Social Studies - 2019-20

WHI.3b - Ancient River Valley Civilizations Development of Social, Political, and Economic Patterns

The student will apply social science skills to understand the ancient river valley civilizations, including those of Mesopotamia, Egypt, the Indus River Valley, and China and the civilizations of the Hebrews and Phoenicians, by

b) describing the development of social, political, and economic patterns, including slavery;

Adopted: 2015


How did civilizations gain, consolidate, maintain, and lose their power?

  • Do the benefits of innovation outweigh the costs?

  • How does our environment affect us? How do we affect it?


River valleys were the “cradles of civilization.” Early civilizations made major contributions to social, political, and economic development.


Development of social patterns

 Hereditary rulers: Dynasties of kings, pharaohs

 Rigid class system where slavery was accepted

Development of political patterns

 World’s first states (i.e., city-states, kingdoms, empires)

 Centralized government, often based on religious authority

 Written law codes (e.g., Ten Commandments, Code of Hammurabi)

Development of economic patterns

 Use of metal (e.g., bronze, iron) tools and weapons

 Increasing agricultural surplus: Better tools, plows, irrigation

 Increasing trade along rivers and by the sea (Phoenicians)

 Development of the world’s first cities

 Development of the practice of slavery within most cultures in the ancient world, taking various forms



Civilization (3a)

Division of labor (3a)

Cultural diffusion (3a)

Code of Hammurabi (3b)

Theocracy (3b)

City state (3b)

Dynasty (3b)

Empire (3b)

Divine (3b)

Barter (3b)

Slavery (3b)

Ziggurat (3c)

Polytheism (3c)

Monotheism (3c)

Judaism (3d)

Diaspora (3d)

Exile (3d)

Torah (3d)

Ten Commandments (3d)

Jerusalem (3d)

Christianity (3d)

Islam (3d)

Pictograms (3e)

Cuneiform (3e)

Hieroglyphics (3e)

Alphabet (3e)


Hebrews (3a)

Phoenicians (3a)

Hammurabi (3b)

Jews (3d)

Abraham (3d)

Moses (3d)


River Valley Civilizations (3a)

Mesopotamia (3a)

Fertile Crescent (3a)

Sumer (3a)

Egypt (3a)

India (3a)

Indus (3a)

China (3a)

Shang (3a)

Tigris & Euphrates Rivers (3a)

Nile River (3a)

Indus River (3a)

Huang He River (3a)

Jordan River

Nubia (3a)

Babylon (3a) 

Updated: May 21, 2018