List of Bronze Age states

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This article is about the period from 3300 BC to 1200 BC. For the preceding article, see List of Copper Age states. For the succeeding article, see List of Iron Age states.
Bronze Age

Near East (c. 3300–1200 BC)

Anatolia, Caucasus, Elam, Egypt, Levant, Mesopotamia, Sistan
Bronze Age collapse

South Asia (c. 3000–1200 BC)

Ochre Coloured Pottery
Cemetery H

Europe (c. 3200–600 BC)

Aegean, Caucasus, Catacomb culture, Srubna culture, Beaker culture, Unetice culture, Tumulus culture, Urnfield culture, Hallstatt culture, Apennine culture
Atlantic Bronze Age, Bronze Age Britain, Nordic Bronze Age

China (c. 2000–700 BC)

Erlitou, Erligang

arsenical bronze
writing, literature
sword, chariot

Iron age

The Bronze Age is a period, 3300 - 1200 BC, characterized by the use of copper and its alloy bronze and proto-writing, and other features of urban civilization, circa 3300 BC to 1200 BC. The Bronze Age is the second principal period of the three-age Stone-Bronze-Iron system, as proposed in modern times by Christian Jürgensen Thomsen, for classifying and studying ancient societies. Ancient civilizations can be in the Bronze Age either by smelting its own copper and alloying with tin, or by trading for bronze from production areas elsewhere. Worldwide, the Bronze Age generally followed the Neolithic period. but in some parts of the world, the Copper Age served as a transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age.

Development of states[edit]

The development of states—large-scale, populous, politically centralized, and socially stratified polities/societies governed by powerful rulers marks one of the major milestones in the evolution of human societies. Archaeologists often distinguish between primary (or pristine) states and secondary states. Primary states evolved independently through largely internal developmental processes rather than through the influence of any other pre-existing state. The earliest known primary states appeared in Mesopatamia c. 3700 BC, during the end of the Neolithic period, in Egypt c. 3300 BC, in the Indus Valley c. 2500 BC, India c. 1700 BC, and in China c. 1600 BC. As they interacted with their less developed neighbors through trade, warfare, migration, and more generalized ideological influences, the primary states directly or indirectly fostered the emergence of secondary states in surrounding areas, for example, the Hittites in Anatolia, the Minoan and Mycenaean states of the Aegean, or the Nubian kingdoms in the Sudan. Professor Gil Stein at the University of Chicago Oriental Institute states "The excavations and archaeological surveys of the last few decades have vastly increased both the quantity and quality of what we know about ancient states and urbanism. Archaeologists have broadened the scope of their research beyond the traditional focus on rulers and urban elites. Current research now aims at understanding the role of urban commoners, craft specialists, and village-based farmers in the overall organization of ancient states and societies. Given the immense geographical scope encompassed by the term 'the Ancient World'".[1] This list's the main types state that existed in Africa, Americas, Central Asia, East Asia, Europe, Eurasian Steppe, South Asia, and West Asia, from the beginning of the Bronze Age to the beginning of Iron Age, a period of approximately 2,000 years.


Map of the world in the late Bronze Age, 1300 BC
Name Capital/s Type Existed
Aethiopia Adulis Kingdom c. 13th - 5th century BC
Egypt Memphis, Thebes Kingdom 3100 - 1550 BC
Egyptian Empire Akhetaten, Pi-Ramesses, Thebes, Empire 1550 - 1069 BC
Kerma Kerma Principalities[2] 2500 - 15th century BC
Libu Not specified Tribal chiefdoms 1550 - 630 BC[3]
Nubia Kerma Kingdom 3300 - 2500 BC
Punt Not specified Kingdom 2400 - 1069 BC


name capital state type existed
Maya Various Kingdom city states 2000 BC - 900 AD
Olmec La Venta, Tenochtitlán Kingdom city states 1400 - 400 BC


North and West[edit]

Name Capital/s Type Existed

South and East[edit]

Name Capital/s Type Existed
Athens Athens Kingdom city state 1556 - 1068 BC
Alba Longa Lavinium Kingdom 1200 - 753 BC
Alashiya Enkomi, Kalavasos Kingdom 1450 - 1050 BC
Crestonia Creston Principality 14th century BC - 431 BC
Elis Elis Kingdom 1300 BC - 431 BC
Lacedaemon Sparta Kingdom 1300 - 950 BC
Locria Amphissa, Naupactus Kingdom 1250 - 386 BC
Messenia Messene Kingdom 1300 - 724 BC
Minoa Knossos Kingdom city states 2700 - 1420 BC
Mycenaea Mycenae Kingdom city states 1600 - 1100 BC
Mygdonia Not specified Tribal kingdom 16th century BC - 6th century BC
Pelasgia Pavlopetri[4] Tribal kingdom 3000 - 1183 BC
Phrygia Not specified Tribal kingdom 1450 - 1200 BC
Sea Peoples Not specified Tribal confederacy c. 2000 - 1175 BC
Sicani Not specified Tribal confederation c. 13th century - 300 BC
Thrace Various Tribal chiefdoms 1500 - 450 BC

