Migration Essay Example: The Yellow River Valley Civilization


Human migration out of Africa first led to the Middle East. From the Middle East humans migrated to westward Europe and eastern Asia 45,000 years ago. Some of these paleolithic bands made settlement by a river called the yellow river valley. Later on these paleolithic cultures changed their ways of life to a more agricultural way of life, they were called neolithic cultures. Advanced cities, complex institutions, record keeping, advanced technology, and specialized workers help make the yellow river valley civilization because they brought a sense of community and economic opportunity.

Advanced cities are made up of large populations. Because the population was rising and they needed people to lead them. Leadership comes in many forms such as chiefs, kings, queens, etc. Leadership in the yellow river valley civilization was passed down through lineage, these were called dynasties. The yellow river valley started with the Xia dynasty, Shang, Zhou, and Qin. The Xia dynasty lasted from 2070 to 1600 B.C.E. The Shang dynasty went from 1766 to 1122 B.C.E. The Zhou lasted from 1046 to 256 B.C.E. Finally, the Qin dynasty went from 221 to 206 B.C.E.

Moreover, complex institutions are when a group of people share a specific purpose, such as religion, army, or government. The Shang and Zhou dynasties had more prominent belief systems. The Shang dynasty believed in a high god named Di, which they sacrificed to. Di was in charge of the rain, wind, and thunder. Oracle bones were also a big part of the belief system during the Shang dynasty, they were used to tell the future. The Zhou dynasty had 4 belief systems, Confucianism, Legalism, Mohism, and Taoism. Confucianism focused on people being teachable and improvable. Legalism focused on people being motivated by self interest making them do more wrong than right. Mohism focused on universal love. Taoism is the way of all things in the universe. Their government was based on a monarchy which is when someone holds authority until death or resignation. The Zhou dynasty is most famous for their military strength.

Record keeping are forms of art and writing. Pottery writing went from 5000 to 1600 B.C.E., this was the first form of record keeping used in the yellow river valley civilization and a precursor of chinese writing. Oracle bone writing went from 1600 to 1100 B.C.E. An oracle bone is a piece of ox scapula (shoulder blade) or turtle plastron (belly of the shell). Oracle bone writing was used by the rulers to tell the future, they did this by writing a question on an oracle bone. Next they would throw it into a fire and depending on which direction the bone cracked it would decide if they should or shouldn’t do something. Bronze writing went from 1400 to 700 B.C.E., this used a chinese writing called Da-zhaun which means greater seal. Da-zhaun was grafted onto bronze vessels. Bronze vessels are symbols of power used to demand respect. Xiao-zhuan writing went from 200 B.C.E. to present. This script was used to sign documents and letters. Li-shu also went from 200 B.C.E. to present. It was termed the lesser seal, the script was used by people of lower status.

Advanced technology for the yellow river civilization included metal casting, the compass, and paper making. Metal Casting took place during 4100 B.C.E. Tons of work went into metal casting , they needed to collect the material, intense heat, and clay molds and models. With this they made weapons like swords, axes, knives, etc. For the compass they used lodestone, which is magnetic, and carved it into a spoon and placed it on a plate. It was made during 206 B.C.E. The head of the spoon faced North while the tail faces South. Paper making was one of China’s most important inventions being first made from rags. It was made during 100 C.E. Later they used plant materials, but this was a painstaking process. First they would collect bamboo, then they would soak it so it could soften, then it was pounded into a pulp. After that it was boiled making it mushy, a fine screen would be dipped into the pulp clinging to the fibers. It would then be dried and peeled off the screen. Paper was used by the rich and poor, but it was seen as a luxury.

Finally, specialized workers are people who have a special job in the community. The specialized workers included jade workers, basket workers, glass blowers, potters, iron workers, tradesmen, papermakers, scribes, and weavers. Jade workers, glass blowers, and potters were used to make materials for art and ritual purposes. Iron workers made it so everyone could have iron tools and technology. Tradesmen didn’t work much for they society, mostly for themselves. This is what puts merchants as the lowest role in society. Weavers made clothes for the people of the civilization. Basket workers made baskets for farmers. Papermakers made paper for the scribes and others to use. Scribes wrote messages for the emperor, being a scribe was the highest paying job a person could get at the time.

In conclusion, advanced cities, complicated institutions, record keeping, advanced technology, and specialized workers assisted in making the yellow river valley a civilization by bringing a feeling of community and financial opportunity to the people. This means that large populations require leadership, religion, forms of art and writing, technological advancements, and important jobs to make an advanced civilization.

 

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