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Most Important and Influential River in Human History?

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Neo Prutenia
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Postby Neo Prutenia » Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:56 pm

Aryavartha wrote:China is much more diverse than being a 'monoculture'. And India is even more so. what is the point of taking 6 small european countries and saying 6 is better than one giant subcontinental country?


So is Germany, with many hundred regional varieties. Every group has its subgroups, and every culture has its subcultures. China, however, has stubbornly resisted any non-Chinese influences, while Germany, for the better or worse has not resisted non-German influences. India is a neologism politically, as far as I know, and any mentioning of "India" requires finding common Indian traits, which happens to be Hinduism. Again, regional varieties exist everywhere, so the specific difference between Rajasthan and Bengal don't play much of a role on a larger scale. Neither do the specific differences between the Rhineland and Bavaria. In both cases we're speaking about one umbrella culture, Indian (or Chinese) and German respectively. India, unlike China has imported foreign ideas, but has exported little beyond Bollywood - and I'm talking about cultural values, ideas, worldviews, not goods, technology or similar objects. As far as I know, English is spoken in India, but Marathi isn't an official language in any anglophone country.

I never claimed that six European countries are better than one giant super country. You're being overly sensitive about it, and you're deliberately interpreting it in terms of "who's better". I'm merely stating that there's six recognisably different cultures on the Rhine and only two to three on the Indus and Ganges. There's no such thing as better or worse cultures in terms of quality. The Rhine goes through more different countries/cultures than either of the paired rivers which have been mentioned in this thread. I think that means that the Rhine is simply more culturally diverse. And those six mentioned countries also have their regional varieties and differences like India or China or Albania or Palau or any other polity on the planet.
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Postby Esperantujo 2 » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:18 pm

Neo Prutenia wrote:The Rhine; meeting point of two vastly different civilisation and culture types of the same large oikumene (Catholic/Protestant ; Germanic/Romance), place of origin of any modern notions of capitalism, finances, and banking (The Netherlands happen to be located here), a major artery of communication, transportation, and exchange smack in the middle of Europe, connecting the world's largest harbour with the interior of the largest common market in the world, the highest population density in Europe, the major concentration of industry on this planet, a connector for the major cities and institutions of the EU, with sassy Straßburg sitting right there in the middle, and the wine is really good, regardless on which side of the river you happen to be.

As far as I know, wine and currency is what human history has always been about, so...

Danube would be a close second, but nowadays we have the Rhine-Main-Danube canal connecting the extreme west with the extreme east of the continent, with the Rhine being the more dominant part of this waterway.

Why not the other ones? Well, because all the other rivers are part of larger monocultures - Tigris and Euphrates (Mesopotamia, i.e. all the historic versions of what is now Iraq, inc.), Nile (Egypt only), Yangtze/Yellow (China only), Indus/Ganges (India only). Not wanting to diminish their improtance on their part of history, but they are specific to one culture and mostly one ethnolinguistic group, none of which managed to "export" their values beyond their immediate area, unlike the Rhine (and connected rivers) which bring many different values and ideas together to form a greater whole, while exporting many of the values which did originate in that area. Capitalism and those lovely World Wars proved to be quite the global fad, didn't they?

The Tigris and to the some extent the Euphrates were the centre of many civilisations: Persian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Chaldean,
Parthian, Aramaic, Kurdish, Turkish, Jewish and Arabic. It has produced the Epic of Gilgamesh and much of the Old Testament. The Rhine on the other hand has been an almost exclusively German river.

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Postby Geilinor » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:38 pm

Africa-Nile
Europe-Rhine
Middle East-Euphrates
Asia-Yellow, Yangtze, or Indus
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Neo Prutenia
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Postby Neo Prutenia » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:40 pm

Esperantujo 2 wrote:The Tigris and to the some extent the Euphrates were the centre of many civilisations: Persian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Chaldean,
Parthian, Aramaic, Kurdish, Turkish, Jewish and Arabic. It has produced the Epic of Gilgamesh and much of the Old Testament. The Rhine on the other hand has been an almost exclusively German river.


