Mesopotamiaand the FertileCrescent

If YOU were there You are a farmer in Southwest Asiaabout 6,000 years ago. You live neara slow-moving river, with manyshallow lakes and marshes. The rivermakes the land in the valley rich andfertile, so you can grow wheat anddates. But in the spring, raging floodsspill over the riverbanks, destroyingyour fields. In the hot summers, youare often short of water.How can you control the waters ofthe river?

What you WILL learn . Main Ideas– The rivers of Southwest Asiasupported the growth of civilization.– New farming techniques led to thegrowth of cities. The Big Idea– The valleys of the Tigris andEuphrates rivers were the site of theworld’s first civilizations.

Building Background In several parts of the world, bandsof hunter-gatherers began to settledown in farming settlements. They domesticated plants andanimals. Gradually their culturesbecame more complex. Most early civilizations grew upalong rivers, where people learnedto work together to control floods.

Rivers support the Growth ofCivilization Early peoples settled where cropswould grow. Crops usually grew well nearrivers, where water was availableand regular floods made the soilrich. One region in Southwest Asia wasespecially well suited for farming. It lay between two rivers.

Rivers support the Growth ofCivilization

The Land Between the Rivers The Tigris and Euphratesrivers are the most importantphysical features of the regionsometimes known asMesopotamia. Mesopotamia means “betweenthe rivers” in Greek.

Classwork/Homework Please read the paper givenand answer questions 1-3. Also answer the 4 and 5 bydoing some research and/orusing what was presentedtoday. If you need use the extrapaper provided to you.

The Rise of Civilization Hunter-gatherer groups firstsettle in Mesopotamia more than12,000 years ago. Over time, these people learnedhow to plant crops to grow theirown food. Every year, floods on the Tigrisand Euphrates rivers broughtsilt, a mixture of rich soil andtiny rocks, to the land. The fertile silt made the landideal for farming.

The Rise of Civilization The first farm settlementsformed in Mesopotamia as earlyas 7000 BC. Farmers grew wheat barley, andother types of grain. Livestock, birds, and fish werealso good sources of food. Plentiful food led to populationgrowth, and villages formed. Eventually, these early villagesdeveloped into the world’s firstcivilization.

What made civilization possible inMesopotamia?

Farming and Cities Although Mesopotamia hadfertile soil, farming wasn’t easythere. The region received little rain. This meant that the water levelsin the Tigris and Euphratesrivers depended on how muchrain fell in eastern Asia Minorwhere the two rivers began. When a great amount of rain fellthere, water levels got veryhigh.

Farming and Cities Flooding destroyed crops,killed livestock, and washedaway homes. When water levels were toolow, crops dried up. Farmers knew they need away to control the river’s flow.

Controlling Water To solve their problems,Mesopotamians used irrigation, away of supplying water to the land. To irrigate their land, they dug outlarge storage basins to hold watersupplies. Then they dug canals, humanmade waterways, that connectedthese basins to a network ofditches. These ditches brought water totheir fields.

Controlling Water To protect their fields fromflooding, farmers built up thebanks of the Tigris andEuphrates. These built-up banks heldback floodwaters even whenriver levels were high.

Formative Due Date: Friday September 30th,2016 Make a travel brochure for a trip backto Ancient Mesopotamia. Make this brochure double sided andplease print or have printed yourbrochure by next Friday. This will be graded on the followingpoints (worth 30 points):– Understanding of Mesopotamia History– Creativity with how to get people to go toMesopotamia– Organization of the content.

Formative (example)

Food Surpluses Irrigation increased the amount offood farmers were able to grow. In fact, farmers could produce afood surplus, or more than theyneeded. Farmers also used irrigation towater grazing areas for cattle andsheep. As a result, Mesopotamians ate avariety of foods. Fish, meat,wheat, barley, and dates wereplentiful.

Food Surpluses Because irrigation made farmers moreproductive, fewer people needed tofarm. Some people became free to do otherjobs. As a result, new occupationsdeveloped. For the first time, people becamecrafters, religious leaders, andgovernment workers. This type of arrangement in whicheach worker specializes in particulartask or job is called a division oflabor.

Food Surpluses Having people available to work indifferent jobs meant that societycould accomplish more. Large projects, such asconstructing buildings and diggingirrigation systems, requiredspecialized workers, managers, andorganization. To complete these projects, theMesopotamians needed structureand rules. Structure and roles could beprovided by laws and government.

The Appearance of Cities Over time, Mesopotamiansettlements grew in size andcomplexity. They gradually developed intocities between 4000 and 3000 BC. Despite the growth of cities,society in Mesopotamia was stillbased on agriculture. Most people still worked in farmingjobs. However, cities were becomingimportant places.

The Appearance of Cities People traded goods there,and cities provided leaderswith power bases. They were the political,religious, cultural andeconomic centers ofcivilization.

Why did the Mesopotamians createirrigation systems?

The Rise of Sumer

An Advanced Society In southern Mesopotamia, apeople known as the Sumeriansdeveloped the world’s firstcivilization.No one knows where they camefrom or when they moved into theregion.However, by 3000 BC, severalhundred thousand Sumerians hadsettle in Mesopotamia, in a landthey called Sumer.There they created an advancedSociety.

The City-States of Sumer Most people in Sumer were farmers.They lived mainly in rural, orcountryside, areas.The centers of Sumerian society,however, were the urban, or cityareas.The First cities in Sumer had about10,000 residents.Over time, the cities grew.Historians think that by 2000 BC,some of Sumer’s cities had morethan 100,000 residents.

The City-States of Sumer As a result, the basic political unit ofSumer combined the two parts. This unit was called a city-state. A city-state consisted of a city and all thecountryside around it. The amount of countryside controlled byeach city-state depended on its militarystrength. Stronger city-states controlled largerareas. City-states in Sumer fought each other togain more farmland. As a result of these conflicts, the citystates built up strong armies. Sumerians also built strong, thick wallsaround their cities for protection.

The City-States of Sumer Individual city-states gained andlost power over time. By 3500 BC, a city-state knownas Kish had become quitepowerful. Over the next 1,000 years, thecity-states of Uruk and Ur foughtfor dominance. Of of Uruk’s kings, known asGilgamesh became a legendaryfigure in Sumerian literature.

You are a farmer in Southwest Asia about 6,000 years ago. You live near a slow-moving river, with many shallow lakes and marshes. The river makes the land in the valley rich and fertile, so you can grow wheat and dates. But in the spring, raging floods spill over the riverbanks, destroying your fields. In the hot summers, you