World Civilizations Essay, Research Paper
In ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China, geography played an important role in development. Despite being in different areas of the world each managed to stay maintain, and make new developments along the way. Ultimately each civilization s development depended somehow on its geographical surroundings.
One of the fist civilizations we know of is Egypt. Egypt s geographical features were very beneficial to the mindset of the people. Egypt was a very rural civilization and consisted of the desert, which due to its extremely high temperatures, warded off intruders, and the Mediterranean Sea. To add to this they were in a virtually isolated area. Its main geographical feature was the Nile River; this is where they first settled. Due to its constant and predictable floods, it gave way to rich damp soil perfect for agriculture, as well as a feeling of changelessness. The Nile also was a very calm and smoothly flowing river, the winds from the north pushed the sailboats south, which gave the Egyptians a great opportunity for trading as well as cultural diffusion. Since the Egyptians had such great geographical features the people went on to worship and love their gods ultimately making them feel they were working towards good, and make them work harder.
Unlike the Egyptians the Mesopotamians settled in a disastrous area. They were surrounded with little protection, which led to constant invasions and attacks. Also, like the Egyptians they settled between two river valleys the Tigris, and the Euphrates. They were both very choppy and hard to float or sail on, which led them to little trading and sharing of ideas between civilizations. The flooding of these were irregular and at times catastrophic. The climate was very hot and consisted of blazing, gusty winds, along with little rain fall which made agriculture very difficult, for they had to rely on man-made drainage ditches as well as the melting of snow to provide for suitable soil. Due to the horrible weather the people came to fear their gods instead of loving them like in Egypt. This made the peoples work ethic drop. Due to constant invasion and the fear of gods Mesopotamia was set back from Egypt.
Following the Mesopotamian came the rise of many Indian empires which developed and created new ideas such as building up to save space, storing grains for future use, developing drainage systems to prevent flooding, as well as forming alliances. Similar to Egypt and Mesopotamia though, they settled on the Indus river Valley. The economy was also primarily based on agriculture. They also moved to the Ganges River and the Deccan Plateau. They had many technological advances such as the invention of the iron plow, which helped them a great deal in agriculture. They also invented a written language in order to keep records of things, and made new advancements in astronomy. To add to the list, they became more advanced in architecture by building gigantic stone pillars, rock chambers and stupas. And, they provided the foundation for two of the most known philosophies, Hinduism and Buddhism. They also made advancements in government where they abandoned a centralized government and adopted the caste system, where there was no social mobility but encouraged the people to work harder and more ethical since in your next life you would be born into a caste according to what you did in your past life.
The final civilization was China, and its geographical features enabled China to stay well protected for many years. To the East laid the China Sea, which brought forth heavy typhoons, which kept out sailors and nomadic peoples from trying to enter China. To the Southwest laid the Tibetan Plateau, which was sparsely populated and was only inhabited by small bands of nomadic peoples. To the west was the Taklamakan Desert, which was said, if you went in you would never return. Also there was the Tien Shan mountain range, which kept people out. The only unprotected area of China was to the North, which was only occasionally attacked. The eastern parts, as well as the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers brought forth very arable grounds. China was first settled on the Yellow and Yangtze rivers, similar to the other civilizations. The most well known achievement of the Chinese civilization was the making of the Great Wall of China, which was built under order of The First Emperor, due to the attacks of the nomadic peoples. Due to the great amount of protection given to China it remains the longest living civilization. China also brought forth the most influential philosophy in history, Confucianism. Another great achievement of the Chinese civilization was the creation of the silk road, it enable different goods to be transported from city to city, and also the sharing of ideas which kept the Chinese civilization one of the most advanced.
To sum it up, all civilizations need different factors in order to be well maintained. They need protection, agriculture (settling on a river valley), and a way of trading in order to spread ideas across and become more technologically advanced. All these factors relied on the geographical features of the civilization, and determined which would pull ahead in its development.