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The 6 Earliest Human Civilizations

While modern civilizations extend to every continent except Antarctica, most scholars place the earliest cradles of civilizations—in other words, where civilizations first emerged—in modern-day Iraq, Egypt, India, China, Peru and Mexico, beginning between approximately 4000 and 3000 B.C.

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

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