Geography and Early Civilizations
Geography had a tremendous impact on early civilizations, the topography of the different regions played a key role in their development and formation. This statement by Fernand Braudel “ Geography is the stage in which humanity’s endless dramas are played out” (Getz et al., Exchanges, 26) is a very moving and telling description. The terrain, whether it is natural or man made is not the end all, be all. It does however affect the stage a great deal. Mountainous areas act as blockades, which keep the societies independent, plains open up the area, and rivers enable everything to move around freely. 2 In Mesopotamia, the Tigris and Euphrates River played a tremendous role in the formation of this great early society. Human beings first developed agriculture in the hills of northern Irag and urban life was first established in the south under harsh conditions. (Gretz et al., Exchanges, 28). There were some major issues with irregular and devastating flooding, which brought an enormous amount of water at the wrong time of year to the region. The water from the rivers was both a scourge and a blessing for those living around the river basins. (Tignor et al., Worlds Together, 50). The Southern area of the region is at a very low altitude, which had positive and negative affects concerning irrigation and drainage. Because the region lacked significant natural barriers, there were constant threats of invasions from surrounding peoples. The Tigris and Euphrates created passageways for trade, transportation, and the melding of cultures, which in turn fostered a unity throughout the region. 1, 2 The Yellow and Yangzi River basins were the main geographical areas of concentration for the Chinese in their development of the area. The civilization developed not from a single source, but through the gradual blending of several distinct cultures (http://www.nga.gov/exhibitions/chbro_preh.shtm). Early on they mainly produced millet in...
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