Development and Impact of Mesopotamia and the Huang He River Valley

December 8, 2009
By Ian Trutt GOLD, Stockbridge, Georgia
Ian Trutt GOLD, Stockbridge, Georgia
11 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Mesopotamia emulated ancient Chinese society in development, but its impact on future civilization was far greater than the Huang He valley.
The early progressions of Tigris and Euphrates river valley societies allowed it to be known as the ‘cradle of civilization’ and build the first large-scale government. City-states such as Sumer existed in earliest Mesopotamia, but quickly government turned to imperial rule. There was a constant change in power because of Mesopotamia’s vulnerable location. Mesopotamians created the first system of writing, cuneiform, around 2900 B.C. Even earlier, Sumerians invented the wheel near 3500 B.C. Still, people of the Tigris and Euphrates River Valley learned of iron metallurgy and war chariots from the Indo-European group known as the Hittie. Mesopotamians were superior land and sea traders. The Phonecians dominated Mediterranean trade between the years of 1200 – 800 B.C., but already Sumerian ships had been built by 3500 B.C.
Though development of civilization in the Huang He river valley began later, its advances nearly matched those of the Tigris and Euphrates river valley. Like their Mesopotamian counterparts, some states of China are united in an empire for the first time. Because of its location in the Far East and on the China Sea, the Huang He river valley was invaded less frequently and so, entirely to the contrary of the Tigris and Euphrates valley, maintained a similar political structure for extensive eras at a time. The Chinese, too, studied the technology of Indo-Europeans, here from nomads in south China. Maritime trade developed at a slower pace in the Huang He valley than in Mesopotamia. There is evidence that oar-propelled crafted existed before 2000 B.C. Evermore, the aforementioned geographic isolation and deserts limited long-distance trade even over land.
The impact of Mesopotamian thought and culture would substantially influence later societies. The invention of the wheel and carts by Sumerians will help long-distance travel (the Silk Roads, and much later, automobiles). The Phoenician alphabet will be the basis of many written languages including the modern English alphabet. The concept of monotheism by the Hebrews will be modeled by future world religions (Christianity, modern Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and later, Hinduism). The Babylonians and Assyrians set examples of empires that will be popular in structure in Persia, Rome, and China. Sumerians began metallurgy as early as 4000 B.C., and it would make its way to regions like Egypt and China.
The effects of the Huang He river valley civilization, conversely, would be less universal than Sumerian impressions. Zhou philosophies such as Confucianism were the prominent ways of thinking for all of classical China and thus inhibit the influence of Buddhism for a time. China will be organized politically into dynasties similar to Mesopotamian empires for centuries to come. Advanced sericulture will, like the Mesopotamians, promote long-distance trade and create reasoning for the Silk Roads. Defensive walls like those created at the Shang capital of Ao will become large-scale building projects in classical China (specifically the Great Wall of China) and popular in military strategy in other regions. Knowledge of bronze and iron metallurgy and domestication of the horse came from steppe nomads who traded in the Tigris and Euphrates valley. Iron in particular will give newer dynasties advantage over their predecessors and help to diminish Hun invasions.

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This article has 3 comments.

Ian Trutt GOLD said...
on Mar. 9 2011 at 7:18 pm
Ian Trutt GOLD, Stockbridge, Georgia
11 articles 0 photos 1 comment
This isn't supposed to be about me?  It was the topic for an AP World History class two years ago.

riddle BRONZE said...
on Nov. 9 2010 at 1:56 am
riddle BRONZE, Shenyang, Other
3 articles 0 photos 7 comments
I agree. This has nothing about you.

Genie423 said...
on Dec. 19 2009 at 10:18 pm
You don't want an essay talking about some history of a country? Is this the essay your are sending into colleges? Speak of yourself: accomplishments, characteristics, annoyances, anything that partakes to your true character

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