The basic idea of geography is the study of the physical features of the earth and human activity as it affects and is affected by these features. The special characteristics that make up Earth’s surface include various climates, countries, peoples, and natural resources. River valleys, mountains, deserts, islands, rainforest, and climate are some structures that are considered as geographical features. A geographical feature such as river valleys had an importance in the ways people lived in earlier civilizations.
These river valleys have had positively and negatively affected these early civilizations such as Egypt, India, and China. As people started to depend on farming, civilizations, which were societies that had a high level of culture and social organizations, started to grow in many areas where these people settled. Many of these early civilizations developed by river valleys, which were valleys that were carved out by the river and often had fertile land.
The earliest river valleys were the Nile, located in Egypt, Indus, located in India, and Huang River, located in China. River valleys were geographical advantages which allowed the ancient people to farm, have a reliable water source, like irrigation systems which brought water to crops and a way trade. In the Nile river valley people cultivated wheat and barley and along the banks people harvested papyrus using it to make paper, baskets, sandals, and plenty of other important necessities.
Covering the river bank was silt, which is a very fine grain of dirt deposited by a moving body of water. The river delta, which was the end of a river where the rich deposits of silt built up, was also important to human habitation due to the excellent source of good farmland. The Indus river valley started in about 2500 B. C. in India. Water from the river fertilized and irrigated crops. The river allowed boats to become a possible transportation option. Besides the option for transportation it provided a way for trade, as early as 2300 B. C.
In the industry of trade things like bronze and copper axes, spears, knives, and chisels were taken by merchants and sold as bundles of merchandise across the river valleys to other civilizations, such as Mesopotamia. Even though river valleys shared a positive effect on early civilizations there were also the negatives, and that included flooding. In the Huang River valley located in China provided the area with favorable climate which contributes to the successful farming but tragedy strikes when it brings floods. Unlike the Nile river valley whose flooding is predictable, the Huang River’s flooding is unpredictable and violent.
Continuous flooding can cause everything in its path to be destroyed. However, the Chinese learned to live with it and found ways how to irrigate and use the renewal of soil to cultivate and farm. As seen, geographical features can positively or negatively affect the development of a nation or region. These civilizations arose without the help of each other and shared certain features, but each region produced unique characteristics based on the environment. It goes to shows that one geographical feature can do so much in an area, either it being effective or not.
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 5 January 2017
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