Feb 18th, 2013 by arima
World history is the history of humanity all across the globe. Certain events in history have cast long term and wide spread influences amongst human beings all across the world. For the sake of convenience in understanding we shall briefly divide here the history of the world into 3 stages – 1) Early Age beginning with the man of prehistoric times unto the development of civilizations towards the beginning of AD. 2) Middle Age extending from thereon until the last 100 years. 3) Modern Age beginning around 100 years back and extending till date.
After living as mere animals for long, human beings slowly started using their brain power and hand skills to improve their lifestyles. They started making simple tools to make easier their tasks. Human beings used wood and stone tools for thousands of years in the beginning. They were mostly hunter-gatherers during those days. They constantly moved from place to place in search of food. As time progressed, humans began using fire for heat and cooking. They started communication through languages. They even started cave painting and sculpture using wood and bone.
Rise of Civilizations, Agriculture & Trade:
Around 8000 BC, man learnt the technique of growing fruits and grains. That was the beginning of agriculture. This made it possible for groups of people to settle down in certain places instead of roaming for ever and ever in search of food. They settled in river basins and began to do farming there. Soon they started producing more food than they actually needed. This led some of them to engage in other activities as making tools, cutting logs, building cottages, rearing animals, etc. The situation soon led them to barter things amongst themselves. That saw the beginning of trade. Gradually man gave up most of his stone implements and had began making tools with bronze and then with iron.
Gradually civilizations improved. Men began to engage in more and more activities. Interactions between different communities of people too began. Trade and commerce developed. Ideas of family, village, and nation began to develop. His ideas of clothing and shelter improved. He began using carts and carriages. Although it took thousands of years for all these to happen, the modern man as a social being was already born. The development of ancient cities began with the rise of civilization. Early civilizations arose first in lower Mesopotamia (3500 BC). This was followed by Egyptian civilization along the Nile (3300 BC) and the Harappan civilization in the Indus Valley (in present-day Pakistan) (3300 BC). These societies had developed a number of common features, including a central government, a system of trade and commerce, a system of social structure, improved language and writing systems, cultures and religions. 1n 776 BC, the first ancient Olympic Games were played in Greece. Ancient scientists like Pythagoras, Archimedes and Aristotle made significant contribution to understanding life and in improving the lives of people.
The first 1000 years of AD saw the growth of kingdoms and villages. Life began to become a bit easier for man. But exploitation of man by man also began with it. Religions as Christianity, Islam and Buddhism started flourishing. Political power developed dominance over agriculture. Inequality began to set amongst people. Different classes of people began to be formed in society. The rich and the powerful started exploiting the poor and the weak. Battles between kingdoms increased. Religion and superstitions became prominent. Majority of the people suffered from the tyranny of wicked rulers, disease and poverty.
In 1206, Genghis Khan, the Mongolian emperor, begins building the largest empire of the world. 1n 1271, Marco Polo began his world tour. His writings give us a clear picture of many of the ways of life and culture in different parts of the world, especially in Asia. In 1492 Columbus discovers America and becomes the first European to reach the new world. 1498 Vasco Da Gama discovers sea routes to India and other countries of the east from Europe. This increased trade between continents. It also paved way for colonization by certain European nations as Great Britain, France and Portugal.
Rise of Arts, Culture and Politics:
In 1215, a famous British document sharing democratic powers, called the Magna Carta was signed. In 1300s the age of Renaissance begins in Italy and gradually spreads to other parts of Europe. The age of Renaissance or rebirth started progressive developments in the fields of arts, literature, music etc. In 1455, Guttenberg’s moveable type printing press brings out the Bible. In 1509, Michelangelo begins to paint the Sistine Chapel. In 1517, Martin Luther initiates the Reformation. In 1605, Cervantes brings out his Don Quixote, the first modern novel. In 1664, Newton declares his theories of universal gravitation. The years between 1500 and 1800 saw the rise and growth of industries especially in Europe. In 1760 Industrial revolution began in England. The period popularly known as the Industrial Revolution began with it revolutionary changes in almost all fields of human activity. Inventions as the steam engine and the printing press began to exert a great influence in society. New and new inventions began to change the whole system of production and marketing of goods.
With the rise of machinery and factories, large scale production of goods started. Developments in the field of transport gave rise to new ways of marketing and trade. Urbanization and slums too began. With colonization the benefits of modernization spread across different regions of the globe. Along with these new inventions and discoveries new waves of arts and literature too had developed in various parts of the world. Art and architecture began to flourish. Along with this a new wave of political thought too had arisen. This gave rise to various political uprisings and political revolutions across the world. Ideas of freedom and liberty became stronger and began to spread far and wide. The US declaration of independence in 1776 became a milestone of world history. Similarly the French revolution of 1789 sent a new wave of political thought across many a county of the world.
World War I which began in 1914 marked the beginning of a new era in world history. Hostilities between different nations increased. Different groups began to be formed between countries. Modern methods of warfare began. Rise of communism in Russia, World War II, end of colonialism by the British, emergence of new countries, all these dominated the first half of the century. Explosion of the nuclear bombs, in 1945, in Hiroshima and Nagasaki (in Japan) scared the whole world. In 1945, the United Nations Organization was formed to put an end to wars and to bring out world peace.
In 1947, Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience movement led India to independence. Democracy, which means rule of the people, for the people, and by the people, gained more prominence in many countries. Fights for human rights also gained strength. Mahatma Gandhi’s weapon of non-violence gained significance. Fall of communism occurred in Eastern Europe in 1989. In 1991, when Nelson Mandela was made free by South Africa, after 27 ½ years of imprisonment, it marked the end of apartheid, the policy of discrimination against black skinned people. Gulf war, rise of terrorism across the globe, disintegration of USSR and globalization are some of the issues that made headlines towards the end of the last century. The terrorist attack of 9/11, the election of America’s first African-American President, Barrack Obama, the launch of Face Book by Mark Zuckerberg in 2006, all these have created a wide impact all over the world.
Rise of Science and Technology:
The last around 100 years saw great advancement in the fields of science and technology. In 1903, the Wright brothers fly the first motorized airplane. In 1911, Rutherford discovers the structure of an Atom. In 1945, the first electronic computer ENIAC gets built. The rise of computers, modern means of transport and communication systems, automobiles, aircrafts, cellular phones, automation in almost all fields of human activity, all these have changed the face of life on earth. Advent of man into space marked a new age in space technology. In 1957, the first artificial satellite Sputnik 1 was launched into space. In 1969, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin landed on moon.
Advanced technologies in the field of medical science have made man fight many hitherto dreaded diseases and disabilities. In 1928, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, the first antibiotic. Small pox got eradicated in 1980. In 1981 scientists identified AIDS. Improvements in the filed of agriculture has increased food production. Building technologies have begun altering the face of cities and towns. Modern gadgets are making life easier for many people across the globe. Along with all these benefits science and technology has also brought in a lot of trouble for mankind and the whole world. Pollution, environmental degradation and nuclear hazards are some of those evils. The younger generation is growing up to meet the challenges of modern age using science and technology more wisely.