Instructional Goal: Students will know the major geographical characteristics of Mesopotamia and understand their impact on the formation of civilization.

  1. A civilization developed in an area that came to be known as Mesopotamia.
    1. Mesopotamia means, "Land between the rivers".
    2. Civilization developed between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in present-day Iraq and Kuwait.
    3. Mesopotamia is further divided into an upper and lower region.
    4. The upper area was known as Akkad and was characterized by a fertile plain.
    5. The lower region was known as Sumer and was made up of swamps along the delta area where the rivers emptied into the Persian Gulf.
  2. Civilization developed in Mesopotamia simultaneously with Egypt and the two are often called the "Fertile Crescent". The Tigris and Euphrates rivers, however, had a different impact on the development of civilization than the Nile had on Egypt.
      Mesopotamia did not have protection from natural boundaries.
    1. This led to constant migrations of Indo-European people from the area between the Black and Caspian seas.
    2. This constant migration led to "Cultural Diffusion", or the process where an existing culture adopts the traits of another and the two eventually merge into a new culture.
    3. As a result, a strong central government failed to develop in Mesopotamia.
    4. The dominant political unit was the "city-state", a small area surrounding a large, complex city.
    5. The climate is exceedingly hot, but also very humid.
    6. The floods of the Tigris and Euphrates were very violent and unpredictable.

Assignment: students will begin work on map of Mesopotamia