The "Agricultural Transition"

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The agricultural transition took place over a period of more than ten thousand years. It started ten thousand to twelve thousand years ago and created a huge population growth. Different groups in various parts of the world began to produce their own food. This caused the humans to learn the practices of pastoralism and agriculture. These practices allowed humans to manipulate their environment to a greater degree than ever before. Agriculture encouraged closer social ties and the formation of long lasting settlements.

In the Middle East, wheat and barley cultivation began approximately around 8000 B.C.E then spread to the Balkans (6500 B.C.E). The Nile valley (6000 B.C.E), other parts of northeast Africa (5500 B.C.E) and then to continental Europe around (4000 B.C.E). Each region had its own agricultural traditions. For example, in Central Africa grew crops such as plantains, bananas, and yams while North and South America grew maize, beans and squash.

The most primitive forms of agriculture included migratory farming and slash-and-burn farming. The former consisted of a small-scale farming ina single area for a brief time, then moving on when the soil was exhausted.

Later, a more advanced form of planting, shifting agriculture, allowed farming communities to stay in the same area for longer periods of time. Farmers would plant some fields and leave others fallow, then the next season they would rotate. This kept the soil healthy and kept it from being stripped of al its nutrients. Other advanced techniques like fertilizing, irrigation, and mixing crop types were extremely helpful. Near the end of the Neolithic Era, the fermentation of alcoholic beverages, beginning with beer, ahd been discovered in the Middle East.

The Nile River helped farming and agriculture in Egypt. It helped by providing silt whenever there was a flood. The Nile River floods...