The State of World Agriculture
What spurred early agricultural development?
A limiting factor on agricultural development has always been the available technology for the cultivation and domestication of wild crops and animals. The earliest tools were simple devices of stone and wood, including the infamous sickle, which was used to gather grain, and a rudimentary form of the plough. (Encarta. "Agriculture") The development of irrigation, mainly in the Fertile Crescent and Egypt, allowed for farming where previously there was not enough rain to sustain crops.
During the period from 2500 BC to 500 AD, advancements in both the storage and raising of crops allowed for both increased trading of crops and for city populations to be successfully supported. (Encarta. "Agriculture") As the demand for food increased, irrigation systems had to be expanded and methods for transporting water further and further from the rivers were developed. Without such advancements, it would have been impossible to support the large population density in small areas, for no longer was the world dominated by a rural agricultural society of independent farmers. (Smith 112) However, the advent of the dark ages brought a decline in agricultural innovation, and with it came the plague, which led to a decrease in food production. But when the population increased, it was again necessary for an expansion in agricultural production. (Encarta. "Agriculture")
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