History begins with writing, with the ability to document events, traditions, laws, and myths and to record and preserve them for posterity. Homo sapiens developed spoken language tens of thousands of years ago, but writing -- the inscribing of character or signs with an instrument on a surface to represent language and to communicate or record information -- is a much more merit achievement. The earliest examples of writing are from Sumer and Egypt, with China and Central America developing their systems a bit later.
First people needed counting devices (such as sticks, pebbles, or clay tokens) to keep track of commercial transactions and personal possessions. These led to systems of simple visual symbols to express ideas or objects; these are called pictograms. Next, logograms evolved; these represented specific words, but they could not easily express abstract concepts.