Chapter 6, Section 1Ancient India Geography and Early India
Indus Valley Civilizations • Thrived between 2300-1700 BC
Geography of India • The geography of India includes high mountains, great rivers, and heavy seasonal rain. • India is so large that it is referred to as a subcontinent. A subcontinent is a large landmass that is smaller than a continent. Subcontinents are usually separated from the rest of their continents by physical features. India is largely separated from Asia by the Himalayan Mountains in the north and the Hindu Kush Mountains in the west. • West of the Himalayas is a vast desert. • The rest of India is covered by fertile plains and rugged plateaus.
Geography of India (cont.) • The Indus Valley was the location of India’s first civilization. • The Indus Valley is west of India in present-day Pakistan. • When heavy snows in the Himalayas melted, the Indus River flooded. Like Mesopotamia and Egypt the flooding left a layer of fertile silt. The silt created ideal farmland for early settlers.
Climate • In summer some parts of India receive as much as 100-200 inches of rain. • The climate of India is mostly hot and humid. India’s monsoons (seasonal wind patterns that cause wet and dry seasons) influence India’s climate. • In winter, the winds that blow down the mountains force moisture out of India to create warm, dry winters.
Harappan Civilization • Historians called the civilization that grew up in the Indus Valley the Harappan civilization. • Like other civilizations, towns and cities grew once food surpluses resulted from progress in irrigation and agriculture.
Harappan Civilization • Dancing girl statue and child’s toy found at excavation.
India’s First Cities • The Harappan civilization is believed to have thrived between 2300 and 1700 BC. • The Harappan civilization consists of two large, and similar cities, Harappa and Mohenjo Daro. Both cities lay on the Indus River 300 miles apart. • What are some characteristics of the cities of Harappa and Mohenjo Daro? 1. well planned 2. protected by fortresses 3. brick streets that crossed at right angles 4. storehouses 5. workshops, market stalls, and houses 6. public wells
Harappan Achievements • What were the achievements of Harappan society? 1. houses with bathrooms 2. pottery, jewelry, ivory objects, cotton clothing 3. high-quality tools 4. system of weights and measures 5. India’s first writing system 6. believed to have a strong central government • Harappan civilization ended around 1700 BC.
Ancient Harappan Civilization • Ancient Bath and Latrine
Ferry Boat • Today’s boats are very similar to ancient ones.
Aryan InvasionGovernments and Society • A new group of people called the Aryans took power in the Indus Valley. • The Aryans were invaders from Central Asia. It is possible they caused the end of the Harappan civilization. • How were the Aryans different from the Harappans? 1. the Aryans were nomadic and more warlike (used advanced weapons and chariots) 2. didn’t farm at first, didn’t build cities 3. no single ruling authority-society was based on family ties. Each group had its own leader 4. no written language 5. village leaders were called rajas
Aryan Religion • Aryan priests wrote the Vedas. • What were the Vedas? They were a collections of poems, hymns, myths, and rituals written by Aryan priests.
Aryan Language • Because the Aryans did not have a written language at first, they had to memorize the poems and hymns. • The first Aryan language was Sanskrit, the most important language of ancient India. • Sanskrit started as a spoken language. Eventually people figured out how to write it down so they could keep records.
Summary The earliest civilizations in India grew in the Indus Valley. At first the Harappans and then the Aryans lived in this fertile valley.