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Civilizations- The Oldest and The Influential

Ankita loves to explore various aspects of science and is passionate about writing on topics of her interest.

The practice of living in small isolated groups with mutual dependency and understanding has been seen in the course of human evolution, and it has always been beneficial. When these small groups came together, larger communities were formed and eventually societies came into existence. Civilizations were formed gradually with the development of art, agriculture, weaponry, politics and social structure. Here is a list of some of the oldest civilizations to have ever existed.

1. The Inca Civilization

The period of this civilization is from 1438 AD to 1532 AD. The original location of this civilization is the present-day Peru while it flourished in the areas of present-day Chile, Peru and Ecuador. In the pre-Columbian era, the Incan Empire was the largest empire in South America. The people of this civilization, referred to as the ‘’Incas’’, were pious followers of the sun god Inti and they believed their king to be a child of the sun whom they referred as ‘’Sapa Inca’’. Pachacuti was the first Inca emperor who turned a modest village into a great city. After the death of the king, the son would get all his powers but not his wealth. The wealth was distributed among the king’s other relatives who in turn would maintain his political influence and also preserve his mummy. The Incas became great builders of their time and constructed monuments with architectural excellence. Most notable works include the Machu Picchu and the city of Cusco, which still stands today.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

2. The Aztec Civilization

The original location of this civilization is the South central region of pre-Columbian Mexico. The period of the Aztec civilization is from 1345 AD to 1521 AD, which is around the same time as that of the Incas. This civilization was at the height of its power in the early 1500s until the Spanish arrived. This led to a great battle between the Incas and the Spanish conquistadors in which, the Incas were defeated. This defeat eventually led to the fall of the Aztec Civilization.


3. The Persian Civilization

The Persian civilization was only in power for about 200 years but during those years, it was considered to be the most powerful empire in the world conquering lands and covering about two million square miles. The period of this civilization was from 550 BC to 331 BC and it was located in modern-day Iran. The Persian Empire was known for its wise rulers and military strength that helped them to invade southern parts of Egypt, eastern parts of India and parts of Greece. The empire at its highest power ruled Egypt and all of central Asia before they were defeated by Alexander the Great which eventually led to the end of the civilization.


4. The Roman Civilization

The Roman civilization is considered to be the most powerful ancient civilization which flourished from 550 BC to 465 AD. The Roman Empire, at the height of its power, ruled across many regions and all the present-day Mediterranean countries. Earlier ruled by kings, the people of the Rome later took control and ruled the city themselves after the seventh king. A council called the Senate was introduced and from then on it became the Roman Republic. The Roman Empire gradually became so large that it was not possible to bring all the regions under a single rule. Thus in the end, thousands of barbarians from the east and north of Europe invaded the empire.


5. The Maya Civilization

This civilization started to flourish in Central America from 2600 BC and remained active till 900 AD. With a population of 19 million, this civilization prospered and discovered their own writing system with the help of which they created solar calendars. The people of this civilization were culturally rich and together with the Aztecs, they built pyramids. Some of the pyramids were even larger than those built in Egypt. It is still a mystery to many how this sophisticated civilization suddenly collapsed.


6. The Ancient Greek Civilization

This civilization is considered to be one of the most influential civilizations and its history is spread over a long time. The period of this civilization was from 2700 BC to 479 BC and its original location was Italy, North Africa, Sicily, and France. Invention of ancient Olympics and forming the concept of senate and democracy were most notable apart from laying the foundations for physics, biology and modern geometry. These inventions played a crucial role for later civilizations that followed.


7. The Chinese Civilization

The period of this civilization was from 1600 BC to 1046 BC and was located in the Yellow River and Yangtze region, the present-day China. The Yellow River Civilization was the beginning of the entire Chinese civilization. As described in ancient chronicles, the Xia dynasty formed in 2070 BC was the first to rule all over China. Subsequently, several other dynasties ruled China for nearly four millennia. The most notable inventions of this civilization are paper, gunpowder, printing, alcohol, compass and cannons.


8. The Ancient Egyptian Civilization

This civilization is known for its magnificent pyramids, prodigious culture, pharaohs and the Sphinx. Ancient Egyptian Civilization started around 3150 BC and continued till 30 BC along the banks of the Nile. Its history is divided into Old, Middle and New Kingdoms. The pyramids that still stand today, the mummies of the ancient pharaohs, hieroglyphics, are some of the highlights of this civilization.


