The Five Hearths of Urbanization

I never really knew much about this, but a friend of mine was taking a course in Human Geography (WTH?) and this was one of the things that they dealt with in the class. What this really means is that these five areas were the first parts of the world to experience urbanization. Urbanization is very important. You cannot even make cities until you develop surplus agriculture. Moving agriculture from subsistence to surplus usually involves a move to some sort of large farms, orchards or plantations. These large agricultural outposts can then produce enough to not only feed the rural population, but to provide food for the urban population. The urban population must be fed by the rural because as a good rule, people in cities just do not grow food, or, if they do, they do not grow enough to sustain the city. As long as the urban folks don’t need to worry about starving and don’t have to grow food, they can do other stuff besides growing food. This is the beginnings of civilization. The five Hearths are the Nile River Valley in Egypt, Mesopotamia in Iraq, the Indus River Valley in Pakistan, the Mayan in Central America and the Yellow River Valley in China. No one has any idea of what the IQ’s of the dwellers of these regions were at the time, but right now they are Guatemala 79, Egypt 82, Pakistan 82.5, Iraq 87 and China 105 (I don’t accept Richard Lynn’s phony 100 figure for China). All but China are in what is the lower half of the human IQ range. Since White nationalists are adamant that IQ has remained unchanged in all of these places, and everywhere else for that matter, in the past few thousand years, it behooves to ask how is it that these dummies showed up Homo Superiorus in Europe anyway? Of the five, Egypt was far and away the most advanced. The latest thinking is that the pyramids were not built by slaves, but instead were built by relatively well-paid, middle-class workers. Whole cities that housed these workers have been uncovered near the pyramids. Egyptian cities are the oldest of all. I am not sure of dates, but it looks like Egyptian cities go back 6,000 years or more (YBP = years before present). It’s odd that the earliest cities were the best of them all. The majestic pyramids were unsurpassed in the other Hearths. Although Mesopotamia had stone obelisks as tall as a man, Egypt had incredible obelisks of solid stone up to an unbelievable 100 feet tall. People to this day still wonder how the Egyptians did it, and no one quite knows. King Tut appointed what seems to be the first, or one of the first, queens of a large society, so this was a feminist breakthrough too, not that you would know it if you went to Islamic and misogynistic Egypt today. The next one along was Mesopotamia at 5,500 years ago. This is very, very early. They had art, aqueducts and organized religion, but no pyramids or major architectural accomplishments. There was a Great Wall of Babylon, a beautiful structure fashioned of blue bricks. They had obelisks and statues such as the Style of Hammurabi, but that was only as tall as a man. Compare to the 100 foot obelisks of the Egyptians – no contest. The Mesopotamians were already smelting metal – this was the Bronze Age. Smelting metal is a serious advance in civilization, and it’s amazing that anyone was smelting anything 4,900 years ago, when Mesopotamian smelting began. It appears that Mesopotamia was influenced by the earlier civilization of the Egyptians. The next is the great civilization of the Indus. This was in Pakistan, not in India as idiot Indian nationalists claim. Not quite as impressive as the first two, it did have very large cities with aqueducts for irrigation. However, they had no pyramids or other great architecture, no art and no writing. They had big cities and little else. The Indus Civilization vanished without a trace for unknown reasons. The Indus was very old, 4,200 YBP. The fourth Hearth was the Maya Civilization in Central America. This actually goes back a long ways, all the way to 3,100 YBP at least and possibly earlier. It was characterized by a writing system, mathematics, pyramids, art and advanced astronomy. The Mayan pyramids were excellent structures. I am not sure how they compare to the Egyptian pyramids, but it is fascinating that early peoples in two completely different parts of the world both decided to build pyramids (Why?). The Mayans also smelted metal and had a very early irrigation system. What is odd is that neither the