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3rd millennium BC: Map

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The 3rd millennium BC spans the Early to Middle Bronze Age.

It represents a period of time in which imperialism, or the desire to conquer, grew to prominence, in the city states of the Middle East, but also throughout Eurasia, with Indo-European expansion to Anatolia, Europe and Central Asia. The civilization of Ancient Egypt rises to a peak with the Old Kingdom. World population is estimated to have doubled in the course of the millennium, to some 30 million people.

Overview

The Bronze Age occurred estimately between 3000 BC and 2500 BC. The previous millennium had seen the emergence of advanced, urbanized civilizations, new bronze metallurgy extending the productivity of agricultural work, and highly developed ways of communication in the form of writing. In the 3rd millennium BC, the growth of these riches, both intellectually and physically, became a source of contention on a political stage, and rulers sought the accumulation of more wealth and more power. Along with this came the first appearances of mega architecture, imperialism, organized absolutism and internal revolution.

The civilizations of Sumer and Akkadmarker in Mesopotamia became a collection of volatile city-states in which warfare was common. Uninterrupted conflicts drained all available resources, energies and populations. In this millennium, larger empires succeeded the last, and conquerors grew in stature until the great Sargon of Akkad pushed his empire to the whole of Mesopotamia and beyond. It would not be surpassed in size until Assyrian times 1500 years later.

In the Old Kingdom of Egyptmarker, the Egyptian pyramidsmarker were constructed and would remain the tallest and largest human constructions for thousands of years. Also in Egypt, pharaohs began to posture themselves as living Gods made of an essence different from that of other human beings. Even in Europe, which was still largely neolithic during the same period of time, the builders of megaliths were constructing giant monuments of their own. In the Near East and the Occident during the 3rd millennium BC, limits were being pushed by architects and rulers.

Towards the close of the millennium, Egypt became the stage of the first popular revolution recorded in history. After lengthy wars, the Sumerians recognized the benefits of unification into a stable form of national government and became a relatively peaceful, well-organized, complex technocratic state called the 3rd dynasty of Ur. This dynasty was later to become involved with a wave of nomadic invaders known as the Amorites, who were to play a major role in the region during the following centuries.

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