Asia's First Civilizations: India and China
East and South Asia developed civilizations near great river systems.
civilization emerged along the Huanghe River and the ancestor to Indian civilizations, Harappa, flourished
in the Indus river valley.
Nomadic Aryan invaders moved into the region of the latter between 1500 and
1000 B.C.E. and established the basis for a new pattern of civilization in South Asia.
In North China the
formation of the Shang kingdom, from around 1500
to 1122 B.C.E., and the succeeding Zhou dynasty,
marked the origins of the distinctive and enduring Chinese civilization.
The Indus River Valley and the Birth of South Asian Civilization.
Harappan civilization, a huge
complex of cities and villages, developed rapidly during the 3rd millennium B.C.E. within the Indus river
The two principal cities were Harappa, in the north, and Mohenjo-Daro, in the south.
were fed by the melting snows of the Himalayas and monsoon rains and deposited rich soil in the valley
Early settlers profited from the region's rich environment. They domesticated animals, practiced
sophisticated agricultural techniques; they made pottery, mirrors and bronze tools and weapons.
The Discovery and Mystery of Harappa.
During the late 1850s C.E. British and Indian railway builders
discovered the lost Harappan civilization.
Anchored on the two great cities of Harappa and Mohenjo-
Daro., it had developed rapidly, and independently of Mesopotamian patterns, in the mid-3d millennium
The total area of the civilization was much larger than Sumer or Old Kingdom Egypt.
The Great Cities of the Indus Valley.
Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro were densely populated, walled cities
similar in layout and construction.
They were built on a square grid pattern divided by main streets into
smaller, precise, grids.
Buildings and walls were made of standardized kiln-dried bricks.
scale required an autocratic government able to manage large numbers of workers.
Each city possessed
fortified citadels which served as defensive sanctuaries, community centers, assembly halls or places of
worship, and public bathing tanks.
Large granaries located nearby stored grain; the state may have
regulated its production and sale.
Smaller uniformly constructed residences made of brick were arranged
along twisted lanes.
They lacked exterior decoration and ornamentation and contained a courtyard
surrounded by rooms for sleeping, cooking, and receiving visitors.
Bathing areas and drains emptied into
a citywide sewage system, one of the best in the ancient world.
Harappan Culture and Society.
An advanced agricultural system based upon wheat, rye, peas, and
possibly rice supported Harappa's peoples.
Irrigation systems controlled the rivers' flow.
cultivated and domestic animals were reared.
The cities were major trading centers; there is evidence for
trade with Mesopotamia, China, and Burma.
The Harappans remained conservative and resistant to