a variety of foods made from the new grains that
were cultivated. In fact, a great deal of attention was given to processing
foods to make them tasty and digestible.
The way stone tools were made also changed. While earlier methods
of making tools continued, some tools and equipment were now
smoothened and polished by an elaborate process of grinding. New
equipment included mortars and pestles for preparing grain, as well as
stone axes and hoes, which were used to clear land for cultivation, as
well as for digging the earth to sow seeds.
In some areas, people learnt to tap the ores of metals such as copper
and tin. Sometimes, copper ores were collected and used for their
distinctive bluish-green colour. This prepared the way for the more
extensive use of metal for jewellery and for tools subsequently.
There was also a growing familiarity with other kinds of produce
from distant lands (and seas). This included wood, stones, including
precious and semi-precious stones, metals and shell, and hardened
volcanic lava. Clearly, people were going from place to place, carrying
goods and ideas with them.
With increasing trade, the growth of villages and towns, and the
movements of people, in place of the small communities of early people
there now grew small states. While these changes took place slowly,
over several thousand years, the pace quickened with the growth of
the first cities. Also, the changes had far-reaching consequences.
Some scholars have described this as a revolution, as the lives of
people were probably transformed beyond recognition. Look out for
continuities and changes as you explore these two contrasting themes
in early history.
Remember too, that we have selected only some examples of early
societies for detailed study. There were other kinds of early societies,
including farming communities and pastoral peoples. And there were
other peoples who were hunter-gatherers as well as city dwellers, apart
from the examples selected.
EARLY SOCIETIES
© NCERT
not to be republished
4 THEMES IN WORLD HISTORY
This timeline focuses on the
emergence of humans and the
domestication of plants and animals.
It highlights some major technological
developments such as the use of fire,
metals, plough agriculture and the
wheel. Other processes that are shown
include the emergence of cities and the
use of writing. You will also find
mention of some of the earliest
empires – a theme that will be
developed in timeline II.
How to Read Timelines
You will find a timeline like this
one in every section.
Each of these will indicate some of
the major processes and events in
world history.
As you study the time lines,
remember—
? Processes through which
ordinary women and men have
shaped history are far more
difficult to date than events
such as a war between kings.
? Some dates may indicate the
beginning of a process, or when
it reaches maturation.
? Historians are constantly
revising dates in the light of
new evidence, or new ways of
assessing old data.
? While we have divided
the timelines on a geographical
basis as a matter of
convenience, historical
developments often transcend
these divisions.
? Also, there is a chronological
overlap in historical processes.
? Only some landmarks in human
history have been shown
here – we have highlighted the
processes dealt with in the
themes that follow, which also
have separate timelines.
? Wherever you see a *, you will
also find an illustration related
to the date along the column.
? Remember that blank spaces
do not mean that nothing was
happening – sometimes these
indicate that we do not as yet
know what was happening.
? You will be learning more
about South Asian history in
general and Indian history in
particular next year. The dates
selected for South Asia
are only indicative of some
of the developments in the
subcontinent.
Timeline  i
(6 MYA TO 1 BCE)
© NCERT
not to be republished
5
DATES
6mya-500,000 BP
500,000-150,000 BP
150,000-50,000 BP
50,000-30,000
30,000-10,000
8000-7000 BCE
7000-6000
6000-5000
5000-4000
4000-3000
3000-2000
2000-1900
1900-1800
1800-1700
1700-1600
1600-1500
1500-1400
1400-1300
1300-1200
1200-1100
1100-1000
1000-900
900-800
800-700
700-600
600-500
500-400
400-300
300-200
200-100
100-1 BCE
AFRICA
Australopithecus  fossils (5.6 mya)
Evidence of use of fire (1.4 mya)
Homo sapiens fossils (195,000 BP)
Paintings in caves/rock shelters (27,500)
Domestication of cattle, dogs
Domestication of donkey, cultivation of
millet, use of copper
Plough agriculture, first kingdoms, cities,
pyramids, calendar, hieroglyphic script*,
writing on papyrus (Egypt)
Use of glass bottles (Egypt)
City of Carthage established in North
Africa by the Phoenicians from West Asia;
growing trade around the Mediterranean
Use of iron (Sudan)
Use of iron (Egypt)
Persians invade Egypt
Establishment of Alexandria, Egypt (332
BCE), which becomes a major centre of
learning
EUROPE
Evidence of use of fire (400,000 BP)
Homo sapiens fossils (40,000)
Paintings in caves/rock shelters
(especially France and Spain)
Cultivation of wheat and barley (Greece)
Use of copper (Crete)
Domestication of horse (eastern Europe)
Cities, palaces, use of bronze, the potter’s
wheel, development of trade (Crete)
Development of a script (Crete)*
Use of iron
First Olympic games (Greece, 776 BCE)
Use of coins* (Greece);establishment of
the Roman republic (510 BCE)
Establishment of a ‘democracy’ in Athens
(Greece)
Alexander of Macedonia conquers Egypt
and parts of West Asia (336-323 BCE)
TIMELINE-I
© NCERT
not to be republished
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