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Europe’s First Settlers

The first human communities emerged and developed in East Africa about 4 million years BP. The spread of the first humans to Asia and Europe began much later. 1,6 million BP they reached Europe via the Balkans. The earliest human occupation in this region is evidenced in present-day Bulgaria. More than 40,000 years ago when all Europe was inhabited by the Paleolithic hunters a comparatively fast transition to manufacture of highly elaborate chipped stone tools started once again in the East Balkan region the technology of which gradually expanded to the rest of the continent.

Southwest Asia underwent a huge economic transformation ca. 13,000 or 14,000 years BP which underlay the contemporary civilization: from hunters and gatherers of food humans became its producers; the first farmers and pastoralists appeared in the world. Their new economy gradually extended to Europe: in the first half of the 7th millennium BC the farming communities migrated from Anatolia to Thessaly and to the Maritsa and Struma River valleys. Through several centuries southeast Europe was colonized, and the new economy subsequently spread into the other parts of the continent. The first European civilization appeared and developed in the central and eastern Balkans which according to archaeological periodization covered the Neolithic and Chalcolithic (7th to 4th millennium BC). After a short period of semi-nomadism, the ethnocultural development during the Bronze Age (4th to 2nd millennium BC) led to the emergence of the Thracian ethnos.