These fertile farming regions supported the largest populations.
Then, as now, the rivers provided water for irrigation and served as transportation routes.
The powerful empires that arose in Europe and China during the ancient period were similar in many ways.
The Roman Empire was, in some ways, the culmination of the technological and intellectual advancements that had been enjoyed by Mediterranean cultures for centuries.
Through military might, administrative genius, and architectural achievement, the Roman Empire was able to assume dominance over Northern Africa, the Middle East, and most of Europe.
It maintained that dominance until its decline due to a variety of factors.
However, Chinese civilization developed very distinctly due to its geography.
For Rome, the Italian peninsula is centrally located in the Mediterranean Sea, and the city of Rome sits toward the center of Italy.
The Han Empire in China, while different in the manner of its rise to power, was similar to its Roman counterpart in its achievements, its strengths, and the weaknesses that eventually caused its decline.
The Han dynasty prospered due to a well-structured administration and constant military success.