Eurasian Steppe and Central Asia[edit]

Name Capital Type Existed
Chorasmia Not specified Tribal confederation 1290 - 180 BC
Cimmeria Not specified Tribal confederation 1300 - 626 BC
Colchis Phasis Kingdom 1300 BC - 2nd century AD
Donghu Not specified Nomadic tribal confederation 1400 - 150 BC
Qiang Not specified Tribal chiefdoms/confederation 2000 BC - 150 BC

East Asia[edit]

Approximate location of the territory of the Shang Kingdom within China
name capital state type existed
Ba Yíchéng Tribal confederation 13th century BC - 311 BC
Gojoseon Asadal, Wanggeom-seong Kingdom 2333 - 108 BC
Qi Qi Dukedom 1600 - 445 BC
Shang Anyang Kingdom 1600 - 1046 BC
Sumpa Not specified Tribal chiefdom/client 1600 BC - 7th century AD
Văn Lang Anyang Confederation/kingdom 2879 - 258 BC
Xia Yangcheng Kingdom 2205 - 1600 BC
Xu Gusu Viscountcy/client 2000 - 512 BC

South Asia[edit]

Extent of various city states of the Harrapa Civilization by researcher Rajesh Rao.
name capital state type existed
Anga Champa or Campā Kingdom 1380 - 550 BC
Āryāvarta Multiple Tribal confederated kingdoms 1750 - 600 BC
Chedi Suktimati Kingdom 1300 - 405 BC
Chola Urayur/Kaveripattinam Kingdom 2645 - 110 BC
Gandhara Kapisa, Pushkalavati Kingdom 1450 - 510 BC
Sindhu Sapata Harrapa, Mohenjo Daro Federated kingdom city states 3100 - 1300 BC
Kalinga Dantapura/Rajapura[5] Kingdom 1376 - 285 BC
Kamboja Rajapura Kingdom 1450 - 195 BC
Kasmira Asirgarh Qila Kingdom 1250 - 322 BC
Kekeya Kingdom 1250 - c. 4th century BC
Kirata Tribal kingdom 1350 - c. 300 BC
Kosala Ayodhya Kingdom 1300 - 266 BC
Kuru Āsandīvat, Indraprastha Kingdom 1376 - 285 BC
Lanka Lankapura Kingdom 1200 - 543 BC
Madra Sagala Kingdom 1350 - 350 BC
Magadha Rajagriha or Rajgir Kingdom 1200 - 799 BC
Matsya Viratanagara Kingdom 1250 -318 BC
Panchala Ahichatra, Kampilya Kingdom 1200 - 700 BC
Pandya Madurai Kingdom 1350 - 460 BC
Pundra Pundravardhana Kingdom 1300 BC - 550 AD
Sindhu Vrsadarbhpura Kingdom 1300 - 320 BC
Surasena Methora Kingdom 1300 - 323 BC
Vanga Gange Kingdom 1300 BC - 580 AD
Vidarbha Kundinapuri Kingdom 1200-322 BC
Virata Virata Nagari Kingdom 1300-322 BC
Vriji Vaishali Confederacy 1250 - 322 BC
Yaksha Narmada Kingdom 1200 - 350 BC

West Asia[edit]

