The Sumerian civilization, which was thriving in Mesopotamia by around 3000BC comprised twelve separate city states. Farming, fishing, crafts making and keeping of livestock were most practised.
The city states were surrounded with walls, outside of which were farming fields, on which
the urban people depended.
Most land was in the form of large estates belonging either to the rulers or to the wealthy
classes. The workers were given small plots and seeds, farm implements and livestock in return for labour and surplus produce to the land owners.
Wheeled carts were used to transport farm produce to various storage points.
Goats and cattle provided milk while sheep supplied wool: Mesopotamia‟s main textile
City-states often fought over water rights.
consequences of early agriculture in Mesopotamia
- Invention of writing (Cuneiform) and Arithmetic for better farming management, e.g. accounts on rents paid by Tennant farmers, the size of the herds, etc.
- Increased food production.
- Population increase, particularly along river valleys, arising from healthy feeding.
- Emergence of urban centres like Uruk, Eridu, Nippur, Kish and Babylon.
- Development and expansion of trade due to surplus agricultural produce.
- Specialization in crafts, religion and other non-food producing endeavours, as not all could engage in farming.
- Invention and use of the wheel, which improved transport and pottery.
- Development of science and mathematics, particularly in the measurement of time, distance and area.
- Invention and improvement of farming tools such as the plough, which eased and increased
- agriculture. For example, it reduced the number of people needed to cultivate a large piece of land.
- Development in astronomy, arising from the need to predict rains, floods and eclipses, which led to the invention of the calendar.
- Development of law.:
- Discovery and use of metals to make farm tools, which revolutionized agriculture. Bronze tools were made and used in Mesopotamia as early as 3000BC.
factors that facilitated the development of law in Mesopotamia.
- Advances in religious practices. Mesopotamians had many gods, most of who were connected to agriculture, e.g. Ninurta the god of floods.
- Compilation of cords of law to limit conflict in their civilization, e.g. Hamurabi‟s law.