HomeSocial ScienceOldest Civilization in the World

Oldest Civilization in the World

The oldest civilization in the world are the Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus Valley, and China. Mesopotamia was between two rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, in what is now Iraq. It started around 4000 BCE. People there were good at star-watching, math, and writing stories. The civilization in Egypt grew by the Nile River and began around 3100 BCE. The Indus Valley civilization was in today’s Pakistan and northwest India, starting between 3300 and 1300 BCE. The Chinese civilization began around 2070 BCE. All these old groups were great at building, writing, and making cities better.

    Fill Out the Form for Expert Academic Guidance!


    Live ClassesBooksTest SeriesSelf Learning

    Verify OTP Code (required)

    I agree to the terms and conditions and privacy policy.

    Oldest Civilization in the World List

    Here is the list of top 10 oldest civilization in the world:

    Rank Civilization Location Timeline Key Contributions
    1 Mesopotamia Iraq 4000 BCE Astronomy, math, literature
    2 Egyptian Egypt 3100 BCE Phonetic alphabet, pyramids
    3 Indus Valley Pakistan, India 3300–1300 BCE Urban planning, writing
    4 Chinese China 2070 BCE Agriculture, writing
    5 Maya Central America 2600 BCE – 900 CE Calendar, hieroglyphs
    6 Persian Iran 550 BCE – 330 BCE Empire-building, art
    7 Roman Italy 753 BCE – 476 CE Law, engineering, architecture
    8 Ancient Greek Greece 2700 BCE – 146 BCE Philosophy, democracy, art
    9 Incan Peru 1438 CE – 1533 CE Architecture, agriculture
    10 Aztec Mexico 1325 CE – 1521 CE Agriculture, art, architecture

    Detail Overview of Top 10 Oldest Civilization in the World

    Below is top 10 oldest civilization in the world in detail covering important information about each civilization.

    Oldest Civilization in the world

    Cradle of Civilization: Mesopotamia

    Mesopotamia, also known as the “Birthplace of Civilization,” lies between two rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, in what is now Iraq. This area is famous for being oldest civilization in the world. The Sumerians, who lived there, created the first writing system that everyone used. Many ancient groups, like the Sumerians, Akkadians, Assyrians, and Babylonians, lived in Mesopotamia.

    The art from Mesopotamia is very old, going back to when people were hunters and gatherers. It’s as important as the art from Ancient Egypt. The land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers was very good for farming, and this helped the people and their societies grow.

    In Mesopotamia, society was set up in levels. The king, important people, and religious leaders were at the top. Below them were the writers, traders, and rich people. Farmers, workers, and people who made things were in the lower part. Slaves were at the very bottom and had to work for their owners.

    Egyptian Civilization

    The civilization of Egypt, which lasted from about 3100 BCE to 30 BCE, was one of the strongest and most impactful in history. It grew around the Nile River. The Nile’s yearly floods made the land very good for farming. The success of this civilization was mainly because it adjusted well to living by the Nile. This led to lots of crops, more people living in the area, and better community development.

    Important parts of Egyptian civilization include:

    • Writing: Egyptians used pictures called hieroglyphics for writing. This helped their leaders keep and use their power.
    • Religion: Egyptians had many gods and goddesses, and their beliefs were very important in their daily life.
    • Big Buildings: Leaders built huge structures like pyramids and temples to show their power and riches.
    • Trading: Egyptians traded a lot, using the Nile and the Red Sea to move goods far and wide.
    • Learning: They made important progress in language and math that still helps us today.

    Even though a lot changed in Egypt over time, like leaders, language, writing, climate, religion, and borders, the civilization kept doing well. It left a lot of big buildings, writings, and art that people still study today.

    Indus Valley Civilization

    The Indus Valley Civilization, also called the Harappan Civilization, was an important society that existed in the northern part of South Asia from 3300 to 1300 BCE. It got its name because it was near the Indus River. People also know it as the Indus-Sarasvati Civilization or the Harappan Civilization. This civilization went through three main periods: the Early Harappan Phase (3300-2600 BCE), the Mature Harappan Phase (2600-1900 BCE), and the Late Harappan Phase (1900-1300 BCE).

