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Geography and the Development of Mesopotamia

            The topic of this essay will be how geography played a role in the emergence or development of Mesopotamian Society. First off, let's take a look at the actual word, Mesopotamia. It's Greek for "The Land between the Rivers". This is referring to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers which start in mountains of today's Turkey and flow through modern day Iraq into the Persian Gulf. Mountain rain and melting snow swelled these rivers which caused them to carry soil to plains. This fine soil, also referred to as silt, made the land fertile, and as a result good for crops. These factors combined to make this land ideal for nomadic tribes to settle in over other lands which overtime caused the population of Mesopotamia to increase dramatically. .
             The land of Mesopotamia didn't actually receive very much rainfall annually. To make up for this early cultivators learned to tap the rivers, building reservoirs, and digging canals which would allow them to irrigate fields of barley, wheat, and peas. Small scale irrigation began in Mesopotamia soon after 6000 B.C.E. This artificial irrigation lead to a substantial increase in food supply and in turn a massive increase in population, especially in Sumer in the southern region of Mesopotamia. The agricultural potential of the land attracted migrants from other regions and by 3000 B.C.E the population of Sumer was approaching 100,000, an extremely large population for that era. As a result of this Sumer was the undisputed dominant region of Mesopotamia. .
             Mesopotamia had no forests, and as a result had lack of building materials. Mesopotamians used mud as bricks and plaster which isn't ideal because mud crumbles very easily. The area also had few mountains and natural barriers so it was easy to invade. Other regions' peoples often stole from and conquered Mesopotamians. In early Mesopotamia they built mud walls around their villages to try to defend themselves from invaders but they weren't very effective.

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