"A People's History of the World" Part 2 Ch. 1-3

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Part 2 People’s History of the World "A People's History of the World" by Chris Harman Chapter 1: Iron and Empires This short chapter laid out the way in which empires expanded and in which civilization grew. The concept of the surplus laying in the hands of the ruling classes became more established. Innovation began within the people that could learn from previous achievements. It became clear that the only way civilization could expand was through the encouragement of new techniques. The conquest of certain civilizations lead to new ideas being brought in by the conquerors, and this lead to a much larger surplus, larger than ever before. Along with the arrival of surplus-enhancing technology, the smelting of iron also appeared. Before, copper and bronze had been used, but had proved to be only accessible to the wealthy and made poor tools, and weapons, too. Iron ore was much more abundant than copper, and with the skillful workings of the blacksmiths, “the effect [it had] on agriculture was massive,” (Harman 46). By the 7th century BC, new civilizations that were based on the new technologies that came around were on the rise. New civilizations and kingdoms appeared began to appear in Asia. City states cropped up in the Middle East and North Africa. During this period, scientific and mathematic advances were rising alongside new productive techniques. “Long-distance trade, a rise in the importance in of merchants as a social class, the use of coins…the use of phonetically-based alphabets,” all came about and changed the course of history (Harman 47). Chapter 2: Ancient India This chapter focused on the origins of India, and that along with its steady evolution came change for the rest of the world, too. This chapter really hones in on the first ever changes in social structure in a society, as well as in how people earned a livelihood, which we’ll see
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