Jodi asked: "I've been looking for facts or perhaps a historical view on matriarchal societies before Christ. Truth is, I read the Da Vinci Code and thought I'd do a little research myself.
How many societies existed before Christ were matriarchal? I already know the natives of America had some tribes that were.
Does this extend beyond this present day country?"
The black arrows show the escape from drying up areas (deserts) to fertile regions
(Click to enlarge)
1. Ca. 5000 before Christ climates changed and former fertile regions dried up, i.e. became deserts in time. Matriarchal tribes from these areas moved further and further, settled down, had to move again and with extreme famines the character and behaviour changed from generation to generation. People developed violence and became what we today call patriarchal.
Read the details:
2. The origin structure of human society is matriarchal. Every clan, tribe, kin started that way. Humankind did this - with variations, but the same principles - all over the world for min. 40.000 years. Until some, not many, tribes had to face dryness and famine and that caused certain reactions. Those affected tribes survived by conquering other peoples.
3. Peoples, which never came in touch with patriarchal conquerors could keep their matriarchal societies intact. Some got little influence by missionaries or colonialism, they lost some of their lifestyle but could keep parts of it, like matrilinearity (inheritage of responsibilities, title, dignities etc. from mother to daughter). As more violent and unscrupulously indigenous people are, as more are they contaminated by patriarchal missionaries and conquerors (not to mention the so called "civilized" countries); they lost their ethics and their wisdom with every murdered elder.
Conclusion: No people on any continent was patriarchal from the beginning. Not in parts, not at times. The duration of patriarchy is about 7000 years, starting 5000 years before Christ.