The 3rd millennium BC spans the Early to Middle Bronze Age.
It represents a period of time in which imperialism, or the desire to conquer, grew to prominence, in the city states of the Middle East, but also throughout Eurasia, with Indo-European expansion to Anatolia, Europe and Central Asia.(hi)
The civilization of Ancient Egypt rises to a peak with the Old Kingdom. World population is estimated to have doubled in the course of the millennium, to some 30 million people.
The previous millennium had seen the emergence of advanced, urbanized civilizations, new bronze metallurgy extending the productivity of agricultural work, and highly developed ways of communication in the form of writing
. In the 3rd millennium BC, the growth of these riches, both intellectually and physically, became a source of contention on a political stage, and rulers sought the accumulation of more wealth and more power. Along with this came the first appearances of mega architecture, imperialism
, organized absolutism and internal revolution.
The civilizations of Sumer and Akkad in Mesopotamia became a collection of volatile city-states in which warfare was common. Uninterrupted conflicts drained all available resources, energies and populations. In this millennium, larger empires succeeded the last, and conquerors grew in stature until the great Sargon of Akkad pushed his empire to the whole of Mesopotamia and beyond. It would not be surpassed in size until Assyrian times 1500 years later.
In the Old Kingdom of Egypt, the Egyptian pyramids were constructed and would remain the tallest and largest human constructions for thousands of years. Also in Egypt, pharaohs began to posture themselves as living Gods made of an essence different from that of other human beings. Even in Europe, which was still largely neolithic during the same period of time, the builders of megaliths were constructing giant monuments of their own. In the Near East and the Occident during the 3rd millennium BC, limits were being pushed by architects and rulers.
Towards the close of the millennium, Egypt became the stage of the first popular revolution recorded in history. After lengthy wars, the Sumerians recognized the benefits of unification into a stable form of national government and became a relatively peaceful, well-organized, complex technocratic state called the 3rd dynasty of Ur. This dynasty was later to become involved with a wave of nomadic invaders known as the Amorites, who were to play a major role in the region during the following centuries.
- 3000 BC – 2000 BC — Vessels from Denmark are made. They are now at National Museum, Copenhagen.
- Syria: Foundation of the city of Mari (29th century BC).
- Semitic tribes occupy Assyria in northern part of the plain of Shinar and Akkad
- Phoenicians settle on Syrian coast, with centers at Tyre and Sidon
- Beginning of the period of the "Sage Kings" in China
- Việt Nam: Rise of the Văn Lang Kingdom by Hùng Vương I
- 2815 BC–2294 BC: Old Kingdom of Egypt, 3rd to 6th dynasty
- c. 2800 BC–2700 BC — Harp Player, from Keros, Cyclades, was made. It is now at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
- Iran: Creation of the Kingdom of Elam.
- Germination of the Bristlecone pine tree "Methuselah" about 2700 BC, the oldest known tree still living now.
- c. 2600 BC — Founding of the Chalcolithic Iberian civilizations of Los Millares and Zambujal.
- c. 2500 BC — Excavation and development of the Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni at Paola, Malta, a subterranean templex complex subsequently used as a necropolis.
- 2492 BC The Armenian patriarch Haik defeats the Babylonian king Bel.
- c. 2452 BC — Three Sovereigns and Five kings, a group of legendary rulers in Ancient China.
- c. 2030–1556 BC — Xia Dynasty, first Chinese legendary dynasty and government system established
- c. 2500 BC–2200 BC — Incised panel "Frying pan", from Syros, Cyclades is made. It is now at National Archaeological Museum, Athens.
- c. 2500 BC–2200 BC — Two figures of women, from the Cyclades, are made. They are now at Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens.
- Dynasty of Lagash in Sumer.
- Golden age of Ur in Mesopotamia. (2474 BC–2398 BC)
- Third and Fourth dynasty of Egypt.
- Unified Indus Valley Civilisation (2600 BC).
- Indo-Europeans first invade Greece (23rd century BC).
- Megalithic, Corded Ware culture and the Beaker flourish in Europe.
- Sumerian poetry, lamenting the death of Tammuz, the shepherd god
- Sumerian cuneiform writing reduces pictographs still in use to about 550
- Sumerian chief deities are Mother Goddess Innin and her son Tammuz; similar divinities are worshiped by Egyptians, Hittites, Phoenicians, and Scandinavians
- Major religious festival in Sumeria celebrates victory of god of spring over goddess of chaos
- Earliest Trojan culture
- Glass beads in Egypt
- Beginning of the Pengtoushan culture in China.
- Djoser, king of Egypt, commissions the Step Pyramid at Saqqara
- Gilgamesh, fifth king of the First Dynasty of Uruk, immortalized in the world's first literary work the Epic of Gilgamesh (c. 26th century BC)
- Khufu, king of Egypt, builder of the Great Pyramid of Giza
- Urukagina, king of Lagash, creates the first known judicial code (24th century BC)
- Lugalsaggizi, king of Uruk and Umma conquers Lagash (2371–2347 BC)
- Sargon the Great, founder of the empire of Akkad and Sumer (2371–2316 BC middle chronology)
- Ur-Nammu founder of the 3rd dynasty of Ur (2112–2095 BC middle chronology)
- The Three August Ones and Five Emperors of China
Inventions, discoveries, introductions