Mayans nor the Aztecs who came much later never managed to invent the wheel or to put it to good use. The wheel is absolutely essential for advanced civilization, and discovering it is considered a profound breakthrough for any culture. What is even more strange is that the early Central Americans did invent the wheel, but they did not put it to good use. We have found children’s toys with wheels on them from these cultures. On the other hand, there were no pack animals to be domesticated in Central America, so it’s dubious what use you could put the wheel to, although I guess you could make a rickshaw, a bicycle or a wheelbarrow. The early Central Americans are derided, especially by White Nationalists, for being horribly, even evilly cruel, especially in their mad, seemingly insane addiction to human sacrifice. It’s true that the Central Americans did take human sacrifice to frightfully vicious extremes, at times making it nearly an assembly line operation. However, many early cultures engaged in human sacrifice, including Homo Superiorus over in Europe. Why, we ask? Well, these were pre-scientific folks. They did have their Gods, but as cruel and meaningless as fate often is, the Gods must have been crazy, to paraphrase a movie title. For instance, these nutty and semi-wicked Gods would kill the hottest babe in the village along with the handsomest, smartest guy to boot, for no darn reason at all, while leaving alive the village dirtbag, who barely even deserved to be kept alive one more minute. None of it made sense. Human life is a caprice, so cruel a caprice that it can almost seem like folly or the blackest of jokes. These Gods were clearly nuts, but they ruled our lives nevertheless. What to do? Appease the crazy bastards. This was the meaning of human sacrifice and the more humane later animal sacrifice, taken to insane lengths of folly by the Jews of the Temple Period, where an assembly line of animals stretched for up to a mile or so, and animals were killed all day in a 9-5 operation, such that blood flowed from the Temple like a river. This is the mad period that the most fanatical Zionists wish to recreate. Anyway, the way to appease a powerful, crazy person is to humor him, be nice to him or even bring him gifts. This was the idea behind the human sacrifices, to try to semi-rationalize the ferocious whimsy of the Gods. The fifth Hearth is the Yellow River Valley of China. Actually, yo can’t say that anymore, as the PC-idiots take offense. Guess why? Yellow River sounds like yellow skin. Chinese are said to have yellow skins, but that’s racist and you can’t say that. So forget the Yellow River. Instead, it’s the Huang He River, which I think means yellow in Chinese, but since mostly only Chinese know Chinese, there’s nothing to get offended about, since Chinese equating Chinese = yellow is not offensive, but if Caucasians do it, it’s mean and evil and racist. Whatever. Anyway, the Yellow River civilization was about 2,200 YBP. I don’t know much about it except that they did have large cities and irrigation. They also had writing. One might reasonably ask what these five Hearths had in common. We can say that they were near the Equator, but not too near. That seems crucial. They were all in the Northern Hemisphere, but I doubt if that is meaningful, except that there  seem to be more humans and more land mass in the north. And, with the exception of the Mayas, they were all in lush river valleys. The Mayas are odd man out in the jungle. The question of YBP comes up. I don’t mind the term. Originally we had B.C. (Before Christ), and as a Christian, that’s just fine for me. Well, some folks got rid of that a while back and replaced it with BCE, (Before Christian Era), which always struck me as a cheap anti-Christian shot. I figure Jews probably had a hand in this, since Jesus isn’t exactly their favorite guy, nor is Christianity exactly their favorite religion. The atheists and scientist types must have had a hand in it too. It surely so infuriated these poor atheist souls to have to say and write that horrible word “Christ” over and over. Non-Christians all over the world probably nodded in approval or chimed in. YBP seems a good compromise. Neither Christocentric nor a slap in the face of Christianity, it just avoids the whole issue of Jesus and religion altogether and goes by a nice secular calendar. If you think this website is valuable to you, please consider a contribution to support the continuation of the site.