The Hittite Empire shown in blue late Bronze Age, 1400 BC
name capital state type existed
Ahhiyawa Milawata or Millawanda Kingdom 1450 - 1220 BC
Akkadian Empire Akkad Empire 2334 - 2193 BC
Amorite Various United kingdoms 2000 – 1595 BC
Aramea Various Tribal chiefdom's/kingdom 2300 – 700 BC
Arme-Shupria Van Kingdom 1290 - 1190 BC
Armi Armi Kingdom city state/client 2290 - 40 BC
Arzawa Apasa Confederation of principalities 2300 - 1200 BC
Assyria Assur Kingdom 1975 - 934 BC
Assuwa Various Confederation of city states 1300 - 1250 BC
Babylonia Babylon Kingdom 1894 - 732 BC
Bashan Bashan Confederation 1330 - 928 BC
Byblos Byblos Kingdom city state 1800 - 970 BC
Canaan Various Confederation of city states 3500 - 1194 BC
Karuwa or Caria Apasa Kingdom 1250 - 560 BC
Dardania Dardania Kingdom 1527 - 1183 BC
Dilmun Qal'at Kingdom 2600 - 675 BC
Ebla Ebla Kingdom 3500 - 1600 BC
Edom Rabbath Ammon Kingdom 1200 - 125 BC
Elam Susa Kingdom 2700 - 1210 BC
Eshnuna Eshnunna Kingdom city state 2000 BC - 8th century BC
Gutium Arrapkha Kingdom 2108 - 2089 BC
Hatti Hattusa Principality city states 2700 - 1900 BC
Harappa Harrapa, Mohenjo Daro Kingdom city states 3100 - 1300 BC
Hayasa-Azzi Samuha 2 Kingdom confederation 1500 - 1190 BC
Hitti Hattussa Kingdom 1900 - 1600 BC
Hittite Empire Hattusa Empire 1600 - 1178 BC
Hyksos Itjtawy, Thebes Confederacy 1800 - 1178 BC
Kassite Babylon Kingdom 1531 - 1135 BC
Kaskia Zalpa, Nerik Tribal confederation/kingdom 1430 - 1200 BC
Kizzuwatna Kummanni Kingdom 1600 - 1220 BC
Kussara Kussara Kingdom city states 1900 - 1650 BC
Lydia Sardis Kingdom 1200 - 680 BC
Lukka Not specified Tribal kingdom 2000 - 1183 BC
Lullubi Lulubuna Tribal kingdom 2400 - 650 BC
Luvia Tribal kingdom 2300 - 1400 BC
Magan Not specified Kingdom 2200 - 550 BC
Ma'in Ḥaram, Yathill Kingdom 1200 - 85 BC
Mari Mari Kingdom city state 2900 - 1759 BC
Mittani Washukanni Kingdom 1690 - 1300 BC
Mysia Pergamene Kingdom 1320 - 301 BC [6]
Namar Namar Kingdom 2350 - 750 BC
Moab Dibon Kingdom 1200 - 1300 BC
Paphlagonia Gangra Kingdom 1480 - 183 BC[7]
Phoenicia Various Kingdom city states 1800 - 539 BC
Phrygia Gordium Kingdom 1200 - 547 BC
Purushanda Purušhanda Kingdom city state 2000 - 1650 BC
Sam'al Samal Principality/kingdom 1200 - 680 BC
Sea Peoples Not specified Tribal confederacy c. 2000 - 1175 BC
Sumeria Various Kingdom city states 2900 - 1674 BC
Troas Troy Kingdom 3000 - 700 BC
Tyre Tyre Kingdom city state 1500 - 990 BC
Ugarit Ugarit Kingdom city state 2500 - 1090 BC
Upper Mesopotamia Assur Kingdom 1809 - 1776 BC
Urkesh Urkesh Kingdom city state/client 2250 - 1350 BC
Yamhad Halab Kingdom 1810 - 1525 BC
Zalpa Zalpa Kingdom city state/client 1830 - 1670 BC

Types of state[edit]

  • Chiefdoms

A chiefdom is a form of hierarchical political organization in ancient tribal societies usually based on kinship, and in which formal leadership is monopolized by the legitimate senior members of select families or 'houses'. These elites form a political-ideological aristocracy relative to the general group.[8] A chiefdom is thus led by a highly ranked incumbent of an inherited political role, tribal chief or king: chiefs lead because of their ascribed status, not their achieved status. Examples of this type of state would be: Aedui, Brigantes.

  • City states

A city-state is an independent or autonomous entity, not administered as a part of another local government, whose territory consists of a sovereign city its dependencies and possibly its surrounding territory. Examples of this type of state would be: Sparta, Tyre.

  • Client states

A client state is a state that is economically, politically or militarily subordinate to another more powerful state in international affairs.[9] Types of client states include: satellite state, associated state, puppet state, neo-colony, protectorate, vassal state and tributary state. More powerful ancient states would create client states by making the leaders of that state subservient out of those it defeated. Examples of this type of state would be: Armenia, Ammon, Zheng.

  • Confederations

A confederation is a union of political units for common action in relation to other states.[10] Usually created by treaty, confederations tended to be established for dealing with critical issues (such as defense, foreign affairs, or central form of government being required to provide support for all its members.In the context of the history a confederation may refer to a semi-permanent political and military alliance consisting of multiple nations (or "chiefdom's" "tribes", "bands", or "villages") which maintained their separate leadership. Examples of this type of state would be: the Alemanni, Caledonii, Xiongnu.

  • Dukedoms

A dukedom, or duchy, is a territory, fief, or domain ruled by a duke or duchess. Some historic duchies were sovereign in areas that would become unified realms, others were subordinate districts of those kingdoms that unified either partially or completely during the ancient era. Examples of this type of state would be: Qin and Swabia.