Continental Celtic groups and tribes, Continental German(ic) groups and tribes, Rome, Huns, all the little Germanic tribal kingdoms of the Migration period, various Christian groups, the Carolingian Empire, the Holy Roman Empire, the Franks and later France as a whole, Burgundy, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Austria and the Habsburg Monarchy in general (which linked it to Spain - yes, Spanish boots have been marching through that area for a substantial amount of time), all the various polities set in motion by the Napoleonic and post-Napoleonic era, Prussia, and least but not last Germany. What? Only people who worship the sun and building ziggurats count as separate groups?

And the Rhine hasn't contributed anything to world literature or religion? Really? It's just the border between the Romance and Germanic languages and Roman Catholicism and Protestantism, modern capitalism has its roots there - that silly, unimportant socioeconomic system upon which our entire contemporary civilisation is based, - and the entire current political organisation of the planet was at least partially caused by the Rhine. Who'll end up controlling the Rhine, this simple question question is responsible for tens of millions of dead, two world wars (three if we count the Napoleonic ones as a world war, which it was) and Europe finally getting its act together.

Man, I'd wish it was an exclusively German river. Than I could say Germany alone shaped modern history and thinking. And I think the friendly fellow on the other side of said river would want the same, only the French version. The Rhine was never exclusively one groups river. Ever.
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Postby Geilinor » Fri Oct 04, 2013 4:48 pm

Jack Holland wrote:The biggest question though to consider is where did man originate and what river did he originally live by? Whatever river that was, there you go, question answered. However, the problem is, since many disagree with the origin of man, this question can't be unlaterally solved

Actually, science does know where humanity originated. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recent_African_origin_of_modern_humans
The Awash River in Ethiopia, most likely.
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Postby Holocrystalline Dollies » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:00 pm

Song.

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Postby Pacifornia » Fri Oct 04, 2013 5:34 pm

No Colorado river? This river helped create Las Vegas and power the southwest with the electricity from the Hoover dam.
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Postby GraySoap » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:35 pm

Yangtze.
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Postby Fascist Russian Empire » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:51 pm

The Nile, Rhine, or Danube.

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Postby Libertarian California » Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:55 pm

The Sacramento River, obviously.
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Postby Jamjai » Fri Oct 04, 2013 7:42 pm

Tigris River and Euphrates River

Thats where the homo sapiens made civilization from or close to it

water was essential to their economy, food, and basically to survive in the harsh world
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Postby Forsher » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:08 pm

Sylvaria wrote:
Risottia wrote:Doesn't even exist.

Wait, what? Please explain.


The actual river is known as the Mississippi. In other words, whoever it was, spelt it incorrectly and Risottia pointed that out.

Nevanmaa wrote:Rhine or Mississippi.


Explain the latter, I really do not see how that would work.

Nanatsu no Tsuki wrote:Depends on the culture, its history and where said culture is located geographically speaking. I'm sure the Tiber was incredibly influential to the peoples of Italy, while the Orinoco was a lifeline to the Amazonian tribes. The Nile gave life to the Egyptians while the Boyne provided for the Celts of Ireland.


The Waikato is probably the most significant river in NZ but it's a very poor (and polluted) answer to this question.

To be honest, I think spreading the influence around the world is the tricky part with most of these. The Nile is a pretty easy one but so many of these places essentially shut themselves off from the rest of the world, or ended up that way because geography. This doesn't apply so much to (in my view) the Thames but does to the Tigris-Euphrates but that may be because of limited personal knowledge means I don't see the links.

Shofercia wrote:
Magna Libero wrote:Why on earth would you say that?
A lot of technological development came from the Nile area.


Even more technological development came from the Tiber area.


Technological development is just going to either bias answers to very old cultures or more recent ones. In the first case, you're looking at independently developed advances. In the second case, "shoulders of giants".

Rio Cana wrote:
Magna Libero wrote:Also the battle at Volga/Stalingrad was less than a century ago, while Nile has been important for several Millennials.



Nile was important for watering crops and trade. But I do not think, the Nile has not carried or produced has much wealth has the Amazon.


With all nominations I think a better explanation has to be made for the impact on human history as a whole. Any river (or river system) that is crucial to a culture that remained (whether by choice or not) restricted to a specific area is going to be up the creek without a paddle. Ones where expansion started fairly recently are going to have a paddle but it'll be more like a short punt.

