Asia is a vast landmass with numerous natural environments that support primarily two types of livelihood: farming and herding. Within this framework, the early developments of South Asia and East Asia are examined, starting with the great river valleys in India and China. Although sharing many similarities in their large urban states and literature cultures, key differences distinguished them. This chapter will examine the rise and change of societies in the river valleys in India and China, and show how contacts between the settled and nomadic people of Asia were constant, and their uses of the natural environment were complementary. In addition, the role and the importance of the Indo-European speakers to this period of Eurasian history further shows the contacts and connections between the groups. The Counterpoint of this chapter observes how the Oxus culture took advantage of an isolated oasis to create an unexpected agricultural society, only to see it vanish over the course of four hundred years.

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