WH Chapter 2 early river valley civilizations, 3500 b.c. 450 b.c.
Chapter 2 –Early River
3500 B.C. to 450 B.C.
Section 1 – City States in
Main Idea The earliest civilization in Asia
arose in Mesopotamia and organized into
This is important today because the creation of
city- states is a pattern scene throughout
The Fertile Crescent
Land between the Tigris and Euphrates
The Rivers flow southeastern to the Persian
These Rivers flooded the valley between
them once a year and left behind silt (a very
The Sumerians-Came to area around
Problems Found in area:
1. Rivers unpredictable
(floods and droughts)
2. Defense (lived in an
open plain in huts)
3. Very Few natural
resources (very little
stone, wood, and
1. Irrigation – digging ditches
to hold water and carry it to
fields of crops
2. Built mud walls to
surrounded cities (to
3. Create trade network –
traded their grain and cloth
for wood, metal, and stone
4. Invented the sail, wheel,
and plow to aid in their
Sumerians create city-states
Because of the growing trade – laws and organizations needed
to be created
City states – are like countries today. A city and the surrounding
countryside were controlled by government officials or rulers.
Priests- early government was controlled by the temple.
Monarchs – During war, priests did not control the cities. At first
they only ruled during war but by 3000 B.C. war became to
frequent monarchs were given permanent control.
This system of government became popular amongst Sumerian
cities and cultural diffusion occurred.
Polytheist – belief in many gods.
Had gods for clouds, air, water, fire, etc.
Sumerians worked very hard in their life so
they would be protected by their gods.
It is estimated they believed in more than
Priests and Kings
Farmers and those who work with their hands
Slaves could be foreigners or Sumerian children sold into slavery
to pay off their poor parents’ debts.
The First Empire Builders
From 3000 to 2000 B.C.
Sumerians were in constant
war with each other.
• This allowed outsiders to
invade and conquer:
• Sargon of Akkad – conquered
Sumer. Akkadians were a
Semitic people. (Spoke a
language similar to Arabic
Akkadians conquered other
neighboring city-states and
created the first empire.
• Came into the fertile crescent
about 2000 B.C.
• They were called Amorites
another Semitic group
• We call them Babylonians
because they established their
empire’s capital at Babylon.
Hammurabi – Most famous of the Mesopotamian Emperors and his
code of laws
Called the Codex of Hammurabi or the Code of Hammurabi
written as a set of laws to unify the empire. These laws would
govern the diverse groups under one universal set of laws.
Section 2 – Pyramids of the Nile
Main Idea Along the Nile River, civilization
emerged in Egypt and became united into a
kingdom ruled by pharaohs.
This is important today because the
monuments are still seen today and are a
testament to their highly advanced ancient
The Nile River
Runs north from Lake Victoria and empties in
the Mediterranean Sea
The Nile is a lot easier to predict and
dependable in this way.
The desert that surrounds it creates a barrier
between cultures but also protected ancient
Egyptians from invasion.
Egypt unites into a kingdom
Pharaohs – god-king
Pharaohs were god on earth for the people of
Egypt and ruled as a king
Pharaoh was the center of religion,
government, and the army.
Pyramids – were the tombs of pharaohs.
They would rule the afterlife from their
Like the Mesopotamians,
Egyptians were polytheistic.
They had Ra (the sun god),
Horus (the god of light, and
Isis (the goddess that
and the wife)
The Egyptians worshipped
2,000 gods and goddesses.
Special temples were made
for the major deities.
Unlike the Mesopotamians
believes in a beautiful
afterlife for the worthy.
Kings, queens, and royal families
Wealthy Landowners, priests, government
officials, and army commanders
Middle classes –merchants and artisans
Lower classes – unskilled laborers and
Slavery * Was not introduced until later
periods of Egyptian history
Hieroglyphics – form of writing
Advanced mathematics – counting system
First to use stone columns in houses and
Medicine – used splints for repairing broken
bones and had effective remedies for fever
Section 3 – Planned Cities on the
Main Idea The first Indian Civilization built well
planned cities on the banks of the Indus
This is important today because India has roots
in this ancient culture.
Protected by huge mountains (Himalayas and
Hindu Kush Mountains)
Indus Valley – Two Great rivers the Ganges
and the Indus Rivers
Monsoons – Great winds that bring heavy
rains to make the land fertile
Most important Achievements
1. Used a precise grid system
2. Featured a fortified part of city called a
citadel. In the citadel were the most
3. Early plumbing and sewage systems
4. Made oven-baked bricks cut into standard
Around 1750 B.C. the
quality of the building
May have overused the
Maybe the Indus River
changed its course.
Aryans, a nomadic tribe
came into area and
maybe wiped them out.
Section 4 – River Dynasties in
Main Idea The early rulers introduced ideas
about government and society that shaped
This is important today because ancient
Chinese culture still shape Chinese culture
To the east the Pacific
To the west Taklimakan desert and the Plateau of
To the southwest the Himalaya Mountains
To the north Gobi Desert and Mongolian Plateau
Between all these barriers a fertile plain with two
major Rivers the Huang He (Yellow River) and the
Yangtze (Chang Jiang River)
Civilization Emerges in Shang
2000 B.C. – First dynasty appears called Xia
Its leader was Yu and he introduced flood control
and irrigation project.
The Shang Dynasty Arose and lasted from 1532 to
1027 B.C. .
They introduced the first written records.
Unlike the other river civilizations Shang built with
Social Hierarchy in Shang
Sharp division between lower and upper class
At the top ruling class of warriors and their families
Everyone else worked for them
The population was 95% peasant and 5% elite Shang.
Respect for one’s parents was very strong.
Eldest males controlled family property and
Family closely linked to religion. Ancestors
could bring good fortune or ruin to a family.
Oracle bones – made of
tortoise shell and animal
Kings consulted these
bones for knowledge of
Priest would scratch
questions on a bone
Then apply red hot poker to
it to make it crack.
Cracks were read to
determine the gods answer.
Zhou take over and Introduce
The Mandate of Heaven
Prosperity; it is
Considered to have
Mandate of Heaven
In time, dynasty
corrupt; taxes are
Power grows weaker
Disasters such as
and invasions occur
Old dynasty is
Seen as having
lost Mandate of
Trough rebellion and
Restores peace and
Mandate of Heaven
Zhou Contributes to Chinese Culture
Started Feudalism –
political system in which
nobles or lords are granted
use of lands that legally
belong to king. Protectors
of their lands and the
people on that land.
Improve trade, roads, and
Use of Iron for weapons
Zhou fall victim to their
Mandate of Heaven
First 300 years marked by peace and
771 B.C. start to get invaded by people of the
Lords pick fights with other lords.
Harmony and peace most valued by the
Chinese lost; later will be replaced for a new
dynasty who will restore these values.