Unit 1: Rivers and Civilizations
The earliest people were hunter-gatherers. With time, people learned to farm and domesticate plants and animals. People started to settle in villages. Civilization began in Mesopotamia between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The empire of Sumer arose around 2300 B.C. when King Sargon united Mesopotamian city-states under his rule. King Hammurabi wrote down perhaps the first set of laws. The followers of Judaism were unique in the ancient world because they worshipped only one god. The Assyrians and Chaldeans also built empires in Mesopotamia.
As in Mesopotamia, life in Egypt depended on a river. Perhaps most famous for their pyramids, Egyptians also made important advances in mathematics and science. The Egyptians use of hieroglyphics gives us valuable information about Egypt's past. Egyptians bartered for the things they needed, mummified the dead, and worshipped many gods.
Dependant upon a river and the monsoons, the Harappan society developed in India along the Indus River. The Mauryan Empire was the first to unite India, and it thrived during the reign of Asoka. Hinduism and Buddhism both began in India. During the Gupta dynasty, Indians developed the decimal system, used algebra, and discovered that the sun was the center of the solar system.
In China, the flooding of the Huang He made farming possible. The Shang dynasty took control by 1750 B.C. The Zhou dynasty replaced the Shang and then ruled China for 800 years. After a time known as the "Period of the Warring States," Emperor Qin Shihuangdi gained control of China. The Han Empire, which ruled from 202 B.C. to A.D. 220, followed some of Confucius's teaching about government. The Silk Road connected the goods of China to the markets of Europe.