How did early river valley civilizations influence later civilizations?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

There are four main river valley civilizations that changed the path of human existence; these developing regions are referred to as "the cradles of civilization." The four river civilizations are Mesopotamia, the Nile River Valley Civilization, the Indus Valley Civilization, and the Yellow River Valley Civilization.

These civilizations developed the...

Unlock
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

There are four main river valley civilizations that changed the path of human existence; these developing regions are referred to as "the cradles of civilization." The four river civilizations are Mesopotamia, the Nile River Valley Civilization, the Indus Valley Civilization, and the Yellow River Valley Civilization.

These civilizations developed the idea of the city-state and what was necessary to make the city-state function. This included religion, social structure, a specialized workforce, a surplus of food, and a writing system.

Mesopotamia (5000–3500 BCE) existed between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. We can thank them for metallurgy advancements, in particular silversmithing. One Mesopotamian culture, the Sumerians, created the writing system known as cuneiform, which was used to keep track of trade transactions.

The Yellow River Valley Civilization in China consisted of two main dynasties, the Xia (c. 2070–1600 BCE) and the Shang (1600–1046 BCE). While the Xia remains little understood at this point due to lack of archeological evidence, the digs from the Shang dynasty are quite remarkable. Chinese writing developed during this time period and is very similar to the writing system in China today. Bronze weaponry and ritual pieces have been excavated from Shang sites as well.

The development of writing and metalworking can be traced to all four civilizations, which continued to evolve during the Iron Age as these groups expanded and interacted with neighboring peoples.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team