Mesopotamia was the birthplace of some of the earliest civilizations. It is also known as Tabunok Medyaluna. Because of its fertile soil, civilizations such as Sumer, Akkad, Babylon, Assyria, and Chaldea flourished here. Today Mesopotamia is made up of the modern states of Iraq and a small part of Iran.
The name Mesopotamia translates to “Land between the two Rivers”. This is because it is located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. With its strategic location, fertile soil, and favorable climate, Mesopotamia became the cradle of history and civilization.
Just before the year 4000 B.C., peasant tribes from the mountains of Iran settled in the southern part of Mesopotamia. These tribes, called Sumerians, were the first inhabitants of the region.
The Sumerians established independent city-states, each ruled by royal priests. They planted fertile soil and built canals and dikes along the two rivers, so that they would not flood during the rainy season and also so that there would be irrigation in the summer.
By about 3500 B.C., they invented writing, so they were able to record some important events of their time. Their writing is called uniform, because of their wedge-like characters. The term kuneporme is derived from the latin cuneus (wedge) and forma or form.
In addition to writing, the Sumerians also invented the plow and the wheel. They were the first to make cities, first schools, churches, and first books. They also wrote the earliest recorded law, the law of Ur-Nammu, the king of the city-state of Ur, in about 2050 B.C. They were also the first to use large quantities of the metal bronze.
In 300 B.C., Akkadian nomads moved to northern Mesopotamia, and established the city-state of Akkad. In 2334 B.C., King Sargon of Akkad conquered the city-states of Sumeria.
Using force, Sargon expanded his kingdom beyond the borders of Sumer, into the lands of the Persian Gulf, and westward to the Mediterranean coast. He founded the world’s first empire, the Akkadian Empire, which lasted nearly two centuries.
But Sargon's followers were weak and bad leaders. Thus, after the Sargon dynasty, Akkadia collapsed.
Near the end of 2000 B.C., the Amorites, a group of Semitic people from Syria, invaded Mesopotamia and settled in the region. Their leader, Sumuaburn, became the first king of Babylonia. Babylonia is named for its capital city, Babylon. One of Sumuaburn's descendants was Hammurabi, a brave conqueror. He extended the kingdom to Syria in the north, Elam in the south, and the Mediterranean coast in the west. As a result, he established the Babylonian Empire.
Aside from his militarism, Hammurabi was also a good leader. At his seat took place the golden age of Babylonia. His major contribution to governance was the Hammurabi Code, which recorded government laws and policies. From this come laws like “eye for eye” and “tooth for tooth”, which means that what is taken is also paid for.
In about 2900 B.C., a group of Semitic people, the Assyrians, settled in the northern region of Bayblonia. They built their capital city on the side of the Tigris river, and they named it Assur, sip in honor of their god of war, Ashur. They are warriors and brutal people.
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