What Is the Importance of Rivers on Early Civilizations?

Rivers were crucial to the survival of early civilizations because they were responsible for providing a source of water, irrigation for good farmland and a way for people to trade with other people through water transportation. Many of the earliest civilizations thrived due to the availability of rivers such as Mesopotamian cultures with the Euphrates River and Tigris River, Egyptians with the Nile River, Indians with the Indus River and Chinese with the Huang River and Yangtze River.

Rivers and river valleys typically flow to a large water source such as a lake, sea or the ocean. The end of the river is known as the “mouth.” In some rivers, such as the Nile River in Egypt, the mouths have silt deposits. These silt deposits build up to create a delta area and also create fertile farmland.

One of the most well-known examples of using a river to further a civilization is the Egyptians’ use of the Nile River. Without the Nile, none of the Egyptian achievements would have happened. The Egyptians first started living along the Nile, and were able to eat the fruit from the fruit trees along the river and the fish that swam in the river. The people also noticed that the Nile flooded for 6 months every year, and when it receded for the other 6 months, there was a fertile layer of silt that could be farmed for additional food. The Nile is responsible for the health of the Egyptians and their ability to survive. Today, rivers are used for the same qualities as well as to create hydroelectric power sources with technology.