Libraria and Ausitoria wrote:The Thames.

By a long way.


I really do think it's a contender here (especially as there will never be a definitive answer) and it amazes me that it has had so few mentions.

Luveria wrote:The Rubicon, because it gave humanity the wondrous idiom of "Crossing the Rubicon".


Never heard of it. Or the river either come to think of it.
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Postby The Scientific States » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:12 pm

The Nile.
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Postby Forsher » Fri Oct 04, 2013 8:17 pm

L Ron Cupboard wrote:No Beatles fans going for the Mersey?


Mere ferries cross the Mersey, therefore it can't mean much.
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Postby Radiatia » Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:03 pm

I'm sure everyone else has said the same thing, but obviously it's the Whau River in Auckland, New Zealand - the stream which keeps the civilised denizens of Auckland city safe from the savagery and barbarianism of West Auckland.

I know other rivers have contributed to the rise of civilisation, but I dare you to remain civilised when people from West Auckland come flocking towards you.

Luckily however, it is a scientific fact that people from West Auckland are unable to cross running water, and so for now civilisation is safe from mullets, denim, Holdens and AC/DC fans thanks to the Whau River.

Try and top that, Euphrates.

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Postby Arumdaum » Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:09 pm

Neo Prutenia wrote:
Arumdaum wrote:Rhine has vastly different civilizations and cultures, Mesopotamia/China/India are all so similar

sure

keep on thinking that


You're free to try and convince me otherwise, although that's not what I said or implied.

Oh please, that's most definitely what you were implying. It's what you fucking said.

Are you perhaps sensitive about this issue?

I'm sorry that I'm allergic to eurocentrics who happen to be totally ignorant of world history ;'(

There's no arguing that China is a monoculture, and has been such for thousands of years.

You seem to enjoy things with confidence about a country you clearly know nothing about. Why?

China has a large amount of different ethnic groups, with large minorities including the Zhang, Hui, Tibetans, Manchus, Uyghurs, Miao, and Yi. Of course, there's a lot, lot more. If we go back thousands of years, most of the place didn't even speak a Chinese language. We'd have Tibeto-Burman speaking peoples in Sichuan (which actually developed civilization independently of the main civilization between the Yellow and Yangtze rivers), more of those in Tibet, Austronesian speakers in Fujian and Taiwan, Austroasiatic speakers in Guangdong, and much, much more.

Of course, this is nothing like the relatively puny differences between "Romantic" and "Germanic" in largely culturally homogeneous Europe, but rather more like the massive differences between "Indo-European" and "Semitic," or "Indo-European" and "Dravidian."

Culturally, these people were nothing like the Chinese, although many of them were assimilated into seeing themselves as Chinese.

It's the textbook definition of "uninterrupted political continuity",

While some people may like to say that, let's look at

the vast majority of the Zhou dynasty
Warring States period
late Han dynasty
late Tang dynasty
Three Kingdoms period
Warlords period
hrmmmmm

I wonder what this is

and both the Yangtze and Yellow River are relevant to China only.

You know, this might be because China is a pretty big place. Like, y'know, 150% the size of Europe if you exclude Russia.


However, the Chinese civilisation and its values have not gone beyond their immediate neighbourhood, the Sinosphere.

It might help to have a size comparison for the size of the Sinosphere. Here's a rough equivalent. China has done a remarkable job of expanding its civilization, border, and culture.

It's certainly a great contributor to human history and diversity, but on a global level, it has been outcompeted by other cultures.

Which has absolutely nothing to do with culture, but the fact that the Industrial Revolution first occurred in Britain, the geographical closeness between the Americas and Europe, and the fact that there were no large mammals able to be domesticated in the Americas.

India is a rather modern concept, barring a few early attempts to unify the sub-continent. Ashoka's Empire comes to mind. We could talk about a Hindu continuity and oikumene, and a unified Hindu monoculture, but it never achieved any particular success outside of its borders.

India is most definitely not a monolithic block of similar culture. The only unifying similarity is Hinduism, which itself is a pretty modern concept. However, even then, there are a significant amount of Muslims in India, and even more before the division of British India.

