Ancient History 101, pt. 3 : Mesopotamia.

First Civilizations

3000 BCE - 612 BCE

Ancient Mesopotamia, a land in the Middle East now known as Iraq, is called the Cradle of Civilization because it's where the first one was birthed by a people called the Sumerians around 3000 BCE. Give or take a thousand years.

Humans found this a perfect place for agriculture and trade because it's a valley between two rivers: the Tigris and the Euphrates. They called it The Fertile Crescent because the land was so fertile and it covered a crescent-shaped area from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. They learned to irrigate and farm large areas of land.

Mesopotamia = "between rivers"

Never forget this.

Their innovative irrigation techniques on these fertile floodplains led to the development of complex societies, which in turn led to the creation of writing, migration, trade, and the development of ever-more “...powerful city-states, kingdoms, and empires.”

The ‘complicated society’ part began arising around 3500 BC.

Around 2000 BC, similar types of civilizations began popping up in the Indus River Valley (Pakistan) and China.

Around 1200 BC, civilizations began developing in the Americas.

China and the ongoing debate over “the first”

China has the oldest continuous written historical record that goes back 3500 years. We’ll talk about them in Unit 6.

But back to Mesopotamia for now.

So there were three major kingdoms to rise from this area of the Mediterranean:

Babylonian - founded around 2300 BC
Hittite - around 1800 BC?
Egyptian - around 3100 BC


Irrigation systems were developed around 5000 BC, but it wasn’t until 3000 BC that the food surpluses led to the development of complex societies, and the dawn of the written word...which takes us the edge of history, as opposed to (before-written language) pre-history.


Introduction to Ancient History, from the Paleolithic Era to the fall of Rome, and how the lives, cultures, decisions, and actions of these periods affects our modern lives.

Education for most ages and for all curious people.
Written by Joseph Ivan Long with curiosity, humbleness, and a big grin.