9. The Indus Valley Civilization

This is the most widespread oldest civilization which started in 3,300 BC and continued till 1900 BC. It was located around the basin of the Indus River, which at present extends from Northeast Afghanistan to Pakistan and northwest India. Covering an area of approximately 1.25 million kilometres, this civilization is considered to be a technologically advanced civilization as is evident from the studies of the excavation sites. Artifacts found from these sites also suggest the people of this civilization measured time, length and mass with great accuracy.

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10. The Mesopotamian Civilization

The period of this civilization is believed to be from 3,500 BC to 500 BC and for a long time it was believed that this is the first civilization to have existed. The Mesopotamian civilization was located in present-day Iraq, Syria and Turkey. This civilization is credited for developing the idea of agriculture and also domestication of animals. Apart from agriculture, various industries like metalwork, masonry and leatherwork were established. Some studies even suggest that the wheel was invented in this civilization.


11. Primitive Australians

Newer research indicates that the indigenous people of Australia are the oldest civilization on Earth. Their origins trace back to 50,000 years ago although some believe they might have existed 80,000 years ago. The aboriginal Australians were hunter-gatherers and often had strong ties to specific places they considered home.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


Ankita B (author) on November 10, 2020:

Thank you so much, Lorna. I appreciate your kind comments very much. I am glad you found this article interesting and enjoyed reading it.

Ankita B (author) on November 10, 2020:

Thank you Devika for your encouraging words. I am delighted to know that you enjoyed reading this article.

Lorna Lamon on November 10, 2020:

I have always been fascinated by ancient civilisations and your article is interesting and well written. I am amazed at what many of them achieved and in particular their buildings, which are incredible. This was an enjoyable read Ankita with great photos.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 10, 2020:

Ankita B This is a well-informed article on the different civilizations. I often watch documentaries, but you explain lots more about each. I enjoyed learning in detail.

Ankita B (author) on November 10, 2020:

Thank you Chitrangada for your lovely comments. I am so glad that you liked reading this article.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on November 10, 2020:

An interesting and informative article about the various civilizations of the world. You reminded me of my history classes in the school.

Thank you for sharing this important and well written article.

Ankita B (author) on November 09, 2020:

I appreciate your generous comments, Linda. Thank you very much. Yes, the sites are wonderful and I would like to visit them too.

Ankita B (author) on November 09, 2020:

Thank you very much, Abby. I am delighted that you loved reading this article about the ancient civilizations.

Ankita B (author) on November 09, 2020:

Yes they are interesting civilizations, Hertha. I am glad that you enjoyed reading this article. Thank you.

Ankita B (author) on November 09, 2020:

I appreciate your insightful comments, Liz. Thank you very much for reading and commenting.

Ankita B (author) on November 09, 2020:

Thank you so much, Eric. I appreciate your kind comments very much.

Ankita B (author) on November 09, 2020:

Thank you very much, Pamela. I am happy that you found this article interesting.

Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on November 09, 2020:

Thank you for sharing this interesting information, Ankita. I would love to visit some of the sites that you've shown!

Abby Slutsky from America on November 09, 2020:

You did a beautiful job of describing these civilizations. I loved the pics too.

Hertha David from Windhoek, Namibia on November 09, 2020:

Ooooo.. Amazing article. Hashtag I need to see the Maya Civilization as well as the The Persian Civilization they look interesting.

Liz Westwood from UK on November 09, 2020:

I named a few, but you have reminded me of many civilisations that I had forgotten. It is amazing to recognise how many have gone before and what legacies they have left behind them.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on November 09, 2020:

A real pleasure to read. Wow some of these are amazing. I sure learned a whole lot.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 09, 2020:

This is such an interesting article, Ankita. The pictures and the information you provided is excellent.

Ankita B (author) on November 09, 2020:

Thank you FlourishAnyway for reading and commenting. I too hope to visit these regions some day.

Ankita B (author) on November 09, 2020:

Thank you Rosina. I am glad you enjoyed reading this article. I appreciate your generous comments.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 09, 2020:

Very interesting. I had the chance to visit Cusco and Machu Picchu and was really taken with the region.

Rosina S Khan on November 09, 2020:

I enjoyed reading about some of the oldest civilizations, and going through your illustrations was interesting too. All in all, a good article, Ankita.

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