Geographic Description

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Shang China

Time period

3500 BCE

3200 BCE

2500 BCE

1650 BCE

Geographic Description

  • Tigris and Euphrates river

  • flooding

  • Few natural barriers

  • Invasions and trade caused city-states to initially develop

  • Nile River.

  • Predictable floods.

  • Natural barriers like desert.

  • People settled on one side of river; other side reserved for religion; led to centralization

  • Indus river and later Ganges

  • Violent flooding due to seasonal monssons

  • Buffered by the foothills of the Hindu Kush Mts although Arynas found a pass (Kyber Pass)

  • Huang He (Yellow) and Yangtze rivers.

  • Unpredictable flooding “River of Sorrows”

  • Natural barriers led to geographic isolation..Middle Kingdom.

  • River meandered so it caused decentralized feudalism


  • Made organized city-states.

  • Summer, Ur, Babylon, (some of the city-states). Walled for protection

  • Territory was important.

  • Decentralized City-states fought each other for land and water. Led to the development in the early empires towards the end of the period

  • Ruled by kings who were war heroes.

  • Hammurabi, leader of Babylon, created Hammurabi’s code- first written law although shows unequal treatment of classes. Created an Empire later conquered by Persians who would create an empire

  • Ruled by Pharaoh who had political and religious power.

  • Dynasties were created. Centralized rule

  • Determined public works project, worked along Nile River.

  • First female pharaoh was Nephritides.

  • Old Kingdom (3200- 2200 BCE)

  • Middle Kingdom (2100-1650 BCE)

  • New Kingdom (1550-700BCE)

  • Do not get these different periods of early Egyptian history confused with the Chinese concept of the Middle Kingdom

  • Government oversaw the public works.

  • Two most known cities are Harappa and Mohenjo -Daro…built using a grid-like pattern; shows math knowledge and well-planned cities therefore probably not decentralized

  • Shang Dynasty- controlled the Huang He valley. Was first organized state.

  • Feudalism- land based government was used due to shape of river and population spread throughout the extensive valley

  • They created palaces and tombs.

  • Regulated irrigation.

  • Dynastic cycle, Zhou took control in 1000s BCE; beginning classical period


  • Located by the Tigris - Euphrates River.

  • Rivers deposited fertile nutrients for soil. Grew wheat and barley.

  • Agriculture and farming allowed for great economy, had irrigation.

  • Metal, wood, and stone were traded. Traded with Indus and Egypt. (Hittites created iron tools and they were found in Indus)

  • Used resources for technology. Traded for food.

  • FAT- farmers, artisans, traders. (Traditional Economy).

  • Nile used for trade and agriculture.

  • Business was dependent on the Nile.

  • Trade was government directed,

  • Based on agriculture.

  • Grew wheat and barley.

  • Traded with Mesopotamia and Nubia.

  • Irrigation and predicted flooding by calendar.

  • FAT

  • Economy was based on agriculture. Grew wheat, barley, and cotton.

  • Used the Indus for Irrigation.

  • Dependent on Monsoons

  • Certain percent of food was stored in granaries for public use for droughts

  • Traded with Mesopotamia, Persia and Egypt as evidence by goods

  • cotton

  • FAT

  • Based on agriculture.

  • Grew rice

silk made by silkworm.

  • Domesticated animals- dogs, pigs, and sheep.

  • Had bronze artisans.

  • FAT


  • This was a major part of their civilization.

  • Polytheistic- belief in many gods, try to explain the unknown.

  • Built pyramids called ziggurats- place of worship.

  • Priests preformed rituals. Believed in afterlife. If you were bad in life you had a bad after life.

  • Hebrews established first monotheistic religion- Judaism

  • Polytheistic religion.

  • Believed in afterlife (Amen Rah- sun god, Osiris- God of nile).

  • Mummified kings and nobility, preformed by priests.

  • Pharaohs who passed away were mummified and buried in the pyramids.

  • Most sophisticated polytheistic religion of its time—“Book of the Dead”

  • Polytheistic beliefs

  • The Aryan invasion in 1500 BCE brought Hinduism to India as well as the Caste system

  • Reincarnation- belief in rebirth of soul after death.

  • Caste System- When you die your family stays in the same class.

  • Dharma and Karma.

  • Polytheistic developed many gods based on natural disasters

  • Believed in afterlife similar to heaven, where their ancestors were.

  • Sacrificed food and other things to please gods in temples.

  • Used oracle bones, carved what they wanted from deities and/or ancestors on it.


  • Had many social classes, was a hierarchy.