  • Earldoms

A Earldom is a territory, fief, or domain ruled by an Earl, Count or Countess in which case it would be called a Countship. Some historic earldom's/countship's were sovereign in areas that would become unified realms,others were subordinate districts of those kingdoms that unified either partially or completely during the ancient era, examples of this type of state would be the,

  • Federations

A Federation is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing states or regions under a central (federal) government. Several ancient chiefdoms and kingdoms, such as the 4th century BC League of Corinth, Noricum in Central Europe, and the Haudenosaunee Confederation in pre-Columbian North America, could be described as federations or confederations. The Old Swiss Confederacy was an early example of formal non-unitary statehood.

  • Empires

The term empire derives from the Latin imperium (power, authority). Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples (ethnic groups) united and ruled either by a monarch (emperor, empress) or an oligarchy. An imperial political structure is established and maintained in two ways: (i) as a territorial empire of direct conquest and control with force (direct, physical action to compel the emperor's goals) or (ii) as a coercive, hegemonic empire of indirect conquest and control with power (the perception that the emperor can physically enforce his desired goals). Examples of this type of state would be: the Athenian Empire, Median Empire and Roman Empire.

  • Khanates

A khanate, or chanat, is a Turco-Mongol-originated word used to describe a political entity ruled by a khan. In modern Turkish, the word used is kağanlık or hanlık and in modern Azeri of the Republic of Azerbaijan, xanlıq. In Mongolian the word khanlig is used, as in "Khereidiin Khanlig" meaning the khanate of the Kerait. This political entity is typical for people from the Eurasian Steppe and it can be equivalent to tribal chiefdom, principality, kingdom or even empire. Examples of this type of state would be, the Göktürk Khaganate,

  • Kingdoms

A kingdom is a state ruled by a king or queen) is a form of government in which sovereignty is actually or nominally embodied in a single individual (the monarch).[11] Forms of monarchy differ widely based on the level of legal autonomy the monarch holds in governance, the method of selection of the monarch, and any predetermined limits on the length of their tenure. When the monarch has no or few legal restraints in state and political matters, it is called an absolute monarchy and is a form of autocracy. Examples of this type of state would be, Epirus, Nabatea and Pontus.

  • Marquisates

A marquisate, or march, is a territory, fief, or domain ruled by a marquis or marchioness. Some historic marquisates were sovereign in areas that would become unified realms,others were subordinate districts of those kingdoms that unified either partially or completely during the ancient era. Examples of this type of state would be the Jin.

  • Principality

A principality, or princedom, can either be a monarchical feudatory or a sovereign state, ruled or reigned over by a monarch with the title of prince or by a monarch with another title within the generic use of the term prince. Most of these states have historically been a polity, but in some occasions were rather territories in respect of which a princely style is held. The prince's estate and wealth may be located mainly or wholly outside the geographical confines of the principality. Examples of this type of state would be: Gardman, Corduene.

  • Republics

A republic is a form of government in which power is exercised by the public at large, and affairs of state are a concern of the public sphere (from Latin: res publica), rather than privately accommodated (such as through inheritance or divine mandate). In modern times the definition of a republic is also commonly limited to a government which excludes a monarch. Examples: Roman Republic, and Kalinga.

  • Viscountcy

A viscountcy, or county, is a territory, fief, or domain ruled by a viscount or viscountess. Some historic viscountcies were sovereign in areas that would become unified realms, others were subordinate districts of those kingdoms that unified either partially or completely during the ancient era. Examples of this type of state would be: Xu, Chu.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stein, Gil J (2001). Understanding Ancient State Societies in the Old World. New York: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Press. pp. 353–379. 
  2. ^ "Karmah Archaeological site (The Sudan)". Encyclopedia Britannica. Britannica Inc. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  3. ^ Taylor, Francis. "Kingdoms of North Africa: Encyclopaedia of African History: Volume 1 A-G". 1999-2014. The History Files. Retrieved 18 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "European Kingdoms Ancient Greece". 2014. The History Files. Retrieved 29 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "Far East Kingdoms, South Asia". 2014. The History Files. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  6. ^ "Kingdoms of Anatolia". 2014. The History Files. Retrieved 31 May 2014. 
  7. ^ "Middle East Kingdoms Ancient Anatolia". 2014. The History Files. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  8. ^ Helms, Mary W. (198). Access to Origins: Affines, Ancestors and Aristocrats. Austin: University of Texas Press. p. 4. 
  9. ^ Michael Graham Fry, Erik Goldstein, Richard Langhorne. Guide to International Relations and Diplomacy. London, England, UK; New York, New York, USA: Continuum International Publishing, 2002. Pp. 9.
  10. ^ Oxford English Dictionary
  11. ^ Stuart Berg Flexner and Leonore Crary Hauck, editors, Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 2nd Ed., Random House, New York (1993)

External links[edit]