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Lecture 13

GEOG 3RW3 Lecture 13: Geography 3RW3 - Lecture 13 - Historical Geography: Ancient South Asia and the Middle Ages

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Segei Basik

Geography 3RW3 – Dr. Basik – Page 1 Lecture 13 – Monday February 2 Historical Geography: Ancient South Asia and the Middle Ages Introduction • South Asia – one of the cultural hearths of civilization • Cultivation of grain – around 8-7 centuries BC • Early agriculture civilizations – The Indus Valley • Arts and trade routes emerged from isolated tribes and villages to towns and beyond • Birth place of two global religions – Hinduism, Buddhism Ancient South Asia: The Indus Valley Civilization (or Harappa Civilization) • About 4-3 centuries BC • Developed in the Indus River valley • Early settlements date to 7000 BC • The name derives from one of the two discovered cities – Harappa and Mohenjo- Daro ("Mound of the Dead“) • More than 100 settlements • Both cities were planned with wide streets, water systems, public baths, and brick sewers • Each city had a strong central fortress, or citadel, on a brick platform • The Harappans grew crops (wheat, rice, barley) in irrigated fields and raised livestock (sheep, goats) • It is believed that the Harappans were Proto-Dravidians • About 2300 BC – trade with Mesopotamia • No temples or religious writings have been found: animal images and some evidence of a mother goddess of fertility and solar symbols (suasti*) • The Harappan civilization disappeared around 1700 BC – climate change and natural disasters (one of the hypothesis) Aryan Invasions and Vedic Culture • The Aryans – about 1750-1600 BC* o Sanskrit – spoken language o Drove away Dravidians o Brought cows, horses, iron tools o Settlements on the Indo-Gangetic Plain o Base for the Caste system • Vedic Culture – 1000-500 BC* o Rig Veda – evolution of Hinduism o Caste system established o Economic specialization o Multiple states across the Indo-Gangetic plane (or Aryavarta) o Buddhism: Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha – 6-5 centuries BC Geography 3RW3 – Dr. Basik – Page 2 The Mauryan Empire • Alexander the Great withdrew from Western India in 325 BC leaving behind satraps (in Western Punjab and the Indus Valley) • Many small kingdoms in India in 300s BC – Magadha (current Bihar) dominated • King Chandragupta Maurya began conquering surrounding kingdoms • Built immense army 60,000 soldiers (plus chariots, war elephants) • Highly centralized empire: state monopolies (mining, agriculture etc.) • Chandragupta gave up throne in 301 BC –
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