  1. Ruling family, high ranking officials, nobility, and important priests.

  2. Artists, merchants, lesser priests and scribes.

  3. Farmers and peasants

  4. Slaves

  • Women were not treated equal to men.

  • Social classes were hierarchy.

  1. Pharaoh and high priests.

  2. Artists, merchants, lesser priests.

  3. Farmers

  4. Slaves

  • Women were not treated equal to men but had more rights than in other societies.

  • Several queens, women pharaohs, Nephritides being the first.

  • Had hierarchy as well

  • Aryans would established a rigid Caste System looked at religion and society closely developed later.

  • Social classes similar to other civilizations.

  1. Ruler (god like).

  2. Nobles and important priests.

  3. Warriors and lesser priests.

  4. Artisans, merchants, scribe.

  5. Farmers

  6. Slaves

  • Fathers arranged marriages, controlled families, daughters sometimes sold into slavery.


  • Cuneiform- first form of writing, 2000 symbols reduced to 300.

  • Scribes learned to write on clay tablets.

  • Kept records. Code of Hammurabi

  • Had a number system to make agriculturally based calendars

  • Created the plow, wheel, had mathematics, used money

  • Writing system was hieroglyphics (derived from Cuneiform) which were written on papyrus, made from reeds along the Nile,

  • Mathematics and astronomy not as advanced as Mesopotamia.

  • Very accurate calendar, 12 months and 30 days. Used for annual flooding.

  • Knowledge of medicine and surgery because of mummification

  • Metal weapons, pyramids, and irrigation

  • Had public works – public baths, running water, cow breeding and irrigation.

  • Early form of sandscript writing, based on Cuneiform but still not deciphered.

  • Streets were efficient, had grid patterns. Had sewage systems and indoor plumbing.

  • Good mathematicians. Made first dice and chess games.

  • China had advanced mathematics and astronomy.

  • Created first books.

  • Writing was done in pictographs, and ideographs over 1000 symbols – next to Cuneiform it is the 2nd original writing form

  • Made silk, had advanced agriculture, irrigation.

  • Considered themselves the middle kingdom – center of the world.

  • Bronze work.


  • Made pottery industry.

  • Metal welding, architecture.

  • Ziggurats had art, Statues of god.

  • Built pyramids and statues of god.

  • Sarcophagus had artistic paintings on them.

  • Sculptures, paintings, carvings, and architecture.

  • Tools were made of steatite and lime.

  • They have fine art, sculptures, and pottery.

  • Had bronze tool and steal weapons.

  • Collars for animals so they could plow and pull wagons.

  • Pottery

  • Painted scenes of what life was based upon.

  • oracle bones

  • bronzes


Invasions gave way to shifting of civilization core to the North…beginning of Greek classical period (800BCE) while the Persian Empire Grew

Invasions eventually gave way to end of River valley period and the development of the Kingdom of Kush and later Axum followed by Ethiopia

Aryan Invasions nearly wiped out civilization…civilization re-emerged and Classical period began under the Vedic Age with Aryans dominating the civilization in 1500BCE

Shang collapsed around 1000BCE giving rise to Zhou dynasty; 1st dynasty of classical period

Global Connections/ Interactions

  • cultural interaction.

  • Interaction through trade with Indus and Egypt due to relatively flat topography; war occurred

  • Some cultural interaction.

  • Interaction through trade with Mesopotamia and Nubia.

  • Some cultural interaction.

  • Interaction through trade with Mesopotamia and Persia.

  • Aryan invasions

  • Considered themselves middle kingdom.

  • Not much cultural interaction due to geographic isolation although interacted with Pastoral Nomads

Directory: cms -> lib09 -> UT01001306 -> Centricity -> Domain -> 373 -> AP%20World%20History
AP%20World%20History -> African civilizations 600-1800s
AP%20World%20History -> Chapter 23, The Emergence of Industrial Society in the West, 1750-1914 Summary
AP%20World%20History -> Chapter 20, Africa and the Africans in the Age of the Atlantic Slave Trade Summary
AP%20World%20History -> Maya: 300-900 Aztec
AP%20World%20History -> Chapter 3, Classical Civilization: India Summary
AP%20World%20History -> Chapter 25, The Consolidation of Latin America, 1830-1920 Summary
AP%20World%20History -> Civilization: Classical Civilization China
AP%20World%20History -> Chapter 13, The Spread of Chinese Civilization: Japan, Korea, and Vietnam Summary
AP%20World%20History -> Belief systems Greco-Roman Philosophy and science
AP%20World%20History -> Chapter 4, Classical Civilization in the Mediterranean: Greece and Rome Summary

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