Throughout time, geography has played a central role in the formation of human civilization; water, mountain ranges, and other geographical features have helped shape the cities and states that we see today in the modern world. Whether the Nile Valley is providing water for the people and farming throughout Egypt or how the central position of Rome greatly shaped the course of events Italy, each geographic factor immensely effected the progression of the civilizations. The growth of countries such as China, Egypt and Italy are examples of the influences that geography has had on the development of a civilization. The use of river valleys, natural boundaries, and the human- environmental interaction were prominent aspects of these developing civilizations.

The most important part of a developing civilization is the use of water and the land around the water. Rivers provide the source of water needed for a civilization to develop, and the fertile land surrounding the river provides a prime location for an agriculturally based society to develop. The first great African civilization in the northern Nile Valley which was very dependent on agriculture was Egypt. Egypt relied heavily on the flooding of the Nile for irrigation and new soils. The Nile is seen as the fountain of life in Egypt.

Between the months of June and October every year, the great rivers of the Nile rush north, and flood the highlands of Ethiopia, which surges off the land, and leaves behind water for the people, and fertile land, which can be used for agriculture. Having this source of food and water is what permitted the civilization to rise successfully. The Nile also forced a change in the political system in Egypt, since the country needed a ruler that was capable of enforcing the farming methods used, including the hoarding of water and the stocking of food harvested. Only a strong centralized government could manage the economy properly, which to Egypt's advantage, they lived in a fairly isolated area, which would aid them in their development of a government.