Assuming that it's a monoculture, as you say, is as accurate as saying that Europe is a monoculture, although Europe doesn't tend to be as diverse.

Again, limited to its immediate neighbourhood.

MEHHHH

Plus, both Indian rivers run just through two countries each, India and Pakistan for the Indus, and India and Bangladesh for the Ganges.

The number of countries it runs through is irrelevant. India isn't as politically fractured as Europe.

In addition, what do the local differences matter if they never managed to expose themselves and establish politically?

Perhaps because differences are real, whether or not different groups are independent? If all of Europe was united under France, but was then colonized by say, Korea, and then was given independence as a single nation, would you say the same?

Mesopotamia certainly was a monoculture with shifting political regimes until it, like Egypt, was conquered by foreign political entities.

How so?

Mesopotamia was pretty diverse with a large number of differing peoples, especially if you consider Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Liechtenstein to be so different.

In modern times, those two rivers go through three countries - Turkey, Syria, and Iraq, inc.

Of which Syria and Iraq happen to be states drawn with arbitrary borders made by colonial powers.

Not to mention, the borders of Iraq were pretty much drawn to take up the vast majority of the river.

The Rhine is relevant to six countries, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Switzerland, and partially Austria and Lichtenstein.

Together, that's about the size of Egypt alone. If China was fractured into a million different states, would you name every tiny one along the Yellow or Yangtze river?

That's already more diversity than either of the six rivers mentioned above, and those came in pairs.

haha, don't be shitting me

How about we properly pair up the Rhine with the Danube over the Main? You'd have a connection from the North sea to the Black sea. Perhaps as pairs, the Indus/Ganges, Tigris/Euphrates etc can be candidates for most important/influential, but the Rhine can hold up to them alone.

wtf
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Postby Arumdaum » Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:13 pm

Geilinor wrote:Africa-Nile
Europe-Rhine
Middle East-Euphrates
Asia-Yellow, Yangtze, or Indus

why do you separate them all but put china and india in the same category D:
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Postby Seitonjin » Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:14 pm

Indus, Euphrates, and Yangzhe.

All were cradles of civilization in their respective areas.
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Postby Alleniana » Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:25 pm

Nazis in Space wrote:
Union Of Canadorian Socialists Republic wrote:Tiber River perhaps? A lot of rivers are historically important.
'Being the location of' is significantly different from 'Being of crucial importance for the development of'.

Yes, this.

Egypt could not have survived or existed without the Nile, for example, while on the other hand, Tiber did not necessarily create Rome; Rome just was there, and it is possible that some other village took over the empire Rome did.

Also, mildly surprised Mekong hasn't come up.

Those people choosing Tigris & Euphrates... that's two, not one...

Mississippi... I don't see it. Wasn't significant until a few hundred years ago, and did rather little except helping Murcah to develop. Same for Amazon, sort of.

Also, the Dafuq river is good. Don't bag.

Rubicon?
One saying doesn't quite match up to help in developing bread, the wheel, writing, etc.

Also, I thought Rhine would be eurocentricbashed :p

And Indus seems to have been dreadfully neglected.

China is not really monoculture, like hell India is

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Postby Christmahanikwanzikah » Fri Oct 04, 2013 10:31 pm

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Postby Luziyca » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:00 pm

Nile, because of Egyptian civilization. Also, hot spot for aliens apparently.
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Postby Mushet » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:52 pm

The Serbian Empire wrote:I will come out of left field with the St. Lawrence River for the many locks that lift vessels up and down from the ocean to the Great Lakes. It's more of an environmental impact as the ecology of the Great Lakes has been altered greatly by shipping activity on the St. Lawrence Seaway with the likes of sea lampreys, zebra mussels, Russian perch, and Eurasian ruffe having invaded the lakes while bluegill and pumpkinseed fish from the Great Lakes have crept into freshwater river ports through the world also becoming invasive through much of Europe, South America, and Asia. For a river with such a short history of only about 400 years, the St. Lawrence has done quite a bit in changing the ecology of the world with fish species once contained only to Europe and the Great Lakes now being spread on a global scale. Not to mention the engineering works of the locks or the walls of the city of Montreal that sit on the banks of the St. Lawrence from the colonial days of New France. Cities up above the river source of Lake Ontario have grown large and significant with Toronto, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Buffalo, and Cleveland having massive economic stakes in the works of the Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway.

