Geography of the Ancient Indus River Valley

Like the other early civilizations, the Harappans and civilization in Ancient India developed along a river valley. The Indus River Valley is located in a small area of land in what is now Pakistan and India. The river provided fertile soil for growing crops of rice, wheat, various fruits and vegetables, and cotton. In addition, the Indus provided grazing lands for herd animals and a steady supply of fresh water. The Indus Valley contained many natural resources that became an important part of Harappan civilization. These resources included timber for building, along with gold, silver, and other precious stones.

Flood-supported farming led to large agricultural surpluses, which in turn supported the development of cities. The Indus Valley civilization is well known for its two largest cities Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro. Each likely grew to contain between 30,000 and 60,000 individuals and were centers of trade. Excavation of both Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro shows that each city had an advanced city planning, including carefully organized houses, a sewer system, major streets, and warehouses used for storing food and merchandise and large city walls.

One of the major environmental challenges for the Harappan civilization was monsoons. Each year, from October to February winter monsoons blow westward from the northeast carrying dry air. From mid-June through October summer monsoons blow eastward from the southwest carrying moisture from the ocean in great rain clouds and often cause flooding. Monsoon patterns were unpredictable. Too little rain caused food shortages, while too much rain caused floods. Archaeologists believe this might have been one of the causes for the end of the civilization