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6 thoughts on “The Five Hearths of Urbanization”

  1. Dear Robert
    As you pointed out, an increase in agricultural productivity is a precondition for urbanization. If one farm famly can produce food and textiles for 1,25 families, then 20% of the population can be urban.
    The limit of the urban population is set by the productivity of farmers but the size of cities is determined by transportation costs. The larger a city is, the greater the area required to feed it and the longer the distance will be that the food has to travel to reach the city. That’s why in pre-industrial times, cities could not be very large. Rome was a very large city for its time and therefore the state subsidized the food of its residents.
    Also, in pre-industrial times, water transport was much cheaper than land transport. Probably the rivers like the Nile and the and the others that were used used for irrigation were also used as waterways to transport food to urban centres.
    I wouldn’t be surprised if the secret of the Mayas was high-yield corn. The higher the yield of a crop, the more people that farmers can feed. Irrigation can be used to increase to yield but so can changing or improving a crop. Some crops can feed more people per hectare than others. If corn has the right soil, it can feed more people per hectare than wheat or rice.
    To digress a bit, the introduction of the potato in Europe made population growth possible because you could feed more people from an acre of potatoes than from an acre of grain. Moreover, poptatoes are a much more complete food than any grain. You are better nourished if you get 90% of your calories from potatoes, as Irish peasants probably did at one time, than if you get 90% of your calories from any grain. Long live the humble potato.
    Regards. James

  2. Very interesting. For al this, I really recommend Arnold Toynbee’s ‘ Mankind and Mother Earth’, his one book aimed at the common reader, and the only readable history of the world I’ve ever found. He doesnt get to AD till about half-way through the book. It’s organised on a schema similar to the one here – he takes a time period, and devotes a chapter each to developments in all the main civilisation in the period. A writer who’s long ovedue for a comeback.

  3. Minor point: There was no Pakistan before 1947 or so, and what is now Pakistan was part of what we would consider India. Of course neither designation has any meaning in regard to 4,000+ yrs. ago. The Harappa civilization is arguably ancestral to subsequent Indo civilization in some ways, although the last I heard was that we still couldn’t read their script, so it’s all conjecture.
    The Hindu nationalists would probably insist that the Harappa civ was an early manifestation of Indo culture… They’re the ones who disbelieve in the historicity of the Aryan invasion, right?
    I’ve always felt that the Hindu nats, however loathsome their program might be, sort of have a point about the centrality of India to world history and civilisation. The only thing that comes to mind at the moment is chess, but I think there’s more. Afrocentrists, btw, believe that the harappas were black. They probably were Dravidians, but they weren’t black, just dark and indisputably caucasian.

  4. Hi, Mort, we need to refer to the area as something, and the only thing we can refer to is Pakistan.
    I’m friends with some Pakistani nationalists who are very into claiming these folks for Pakistan. And yes, the Hindu nationalists do say that that was ancient India. But they say everything from Azerbaijan to Persia to Afghanistan to Burma to Cambodia to Vietnam to Indonesia was all India too.
    Fuck them.
    The Harappans were clearly Dravidian types. Actually, the Hindu nationalists hate the Aryan Invasion theory and they reject it completely. It is the Dalits and Untouchables who agree with that theory. I think there is something to the Aryan invasion theory and there is actually some good genetic evidence to back it up.
    I have nothing against Indian culture and I agree that in some ways it has been central to our culture as men. I don’t think it is anymore though, and that is what the Hindu nats say. Hindutvas all also hate Dalits, deny India’s massive and horrible poverty, are extremely racist towards Christians, Muslims, White Westerners and often Blacks, support the caste structure to the hilt, hate Western medicine, are reactionary and backwards and love India’s grotesque sexism.
    They’re some of the scummiest reactionary dogs on Earth and I can’t tell you how much I hate that fascist garbage.
    Afrocentrists are morons! Of all the ultranationalists, they have to be some of the stupidest of all. No way are those Black people or Africans in any way whatsoever. Some of the Dravidians seem to be related to people from New Guinea though, so they have some Australoid stock.

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