Throughout the course of global history, river valleys assisted to the growth and birth of civilizations. A specific civilization was Mesopotamia, the name derived from the fact that it was surrounded by two rivers, the Euphrates and Tigris River. They had a well-organized and social-scaled society. The river valleys as a fact helped the civilization to exceed; they began in the Ubaid Period and were located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, where modern-day Iraq is.
Mesopotamia was a civilization ruled by different kings during different time periods. All the kings were Hammurabi, Nebuchadnezzar, Sargon, Gilgamesh and Ur-Zababa. But only one king constructed a form of laws that lasted long and best organized. Hammurabi’s Code was laws that decided what happened when you do something against the law. One of the laws was “An Eye for an Eye,” if you were to commit a crime, you would be faced with an equal punishment. For example, if you were to commit murder, your punishment would be death. The economy in Mesopotamia was based on farming and trade. Trade and commerce developed in Mesopotamia because the farmers learned how to irrigate their land. They could now grow more food than they could eat. They used the surplus to trade for goods and services. Ur, a city-state in Sumer, was a major center for commerce and trade. Temples were the chief employer and location for commercial activity.
Their religion is quite interesting based on the fact they are Polytheistic. The Mesopotamians believed in more than one God. In Mesopotamia, each town and city was believed to be protected by a god. Their temples were believed to connect them to the heavens. Everyone was expected to sing hymns, say prayers, make sacrifices and bring offerings to the local temple (ziggurat) for the gods. There were four major Gods which were believed to have created the universe. An was the god of heaven, Enlil was the air-god, Enki was the water-god, Ninhursag was the mother earth-goddess. They were believed to create lesser gods which were important to the Mesopotamians. The Mesopotamians had a Social Scale, which means there are people who are more “special than others.”
At the top of the scale was the absolute power, other than their Gods, their king. Under the king would be the Priests. Priests were important because they have connections with the Gods. Beneath the Priests would be the Scribes. Scribes are important because they keep track of items and they write about the history of their civilization. Underneath the Scribes were the Merchants. They were important because they produced the wealth of civilizations. After the Merchants would be the Commoners, they were they lower-class laborers. At the bottom of the scale would be the slaves, they were mostly treated well. Mesopotamia was a land between two rivers, they were very known for their attributes and achievements.
River Valleys in Mesopotamia indeed assisted the civilization to survive over thousands of years. The people of Mesopotamia relied heavily on fairly regular spring floods that spilled the rivers over their banks, leaving behind extremely fertile soil when the waters receded. This allowed them to farm multiple crops. The crops gave the people necessary nutrients to live longer. Without the fertile soil, the Mesopotamians would have no food. Not only were they supplied with fertile soil, they were supplied with easy transportation. Instead of having to cross the deadly desert land, they used the rivers to help them move items.
Copper, tin, and timber were imported goods exchanged for dried fish, wool, wheat, and metal goods. This made more trade at quicker speed. The river valleys also gave protection; ships which tried to cross to conquer Mesopotamia would have to go through the tide. The river itself is a large supply of water used for multiple things. The water was also used for, cooking and cleaning. Finally it allowed them to have a source of drinking. Without water you could only survive 3 days, after that you would die from dehydration.
Animals need water also, but animals wouldn’t realize that when they were slurping the water from the river, hunters were awaiting them. Hunters would wait near the water source and then attack anything they could bring back for their family and king. Enki is the god of the fresh waters known as ‘apsu’ on which the Earth floats. He is a god of wisdom, farming, building, magic, and arts and crafts. Enki appears as a bearded man surrounded by flowing water. The river valleys also provided faster ways of communication by allowing them to send boats for communicating with other civilizations like Egypt. Without the river valleys civilizations would perish and disappear like the Niya.
Mesopotamia was a society in-between the two rivers, Euphrates and Tigris rivers. They advanced in writing, the wheel, mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and technology. In fact, they used a number system with a 60 base, us Americans use a base of 10, but they gave us the way we tell time, with the 60 seconds in 1 minute and the 60 minutes in one hour which we still use today. It was thanks to the river valleys protection that gave the Mesopotamians time in order to develop all these skills. It could be said that river valleys were not merely important to early civilizations, but were, in fact, a necessary prerequisite to their existence.