Round Robin Discussion • Would you consider the hunter-gatherer societies studied in Unit 1 “civilizations?” Why or why not? • What would you consider to be the major characteristics of a civilization? • Why did cities develop? • What are the advantages and disadvantages of living in a city?
We are about to study the world’s first civilizations. • As humans made advances in farming, they could produce more food to feed more people. • Small villages grew into towns, which grew into cities. • Where did the earliest farming communities tend to develop?
Where Civilization Began • About 3500 BC the first civilization developed. • CIVILIZATIONS are groups of people who have a complex and organized society within a culture. • Civilizations first developed in southwestern Asia in a crescent-shaped area. • This area was called the Fertile Crescent.
Today, the land of the Fertile Crescent is part of the countries of Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and Israel.
Mesopotamia • Mesopotamia was one of the first civilizations to rise up from this area. • Mesopotamia means “land between the rivers” • The two rivers that Mesopotamia is located in between are the TIGRIS AND EUPHRATES rivers.
Map • Label the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and Mesopotamia on your NEW map.
Climate • The climate in this region is hot and dry. • The Tigris and Euphrates rivers, however, provide a constant water source and rich, fertile soil. This is why early people settled here. • Early farmers built systems of irrigation to water their crops. This brought water from the rivers to their fields.
THINK • What benefits did the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers supply? • How did irrigation help the people of Mesopotamia grow crops?
The People • The people of Mesopotamia began to develop better methods of building houses. They mixed mud with straw to build very sturdy buildings. • People used these bricks to build homes, temples, and palaces. • Farmers or herders domesticated goats, cattle, and sheep. • Farmers paid close attention to how they grew their crops. This created a surplus. • Mesopotamians transported food and goods on the rivers.
THINK • How did the Mesopotamians solve the problem of scarce building materials? • How do you think having surplus crops would affect people’s lives?
Growth of City-States and Trade • Once farming techniques had been improved in southern Mesopotamia, the population grew. • By 3500 B.C., several villages had grown into city-states. • A CITY-STATE is an individual unit, complete with its own form of government and traditions. • Because there was a surplus of food, it was no longer necessary for all of the people to work as farmers and herders. • Some people helped govern the city, while others were religious leaders or soldiers. Some were ARTISANS, or craftspeople.
Mesopotamia lacked many natural resources, so some people also became traders. • They packed up donkeys for land journeys. • They built reed boats to trade along the river. • They built large wooden ships to travel the Persian Gulf, the real gateway to the world. • Label the Persian Gulf on your map.
THINK • As villages grew into city-states, how did they change? • After some villages grew into city-states, what kinds of jobs developed?