(Wikipedia Source) Its origins can be thought to have been with the Zanclean flood of 5.33 million years ago, described in more detail under Mediterranean basin. Two of the first commonly noted human civilizations began near the eastern Mediterranean sea. Common rhetoric suggests that Civilization first developed in Mesopotamia beginning with Sumer in the 4th millennium BC. Soon after, the Nile River valley of ancient Egyptwas unified under the Pharaohs in the 4th millennium BC, and civilization quickly spread through the Fertile Crescent to the east coast of the sea and throughout the Levant, which happens to make the Mediterranean countries of Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Israel part of the cradle of civilization. These areas shared similar climates and geographies, but it was more difficult to spread technologies and crops, such as flax, lentil, peas, barley, and cotton to other portions of the Mediterranean basin.
In time, large empires developed in Asia Minor, such as the Hittites. The main expansion was delayed until ships sturdy enough to cross the sea were developed. Cyprus and the other islands developed, and the Minoan civilization flourished on the island of Crete. While the river valley civilizations always had larger populations, the trading societies on the coast of the sea soon became the most prosperous, and rose to power.
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