1-7-13-WH CH 8 Summary

Lesson 1 Early Civilizations

Understanding Human–Environment Interaction: Ancient India

Much of the advanced Harappan civilization came about 

through human interaction with their geographic environment. 

Not only did the Indus River provide water for crops, but it also 

produced mud for making bricks. Mud bricks enabled people to 

make stronger buildings. This skill developed because the 

environment by the river made mud bricks possible. 

Over hundreds of years, the people’s relationship with the 

river grew. They learned how to use the water to wash away 

waste and to build boats for water transportation and trade. 

Gradually, they got better at using the environment for human 


The Harappan civilization was affected by its geography in 

other ways. The Himalaya sit on an unstable geographical 

break between Asia and India, where earthquakes are 

common. There is evidence that somewhere close to the end 

of the Harappan civilization, the Indus River changed its 

course. Severe flooding followed. It is possible that an 

earthquake caused this change in the river and many Indus 

Valley cities were destroyed.

There also may have been changes in the pattern of the 

monsoons. These changes may have caused a drought that 

lasted hundreds of years. Between these two events—flooding 

and drought—little would be left of this early culture.

India’s three most important major rivers are the Ganges, the Indus and the Brahmaputra.

The large cities of the Indus Valley civilization featured homes made mostly of  brick.

Earthquakes and floods are the natural disasters that most possibly caused the people of the Indus Valley to begin to abandon their cities and villages.

The Aryans were  a nomadic people that entered the Indus River valley around 1500 B.C.

In India’s caste system, the Kshatriyas class contained the warriors and rulers.


A caste- a social group that one is born into and cannot change

Raja-. the prince or leader of an Aryan tribe

Himalaya-mountain range blocking Indian subcontinent from Asia

Sanskrit-the written language developed in Aryan village

Monsoons- strong seasonal winds that have a large influence on India’s climate

Subcontinent- A large landmass that is smaller than a continent

Vedas-sacred texts


Vaisyas-common people or middle class


Deccan Plateau-A dry highland between the mountains in central India