Geography of Ancient China

Unlike most ancient cultures, China was effectively secluded from many other civilizations. In fact, the nation was primarily isolated from much of the rest of the globe by deserts, impassable mountains, and the Pacific Ocean.

Put simply, Ancient China was protected from invasion and was able to improve separately from other civilizations of the world.


The Yangtze River and the Yellow River are among the most essential geographical figures of Ancient China.

Both rivers passed through Central China with the Yellow River running on the North and the Yangtze River passing on the South.

Yangtze River

The rivers also served as a source of fertile soil, fresh water, transportation, and food. By the same token, it also became subjects of folklore, poetry, literature, and art.

Often recognized as the “cradle of Chinese civilization”, the Yellow River is the sixth longest river in the world with a distance of approximately 3,395 miles long.

Most scholars believe that it was at the banks of the Yellow River where the first Chinese civilization was developed.

On the other hand, the Yangtze River is the third longest river with a distance of 3,988 miles in length. Chinese farmers living in the area capitalize on the rainy weather and a warm climate to grow rice.

In addition to its favorable climate, the Yangtze River also served as the border between north and south China.

Meanwhile, Ancient China was also surrounded by the Himalaya Mountains in the south and southeast parts.

Considered as the largest mountains in the world, the Himalaya Mountains provided an impenetrable boundary for Ancient China, thus, protecting them from being conquered by other Empires.

Himalaya Mountains

The Himalaya Mountains were also a sacred area for Chinese religion.Apart from its large rivers and impregnable mountains, deserts also encircled Ancient China.

Known as two of the world’s largest deserts, the Taklamakan Desert and the Gobi Desert provided boundaries that kept the Chinese secluded from the rest of the world.

Interesting Facts about the Geography of Ancient China

  • The cities of Ancient China were bordered by walls that were constructed from packed dirt. The population in Ancient China cities was typically very high.
  • The Three Gorges Dam situated in the Yangtze River is considered as the paramount hydro-electric power plant in the world.
  • The Yellow River is sometimes called as “China’s Sorrow” due to the catastrophic floods that took place throughout history.
  • The Battle of the Red Cliffs happened in the Yangtze River.
  • Ancient China was mainly consists of farmers who resided in small villages of 100 families. It is believed that these farmers worked on nearby rivers and small family farmers.
  • Buddhism is sometimes linked with the Himalaya Mountains.
  • The Monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean create a huge amount of rainstorm in the Himalayan Mountains.
  • It is important to note that the Mongols dwelled in the Gobi Desert and were continuously breaching the cities in Northern China. To protect China from northern conquerors, early Chinese people built the Great Wall of China.

How important was the Yellow River?

The Yellow River also provided a great home for early Chinese farmers thanks to its yellow colored soil.

The yellow colored soil of the area was recognized for its ability to efficiently grow a grain known as the millet.

Sheep and cattle were among the primary animals that were raised by farmers in this area.

What is the other name of the Yellow River?

The Yellow River is also called the Huang He River.

Yellow River

What is the coldest desert in the world?

The Gobi desert is also known as the coldest desert of the world.

Why the Taklamakan Desert is called the Sea of Death?

The Taklamakan Desert is also known as the Sea of Death because of poisonous snakes and extremely hot temperature.