Early Western Civilizations

As new civilizations began to form across the western world, each civilization realized how important urbanization, writing, political consent and specialization were. However the most important element to the survival of these new civilizations was geography. The geography and location of early civilizations, allowed them to expand and become highly advanced civilizations.

Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, became the first civilized territory in the world, between 3500 and 3200 B.C.E.. This era, that ensured the development of cities, was called the “Sumerian era”. All accomplishments of the Sumerians were influenced by both climate and geography. The geography of this empire, forced the Sumerians to rely on trade and exchange of ideas. Because the Sumerians built their empire between two powerful rivers, their trading system was clearly very advanced. The Sumerians created an excelled irrigation system which in turn began the emergence of cities. These systems took much leadership and careful planning to construct. Although geography was an essential part of the Sumerians life, it led to the end of their empire, due to drought, salinization and damage to land because of war.

The “Old Babylonian era” another era of the Mesopotamian civilization, between 2000-1600 B.C.E., had two major differences from Sumerians. They differed most directly in geography and language. The Sumerians lacked culturally advanced cities. However the Babylonians centered themselves around Babylon, a developed city. By doing so the Babylonians bypassed much of the troubles that the Sumerians faced in building an independent city. Unlike the Sumerians who had spoken a language with no relation to any other civilization, the Babylonians a spoke language that belonged to the Semitic language group. This was a common language in the Mesopotamian area during this time period.

The Hittites made contributions to the history of the Mesopotamian civilization with the geography of their empire. The Hittites settled into their final geographical location between the period of 1450 and 1300 B.C.E. This location included the central part of Asia Minor, to later extend sounth-ward along the eastern Mediterranean. This area was rich in metallic ores, especially copper, iron, and silver. Having these rich minerials, gave them an advantage point to where they could trade exclusivly within the area. The Hittites grew rich from thier trade of iron, and became a known power.

The Assyrian Empire lasting from about 1300 B.C.E until 612 B.C.E., shared many characteristics with the Sumerian Empire. They settled along the Tigris river near the northern part of Mesopotamia. They centered themselves around the small-city state of Assur. Contrasting to the Sumerians, the Assryrians lived in a more temperate climate, which helped their land from needing to be irrigated, saving it from the threat of salinization, that ultimatly destroyed the Sumerian civlization.

The Egyptian civilization had one key difference between itself and the Mesopotamian civilization. This major difference was the environment. In the Egyptian civilization after 3100 B.C.E, life was completely centered around the Nile river. The Nile provided rich fertile soil, agricultural wealth, a bountiful growing season, and excellent means of transportation. The Nile was the most cherished item that the Egyptians had. Nourishment from the Nile, made their agriculture highly developed. They had crops of wheat, barley, cotton, and a variety of fruits.

Although the Egyptians were deeply embedded in their own ideas, they often shared their knowledge of art and agriculture to better their surroundings. Unlike other civilizations the Egyptians are highly remembered, even though their accomplishments did not have the best influence on the other civilizations. However, their structures, painting, and building design are still fascinating today.

Without these civilizations careful planning on where to locate themselves, many of these small empires would never have survived.

Without the resources that the inhabitants were able to extract from the Nile, Tigris, and Euphrates rivers, the world would never be as developed as it is at this time period.

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