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The Worlds First Cities


The World’s First Cities
With its reliable source of food, people gathered in Mesopotamia and formed the very first cities. Mesopotamia was home to some of the very first cities in existence, leading many to link it to the birth of true civilisation. The origin of these cities is still unknown today, although many theories exist. One suggestion is that the development and building of temples created a place where people would gather, and thus served as points of contact between different groups of people.



Others believe that people sought sanctuary from natural disasters. As the Mesopotamians were able to develop technology to help them control the nearby rivers, such as levees, they could ensure a good crop. They had no need to be nomadic, and were able to settle in one place comfortably. It is for this reason that all the early cities were built along the two major rivers.
From the moment the Sumerians began to form these cities, it forever altered human history. People went from being ruled by nature, to attempting to control it and make it work for them. By 4500 BCE the first recorded city rose in the form of Uruk. However, the only urban structure at this point was the temple, which regulated all economic and social matters.

The central purpose of these early cities was to help regulate trade, as southern Mesopotamia was reliant on outside resources. This need encouraged the spread of urbanisation. However, communication between the cities was difficult, so each city developed into an individual city-state. This led to territorial disputes and, inevitably, war.
In order to keep their cities protected, the Mesopotamians built fortifications, and walled cities rose. Migration to these cities increased, and more buildings were erected. Cities gradually expanded and rulers were proclaimed, who then began looking outwards for trade and conquest.