River Valley Civilizations

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River Valley
Civilizations
• 3500 to 500 BC
The “Cradles of Civilization”
Where did the earliest
civilizations develop?
• River valleys
Why did ancient civilizations
develop in river valleys?
• They had rich soil for agriculture
• Periodic flooding left silt which made the soil
rich in nutrients
Geographic Barriers
(mountains, deserts, seas, jungles,etc.)
Helped protect many early civilizations from
nomadic invaders
Where were the earliest civilizations
located and when did they exist?
E
M
I
C
River Valley Civilizations
(3500 BC to 500 BC)
• Mesopotamia in the Tigris and Euphrates
River Valleys. (Southwest Asia)
• Egypt in the Nile River Valley and Delta
(Africa)
• India in the Indus River Valley in South Asia
• China in the Huang He Valley (East Asia).
• From west to east “EMIC”
• What were the geographic,
social, political, and economic
characteristics of the Ancient
River Valley civilizations?
Mesopotamia
• The land between two rivers (Tigris and Euphrates)
• Part of the Fertile Crescent
Fertile Crescent
•Arc of fertile land stretching from the
Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
• Present day Iraq
(Middle East).
Sumer
The first of
many
civilizations to
arise in
Mesopotamia
• Protected by
mountains,
deserts and the
Persian Gulf
•
Sumer
• Sumer was made up of 12 independent city- states
• City-state: A city and the surrounding land it
controlled
Irrigation
• Mesopotamia had a dry climate
• Irrigation was required to bring water from
the rivers to the fields during the dry summer
months
First Writing
• Invented the first
written language:
cuneiform
(wedge writing)
Invented Bronze
• Smelted from
copper and tin
Other Sumerian
Accomplishments
•
•
•
•
Plow
Ziggurats
Wheeled vehicles
Number system
based on 60
Babylonian Empire
• The first empire to arise in Mesopotamia
• Empire: several peoples, nations, or
previously independent states under the
control of one ruler.
Code of Hammurabi
• First set of
published laws
• Based on the
principle of an
“eye for an eye”
• Laws differed
based on class
Egypt
• Nile Delta and Nile
River Valley
(Northeast Africa)
• Protected by
deserts and seas
Nile Delta
• Located in Lower
Egypt (northern
Egypt - lower in
elevation)
• Delta: broad,
marshy, triangular
area of land formed
by deposits of silt at
the mouth of a river.
Lower Egypt
• View from space shuttle
Hieroglyphics
•Pictures could stand for sounds as well as
ideas
Pharaohs
•Egyptian god-kings
• They had absolute
power (complete
control)
• Thought to be
responsible for making
the sun rise, the Nile
flood, and crops grow.
Religion
• Like other River
Valley peoples,
Egyptians were
polytheistic
(believed in
many gods).
Class System
• Egypt, had a rigid
class system and
slavery was
accepted.
India
•Indus Valley Civilization
Indus Valley Civilization
• Located on the Indus
River in present-day
Pakistan (Indian
subcontinent).
Indus River Flood Plain
Natural Barriers
• The Himalayan and the Hindu Kush Mountains as
well as the Indian Ocean protected the Indian
subcontinent from invasion.
Indus Valley Civilization
• Made up of independent city states including
Harappa, and Mohenjo-Daro (and 2500 other
sites)
Indus Valley Achievements
• Plumbing
The great bath at Mohenjo-Daro
Cotton Cloth
• Indus valley people were the first to cultivate
cotton and weave its fibers into cloth
Written Language
• has not been deciphered
China
• Huang He River
•Also called the Yellow River and the River of
Sorrows (yellow silt caused flooding)
Huang He
Flooding of the Huang He
• Satellite images
before
after
Geographically Isolated
• Gobi desert, Himalayan Mountains,
Pacific Ocean, dense jungles
• China was ruled by a succession of
ruling families called dynasties (Early
dynasties: Shang and Zhou)
Shang Dynasty
• Chinese rulers
were
considered
divine (godlike).
Divine Rulers
• They served under a mandate of heaven
(approval of the gods) only as long as their
rule was just
Mandate of Heaven
Dynastic Cycle
• Explains the rise, decline, and replacement of
families of rulers
Chinese Silk
• The Chinese invented silk cloth (made from
the cocoons of silkworms).
Writing
• Characters stood for ideas, not sounds.
• The earliest evidence of Chinese writing is found on
oracle bones.
Ancestor Worship
• The Chinese believed that the spirits of family
ancestors could bring good fortune or disaster
• They paid respect to family ancestors and made
sacrifices in their honor
Bronze vessel used for sacrificial food
Irrigation
• Water wheels
were used to
bring river water
to the fields
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