7 junio, 2024

Passage from nomadism to sedentary lifestyle: causes, consequences

The transition from nomadism to sedentary lifestyle It was one of the most important changes in the history of humanity: it entailed a complete epistemological modification in the cultural and social spheres. Thanks to the sedentary lifestyle, the first men were able to dedicate themselves to other activities, which led them to invent writing and other aspects of humanity.

During the first periods of Prehistory, man maintained a nomadic attitude, since he was unaware of agricultural and construction methods. However, this way of life changed when the first tools and technologies arrived, since these allowed them to settle, practice agriculture and form larger communities.

The nomads lived mainly by hunting and gathering animals and fruits. However, this method forced them to move continuously in search of more food; by just collecting goods without replenishing the place, eventually the lands of a certain region would run out of supplies to offer.

The sedentary lifestyle was a key process within the evolution of man because this phenomenon allowed to improve the quality of life of the incipient communities: the sedentary lifestyle allowed the demographic increase, as well as new techniques and resources to inhabit the land and the creation of the first geographical delimitations.

Taking these last factors into account, it can be ensured that the sedentary lifestyle led to the birth of the first cities, which were very small at the beginning but expanded over the years. However, the transition from nomadism to sedentary lifestyle did not happen quickly but rather took many decades.

In fact, there are archaeological records that there was contact between the nomadic and sedentary communities; therefore, the communities did not settle all at the same time, but gradually. The relations between sedentary and nomads were based on commercial exchange, which made the latter dependent on the former.

The first record of sedentary societies dates from the Neolithic period, specifically in the Middle East, about ten thousand years ago. After this first settlement, the sedentary lifestyle spread to other regions, including China, Africa and America; records were also found specifically in New Guinea.



What did nomadism consist of?

Nomadism is the oldest way of settlement in the world and was used for most of Prehistory; Temporarily, this spans from two million years ago to the rise of the agricultural revolution.

Consequently, according to these calculations, humans have lived on Earth longer as nomads than following a sedentary lifestyle.

Although nomadism is currently seen as a vestige of primitive and marginal societies, it was thanks to this method that the different regions of the planet were able to be populated.

Because of this, the tribes that inhabited the Siberian steppes crossed the Beringian bridge approximately fifty thousand years ago, which allowed them to inhabit the American continent.

According to this theory, the American continent would have remained uninhabited until 1492, when the Spanish discovered these lands.

Today there are still some nomadic communities. It is believed that these groups are made up of some forty million people, who decide to move due to extreme climates or unfavorable living conditions.

instability of nomadism

Despite the positive aspects that nomadism brought with it (as was the population of the continents), this system was characterized by its instability in economic terms since it implied a continuous use of resources, mainly vegetation, water and livestock.

In addition, one of the factors that the nomads had against them was the climate, since each area had its variations and particularities.

Although they caused havoc in nomadic communities, climatic factors or variations could be solved in sedentary communities since, by staying in one place, individuals could learn about and adapt to environmental singularities.


The arrival of agriculture

One of the main causes of the appearance of sedentary lifestyle consisted of the discovery of agriculture, which is considered one of the most important inventions in the history of mankind.

In archaeological terms, there was a phase prior to agriculture, in which some tribes managed to store the collected food in order to preserve it.

Likewise, before agriculture was established as a concept and human activity, prehistoric communities had to go through many processes until they were able to establish themselves successfully; There are even records of some tribes that resumed nomadism as a result of failed cultivation practices.

Climate changes

One of the reasons why it was possible to move from nomadism to sedentarism consisted of climate change. This occurred along with the last ice age—10,000 years ago—when the planet’s temperature warmed.

In other words, thanks to global warming that occurred on Earth ten thousand years ago, many communities or tribes decided to settle in certain places because the weather conditions allowed it. This gave rise to the well-known civilizations of antiquity.


Creation of the cities

The most direct consequence of the sedentary lifestyle was the creation of the first cities. As a result of the development of agriculture, the tribes were able to settle down to dedicate themselves to the sowing process and to the domestication and breeding of animals. These types of activities not only implied a lot of work but also a lot of waiting time.

Creation of other knowledge and construction of the first walls

During this time of waiting, men were able to dedicate themselves to the creation of other human knowledge, such as the recording of time, writing, mathematics and astronomical observations; they also succeeded in structuring inter-ethnic trade.

In addition, the arrival of agriculture also implied the beginning of the existence of possessions, so each community had to ensure the protection of what was theirs. From this moment the walls and fortresses began to be built.


SA (2007) When the man left the cave. Retrieved on July 4, 2019 from El Diario Vasco: diariovasco.com
SA (nd) From nomadism to sedentary lifestyle. Retrieved on July 4, 2019 from Google Sites: sites.google.com
SA (2009) Transition from sedentary lifestyle to nomadism. Retrieved on July 4, 2019 from Diario Correo: diariocorreo.pe
SA (nd) sedentary lifestyle Retrieved on July 4, 2019 from Wikipedia: es.wikipedia.org
Silva, J. Nomads and sedentary peoples. Retrieved on July 4, 2019 from Jstor: jstor.org

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