The River Valley Civilizations Nile River Valley Civilization Yellow River Valley Civilization Indus River Valley Civilization Tigris-Euphrates Civilization


The most important technological development ever to occur in human history was the domestication of plants (agriculture) and animals (pastoralism). Together these developments are called the Neolithic Revolution and they allowed the development of urban centers (towns and, later, cities), trade and most of the other things we consider to be components of "civilization."


With the Neolithic Revolution civilizations now began popping up in unsurprising locations - river valleys. These river valleys provided people with fertile soil due to their floods. These floods, combined with the new-found knowledge of farming and animal domestication, allowed for a stable food supply and so the Neolithic people settled down around these rivers. As these people lived together in one spot civilizations arose, which often shared theses common characteristics:

Advanced Technical Skills

Sometime around 3000 BC, the Neolithic peoples around these river valleys learned how to make and use bronze tools and weapons. This in part allowed these peoples to construct permanent shelters and homes since they no longer were nomads, following their food source and looking for caves as shelter.


The floods that helped to provide the fertile soil for survival also posed a problem. The floods were sometimes massive and could wipe out an entire village if uncontrolled and farmers needed to get water to their fields during the dry season. As a result an irrigation system (dikes and canals) was necessary to control these waters. The construction of these projects required organization and cooperation among the Neolithic people on a massive scaled. So governments probably developed to direct these projects and to provide rules by which to live.

Division of Labor

As agricultural productivity increased, fewer people were needed to work in the fields producing food (much like the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century in England). These "extra" people who weren't needed to farm could then become artisans, or merchants or traders and production of all sorts was able to increase thereby providing a better standard of living for all.

The Neolithic Revolution

 Dependency on Natural Resources

Before: Moved with their food supply
After: Water and good soil for crops


Before: Families (male ruled) evolutionary, from family to village to city.
After: Chief with council.


Before: No real economy
After: Barter system


Before: Stone tools
After: Farming, baking and firing pottery, specialized tools, bronze tools and weapons


Polytheistic - believed in life after death.

Cause and Effect

 Neolithic Revolution

Two major effects were the development of agricultre, and the domestication of animals.
These two changes allowed people to stay in one spot instead of wandering from place to place following their main food source (animals). Somehow Neolithic people learned how to plant and raise crops and keep and raise livestock for food. Now people were put in the situation of living together permanently and as a result much cooperation was needed for survival and civilizations started to arise.