Civilization in the Huang He Valley China today has the most people of any nation on Earth: over 1.2 billion China has one of the longest continuous histories on Earth. Their civilization began in the fertile valley of the Huang He or “Yellow River.” The river is yellow due to the yellow silt it carries. The silt is called Loess The river valley was so fertile that wars were started to control the food production of the area. The people of China believe that the world was created by a giant named Pan Gu. The Chinese believed in many gods, and even prayed to their ancestors. The Chinese would ask questions about the future using “oracle bones.” The oracle would cast the bone into a fire. How the bone broke in the heat determined the answer. The answer was then written on the bone with Chinese pictographs. That is how we know so much about life back then. The Xia were the first dynasty. They ruled with a Mandate of Heaven, or an order to the king to rule, given by the gods. The Shang Dynasty came next. They greatly expanded the empire. The greatest advancement was the invention of Chinese writing (pictographs). Because of the difficult terrain (landforms) around China, communication and travel were difficult. It is surround by the Pacific Ocean, The Himalayan Mountains, The Gobi and Takla Makan Deserts just to name a few. The Chinese people thought that they were the center of the universe as a result of this. They knew very little about the world outside.