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Chapter 2 -Early River Valley

Civilizations
Section 1 - City-States in Mesopotamia
Section 2 - Pyramids on the Nile
Section 3 - Planned Cities on the Indus
Section 4 - River Dynasties in China
Section 1 – City-States in
Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
Agriculture Revolution
A. The Tigris & the Euphrates flooding let rich mud, which
helped the settlers of Mesopotamia, grew wheat &
barley.
1. It was here that the first civilization began in 3300 B.C.
2. The Sumerians dug irrigation channels to bring water to
their crops.
3. They built walls around their villages for defense & traded
their crops extra with other groups.
4. Several large city-states had controlled over the area, BUT
acted independently, like a country.
5. Slowly, some people rose to power & became rulers, as
did their children after them, creating dynasty.
6. As population & trade grew, Sumerians traded ideas other
groups.
7. They believed in polytheism, or many gods.
8. Each god had power over different forces of nature or
their lives, b/c people are servants of the gods.
The
King

• The priests
• Wealthy
• Merchants
• Workers in fields &
• workshops.
• Women could have careers &
own property

• Slaves made up the lowest level.


Samaria
B. Sumerians invented the sail, the
wheel, & the plow.
1. They were the first to use bronze, developed the first
writing system— on clay tablets, invented arithmetic
& geometry.
2. In 2350 B.C., Sargon conquered Sumer & captured
other cities, & built the world’s first empire.
3. A few hundred years later, another group conquered
the Sumerians & built a capital at Babylon,
establishing the Babylonian Empire.
4. They were led by a king named Hammurabi. He is
famous for his code of laws.
a. It was a harsh code that punished people for wrongdoing.
b. It made it clear that the government had some
responsibility for taking care of its people.
Section 2 - Pyramids on the Nile

By Jose Rosario
Page 12
A. Another civilization arose along the
banks of the Nile River of East Africa.
1. The ancient Egyptians worshipped the Nile as god.
2. Egyptians lived in 2 kingdoms:
a. Upper Egypt extended from the Nile’s rapids to its delta.
b. Lower Egypt began which continued north to the
Mediterranean.
3. By 3000 B.C., the king, Narmer, united the 2 Kingdoms.
4. Between 2660 - 2180 B.C., their culture arose.
5. Ruling over the land was the Pharaoh, king & god or a
theocracy.
6. Pharaohs believed they would rule after their death. So they
built huge tombs, or pyramids made out of massive
limestone blocks.
Pharaoh

Cleric

Military

Scribes

Merchants

Artisans

Farmers

Slaves
B. Egyptians believed in many gods and in
an afterlife.
1. One god, they thought, weighed the hearts of each dead
person, judging sin.
a. Good people, with featherweight hearts, would live forever in a
beautiful Other World.
b. To prepare after life, they mummified the dead person’s body.
2. The pharaoh & his family were at the top of Egyptian society.
3. Their writing system was the hieroglyphics, pictures that
stood for sounds & ideas, written on a paper made of the
papyrus plant.
4. They invented a system of written numbers & the calendar,
which had 12 months, each of which had 30 days.
5. They were famous for their ideas in medicine.
6. After 2180 B.C., the pharaohs lost power & Egypt went
through a time of troubles. They fell to invaders in 1640 B.C.
Section 3 - Planned Cities on the
Indus
By Jose Rosario
Harappan Civilization
The First Indian Civilization
A. South Asia is a subcontinent, separated from the
rest of Asia by tall mountains.
1. Ganges & Indus rivers flowed over the 2 large plains while
the high mountains protected them from invaders, and the
sea proximity helped them to trade over water.
2. The Indus faced flood, each spring, the winds brought heavy
rains on the area, or monsoons.
3. Historians cannot understand the writings of the people who
settled in the Indus Valley.
4. They do know that they were farming along the river by
about 3200 B.C.
5. The culture is called Harappan civilization their culture
covered an area larger than either Mesopotamia or Egypt.
The Geography of the Indian Subcontinent
Harappan Cities
B. By 2500 B.C., Indus began building their first cities, &
planned their cities with streets, citadels & sewage.
1. Scholars think the Indus didn’t have big differences between
their social classes.
2. Historians think that the Indus traded with other region &
Mesopotamia.
3. By 1750 B.C., the cities began to show signs of decline.
4. The Indus Valley civilization collapsed around 1500 B.C.
5. Satellite images suggest a shift in the earth’s crust that
caused earthquakes, the Indus River may have changed its
course stopping the yearly floods.
6. The people may have overworked the land, leaving the soil
too poor to produce crops.
Harappan Language & Writing
Section 4 - River Dynasties in
China
By Jose Rosario
A. The last of the great early civilizations
arose is China, which continues to this day.
1. Invaders to the north & west tried to conquer China
many times throughout its history.
2. The two rivers that flood over China—the Huang He
& the Yangtze - made the land good for farming.
3. By 2000 B.C., the 1st dynasty brought government
to China.
4. Around 1500 B.C., a new dynasty, the Shang, began
to rule, leaving the first written records in China.
5. Chinese people built their buildings of wood and
surrounded them by huge walls for protection.
B. The king & the nobles were at the top of
Shang society.
1. Peasants were at the bottom, they lived in huts outside
the city walls. Where they farmed with wooden tools.
2. Shang society was held together by a strong belief in the
importance of the group & not any single person.
3. The Family was an important part of their society &
religion.
4. The spirits of their ancestors, were consulted by the
Shang using an oracle.
5. The Chinese Writing System stood for ideas, not sounds.
a. The written language had thousands of symbols
making it difficult to learn.
b. Very few learned to read & write.
C. By 1027 B.C., the Zhou, took control of China.
They adopted Shang culture.
1. The idea of royalty began with the Zhou, they got
authority to rule from heaven, or Mandate of Heaven.
2. The Chinese believed in the divine rule.
3. Until the early 1900s, the Chinese had one dynasty after
another or dynastic cycle.
4. The Zhou established feudalism - a political system in
which the nobles owe loyalty to the king & fight for him
& to protect the peasants who live on their land.
5. Eventually the Zhou rulers lost all power & the nobles
fought each other for control of China.
Gentry
Wealthy
Landowner
Study Confusion
Ideas Civil Service

Peasants
Most Chinese are peasants
Farmers work the land.
Live in small village.

Merchants
Some become very rich
Lower status than peasants because riches come from other’s work
Some buy land, educate sons to become gentry