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The Fertile Crescent at maximum defined extent, with the names of ancient civilizations found there. The Fertile Crescent is a crescent -shaped region containing the comparatively moist and fertile land of otherwise arid and semi-arid Western Asia , and the Nile Valley and Nile Delta of northeast Africa . The term was first used by University of Chicago archaeologist James Henry Breasted . Having originated in the study of ancient history , the concept soon developed and today retains meanings in international geopolitics and diplomatic relations . In current usage the Fertile Crescent has a minimum extent and a maximum extent. All definitions include Mesopotamia , the land in and around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
Definition: The "fertile crescent" refers to an ancient area of fertile soil and important rivers stretching in an arc from the Nile to the Tigris and Euphrates. It covers Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq. The Mediterranean lies on the outside edge of the arc.
Map showing the extent of Mesopotamia Mesopotamia (from the Ancient Greek : Μεσοποταμία : "[land] between rivers"; Arabic : بلاد الرافدين ( bilād al-rāfidayn ); Syriac : ܒܝܬ ܢܗܪܝܢ ( Beth Nahrin ): "land of rivers") is a name for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system , corresponding to modern-day Iraq , the northeastern section of Syria and to a lesser extent southeastern Turkey and smaller parts of southwestern Iran . Widely considered to be the cradle of civilization in the West, Bronze Age Mesopotamia included Sumer and the Akkadian , Babylonian , and Assyrian empires, all native to the territory of modern-day Iraq. In the Iron Age , it was controlled by the Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian empires . The indigenous Sumerians and Akkadians (including Assyrians and Babylonians) dominated Mesopotamia from the beginning of written history (c. 3100 BC) to the fall of Babylon in 539 BC, when it was conquered by the Achaemenid Empire .
The Euphrates ( i / juː ˈ f r eɪ t iː z / ; Arabic : الفرات : al-Furāt , Hebrew : פרת : Prat , Turkish : Fırat , Kurdish : Firat ) is the longest and one of the most historically important rivers of Western Asia . Together with the Tigris , it is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia . Originating in eastern Turkey , the Euphrates flows through Syria and Iraq to join the Tigris in the Shatt al-Arab , which empties into the Persian Gulf .
The Tigris River ( / ˈ t aɪ ɡ r ɪ s / ) is the eastern member of the two great rivers that define Mesopotamia , the other being the Euphrates . The river flows south from the mountains of southeastern Turkey through Iraq . [ edit ] Geography The Tigris is 1,850 km long, rising in the Taurus Mountains of eastern Turkey about 25 km southeast of the city of Elazig and about 30 km from the headwaters of the Euphrates. The river then flows for 400 km through Turkish territory before becoming the border between Syria and Turkey. This stretch of 44 km is the only part of the river that is located in Syria.
Sumer (from Akkadian Šumeru ; Sumerian 𒆠𒂗𒂠 ki - en -ĝir 15 , approximately "land of the civilized kings" or "native land" [ note 1 ] ) [ 1 ] was an ancient civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia , modern Iraq , during the Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age .
Babylonia was an ancient Akkadian speaking Semitic nation state and cultural region based in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq ). It emerged as an independent state circa 1894 BC, the city of Babylon being its capital. It was often involved in rivalry with its fellow Akkadian state of Assyria in northern Mesopotamia. Babylonia became the major power in the region after Hammurabi ( fl. ca. 1792- 1752 BC middle chronology, or ca. 1696 – 1654 BC, short chronology ) created an empire out of many of the territories of the former Akkadian Empire . The Babylonian state retained the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use (the language of its native populace), despite its Amorite founders and Kassite successors not being native Akkadians. It retained the Sumerian language for religious use, but by the time Babylon was founded this was no longer a spoken language, having been wholly subsumed by Akkadian.
The Achaemenid Empire ( pron.: / ə ˈ k iː m ə n ɪ d / ; Old Persian : Parsā , name of ruling dynasty: Haxāmanišiya ) (c. 550–330 BC), also known as the First Persian Empire , was a Persian empire in Western Asia , founded in the 6th century BC by Cyrus the Great who overthrew the Median confederation . The dynasty draws its name from king Achaemenes , who ruled Persia between 705 BC and 675 BC. The empire expanded to eventually rule over significant portions of the ancient world which at around 500 BC stretched from the Indus Valley in the east, to Thrace and Macedon on the northeastern border of Greece , making it the biggest empire the world had yet seen. [ 7 ] The Achaemenid Empire would eventually control Egypt as well. It was ruled by a series of monarchs who unified its disparate tribes and nationalities by constructing a complex network of roads.
The Hittites were an Ancient Anatolian people who established an empire at Hattusa in north-central Anatolia around the 18th century BC. This empire reached its height during the mid-14th century BC under Suppiluliuma I , when it encompassed an area that included most of Asia Minor as well as parts of the northern Levant and Upper Mesopotamia . After c. 1180 BC, the empire came to an end during the Bronze Age collapse , splintering into several independent " Neo-Hittite " city-states, some of which survived until the 8th century BC. The Hittite language was a member of the Anatolian branch of the Indo-European language family.
The Nile ( Arabic : النيل , an-Nīl ; Ancient Egyptian : Iteru & Ḥ'pī ; Coptic Egyptian : ⲫⲓⲁⲣⲱ , P(h)iaro ; Amharic : ዓባይ ? , ʿAbbai ) is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa, generally regarded as the longest river in the world. [ 3 ] It is 6,650 km (4,130 miles) long. The Nile is an "international" river as its water resources are shared by eleven countries, namely, Tanzania , Uganda , Rwanda , Burundi , Democratic Republic of the Congo , Kenya , Ethiopia , Eritrea , South Sudan , Sudan and Egypt . [ 4 ] In particular, the Nile River provides the primary water resource and so it is the life artery for its downstream countries such as Egypt and Sudan . [ 5 ] The Nile has two major tributaries , the White Nile and Blue Nile . The White Nile is longer and rises in the Great Lakes region of central Africa, with the most distant source still undetermined but located in either Rwanda or Burundi .
Ancient Egypt was an ancient civilization of Northeastern Africa, concentrated along the lower reaches of the Nile River in what is now the modern country of Egypt . Egyptian civilization coalesced around 3150 BC (according to conventional Egyptian chronology ) [ 1 ] with the political unification of Upper and Lower Egypt under the first pharaoh . [ 2 ] The history of ancient Egypt occurred in a series of stable Kingdoms , separated by periods of relative instability known as Intermediate Periods : the Old Kingdom of the Early Bronze Age , the Middle Kingdom of the Middle Bronze Age and the New Kingdom of the Late Bronze Age . Egypt reached the pinnacle of its power during the New Kingdom, in the Ramesside period where it rivalled the Hittite Empire , Assyrian Empire and Mitanni Empire , after which it entered a period of slow decline.