Chapter 5 deals with the civilizations that developed in the isolated river valleys of the East. Less is known about these civilizations than those of Mesopotamia and Egypt because high mountains, broad deserts, and large bodies of water cut off the people who settled in the eastern river valleys from other parts of the world. Much of what is known comes from legend.
Section 1 describes how the Indus River valley civilization developed in South Asia, beginning about 2500 B.C. The Harappan people of the Indus River valley learned to control the river. They are believed to have been the first people to produce cotton cloth, bake bricks in ovens, and build sanitation systems. Two Harappan cities are the oldest known planned communities in the world.
Section 2 focuses on the development of the Shang dynasty in the Huang Ho (Yellow River) valley of northern China. It explores how religion influenced the Shang and examines the lasting impact of their fine bronze works of art.