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What facilitated Mesopotamia's economy?

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Quick Answer

The economy of ancient Mesopotamia, which was scarce in local natural resources, relied heavily on trade with neighboring regions. Goods such as textiles, grain and oils were exchanged for hardwood, precious stones and wine, according to The British Museum.

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What facilitated Mesopotamia's economy?
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Mesopotamia was an area in the eastern Mediterranean bordered by the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers. The Ancient History Encyclopedia describes its location as corresponding with modern-day Iran, Turkey and Syria. Established around 5,000 B.C.E., Mesopotamia is often described as the "cradle of civilization" due to the fact that it was the birthplace of both the modern city system and the written language. Penn Museum tells us that as early settlements grew into cities, their need for goods and materials also grew. Trading reached a high point around 3,000 B.C., with established routes carrying goods to and from the Indus Valley, Anatolia, Syria and other nearby regions. Historians know that trade was organized by both private merchants and the state. Goods were transported by local waterways, including the major river systems, as well as by foot or on donkeys. A sea route via the Persian Gulf would have been very active during this time, as would an eastern route through the Zagros Mountains, which led to the bountiful Iranian plateau.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How did Mesopotamia become a center of trade?

    A:

    Mesopotamia became a center of trade early in human history because its farmers mastered irrigation early, providing more crops than they needed to support the population. This allowed Mesopotamia to trade the surplus with neighbors. Its position between Europe and Asia also made it a prime trading hub.

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  • Q:

    Why did early civilizations develop in Mesopotamia?

    A:

    Several factors played a part in the development of early civilizations in Mesopotamia, but the most important factor was its location. Mesopotamia is situated between two very fertile rivers, which allowed agriculture to expand for the first time in human history.

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  • Q:

    Why is Mesopotamia called the "cradle of civilization"?

    A:

    Mesopotamia is called the cradle of civilization because the development of agriculture, including the domestication of animals, began there 8,000 years ago, before any other civilization. The advances in the region led to the development of cities, the wheel and written language by 3,000 B.C.

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  • Q:

    What was a city-state in Mesopotamia?

    A:

    The city-states of ancient Mesopotamia were independent cities constructed around temples and entirely self-contained within mighty perimeter walls. City-states were unified with each other only by their shared use of the Sumerian language. They spent most of their time engaged in conflict over resources.

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