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Harappans

The Harappans are city planners without peer, cultivating peas and sesame, cotton and barley, by ingeniously channeling the flood waters of the monsoon season for their own benefit.

In the region of present-day Pakistan, along the Indus River (from which India got its name), a rich and prosperous civilization developed in the third millennium BCE: the Indus Valley Civilization, also known as the Harappan Civilization, named after the city of Harappa where the first archaeological discoveries were found.

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Although the region had been inhabited earlier, it was only in approximately 2600 BCE that urban centers, including Harappa and Mohenjo-Daro, reached their peak before disappearing around 1800 BCE. At this period in history, the region had a hot and humid climate conducive to farming, which would have allowed the inhabitants to live very prosperously. One of the most remarkable facts about this civilization is perhaps the structure of its cities, which had tens of thousands of inhabitants and an exceptional level of urban development for the time. These cities also appeared to have developed exceptional water management systems using extensive canal networks. Aside from the many public fountains, the houses had access to fresh water, access to latrines, and even boasted wastewater drainage systems. The reasons for the collapse of this civilization remain a mystery. Several theories exist, one of which hypothesizes that the arrival of new groups from the north may have triggered the sudden decline of Harappan cities. However, no archaeological evidence exists that would confirm the theory of a war. To date, the most convincing theory is that a natural disaster caused the riverbeds to dry up and forced the inhabitants eastward.

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The uniformity of these cities makes it difficult to identify any rich or poor neighborhoods. Moreover, there are no signs indicating the existence of a servile class that could have built these cities, unlike other regions of the ancient world. Based on these facts, many people like to think that this was a nonviolent society without any hierarchical structure, although it has not yet been possible to prove this.