As a homeschool mom I try to make the study of history fun and interesting for my children. To accomplish this I write about on the internet and then send the links to my kids via email and then ask them questions about it. So here is an article I have written regarding the beginning of culture and civilization in the ancient Indus River Valley.

The first known civilization in the Indus River Valley began about 4, 500 years ago in the northwest part of the subcontinent of India. The geography and climate of India were key factors into why people settled where they did.

There are two major rivers in India. One is called the Indus River andthe other is called the Ganges River. The Indus River is in the west and flows southwest across a dry plain. The Ganges River flows southeast through a fairly fertile area. Both rivers drain into a region called the Indo-Gagetic Plain. There are many other geographic regions in India, but for this discussion it is the Indus River we are most interested in.

A great civilization, known as the Harrapan Civilization, started in about 2500 BC and lasted about a thousand years. It was founded in the Indus River Valley. Sadly, all that remains of Harrapans are the ruins of their cities. The two most famous cites are Mohenjo Daro and Harappa.

Archeologists have been studying these ruins extensively for many years and have learned that their cities were planned out and very big. Both Mohenjo Daro and Harappa had straight and wide streets that intersected at correct right angles.

Each city had public water works, which included public baths and brick sewers. Their engineers understood the concept of a slight declining angle being necessarry to move the sewer water down, by gravity, away from the city and that it needed to be kept separate from the drinking water.

Many of the houses were two story and made of brick. They boasted their own bathrooms and seperate garbage chutes. Their indoor bathrooms had toilets with seats (more like a latrine than the toilet we are familiar with) and the plumbing connected to an elaborate sewer system under the city.

Each of the cities were centered around a citadel, that was heavily fortified. Also, the cities had large buildings that were most likely government administration buildings. Near these big buildings was a gigantic public bath, known as the Great Bath, in the center of town. It was probably used for religious purposes.

The city planners made sure that there were storehouses for grain, that could store enough to feed 35,000 people.

These and many other archeological facts make it pretty clear that the people of these great cities had leaders that planned well, and that the government was probably strong and centralized. They planned for famine and attack. However, with all their planning and technological advances, their civilization came to a mysterious end. The cities were abandoned and only rediscovered thousands of years later.