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Early Civilizations - Affected by Its Geographic Features

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Early civilizations were greatly affected by its geographic features. The geographic features of the land determined the daily tasks in many people's lives. Even if the geography of a civilization has advantages it will have some disadvantages as well. Two of the many civilizations that were impacted by its geography were the Sumerians in Mesopotamia and Egypt.

People first began to settle and farm the flat, swampy lands in southern Mesopotamia before 4500 b.c. Around 3300 b.c, people that were called Sumerians settled in Mesopotamia. Good soil was the advantage that attracted these settlers. Fertile soil is ideal for farming and growing crops. Another advantage was the Tigris and Euphrates rivers that provided water for irrigation and trade. The disadvantage of the geography of Mesopotamia is that there was unpredictable flooding combined with a period of little or no rain. The land sometimes became almost a desert which affected the production of crops. Another disadvantage was that there were no natural barriers for protection which left the Sumerians nearly defenseless. Over a long period of time, the people of Sumer created solutions to deal with these disadvantages. To provide water when there was little or no rain, they dug irrigation ditches that carried river water to their fields and allowed them to produce a surplus of crops. For defense, they built city walls with mud bricks.

Egypt had the gift of the Nile River. The yearly flooding of the Nile brought the water and rich soil that allowed settlements to grow. Unlike in Mesopotamia, the flooding was predictable. The Sahara desert acted as a natural barrier for Egypt and helped protect Egypt from invaders. A disadvantage of the geography of Egypt was when the Nile's floodwaters were just a few feet lower than normal, the amount of fresh silt and water for crops wad greatly reduced. Thousands of people starved because of this. Another disadvantage was when floodwaters were a few feet higher than usual, the unwanted water destroyed houses and precious seeds that farmers needed for planting.

Mesopotamia and Egypt were both greatly affected by their geographic features. Both civilizations had advantages and disadvantages. The fertile soil in both civilizations affected the civilizations by providing good land to produce crops on. The floodings of both civilizations affected them in negative ways. Both of the examples prove that civilizations are greatly affected by its geographic features.



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