What do you mean the river only has a 400 year old history :eyebrow:
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Postby Mushet » Fri Oct 04, 2013 11:56 pm

Alleniana wrote:
Nazis in Space wrote:'Being the location of' is significantly different from 'Being of crucial importance for the development of'.

Yes, this.

Egypt could not have survived or existed without the Nile, for example, while on the other hand, Tiber did not necessarily create Rome; Rome just was there, and it is possible that some other village took over the empire Rome did.

Also, mildly surprised Mekong hasn't come up.

Those people choosing Tigris & Euphrates... that's two, not one...

Mississippi... I don't see it. Wasn't significant until a few hundred years ago, and did rather little except helping Murcah to develop. Same for Amazon, sort of.

Also, the Dafuq river is good. Don't bag.

Rubicon?
One saying doesn't quite match up to help in developing bread, the wheel, writing, etc.

Also, I thought Rhine would be eurocentricbashed :p

And Indus seems to have been dreadfully neglected.

China is not really monoculture, like hell India is

How were those rivers not significant until a few hundred years ago?
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Postby Alleniana » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:07 am

Mushet wrote:
Alleniana wrote:Yes, this.

Egypt could not have survived or existed without the Nile, for example, while on the other hand, Tiber did not necessarily create Rome; Rome just was there, and it is possible that some other village took over the empire Rome did.

Also, mildly surprised Mekong hasn't come up.

Those people choosing Tigris & Euphrates... that's two, not one...

Mississippi... I don't see it. Wasn't significant until a few hundred years ago, and did rather little except helping Murcah to develop. Same for Amazon, sort of.

Also, the Dafuq river is good. Don't bag.

Rubicon?
One saying doesn't quite match up to help in developing bread, the wheel, writing, etc.

Also, I thought Rhine would be eurocentricbashed :p

And Indus seems to have been dreadfully neglected.

China is not really monoculture, like hell India is

How were those rivers not significant until a few hundred years ago?

Mississippi, though the centre of many pre-Columbian civilizations, did not really have much of an effect on anything until the colonies came.
Same for Amazon. The native civilizations did not affect a lot.

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Postby New Manvir » Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:10 am

Mushet wrote:
The Serbian Empire wrote:I will come out of left field with the St. Lawrence River for the many locks that lift vessels up and down from the ocean to the Great Lakes. It's more of an environmental impact as the ecology of the Great Lakes has been altered greatly by shipping activity on the St. Lawrence Seaway with the likes of sea lampreys, zebra mussels, Russian perch, and Eurasian ruffe having invaded the lakes while bluegill and pumpkinseed fish from the Great Lakes have crept into freshwater river ports through the world also becoming invasive through much of Europe, South America, and Asia. For a river with such a short history of only about 400 years, the St. Lawrence has done quite a bit in changing the ecology of the world with fish species once contained only to Europe and the Great Lakes now being spread on a global scale. Not to mention the engineering works of the locks or the walls of the city of Montreal that sit on the banks of the St. Lawrence from the colonial days of New France. Cities up above the river source of Lake Ontario have grown large and significant with Toronto, Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, Buffalo, and Cleveland having massive economic stakes in the works of the Welland Canal and St. Lawrence Seaway.

What do you mean the river only has a 400 year old history :eyebrow:


Well, it's obvious the Native Americans didn't really have a history. They were just loafing about, waiting for some white people to show up so the real fun could start.
Last edited by New Manvir on Sat Oct 05, 2013 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
I am from Canada | I'm some kind of Socialist | And also Batman
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Socialism is an economic system characterised by social ownership of the means of production and co-operative management of the economy. "Social ownership" may refer to cooperative enterprises, common ownership, state ownership, citizen ownership of equity, or any combination of these. There are many varieties of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them. They differ in the type of social ownership they advocate, the degree to which they rely on markets or planning, how management is to be organised within productive institutions, and the role of the state in constructing socialism.

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