We tend to think that we’re living in the greatest time in history, and that all that went before us was just a little, well, less good than what we get to enjoy today. But that is only true to an extent; while we get to enjoy much in the modern world, it’s only because of the efforts of the generations that have come before us. We have devices that can put you into contact with someone on the other side of the world instantly, but the invention of the smartphone would have been impossible without the discovery of, say, fire.

Indeed, perhaps the most significant advancement of all human history is the transition from a hunter gatherer society to one based on agricultural land. It was that move — the ability to stay in one place rather than continually be on the move — that allowed so many other things to come to the fore.

You might wonder why it’s important to learn about these things, but there’s a lot of value in knowing where we come from. Understanding the things that have pushed us forward helps us to understand where we’ve come from, and where we might be going in the future. What, for example, will the digital revolution ultimately lead to? We look back at older technologies as primitive, but won’t future generations think of the iPhone as primitive? Without doubt.

To learn more about the most important developments in human history, take a look at the infographic below.

Infographic created by: Norwich University Norwich University