    Here are some key points about the Indus Valley Civilization:

    • Location: It spread over a large area, including parts of today’s Afghanistan, Pakistan, and northwest India.
    • Inventions: The people were very smart and came up with things like set standards for weights and measures, seal carving, and using metals like copper, bronze, lead, and tin.
    • Cities: It had two big cities, Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, and over 100 smaller places.
    • Writing: They had their own writing, called the Indus script, but we haven’t figured it out yet. This makes it hard to understand their government and society.
    • End: We’re not sure why it ended, but it seems like it slowly got smaller, with people moving away and cities being left empty.

    This civilization is one of the three most famous old civilizations, along with those in Egypt and Mesopotamia.

    Chinese Civilization

    China is one of the oldest places in the world, starting around 1600 BCE with the Shang Dynasty. It’s famous for its writing system, big steps in technology, and deep thinking. China gave the world things like paper, gunpowder, the compass, and printing.

    Over time, China was ruled by many strong families called dynasties, like the Zhou, Qin, Han, Tang, Song, Yuan, Ming, and Qing. Big things like the Great Wall, the Terracotta Army, and the Silk Road show its long and rich past. Ideas from Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism played a big role in shaping how people in China think and live. The Han Dynasty made a special system to choose government workers which shows how well it was organized.

    In the 1900s, China changed a lot. The Qing Dynasty ended, and the Republic of China started. Then, in 1949, the Communist Party took over under Mao Zedong. Now, it’s called the People’s Republic of China and is a major player in the world’s economy. It has a strong culture that keeps growing and affecting people everywhere.

    Maya Civilization

    The Maya were an old group of people who lived a long time ago in parts of what are now Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. They were famous for their writing system, which was the only fully developed one in the Americas before Columbus came. The Maya had their golden age around 250 to 900 AD.

    They had many separate places each ruled by its own leader. The Maya were really good at farming, making pottery, writing, keeping track of time, and math. They built amazing buildings and art, especially their famous pyramids and cities like Chichen Itza, Tikal, and Palenque.

    The Maya were the first to use the number zero. They had a calendar with 365 days and were great at watching the stars. We don’t fully understand why their society went downhill, but some think it might be due to too many people, harming the environment, wars, or not enough rain.

    People who are descended from the Maya still live in the same area. They keep speaking their language and following their old customs.

    Persian Civilization

    The Persian or Iranian civilization was a great and old culture that started in what is now Iran and some nearby areas in Western Asia. It began around 1000 BC with early kingdoms like Elam and became very powerful when Cyrus the Great started the Achaemenid Empire in the 6th century BC. This empire was one of the biggest ever and was known for its smart government system and a big road called the Royal Road, which helped people send messages and goods quickly.

    This empire was known for letting different kinds of people and cultures live and thrive within its borders. Kings like Darius the Great and Xerxes I grew the empire’s land, reaching places far away like the Balkans and the Indus Valley.

    In Persian culture, people made a lot of progress in art, science, technology, and religion. The religion called Zoroastrianism, which taught about good and bad and choosing your own path, started here. It later influenced many other religions that came after it.

    Later on, Alexander the Great conquered this empire, and after him, different empires like the Seleucid, Parthian, and Sassanian took over. In the 7th century AD, Muslim armies conquered the area, and Islam became the main religion, making Zoroastrianism less common. But even after all these changes, Persian ways of life, building styles, and traditions stayed important and can still be seen in Iran and other places today.

    Roman Civilization

    The Roman civilization started around the 8th century BCE in what is now Italy. It controlled the area around the Mediterranean Sea. Its growth was helped by its strong army, smart partnerships, and good laws.

    Around 509 BCE, Rome became a Republic. This meant that it was controlled by a Senate, public meetings, and officials like consuls. Rome’s power spread to many parts of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. The government was complicated and had good and bad points. It tried to keep power in balance but also had unfairness and dishonesty, which led to fights within the country.

    At the end of the 1st century BCE, Augustus Caesar came to power. This was the start of the Roman Empire and the end of the Republic. The empire was at its strongest under Emperor Trajan in the 2nd century CE. It had a lot of roads and cities, which helped with trade and sharing ideas and culture.

    The Romans did great things in law and building (like water channels, roads, and the Colosseum). They also wrote important books. Their language, Latin, is the root of many languages we speak today. The Romans also adopted and shared Greek culture, which shaped thinking, science, and art.

