Themes in US/World History

Topics: Mesopotamia, Agriculture, Fertile Crescent Pages: 3 (554 words) Published: January 19, 2014

















Mesopotamia is known as one of the world’s first civilizations with signs of primitive settlements dating back to 10,000 BC. Also called the Fertile Crescent, it is home to the first temples, currency, writing, and schools. The Greek meaning for Mesopotamia is “land between two rivers,” referring to the Tigris and Euphrates. As the rivers continually flooded and receded, the silt remnants were rich and ideal for agriculture and were even home to the biblical Garden of Eden. It was this rich, fertile soil that contributed to the societal development of farming and production of abundant agricultural crops.

This abundance came with a cost, however. Although the land of the blazing sun was rich with soil, water was either too plentiful due to the rivers flooding, or not enough due to very little rainfall. The tent-dwelling Sumerians from the east abandoned their wandering instincts and settled in an area of Mesopotamia called the Plain of Shinar. They built houses and constructed complex irrigation systems consisting of dikes, ditches, dams, aqueducts and canals all dug by hand to enable water to nourish the barley, emmer (a type of wheat), dates, onions, cucumbers, apples, beans, olives, grapes, flax and spices (among others) they planted. Farmers didn’t have any money so grains were grown and traded, via the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, for lumber and stone which was used to make farm equipment and build houses strong enough to withstand the unpredictable floods, although most of the time they weren’t strong enough. They used spears to hunt, threw stones at birds, and used nets to catch fish for food and used the leftovers as fertilizer for their crops.

The Sumerians were also innovators of farming equipment and planting methods. They prepared the ground using stone plows and planted seeds...
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