Globalization in the Ancient World

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Globalizationin the Ancient World

Theconcept of globalization tends to draw its relevance from the aspectof people, organizations, and governments interact on day-to-daybasis. The more people from different countries and regions interact,the more they realize globalization. In this regard, globalizationrefers to interaction among people, corporate entities, and regimesfrom different parts of the world through trade, cultural exchange,or even war. In the past, aspect of globalization was restricted tofew countries due to factors such as transportation hindrance andinefficient communication networks. Geographical limitation thereforecharacterized ancient interaction among countries, since thathappened only to countries that were close to each other. Inventionof transport and communication systems however helped ancient peopleto deal with hindrances, hence widening the scope of interaction. Atthat point, people started interacting at faster rate thus enhancingregional and global integration. To understand the concept of ancientglobalization in a wider scope, detailed look at various aspects iscritical, the development of Uruk-Warka, the influence of Cahokia,and the emergence of Huari.


Globalizationillustrates structures or processes by which previously dissimilar ordetached regions become increasingly unified on a global scale(Jennings 2). It is imperative to note that the concept in thiscontext means a process of multifaceted social change linked to theformation of widespread dense networks. Prehistorians’ assessmentof the past suggests the existence of recurrent trends, which usuallyshape the interconnection of localities (Friedman 650b). This meansthat globalization is not an occurrence unique to contemporary times,but it happened in ancient times although in a different or minimallevel that the way it unfolds today. The social and economicdevelopments in Uruk-Warka, for example, resonated well beyond thecities through assimilation, annexation, integration (Jennings 59).The archaeological finding of seals, goods, and bowls implies thatUruk-Wark had increased administrative control, different levels ofsocial stratification, and transport modes.

Inthis regard, the elements show that the region had a well-developedtrade and transport or communication infrastructure thus, extensiveengagement with other districts. The comprehensive advancement ofculture, skills, specialization, and bureaucracy created surplus,which meant that the locals had to look for other people to trade theexcess merchandise (Stoner et al. 404). Old cities, for instance,Cahokia, Uruk-Wark, and Harappa allowed the interaction and flow ofpeople, ideas, and goods hence, led to the creation of densenetworks and alteration of the social structures (Jennings 3). Thismeans that the definition of globalization in terms of thedevelopment of systems and social change shows that it occurred inthe ancient times. Archaeologists show that that numerous areasencountered comparable dynamic series of alliance and downfall overtime because of the interaction of networks (Jennings 19). The fallor rise of these dynasties reveal that globalization has existedsince the ancient times.

TheDevelopment of Uruk-Warka

Theinception of Uruk-Warka, the earliest urban center, had significantimpact on the ancient globalization. The development of this cityplayed a critical role in social events that later became the basisof integration in North Africa, parts of Eastern Europe, and the vastregion of Middle East (Freeman 12b). The city remains the relevantlandmark of early civilization in these places, since it contributedto increase of activities that facilitated integration of people fromdifferent regions. The growth of urbanization in the city created theneed to increase production and exchange of different items withother regions (Friedman 637). The surplus production created the needfor supplying to other regions in exchange of stuff that were notavailable in Uruk. The center also attracted people from variousplaces, even beyond African borders. This element led to culturalexchange among people from different backgrounds, thus facilitatingancient globalization (Warburton 201). The Uruk expansion becameinfluential in various parts, where different people adopted the Urukculture. In the same way, the local population assimilated foreignideas and accepted goods from other places, making Uruk a globalcultural center.

Influenceof Cahokia

Cahokiais arguably the most influential epicenter of ancient globalization,due to its significance in early civilization in America. The effectsof Mississippian culture spread throughout the great river region andbeyond the borders to Southeast parts of Moundville among others(Hall 67). The cultural influence is the most interesting factor thatmakes this city a landmark of ancient globalization. Being at thevast agricultural region, Cahokia population adopted farming, whichled to massive production of foodstuff. The urban center alsoattracted materials from various geographical regions, where exchangeof goods took place. The city was also the strategic trade-route toother places, an element that facilitated both commercial andcultural exchange in ancient times (Warburton 210). The populationincreased significantly, due to constant immigration of people fromvarious regions during trade and early colonization. Production ofbeads and pottery among other activities were socioeconomicintensifications that spread greatly throughout various regionsincluding Southeast and Midwest parts of America (Amin 29). Thecultural influence of Cahokia is evident in parts of Kentucky, whichthen contributed to the rise of ancient global culture inMississippi.

TheEmergence of Huari

Theancient site of Huari in South America is another focal point ofglobalization in the ancient world. The site developed from thecollection of settlements into a large center, which hosted manycompounds for social and cultural events. The site needed both localand imported suppliesto transform its landscape and appearance(Friedman 647). Construction of terraces and establishment ofcolonial administrative posts in Huari required labor and materialsfrom local and external sources. In this regard, integration ofpeople from various cultural backgrounds and exchange of materialscharacterized the ancient globalization in this center (Sanchez 81).Imperial control of the region enhanced socio-cultural integrationand economic interaction between various cultural groups.Distribution of religious materials and architectural artifacts werecommon activities during early development of Huari (Stoner et al.404). Adoption of foreign styles and forms of artifacts contributedto the emergence of Huari as the global cultural center in theancient world (Hall 71). To meet the demands of development, aspectof globalization emerged in this ancient city.


Globalizationin the ancient world is the key element that facilitated earlydevelopment in different parts of the world. Uruk-Warka influencedthe social and economic interaction of people in North Africa,Europe, and Middle East. The cross-border interaction set the stagefor further developments in these regions, whose impact is evident tothis day. Rise of Cahokia in Mississippi also contributed to earlycivilization in America. The event ushered vast development,migration of populations, and emergence of global culture in thecontinent. Development of Huari city in South America is anotherlandmark event that influenced early globalization in this part ofthe world. In this regard, the three events represent thecivilization and globalization of the ancient world.


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Freeman,Charles. Egypt,Greece, and Rome: Civilizations of the Ancient Mediterranean.Oxford University Press, 2014.

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Hall,Thomas D. “Toward Comparative Globalizations: Globalization inHistorical Retrospective and World-System Analysis.” Journalof Globalization Studies,5.1 (2014):65-72.

Jennings,Justin.&nbspGlobalizationsand the Ancient World.Cambridge University Press, 2010.

Sanchez,Magaly. “Insecurity and Violence as a New Power Relation in LatinAmerica.” TheAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science,14.8 (2016):78-86.

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Warburton,David A. “Book Review: The Globalization of Knowledge in History.”Journalof Global History,10.1 (2015):198-212.