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The First States, Essay Example

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Essay

Archaeologists used to believe that states began and ended based on various environmental factors such as destruction in the natural habitat, changes in the climate, and differences in demographic pressure. Now, however, archaeologists are led to believe states began and ended based on warfare caused by inhabitants of the environment than natural changes within the environment.

States rose from large ‘chiefdoms’, or village-like communities that became so large it was time to organize the communities due to the vast amount of food production and growth in population. Mainly the food production would be due to agriculture and new abilities in the ability to grow food in the arid climate.  These chiefdoms would often compete against one another via warfare and the winner would gain political control over the ‘new’ state. Because the changes often took many years, residents of the chiefdoms and states sometimes never saw what really was happening underneath their day-to-day activities.

Another theory behind the emergence of certain new states is due to the geographic location in which the chiefdom might be located. Because of trade issues and various other reasons such as socioeconomic factors, it was beneficial to have a centralized location be controlled in a more organized fashion and with a more structured governing body to oversee the operations of the trade industry. With the advent of technology it is now much easier for archaeologists to understand the history of states and how they came into existence. They can now actually read the logs kept from those early years to get a much better picture of the time when chiefdoms were in existence and the progression to statehood.

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