By going through these Maharashtra State Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 1 First Farmers students can recall all the concepts quickly.

Maharashtra State Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 1 First Farmers

River Valley Civilisations:
Homo habilis made the first stone tools. These tools were useful only for simple jobs like scraping meat from the hides of dead animals, breaking nuts, etc. The later species of mankind after Homo habilis were more advanced. It resulted into the rise of the ‘Neolithic Age’. After that, settled villages came into being. The archaeological evidence shows that systematic agriculture began some 12000-11000 years ago.

The progress in the techniques of systematic cultivation resulted in the rise of the most ancient river valley civilisations of the Neolithic age. The river valley civilisations grew in four regions of the world. Those regions were Mesopotamia, Egypt, Indian Subcontinent and China.

The Valley of Euphrates and Tigris – Mesopotamia: Mesopotamia is the Greek name of the region between the two rivers, Tigris and Euphrates. Mesos means the ‘middle one’. Potamos means ‘river’. The region between two rivers is ‘Mesopotamia’. The Mesolithic people began to stay in this region for longer times because of the availability of ample water.

Ancient Mesopotamia included modern Iraq, Syria as well as the western regions of Iran and south-eastern regions of Turkey. The camps of Mesolithic people developed into the first settled neolithic villages. These first villages are dated to 10000 years B.C.E.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 1 First Farmers

The Valley of Nile – Egypt: Napoleon Bonaparte had taken along many scholars from various fields during his invasion of Egypt in 1798. They studied the ancient remains in Egypt and published it. These studies received a momentum because of the decipherment of the Rosetta inscriptions. The first neolithic villages in Egypt came into being at about 6000 B.C.E. The beginning of agriculture in Egypt coincides with the same time.

The Valley of the Huang He – China: The Valley of Huang He River is considered to be the region of origin of the Chinese culture. The Chinese culture evolved here. Agriculture in the neolithic villages of China began at about 7000 B.C.E. Wheat, foxtail millet and rice were grown by the farmers in these villages.

The Valleys of Sindhu (Indus) and Saraswati – Indian Subcontinent: The region of the valleys of Sindhu and Saraswati is now divided between India and Pakistan. The archaeological excavations at Harappa on the banks of Ravi in Punjab and Mohenjo Daro on the banks of Sindhu in Sindh indicate the existence of a fully developed civilisation in the Indian subcontinent which was dated to circa 3000 B.C.E.

It proves that there were well-settled villages in the Indian subcontinent as early as 8000 B.C.E. There is a general consensus among the scholars that the Harappan cities evolved from these early villages.

Beginning of Cultivation: Agricultural Production:
Beginning of cultivation is also the beginning of the neolithic age. It spans through 10000 – 8700 B.C.E. It may vary to some extent from place to place. This period marked the beginning of domestication of animals along with the beginning of cultivation.

Barley was the main crop in this period. Other crops were wheat and flaxseed. Thus, the technology evolved; the techniques of hunting and obtaining food improved; food became available in plenty.
This resulted in making the Mesolithic people stay at one place for a longer time of the year. This is how the villages were settled on a permanent basis.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 1 First Farmers

First Farmers of India:
Neo means ‘new’ and lithic means ‘of stone neolithic’ age got its name because of the stone tools of completely new types. The site is of great importance among the neolithic villages in the Indian subcontinent established by the first farmers. The Mehrgarh farmers cultivated barley and wheat. There is another site of a neolithic village that is contemporary to Mehrgarh.

The site was found at ‘Lahuradeva’ in Sant Kabir Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh. In Maharashtra, the mesolithic man existed during 10000-4000 B.C.E. The Chalcolithic people were the first farmers of Maharashtra. Inamgaon, in the Shirur taluka of Pune district, is an important site of the village of Chalcolithic farmers in Maharashtra.

Agricultural Settlements:
A village with at least a population of 100 could meet the needs of individual members who would be completely dependent on agriculture and animal husbandry. Neolithic villages were small in size. Permanently occupied dwellings (mostly round huts) were characteristic of these villages.

Other than these dwellings, some places in the central part of the village were perhaps used as common storage places of food-grains and other things. This internal settlement pattern of the village indicates that the transactions related to food production were centrally controlled.

Trade and Transport:
The nomadic-semi nomadic groups of Mesolithic people had a system of barter among themselves. The wheel was not yet invented. It means that the means of mechanical transport were not available to them. The neolithic people invented the wheel and the technology they had developed so far, underwent a revolution. The neolithic people began to produce wheel-made pottery.

The wheel technology made it possible to produce pottery on a mass scale. The invention of the wheel also made it possible to obtain the raw material from distant places in much lesser time. It helped to develop trade and transport on a greater scale.

Maharashtra Board Class 11 History Notes Chapter 1 First Farmers

Beginning of Urbanisation:
After settling down at one place for a long time, a feeling of ownership arose among the Neolithic people. This feeling was focused on their individual dwellings and the piece of land cultivated by them. Eventually, the villages expanded. Along with it, awareness of collective landholdings and the village boundaries became prominent.

It gave rise to administrative centers. Such administrative centers attract a large population that includes officials, people from various occupations. As a result, the periphery of the original settlement kept expanding and cities came into being. Thus, began the process of urbanization in the Neolithic age.


→ Civilization – The process by which a society or place reaches an advanced stage of social and cultural development and organization.

→ Homo habilis – Extinct species, ancestor of modern human.

→Nomadic – Moving from one place to another rather than living in one place all of the time.

→ Pastoralism – Animal Husbandry.

→ Decipherment – To discover the meaning of.

→ Hieroglyphs – Pictorial script.

→ Archaeology – Study of ancient evidence of the past.

→ Excavation – To remove the earth from a place in order to find old objects buried there.

→ Monochrome – Single colour.

→ Burnished – Polished by rubbing with a wooden or stone tool.

→ Applique work – Pasting wet clay ribbons and making patterns on them.