Human history and the first civilizations

What happened in history before ancient Greeks and Romans? In this course, we’ll cover the story of humanity, from our origins in East Africa to the world’s first pre-industrial civilizations. Over ten days, you’ll learn about human origins some three million years ago, explore the origins of modern humans, ourselves, and our colonization of the Old World and the Americas. We’ll also explore the origins of agriculture and animal domestication and explain why the changeover from hunting and gathering took place. The course ends with a survey of the world’s earliest cities and civilizations in Egypt, Mesopotamia, South and Southeast Asia, and the Americas. How were the earliest civilizations organized and how did they come into being? After ten days, you’ll have an entirely new perspective on our past.

   669 students completed this course

   97% recommend it to other students

   Teacher: Brian Fagan


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97% of students recommend

  “Thanks, I enjoyed the course!”

  “Very well written and organized. Told me a lot that I had no idea about!”

  “I loved this course! It was entertaining, informative and easy to follow. I learned a lot.”


Course plan

Lesson 1. Beginnings
Lesson 2. The Archaic World
Lesson 3. People of the Late Ice Age
Lesson 4. The First Americans
Lesson 5. The Origins of Agriculture
Lesson 6. The Origins of Civilization
Lesson 7. The First Civilizations: Egypt and Mesopotamia
Lesson 8. Early Chinese Civilization
Lesson 9. Maya and Aztec Civilizations
Lesson 10. Andean Civilizations
+ Quiz



Starting tomorrow, you will receive a new lesson straight to your inbox every morning for 10 days. Lessons take just 5 minutes to read, and each course is followed by fun, knowledge-testing quiz.



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  • Format
    One lesson delivered via email daily
  • Duration
    10 days
  • Time
    5 minutes reading a day

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