Timeline: 1000-500 BC
All across Asia, the early Iron Age was a time of new religious thought. About 1000 BC, the new religion of Zoroastrianism took hold in West Asia. At the same time, Judaism began to take its modern, monotheistic form. In India, by 1000 BC the Vedic kingdoms were spreading across northern India, bringing new gods with them. This is the time of the Ramayana. In the 500s, Gautama Buddha brought Buddhism to India. And in China, Confucius and Lao Tzu were also teaching new ethical and religious ideas.
The Iron Age also started out as a time of many small kingdoms and city-states. In China, the Chou Dynasty ruled loosely over a lot of small kingdoms. India was also divided into many small kingdoms. In West Asia, there were also small kingdoms like Lydia, Phoenicia and Israel (this is the time of Samson and of Judith). In Europe and North Africa, the Greeks, Carthaginians, and Etruscans lived in city-states too, loosely organized into leagues. Egypt also broke up into smaller states, often ruled by the people of Aksum to their south.
But by about 800 BC, empires were beginning to form again. First the Assyrians united part of West Asia, and then Nebuchadnezzar established a Neo-Babylonian Empire. The Vedic people united northern India. In 539 BC, Cyrus the Great united all of West Asia into the Persian Empire.
In South America, the Olmecs began to decline about 600 BC, and were gradually replaced by the Maya. In North America, 1000 BC marks the beginning of the Woodland period. More and more people were using the newly invented bow and arrow instead of spears and atlatls. A lot of people also began farming and using pottery.