Civilization developed slowly in different parts of the world. People
began to settle in areas with abundant natural resources. A section of
the Middle East is called the Fertile Crescent. The Fertile Crescent
is a rich food-growing area in a part of the world where most of the
land is too dry for farming. The Fertile Crescent begins on the
eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, and curves around like a
quarter moon to the Persian Gulf.
Some of the best farmland of the
Fertile Crescent is in a narrow strip of land between the Tigris and
Euphrates Rivers. The Greeks later called this region Mesopotamia,
which means "between the rivers." Many different
civilizations developed in this small region. First came the
Sumerians, who were replaced in turn by the Assyrians and the
Babylonians. Today this land is known as Iraq and is ruled by a
dictator named Saddam Hussein.
There are many ways to define a
civilization, but most scholars agree that when a society begins to
form cities, it becomes a civilization. Most civilizations have the
A surplus of food. When people have enough food, they begin
to develop other needs.
Division of Labor. When people have one job, they tend to do
that job very well. They are also more likely to choose a job in a
field they enjoy.
Organized government and religion. When people have the same
laws, it is easier to trade. People living under the same government,
or having the same religious beliefs are likely to have the same
Writing. This allowed societies to keep records and