In my essay, I explain what agrarian societies are, how long they have been around, and what it means to be an agrarian society. Most people think of Amish people when they think of agrarian societies, and they would be right, but my essay proves that they have been around for a lot longer than the Amish have.
An agrarian society is also known as an agricultural society. Their entire economy rests on their ability to produce and maintain farmland and crops. If a country, area, state or nation creates enough produce from farmland, it may be deemed an agrarian society, even if it is not meaning to be one in the same way that Amish people “intend” to live an agrarian lifestyle. If a country, area, state or nation has farming as its primary source of wealth, then it is an agrarian society; no matter how advanced the society is.
Agrarian societies are not as old as some people think. They have only existed in different parts of the world around as far back as 10,000 years ago, but some still exist today in various locations around the globe. The reason why they are only a relatively new thing in human history is because most societies have always had to mix the methods in which they produce, trade and survive. However, around 10,000 years ago, humans started trading over larger distances to the point where an agrarian society could exist. For example, if it wanted weapons, it could swap them for farmland produce rather than have to mine for the iron and produce them themselves.
There are some modern states around the world and in the US that would be agrarian based on the amount of land that farming takes up in those states, and yet it is not an agrarian society because it takes so few people to manage the farm. Farmland can take up hundreds of square miles of land, but due to modern technology, only a small group of people are needed to maintain the crops. Yet, on the flip side, a single square mile in a state may hold 100,000 people. Even in the 19th century in countries as advanced as Britain and the US, less than half of the population was involved in agriculture, and that was back in the days when horses and bulls were pulling ploughs.
An agrarian society is no longer an agrarian society when less than half of its population is directly involved and engaged with the agricultural production of the society. For example, if you have 11 people in the society and only 5 people are farmers, then it is not an agrarian society. Most modern societies are industrial societies with only a small portion of their population being directly engaged with farming and/or agricultural production. The Commercial and Industrial Revolution in of 1000-1500 C.E. with the Mediterranean city-states was what turned many societies away from farming and into industry. Maritime commercial societies during the middle ages were also the reason why many societies turned away from agriculture. A large part of the spread of industrialism was thanks to the British Empire invading countries and replacing agrarian societies with industrial ones.
The fact that many smaller states became, and still are, highly urbanized has proven that even tiny societies can exist very easily without having most of their population engaged in agriculture. There as some states and locations that are powered simply by natural resources such as mines, or by being centers of manufacturing or trade. The Amish people in the US do represent what people currently think of as an agrarian society, but such societies have been around a very long time and are actually not as needed or required as they once were.