Mesopotamia is a region between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers in southwestern Asia. Today the region is part of Turkey, Syria and Iraq. This region is famous because it is where civilization was first started by the first people who lived there: the Sumerians. The Euphrates and the Tigris Rivers make the land fertile, but getting enough water was still a problem. Instead of relying on the rare rains, the Sumerians invented irrigation. They dug canals to move water from the rivers to large areas of land. The rivers provided a steady supply of water. Artificial irrigation allowed people to start farming in this region without relying on rainfall. The farms could produce so much food that not every person had to farm to survive. Some people could farm, and others could trade, build and invent.
• Mesopotamia is a Greek word that means “between two rivers.”
• The Sumerians were the first people to live in Mesopotamia, and they lived in a bunch of small city-states. Each city had its own king who ruled the city and the farms around it.
• The Akkadians united all the small city-states into one large empire and changed the main language of the area called Akkadian.
• The Babylonians came next in the region.
• They created the most powerful city: Babylon. The Babylonians spread their empire across the Middle East.
• The Babylonians created the oldest written law in the world: The Code of Hammurabi
The Hammurabi Code is an important part of the history of Mesopotamia. It is named after the Babylonian King who created it: Hammurabi. This King ruled from 1792 to 1749 B.C.E. We know about the code because 282 laws were recorded on large clay tablets. These clay tablets were spread all over Babylon so that the citizens would know the rules of the land. The laws covered issues like trade, theft, trade, divorce and slavery.
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