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The Arabian Peninsula Essay

1664 words - 7 pages

Although the Arabian Peninsula is covered in deserts and mountains, such as the Asir Mountains, it served as the birthplace for multiple civilizations. With the use of key geographic features, various groups of people were able the thrive and prevail. The Tigris and Euphrates rivers provided civilizations with a water source and fertile land that allowed for sustenance and an agricultural-based economy. Deserts, like the Syrian Desert, protected the people from invasion and promoted the economy with the use of camel caravans. In addition, the Red Sea encouraged extensive trade with foreign nations which lead to the development of intellectual and prosperous empires, like the Saba Kingdom. The Mediterranean Sea allowed for contact and cultural diffusion between the Arabs, Europeans.
The first humans to settle on the Arabian Peninsula adopted foraging to survive approximately 15-20 thousand years ago. Fifteen thousand years ago, the last ice cap melted and the geography of the peninsula changed drastically (“History”). The climate reshaped from a savannah to a dry and arid desert (“History”). Approximately, 75% of the Arabian Peninsula is covered by deserts such as the Arabian, Syrian, and Rub al-Khali Deserts (“The Islam Project”). Because of the climate change, nomadic tribes dispersed to land rich in nutrients found in the Fertile Crescent and along the border of the peninsula. The Fertile Crescent is located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers and provided an excellent water source during the Neolithic Revolution, when nomads settled and discovered agriculture (“The Islam Project”). However, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers run parallel to one another and are known to flood unpredictably causing devastation among to settlers in the area (Penn #). Some floods are a result of snow melting in the spring, which causes the water level to rise and destroy the crops nearby (“Tigris-Euphrates river system”). Consequently, farmers needed a way to control the floods and protect their crops which provided the sustenance they needed to survive the entire year. They invented irrigation and drainage systems to channel the water to their fields and get rid of the excess flood water (Penn #). Since the rivers, especially the Tigris, were so destructive, it forced governments to form and centralize power to maintain control of the floods (Penn #). Failure to centralize power caused civilizations, like the Sumerians, to collapse (Penn #). Along with the settlements that developed in the Fertile Crescent, certain borders of the Arabian Peninsula provided fertile land ideal for agrarian societies. The Hejaz, Asir, and Yemen Mountains, which run along the south and west borders of the peninsula, receive plenty of rain from the monsoon winds of the Indian Ocean (Bahn #). Similarly to the Fertile Crescent, farmers irrigated and channeled the water to their fields. They also took advantage of the mountains and used terrace farming, a technique that used steps of...

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