I thought it was interesting how Ancient China did not unify for a really long time, even though other states we have seen started out very separately too. In Ancient Mesopotamia, there were many cultures that overlapped and exerted a lot of influence, and in the Ancient Indus Valley there were a lot of cultures that co-existed during the creation of the (possibly?) unified state. Even though we do not know a lot about the Ancient Indus Valley, we think it was unified, though in a different way from Ancient Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt. Ancient Egypt, on the other spectrum, did not seem to have multiple cultures. The Lower Egypt culture became replaced by Upper Egyptian culture, so during unification, there was not really more than one type of culture the way there was in Sumerian, Akkadian, or Harappan culture.
There are multiple facets to why this interests me, the first being that the diversity of cultures and the difficulty of unification seems to increase as we move east across the globe. Each of these cultures or sets of cultures we have talked about occur around river systems, and, aside from the Nile, we haven’t talked all that much about how the river worked, except that it was important for irrigation/agriculture. It would be interesting to me to see if perhaps the changes in the river systems across these places could perhaps account for some of the differences in cultures and unification processes. I am not really sure how these would work, but it does seem intriguing that the Nile was the only river we talked about in great depth and that was the one state we talked about with a pretty unified culture as well.
Another part of this that makes me wonder is the trade aspect of the state. In each of the other states, especially the Indus Valley, we spent a good amount of time talking about how long distance trade affected the unification process and the fall of the state. However, in Ancient China, we did not really mention trade as an important part of the growth of states. We talked about how different cultures that grew into states were interconnected with other cultures through the idea of elite competition. However, we did not talk about whether trade was another aspect to this interconnectedness. It appeared in the Ancient Indus Valley that the inter-dependency on their trade network outside their state, which was a key factor in their collapse. However, because Ancient China did not have this inter-dependency within trade networks, is it possible they did not become unified quickly because they did not need the extremely large-scale workings such trade would require of a state? I guess what I am asking is what factors played into how China was able to stay so separate for such a long time when everyone around them was becoming unified.