The River Valley Civilizations Nile River Valley Civilization Yellow River Valley Civilization Tigris-Euphrates Civilization Paleolithic - Neolothic Era


The Indus River Valley Civilization started about 2500 B.C.E. along the south-western part of the Indus River. The largest city was Mohenjo-Daro, in present day Pakistan, and settlements stretched all along the river.

Impact of Geography

 Large Area

Streches across present day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Bhutan


Natural borders consisted of mountains and the Arabian Sea, sheltering the civilization from attack and disease. Water from the river fertalized and irrigated crops. Proximity to the river allowed boats to become a viable transportation option.



The development of widespread irrigation systems allowed the indigenous population to provide food for themselves. Wheat and barley were primary crops, however rye, peas, cotton, and rice were also grown. Domestication of animals also served as an important tool for cultivation and as a source of food.


The economy depended greatly on trade. Trade was conducted within the civilization as well as with Mesopotamia. Advancement in technology led to carts and early boats that were used as the main method of trade and travel.

Social Structure

 Caste system with four main classes

People were born into social classes that could not be changed.

Brahmins (priests and the king)
Kshatriyas (warriors and aristocrats - rulers)
Vaishyas (cultivators, artisans, and merchants)
Shudras (peasants and serfs)


Individual buildings for bathing and using the restroom (had an early "sanitation" system)
Citadels were used for defense
All houses had access to water and were about the same size
Houses had one or two stories
Most buildings were made of dry bricks
No large monuments or structures

Tools / Weapons / Technology


Constructed from bronze and possibly copper and iron
Clay was utilized for both art and tool manufacturing
Developed a measuring system and tools for measurement (first, and most precise of the time)


Constructed from bronze
Weaponry was not as advanced as it was in the Mesopotamian society
Arrows were crafted
Swords were not developed
Isolated geography negated the need for advanced weaponary


Large irrigation systems
First civilization in the world to develop precise measurement and weighing equipment
Most technology was used to aid in agriculture
Other trade technologies such as boats and carts were employed to facilitate trade



~1700-1100 B.C.E.


365 B.C.E.
Monotheistic (Buddha)

Writing / Literature

 Vedas - Oldest Scriptures of Hinduism

Writings on prayers
Religious Rituals

Gender Roles

Men worked within their designated caste social class
Women were valued because of their ability to produce offspring and nurse
When children were old enough, they adopted their parents' role

Page last updated: September 12, 2011