The 6 Earliest Human Civilizations

While modern civilizations span every continent except Antarctica, most scholars place the earliest cradles of civilizations – in other words, where civilizations first emerged – in present-day Iraq, Egypt, India, China, Peru, and Mexico, beginning between about 4000 and 3000 BC.

These complex ancient societies, beginning with Mesopotamia, formed cultural and technological advances, many of which are still present today. “A lot of the details of modern life, not just in the Middle East and the West, but around the world, have origins that go back thousands of years to the ancient cultures of their respective regions,” says Amanda. Podany, author. and professor emeritus of history at California State Polytechnic University.

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