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-What does this name mean?
Mesopotamia means the “land between the rivers” - the two rivers are the Tigris River and the Euphrates River
-Where was Mesopotamia located?
Mesopotamia was located in what is now modern-day Iraq.
-What were the four major challenges that the Mesopotamians faced because of their location?
food shortages in the hills
an uncontrolled water supply on the plains
difficulties in building and maintaining systems that provided water across village boundaries
attacks by neighboring communities
-What were the Zagros foothills and why did food shortages occur in this area?
The Zagros foothills were foothills located in northern Mesopotamia.
Food shortages occurred because there was not enough land to grow food for the increasing population.
-Instead of staying in the foothills, where did the people move? Why?
Instead of staying in the foothills, the people moved onto the plains (located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers). They moved here
because there were not many people who lived there. Also, when the rivers flooded in the spring, the people had access to water needed for
-What did this new region become known as?
This new region became known as Sumer.
-Why was the uncontrolled water supply in the River Valley a problem for the Sumerians?
No one knew when the floods would come, so if they came after the farmers planted crops, the crops would be washed away.
-How did they solve this problem?
They solved this problem by creating irrigation systems made from levees where the flooding water could run down into holes and into the
They also dug canals to help shape the path the water took.
They also built dams along the river to block the water and force it to collect into pools (reservoirs) that could be stored and used later.
-How did maintaining the irrigation systems help the Sumerians begin to create larger communities?
The systems needed constant care and repair because canals could become clogged with silt. Farmers in different villages helped each other
clean out the silt from the canals or balance water levels in the reservoirs. As they worked together, they began to build larger communities
that developed into towns, cities, and later city-states.
-What problems arose from the larger communities? How were city-states the solution?
Problems included: arguments over the rights to use water, preventing others from having access to water by blocking other cities’ canals,
attacks by neighboring communities.
Since the plains provided no natural barriers such as mountains or rushing rivers to keep enemies out, the Sumerians built strong walls
around their cities (made out of mud bricks) and dug moats to protect their city. Since most people lived within the walls of the city, these
cities became like independent countries.