The History of Civilization for Kids: How Civilization Began – FreeSchool


You’re watching FreeSchool! Today we’re going to learn about civilization. A long, long time ago, thousands and thousands
of years ago, people lived very differently than they do today. Instead of living in a
house or a city and buying their food at a store, people lived in small groups hunting
animals for meat and gathering wild food like vegetables, berries, and fruits. We call these
people hunter-gatherers, which is easy to remember, because that’s what they did. Most
hunter-gatherers lived so long ago that we have no written record, or history, of them.
Since they lived before written history began, we call them ‘prehistoric.’ Most of what we know about prehistoric people
was learned by archaeologists. Archaeologists are scientists who study humans by looking
at what people have left behind. Archaeologists discovered that at some point the hunter-gatherers
learned to grow their own food and domesticated animals like cows, pigs, chickens and goats.
This is called ‘agriculture.’ Agriculture helped provide a steady source
of food. People were even able to grow and store more food than they needed. Hunter-gatherers
needed to move around to find animals and food, but in order to farm, people needed
to stay in one place. Staying in one place, with extra food, people started to build villages.
More and more people were able to live together because there was enough food. There was so
much food available that some people began to be able to do work that was not directly
related to getting enough food to eat. Those people started to specialize, or concentrate
on becoming experts in, one kind of work. That meant that one person could learn how
to make really good pottery, and another person could learn to weave better cloth, and they
could trade those things to the people growing food and get what they needed to eat. As technology
improved and inventions like wheels and irrigation allowed people to grow even more food, villages
grew bigger and became towns and cities. People began trading with people from other cities,
and then with places very far away. In order to keep track of these trades and
their increasingly complicated lives, people began to develop writing. Several different
systems of writing began as something called ‘pictograms,’ or pictures of things, and then
gradually changed to represent ideas and then sounds. Through all of these changes people developed
societies known as ‘civilizations.’ A civilization is a culture and a way of life that usually
has a few specific characteristics. Number one, civilizations need to have agriculture
and extra food available. They have large cities filled with lots of
people. They have specialized labor, and well-developed
trade. In almost all cases, they have a written language. Civilizations have strong governments. They have shared values, in ancient times
usually a shared religion. As well, they have their own style of architecture
and artwork. The first known civilization developed over
seven thousand years ago, in Mesopotamia. Since then, many different and fascinating
civilizations began popping up all over the world, and there are still many today. Do
you think you can name any civilizations?

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