World 1500 BCE
Great new centres of civilization have appeared, in China and the Mediterranean. One major civilization has vanished, however, for reasons we still don’t understand.
World history in 1500 BCE - the height of Bronze Age civilization
This map looks at what is going on in world history in 1500 BCE.
At this point in world history, at the height of the Bronze Age, civilization is continuing to spread throughout the Ancient World. In Europe, Crete, Greece and the Aegean are home to literate cultures, whilst in China a sophisticated civilization has emerged, capable of fashioning some of the most beautiful bronze artifacts ever produced in history. On the Indian sub-continent, however, the many cities of the Indus valley have all vanished, for reasons modern scholars can only guess at.
The Rest of the World
Indo-European-speaking, horse-breeding peoples have spread over a huge area – across central Asia, towards China in the east, into central and southern Europe in the west and northern India to the south.
The steppe peoples’ military superiority, based on a new innovation, the chariot, has allowed them to emerge as an elite warrior class within the societies they now dominate – they have even conquered large parts of the ancient centres of Middle Eastern civilization. However, the Indo-Europeans’ use of the chariot has now been copied by the more settled peoples bordering central Asia, from the Middle East to China.
Hitherto the peoples living on the steppes have practiced a mixed farming and herding economy. At around this time they shift to a more mobile lifestyle. They live less in small villages and more in temporary encampments. They are becoming true nomads.
This may be the achievement of steppe peoples of East Asian origin. This gives them a military edge in these wide landscapes. It is from this time that non-Indo-European groups begin to challenge the Indo-European speakers for dominance in central Asia. Their descendants will have an enormous impact on global history.
Another branch of this migration is heading down via the Philippines and New Guinea into the Pacific.
In Africa, the future expansion of agriculture is being assured by the domestication of tropical plants as food crops.
In the Western Hemisphere, in Mexico, farming is becoming more and more intensive. This will lead to the rise of complex societies over the coming centuries.
South America is seeing the beginnings of the Arawak expansion. This process will eventually take this farming people from their homelands in western Amazonia to as far north as the Caribbean islands and as far south as the River Plate.
Civilizations of the world3500BCE - 300BCE Ancient Mesopotamia 3000BCE - 300BCE Ancient Egypt Civilization 2700BCE - 550CE Ancient Indian civilization 1766BCE - 1912CE 1700BCE - 200CE The civilization of Ancient China 1300BCE - 550BCE Ancient Israel 1000BCE - 1550CE Pre-Columbian Civilizations of North and South America 800BCE - 50BCE Ancient Greek Civilization 750BCE - 500CE Ancient Rome: civilization and society 500CE - 1450CE Medieval Europe 550CE - 1500CE Medieval Indian civilization 600CE - 1850CE West African kingdoms 600CE - 1250CE Islamic Caliphate 1200CE - 1450CE The Mongol Empire 1350CE - 1900CE Ottoman Empire 1400CE - 2000CE Western Civilization 1950CE - 2000CE A Global Civilization
What else is happening in the rest of the world...
Middle East history 3500BCE
The first civilizations in world history, those of Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt, are emerging