Mesopotamia:The land between the rivers Tigris & Euphrates Rivers Modern-day Iraq 1st cities appear In Sumer LINK: Interactive Timeline & Map
City-States Earliest cities date back to 3500 BCE Each city was like a small, independent country Each had its own ruler Each had its own farmlands
A Difficult Environment Mesopotamians were farmers Farms need water 4 Key Problems: Food shortages in the hills Uncontrolled water supply on the plains Difficulties building and maintaining irrigation systems to serve several villages at once Attacks by neighboring communities Q: What might neighbors fight over?
Food Shortages By 5000 BCE there is not enough land in the foothills to grow enough food for everyone Climate: Foothills: mild weather, plentiful rain, timber for building Plains: dry, little rain, no trees or stones for building, rivers that flood The plains were called Sumer and the people who lived there were called Sumerians Q: Why did people move to the plains?
Uncontrolled Water Supply in the River Valley Spring: rain and melted snow from the mountains flood the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers Rest of the year: sunbaked soil, dry, hard as stone Either too much water or not enough Sumerians built levees & dams
Building and Maintaininga Complex Irrigation System Canals bring water from the river Irrigation passed through many villages Silt clogs canals Working together helped communities grow SILT VERY FINE MUD
Summary The people of Mesopotamia solved problems in order to live successfully in their environment Their solutions led to building large walled city states Sumer had a complex social structure, government, religion, and culture Sumer was one of the world’s first civilizations