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Geography Essay

1753 words - 8 pages

Does Geography Affect History?Zamin Akmal – Period 5
What did the the River Valley civilizations, Ancient Greece, and Ancient Aksum have in common? The river valley civilizations of Sumer, Egypt, China, and Indus began the idea of a permanent settlement. The Greek empire was one of the first successful empires in Europe. Aksum, in what is now Ethiopia, achieved success as a wealthy state that flourished for over 600 years. Yet, all these empires can trace their successes and setbacks to their geographical locations illustrating that geography is indeed the mother of history. The river valley civilizations began the idea of a permanent settlement by settling near rivers which flooded and ...view middle of the document...

As the flood waters receded, they left behind a layer of silt which was fertile soil good for crops. Egypt had the best situation. The Nile only flooded during July so the Egyptians were able to prepare for it. The predictability of flooding allowed the Egyptians to create and live by a calendar system. Ancient Sumer had the worst situation with flooding. The Tigris and Euphrates could flood as early as April or as late as June. Because of this unpredictability, they did not know when to plant crops and, as a result, had unstable harvests. This sometimes led to food shortages and to fighting amongst the people. It also led the Sumerians to adapt and develop irrigation systems. The Indus river valley faced a predictable weather pattern but extremes. From October to May, winds from the northeast brought dry air whereas in June, winds from the southwest brought large amounts of moisture. The Indus valley adapted to this challenge by creating a massive water control/holding system. Another key geographical impact that the river valley people had to deal with was natural boundaries. Three of the river valley societies had some form of natural boundary. Egypt had the Sahara Desert. Indus had the Himalayan mountains. China's river boundaries somewhat circled the civilization. Natural boundaries provided protection from outside invasions and were key to safe development and growth. However, Sumer was different. They had no natural boundaries, and their reed huts were out in the open plains so they were practically defenseless. Their lack of natural boundaries forced them to build walls out of mud bricks which ultimately provided limited protection. However, their weak boundaries lead to constant invasion such as the invasion of Sargon of Akkad in 2350 BCE. A third impact of geography on the river valley societies was the natural resources the people had to work with. Silt from river flooding was a natural resource in all four river valley civilizations. The Egyptians were able to best use that resource because its predictable availability. Archeological evidence shows the Chinese using iron in farming tools and utensils and silk thread in clothing and quilts. Ancient Sumer had limited natural resources. That led to growth in trade to enable them to acquire supplies of stone, wood, and metal which was essential for building. The need to trade also led to transportation tools such as they the wheel and sail to trade with people from the desert and the mountains. River valley civilizations took advantage of the benefits their geographical location had to offer and adapted to its challenges to ensure prosperity.
The geography of Ancient Greece had its own pros and cons that led to the civilization's development. The main geographical features that affected Ancient Greece were the sea, the land and the climate. The Mediterranean, Ionian, Aegean, and the Black Seas surrounded Greece. Most settlements in Greece were no further than 85 miles from the sea....

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