The Indus Valley Civilization – also sometimes referred to as the “Harappan Civilization” for one of its primary cities – was one of the world’s first civilizations, along with Egypt and Mesopotamia. Beginning about 3200 BC, groups of people in the Indus River Valley of what are today northwest India and southeast Pakistan began to form cities, eventually coalescing into a defined culture and reaching all the hallmarks of civilization.
Although the Indus Valley people developed writing, the script remains undeciphered so details about their civilization remain enigmatic. Modern scholars do not know if the civilization was ever under the rule of one king or ruler as ancient Egypt and as ancient Mesopotamia was at different times, and details about the Indus Valley religion, social structure, and economy also remain a mystery. With that said, archaeologists have discovered that that the Indus people had well-built and organized cities and that they developed intricate trade networks throughout south Asia and into the Near East.