World 2500 BCE

The rise of civilization here has been astonishing. By this date, some of the most spectacular structures in all world history have been built - the Great Pyramids of Egypt.

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World history in 2500 BCE - ancient civilizations thrive

In 2500 BCE much of the world is still populated by hunter-gatherers. But farming and pastoral populations are continuing to encroach on their lands, and in many parts of the world the rise of civilization is astonishing.

The Middle East and Egypt

In the Middle East of the early Bronze Age the two great civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt are flourishing. They have sophisticated writing systems, bronze technologies and highly developed public administrations. The first literatures are flowering, and already some of the most spectacular structures in all world history, the Great Pyramids, have been built in the Nile valley.

South Asia

An urban civilization has also appeared on the Indian sub-continent, in the Indus valley. This shows advanced features such as town planning and effective drainage systems.

East Asia

In the river valleys of China, villages are growing in number and size, and their technologies are advancing. Soon one of the world’s great civilizations will emerge here.

South East Asia and Oceania

On the islands and coasts of southern China the ancestors of the Malays and Polynesians are starting their great migration down into South East Asian waters. From here, in the course of their history they will travel over a vast area of the globe: eastwards as far as Hawaii and Easter Island, and westwards as far as Madagascar.

Europe and Central Asia

Another group who, in the course of history will come to cover a large part of he globe, are spreading outwards from the steppes north of the Black Sea. These are horse-breeding peoples who have been moving both eastwards across central Asia, and westwards into Europe. They take their ancestral Indo-European language with them. By this time, they have harnessed horses to the first wheeled vehicles. The first of these are heavy carts, but it will not be long before they evolve into light, two-wheeled chariots.

The Americas

In North America, arctic hunters, ancestors of the present-day Inuit, are beginning to spread over the far north. In South America, farming is expanding over a wide area, and large, permanent villages are appearing in Peru. The majority of the continent, however, remains home to hunter-gatherers.

Next map: the world in 1500 BCE

Dig Deeper

For details of the different civilizations, click on the relevant timeline above. 

Hunter-gatherers

Early farmers

Early pastoralists

What is civilization?

Origins of civilization

The role of cities in the rise of civilization

World history

The Steppe peoples of Central Asia

Premium Units

Early Civilizations

The Middle East: Cradle of Civilization

World Trade

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