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How the People of Early China Dealt with Their Geographic Luck

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How the People of Early China Dealt with their “Geographic Luck” Finding food to fill the empty stomach is, and has always been, the first priority for the human race. So when the earliest civilizations began in China, it was only human nature for people to hunt down their own food resources in the least difficult way possible. Jared Diamond developed a theory that the growth of a civilization, starting from scratch, depended on its “geographic luck” - the advantages and disadvantages the region comprised of. (Type of climate, agriculture, landforms, i.e.) China held a decent amount of crop/food related resources, but most of these crops required a warm, moist environment and would only prosper under certain conditions. Eastern Asia was dry and subarctic, making it difficult for crops to grow. The south, on the other hand, contained dense, subtropical forests and supported a variety of plant and animal life. Southern China also benefited from heavy rainfall during the summer time, which was the best season for agriculture. Gradually, this caused China’s population, along with the political and intellectual center, to migrate toward southern lands.

One of the few downsides to living in this region was that mountains formed a transportation barrier so that materials could not be exchanged easily over land. This problem was quickly solved because the Yellow and the Yangzi river systems could also serve as a transportation resource. Jared Diamond would refer to these river systems as “good geographic luck” because they were an advantage to the people of China.

The fact that the population began to move south in search of resources justifies Diamond’s theory that civilization improves more rapidly in better geographic

circumstances, as does the advantages of the river systems. The people of China realized that they could work with land and produce food for themselves much more easily in the south and that they could transport goods more efficiently over water....