Dictionary.com states that a civilization is reached when human society has a high level of science, culture, government and industry. According to National Geographic, civilization is a complex way of life that started when urban settlements were first developed. This occurred around 3000 BCE when economic stability and surplus food became available.
Civilizations share common characteristics. A large population center is necessary for a civilization to develop. In addition to the urban area where most of the population lives, most civilizations have people that come from surrounding areas to sell goods and services – farmers, for example. All civilizations create monuments and structures to ensure that their legacies remain visible to people of the future.
Written communication is integral to developing a civilization. Being able to write allows people to progress their thoughts, conduct business, record history and establish government. Civilization also breeds social classes, which are usually based on jobs or duties that individuals or families hold. It is important for people to have unique and diverse abilities, so that all essential tasks can be accomplished.
The first civilizations started in Mesopotamia, an area that is now modern-day Iraq. Every continent has developed civilizations, with the exception of Antarctica.