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As Homosapiens have been around for 3.2 million years 85 percent of people who lived in a certain area or travelling to different places becoming nomadic on earth together with others are known today as cultures. While a smaller percentage of people living together in a certain place and staying in that area for their whole lives with others along with keeping written records, and recording history are known as civilizations which make up 15 percent. The theory of a civilization is a sum total of any group’s political, economic, social, and intellectual activities no matter how fundamental or advanced these activities might be. This is the difference between the two is that one can sustain a stable lifestyle due to environmental advantage while the other cannot.
A civilization is a complex culture that is responsible for more creative thinking and able to have complicated systems in economics by having a certain type of currency, trading with other groups or entire countries, and having roads built for easy traveling to trade. The social life of family is more intricate as people try to become more involved with who marries who, and mating is somewhat calculated due to a system of class or order of hierarchy. The political system has more factors to it because it involves representatives, elaborate politics, some are republics, but try to formulate a type of democracy instead of just having one man as chief. Civilizations have a final aspect that Cultures don’t have and that is Intellectual abilities, Civilizations have paintings and sculptures, they build giant structures, they have poetry and write plays, and detailed system of religion and a belief of Gods and Goddesses.
Civilizations are able to do this because they have an environmental advantage, this signifies that the group of people apart of this civilization have a surplus of items such as food, water, and crops. This leads to civilizations and people being able to experiment with ideas and even beliefs while taking risks, this lets them acquire knowledge and coincidently the civilization receives a greater surplus do to this and more experimentation may be done. Civilizations were able to have more time for extracurricular activities to learn and create and this is why they are more advanced than cultures which make up 85 percent even though civilizations themselves only make up 15 percent.
The Niger Delta had many civilizations in the area from 400 to 1650’s AD, these civilizations include, Ancient Ghana from 400 to 1100AD, Mali from 1100 to 1400AD, and Sunghai from 1400 – 1650’s AD. The Niger Delta was a vast region that covered land in modern day Mali, Mauritania, Ivory Coast, and Ghana. The Niger Delta was able to thrive due to their environmental advantage because in this area there was the second most fertile soil in the world and the most fertile tropical soil in the world. The Niger Delta was also a very important crossroad for gold because it had the largest supply of gold located in their tributaries. The civilization traded with the old world the continents being Europe which received 25%, Asia which received 33%, and The Middle East which received 50%. These two reasons gave the Niger Delta their environmental advantage, 1. Being a crossroad for trade, and 2. Having great earth and soil, the only thing the Niger Delta lack was salt, and this is important because salt is a necessity for preserving food, and also for preserving bodily fluids.
As a result of this they developed an intricate trading system using the land, 800 miles from where the gold was there was a place called Ain Salah and in this place there was an abundance of salt. So once again the people of the Niger Delta had to trade with those from Ain Salah, they used camel caravans to get salt as the slaves worked the salt mines who had a life expectancy of 6 months, this was called the Trans – Saharan gold for salt trade which took 3.5 to 5 years to get gold. The group who were the best at working with the gold were called the Soninke they knew how to extract the gold, and purify the pan, and were good at metallurgy as most metals came out as ore, the Soninke were able to set up a silent trading system.
The wealthy bankers were the ones who set up trades and sent 20 to 30 boats with salt to the tributaries, they used drums to speak and communicate with each other, this is why it was called silent trade. The kingdoms of Ghana, Mali, and Songhai did not produce salt or gold they only provided the site where the exchange took place, they were there for protection and coercion. The kings sent their troops there to collect tax before and arriving and when they left the trading spot. Focusing on religion Islam spread throughout North Africa during the 9th and 11th century. In 1332 the King of Mali Mansa Musa who was the richest person in the world at that time converted his kingdom to Islam. All of these factor are reasons why The Niger was home to civilizations of Ghana, Mali and the Songhai.
In Middle America there are three civilizations that we can focus on and call civilizations. These three civilizations where located in two areas of Central America, there were the Toltes and Aztecs in the Valley of Mexico and the Mayans who were located in Yucatan during 500 BC to 200 AD.
The Mayans that lived in Yucatan which is the tip of modern day Mexico the civilization which was not very good. The soul in that area was not good at all and they did not even have a trade route to barter with others, this means that there was no real environmental advantage for the Mayans. The Mayans may have been driven out because of religious problems or because they were being persecuted but nevertheless they still managed with what they had. Although the soil was bad they had enough experience over generations to know what to do with the soil because they came from a place where they had an environmental advantage before. Although we cannot prove they went to Yucatan we can still see how they managed and how they still survived because they were able to have artifacts which were found in their household.
There were also Temples and houses of worships which were the most advanced structures there, and this is another sign that they may have left for religious freedom from their previous land. The Mayans built their temples and homes out of limestone because they did not erode. The temples were built for two reason one was for large groups of prayer or worship, and number two was for sacrifices to the Gods. In all of the folk houses there were vases that were painted on and this shows that there was such a surplus of labor that there could be those dedicated to pottery. The Mayans were heavily interested in astronomy and mathematics. They identified the six planets, that the earth revolved around the sun, and that there are 365 days a year.
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