Our Story – A Journey Through History

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(Part One)

Our story begins from two million years ago when our forefathers the Homo erectus which means “Upright Person” (so called as they could stand on their two feet), lived in the continent of Africa. They lived in the open or in caves, they spend most of their time searching for food, they hunted animals for food with their hands or stones and they learned how to use fire. Some of them also moved to the continent of Asia from Africa. How did they look! Homo erectus, had bushy brows a lot of body hair, a flatter head than us and not a very pretty face. They ate vegetables, fruit and some meat. They used fire to cook which helped to make the raw foods softer, easier to eat. At night, they could light a fire, sit around it to keep warm and also keep the wild animals away from them.

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About 300,000 years ago Homo erectus evolved to Homo sapiens, which means “Wise Person”. We are considered Homo sapiens.

They are so called as they had larger heads and larger brains than the people before them.  Then around 160,000 years ago, homo sapiens also started moving to new places, mainly looking for food.

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As the earth was much cooler then, this was during the ice-age, they could cross over parts of seas or oceans which were frozen, these are called “land bridges”.

The people who stayed in Africa had darker skin and tight- curled hair which helped to save them from the bright light and the hot Sun’s rays. The people in Europe and Asia, where it was colder and darker, needed as much of sunlight as they could take, so their bones would be strong, got pink or yellowish colored skin.

Sample Image   The earth was full of lots of trees, plants and wild animals. There was a lot of food only you had to always keep moving to find food. The people started to make tools from stones and animal bones. They also learned how to make needles from animal bones.

Now they could sew the skins of animals into clothes or make boats out of animal skins to cross over the water. 

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By 50,000 years ago, these people had spread out in Africa, Asia and Europe but not yet been able to move to the remaining two living continents America and Australia.

To get to Australia there was the sea between New Guinea and Australia about 60 miles of open water. It is felt that some of them, while in their sewed skin boats got lost or because of a storm came first to Australia. These first people to the Australian continent are now called “Aborigines” which means from the beginning.

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During this time, the people came to the American continent from Asia over the frozen land bridge between Siberia and Alaska, looking for animals to hunt. They did not know that they were crossing into a new
continent, they just needed to find new places to find food for themselves. They found a new place with a lot of food to which nobody had been to before them.

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Over this time, they started moving down the continent and also settled in what is South America today. There are signs of people who had lived at the southern tip of South America 11 thousand years ago.

 The islands in the Pacific which are in the open ocean and 1,800 miles away from the nearest land could only be reached by rafts or boats. They were the last places to be settled.

The around 4,000 years ago, in Asia and America, as people started to use tools to make canoes by carving tree trunks, tie tree trunks to make rafts and sew skins to make boats they started to go out in the water. They must have got lost in storms or some of them, who were brave, wanted to find new places found themselves in these islands in the Pacific.

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(To Be Continued…………………………….)

Wriiten by Tapan Bhattacharya
Illustration by Sreeparna Lahiri

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