Bronze Age (for deletion, kept for Palestinian details)

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The Bronze Age describes a technological stage where bronze replaces flint and stone as the chief material for weapons and tools. However, the discovery that copper could be hardened through the addition of tin, to form a bronze alloy, was secondary to the more fundamental one that moldable metal could be produced from copper ore. Whether standard bronze, having about one part of tin to nine of copper, was used in any particular region depended mainly on the availability of tin. It was possible, for instance, that a complex civilisation could flourish in Egypt despite a continued reliance on copper.

The period reflects the birth of "civilisation," in which the world saw city states arise in the most fertile areas. This development led to the rise of territorial states and empires. Trade increasingly became a source of power, as states with access to important resources or controlling important trade routes rose to dominance.


At the beginning of the 3rd millenium B.C. the kings of the early dynasties of Egypt were sending expeditions northward to conquer the Asiatic coastland in order to control its commerce and obtain timber, metals, and other raw materials. It was in this area that the goods of Egypt and Babylonia were exchanged. By the middle of the 2nd millenium B.C. the admixture of these two civilisations, with some Minoan additions, had produced a rich, complex society along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea. Fortified towns were built and the best harbors on the coast were utilized; inland, along caravan routes, walled cities such as Jerusalem appeared. Inhabiting the area were nomadic and semi-nomadic Semites such as Amorites, Canaanites, Aramaeans, and Hebrews whose mode of life is best portrayed in the Old Testament.

Toward the end of the 2nd millenium B.C. the Egyptian, Hittite, and Mesopotamian governments became disorganized and weak, thus enabling the smaller geographic regions between them to enjoy more liberty of action and some independence. The patriarchs of the sagas in Genesis are legendary heroes. Some fo the Hebrew clans entered Canaan (the Levant coast) in the 14th century; others roamed in the wilderness. The Joseph tribes settled at Goshen, in the eastern delta of the Nile.

Between 1225-1200 B.C. Moses led a revolt of the Joseph clans in Egypt, after they had been enslaved by Ramses II. Moses brought them to the oasis of Kadesh Barnea in the Sinai, on the edge of the Wilderness of Zin and the northwest of the Land of Edom. The tribe of Reuben (one of the 12 tribes) settled east of the Jordan, where the tribe of Gad was already living. The tribe of Judah began to move northward from the wilderness south of the Dead Sea. The Joseph tribes, under Joshua, crossed the Jordan and occupied the Mountain of Ephraim. The other tribes of Israel were already in Canaan, which was an Egyptian province.