Facts about the Global Trends
In this essay I will aim to answer the question, “Where, When & Why
did the first states form?” This is an important question as the
development of the states, is the turning point in civilisation from
chiefdoms into a society, which is very similar to the one, which we
live in today.
The state can be defined many ways by different organisations;
political theorists, historians, archaeologists and anthropologists
all use different definitions. I will define the state as having a
centralised government with, an elite ruling class of powerful
families and rulers, a bureaucracy of government and ruling officials,
an armed group which maintain a legitimate monopoly on force to impose
decisions, and maintain law and order. There must also be economic
specialists, full time crafts people, like artists and poets. Also by
definition a state has an urban centred settlement pattern, as it
could be described simply as an overgrown chiefdom.
There are two basic philosophical views for why the primary states
developed. One was of social needs, which states that a central
government was necessary, as the rulers i.e. the elite, of the early
states were naturally problem solvers, and the manager elites are
“system serving”. The second theory is that central government
developed to protect the interests of the ruling class.
In 4000bc civilisation was organised into a mixture of chiefdoms and
society. The earliest states developed around 3500bc. These states
tended to develop around rivers, as this was an area where fertility
was high and so agriculture was unproblematic. As populations
concentrate around the agriculturally rich areas, the population grows
and so competition for land and resources grows. This can causes
tension and eventually to warfare and so a centralised government i.e.
the state gas to develop.
Mesopotamia was home to some of the earliest major civilisations .The
first city-state was Uruk, located near to modern day Baghdad. Uruk
was associated with very fast rise to statehood, due to its social and
economic diversification, urbanization and literacy. Literacy was a
key element in the rise of states, as its origins seem to come in
accountancy and so to define a state there has to be a certain amount
The indicatiors that show that Uruk was a state are, monumental public
architecture which people converge upon, in Uruk’s case, was a small
temple which ended up growing into a large ziggurat, which is a tower
temple formed of a terraced pyramid of successively receding stories.
Also state art shows kings and queens. Along with a stratified class
ecnonomy of specialists. A key element which sets Uruk apart from
other large chiefdoms, and defines it as a state is the fact that it
has large irrigation works. This is due to...