    The empire started to weaken in the 3rd century because of internal problems, money issues, and attacks from outside groups. The Western Roman Empire ended in 476 CE. The Eastern Roman Empire, also called Byzantium, lasted much longer, until 1453.

    Ancient Greek Civilization

    From 800 BC to about 600 AD, the time of Ancient Greece was very important in the history of the world. It started in the area near the Aegean Sea and spread around the Mediterranean Sea. This time is famous because people like Plato, Aristotle, Pythagoras, and Hippocrates made big discoveries in thinking, math, stars, and health.

    The Greeks made city-states like Athens and Sparta. Athens was where democracy started, and people made great art, plays, and books. Sparta was known for having a strong army.

    There were three main times in Greek history: the Archaic, the Classical, and the Hellenistic. The Hellenistic time started after Alexander the Great conquered many places. Greek culture had a big effect on the Roman Empire, which helped keep Greek art, science, and ideas alive. This helped start the Renaissance and shape today’s culture in the West. Greek stories about gods and the Olympic games are still popular today. Greek building styles, especially their pillars, are still used all over the world.

    The Ancient Greeks were curious about people and learning, which helped start Western thinking and education. Even after Ancient Greece was no longer powerful, its culture and ideas stayed important in the Western world.

    Incan Civilization

    From the 1200s to the 1500s, the Inca Empire was the biggest empire in South America before Columbus came. It was mainly in the Andes mountains. The main city was Cusco, in what is now Peru. The Incas were known for their special art, good roads, clever farming methods like terraces on hills, and big buildings like Machu Picchu.

    Inca society had strict levels. The Sapa Inca was the top leader, then came the noble families, religious leaders, and regular people. Their economy worked by everyone helping out, called mita. They didn’t write but used a system of knots on strings, called quipus, to keep track of things.

    The Incas believed in many gods, with the sun god, Inti, being the most important. They were good at bringing different groups and lands together with roads and agreements. This lasted until the Spanish, led by Francisco Pizarro, took over in 1533, and that was the end of the Inca Empire.

    Aztec Civilization

    The Aztecs lived in the middle of Mexico from the 1300s to the 1500s. Their main city was Tenochtitlan, now part of Mexico City. This city was on an island in a big lake. The Aztecs were known for their well-organized society, interesting traditions, and smart ideas in math and star watching.

    They were good at farming, using special floating gardens called chinampas. They also got wealth by trading and taking things from places they defeated. They believed in many gods, like Quetzalcoatl and Huitzilopochtli, and their beliefs were a big part of their life, even leading to sacrifices.

    Leaders like Montezuma I and II made the Aztecs very strong. But when Spanish fighters led by Hernán Cortés came, and diseases spread, the Aztec Empire fell in 1521. Still, the Aztecs greatly influenced the culture and language in Mexico even after they were gone.

    FAQs on Oldest Civilization in the World

    Who came before Mesopotamia?

    Before Mesopotamia, the world witnessed the rise of the earliest human cultures. Hunter-gatherer societies existed long before, evolving into agricultural communities.

    What civilization existed 7000 years ago?

    Around 7000 years ago, the Neolithic civilizations thrived, particularly in the fertile regions like the Levant, where agriculture and domestication of animals began.

    Did humans exist 12000 years ago?

    Yes, humans existed 12,000 years ago. This period, known as the Mesolithic era, saw humans hunting, gathering, and beginning to form complex societies.

    Is Indian civilization 10000 years old?

    Indian civilization, as defined by the settlement of Mehrgarh, dates back to around 7000 BC, making it nearly 9,000 years old, not quite 10,000.

    Which civilization is 5000 years old?

    The Sumerian civilization of Mesopotamia, often cited as one of the cradles of civilization, is roughly 5000 years old, known for creating the first cities.

    Is Indian civilization older than Egyptian?

    Indian and Egyptian civilizations are ancient and developed around a similar time. Mehrgarh in India predates the Egyptian dynasties, making it slightly older.

    Chat on WhatsApp Call Infinity Learn

      Talk to our academic expert!


      Live ClassesBooksTest SeriesSelf Learning

      Verify OTP Code (required)

      I agree to the terms and conditions and privacy policy.