… probably commenced with the evolution of man as a cultural animal. Humans as nomadic hunter-gatherers will have travelled as family groups: i.e. households without houses.
The earliest proto-humans 2 million years ago are thought to have operated in families or small bands, and to have cooperated intelligently when hunting.
By ~400,000 years ago, Homo erectus used fire and had the capacity for vocal commands. Emergence of Homo sapiens around 250,000 BCE is associated with the emergence of religion and rudimentary speech. The etymology of religion is «religere», from Latin: to regulate
By ~30,000 BCE, in European early modern humans (Cro-Magnons) politics may have emerged: biological evolution was complete, speech was fully developed, and religion sophisticated.
… probably commenced ~10,000 BCE with the emergence of farming, which required settlement and led to the formation of villages. The first walled village is thought to have been Jericho (~10 acres) in 8000 BCE.
… commenced with the development of cities and civilization. The first town may have been Catal Huyuk (32 acres) in Anatolia around 5500 BCE. It was a regional centre for long-distance trading. Administration was probably required to maintain order and collect taxes. Pottery and woollen textiles were produced, food sold in markets, and labour had become specialized: i.e. groups with competing interests could be organized.
… emerged ~3000 BCE when city-states began to appear in Mesopotamia. Ancient near-east societies developed irrigation, invented the sail and the plough, improved metal technology, domesticated the horse and developed chariots. Warfare was common and a shifting hegemony existed amongst the various city-states.
Sumerians introduced cuneiform writing, essential for laws and for accounts. There was now no reason for not knowing the bye-laws and regulations e.g. against watering wine, adding tiny stones to rice, or insulting the emperor; nor for avoiding taxes.
… emerged around 2300 BCE in Mesopotamia with the empire of Sargon the Great. Other empires formed and collapsed including the Hittite, the Babylonian, and later the Assyrian. These empires consisted of vassal city-states.
Imperialism was motivated partly by commercial interests and partly by the quest for secure boundaries—a quest that continues to this day. Tribute in kind (metals, timber, horses) was exacted from vassal states using military organization—taxes also continue to this day.
… may have been manifested by the Greek city-states which united to defeat the Persians about 450-500 BCE. Then nothing much happened for two millennia.
… began manifesting in the 20th century with the development of the internal combustion engine, the growth of intercontinental shipping and the widespread introduction of wireless communication. The world was conceived as a single social territory following two horrific global wars. The League of Nations was formed in 1919–20 after World War I (but the USA refused to join), and then the United Nations was founded in 1945 and headquartered in New York. The UN is still in existence.
Originally posted: August-2009; Last updated: 15-Nov-2010