The Bronze Age refers to various worldwide time periods during which bronze came into use for creating tools, weapons and ornaments and ended when iron became the newly discovered and preferred raw material. The Bronze Age followed the end of the Neolithic period in the third millennium B.C. and ended sometime during the first millennium B.C. when the Iron Age began. Somewhat more accurate approximations of the beginning and end of the Bronze Age will vary with each civilization depending on when bronze first began to be used and when iron later came into use.
In some regions, such as in Africa, the Iron Age appears to have developed directly out of the Neolithic period. In the Near East, the Bronze Age is generally believed to have begun around 3300 B.C. and to have lasted until about 1200 B.C when the Iron Age began. The European Bronze Age began roughly around the same time, about 3200 B.C., but lasted until about 600 B.C. South Asia's Bronze Age began around 3000 B.C. and ended about 1200 B.C. when the use of iron became prevalent. In China, 2000 B.C. is considered to be the start of a Bronze Age, which lasted until about 700 B.C.
Overall, the Bronze Age resulted in a population increase because the new bronze implements were able to better support food acquisition through farming and hunting. The Iron Age did not begin anywhere until about 1200 B.C. because the higher kiln temperatures required for its production were not achievable until then.