Monday, January 21, 2013

Geography of Ancient Mesopotamia

Geography of Ancient Mesopotamia
Not far from the sites of the ancient farming settlements of Jericho and C^atal Huyiik rose some of the world's first cities. Fertile soil and twin waterways combined to provide the setting for early urban, or city growth in southwestern Asia. For centuries historians have referred to the area of southwestern Asia's first cities as the Fertile Crescent.

The land between two Rivers
The name Fertile Crescent describes the land found there. On a map the Fertile Crescent appears to be shaped somewhat like a crescent moon. Fertile refers to the rich soil found in parts of the region.

The Fertile Crescent of ancient days included parts of what are now the countries of Iraq, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, and Israel. Bordering this region on the west is the Mediterranean Sea. On its southeastern edge lies the Persian Gulf. To the northwest are the Taurus Mountains. The Zagros (ZAH»gruhs) Mountains tower over the Fertile Crescent in the east.

Cutting through the region are two rivers, the Euphrates (yoo»FRAY»teez) and the Tigris. Between these rivers lies the region's richest soil. This fertile land area has long been known as Mesopotamia, "the land between the rivers."

The northern part of Mesopotamia is a plateau, or high, flat area of land. The southern part is an alluvial plain, or low, flat land formed from fine soils deposited by rivers.

The soil of ancient Mesopotamia was dry, the climate was hot, and the rivers were unpredictable. The region also provided few different kinds of natural resources. The earliest people of the area found life there a challenge. Living as hunter-gatherers was a constant fight for survival.

Perhaps it was these challenges that led early people to turn to farming and to build settlements. Early people had to find a better way to get food in the hot, dry region. Caring for wild plants and growing their own plants seemed to be their best chance for survival. Although harsh, the region had what settlers needed to survive: water, and land on which food can grow.

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