Like the ancient Middle East, civilizations in South and East Asia first developed near great river systems. The Harappan civilization of the Indus River valley developed in the middle of the third millennium B.C.E.—approximately at the same time as the river civilizations of the Middle East. But Harappa was unable to survive natural catastrophes and nomadic incursions and disintegrated as a civilization between 1500 and 1200 B.C.E. In East Asia, however, the Shang civilization served as the foundation of a new and unified civilization—the Zhou dynasty—that endured for millennia. In this unit, we will examine the emergence and decline of these important early civilizations in Asia.