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Civilization (Latin civis, “citizen of a city”), stage of societal development in which complex economic, social, and governmental systems arise. Civilizations first arose as farming on permanent sites replaced the nomadic life of hunters and gatherers. In these new, permanent groups, inventions such as metal tools led to advances in the lives of people, and complex economic, social, and political structures evolved. The Tigris-Euphrates River valleys of the Middle East, the Nile River Valley of Egypt, the Indus River Valley in India, and the Huang He River Valley of China are sites of early civilizations.

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