Ancient Sumerian country located in what is now southern Iraq,
around the river Euphrat. At the time it was a part of southern Mesopotamia,
and usually it is said to have existed between 2000 B.C. and 539 B.C.
When Mesopotamia was populated around 5000 B.C., a well developed culture
with economics and irrigation took form. The Sumerian people took control of the
southern parts in around 3200 B.C., while the north was inhabited by Semites.
The Akkadian people, who were Semites, created Akkad around 2300 B.C.
which in turn was followed by Sumer and then Babylonia. Much of the culture and
society was directly inherited from Sumer, and the Babylonians were quite
proficient in mathematics and astronomy.
One man bearing the Babylonian name Ishbi-Erra and who had served under the
last king of Ur, proclaimed himself ruler of the city of Isin. Isin soon
became the center and most important city of Babylonia. The rulers of Isar
continued the Sumerian tradition of issuing laws. There were other
self-proclaimed rulers of other cities, some of which were controlled by
Amorites. One of these, the city of Larsa, conquered Isin in 1793 B.C.
Shortly after this, in 1792 B.C., the Amorite Hammurabi gained
control over the city of Babylon. In a short time he managed to gain
control over all other cities and states in Babylonia, and made Babylon the most
important city. He even controlled land in nearby Assyria for a short period.
Hammurabi is well-known for his law, which he had inscribed in black stone and
placed in various places throughout his land. These laws followed Sumerian
tradition and gives us knowledge about everyday life in ancient times.
The Hittites had gradually move from east into Babylonia, and by 1600 B.C.
they had taken over all political power. They did however conform themselves entirely
to the Babylonian culture. In 1200 B.C., the Babylonian culture and language was
widely spread. Letters have been found indicating correspondence between the
rulers of Babylonia and those of Egypt, Assyria and parts of
After attacks from Elam, the Hittites lost control and the Babylonians once
again controlled their own country, in 1100 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar I
managed to stop the Elam attack and even took control of the Elam capital Susa.
During and after this, Babylonia prospered as a culture for a couple of hundred
years. In mid-700 B.C., the king Nabonassar had to ask for help from Assyria
against threatening neighbors, and following this the Assyrian king Tiglatpileser III
took control over Babylonia, under the name Pulu. In the centuries that
followed, the Chaldeans and Assyrians fought over Babylonia, rendering the
city of Babylon the be destroyed in 689 B.C..
The Chaldean count Nabopolassar took control over the country in 626 B.C.
and in 612 B.C. he crushed the Assyrian state. His son Nebuchadnezzar II
expanded and consolidated the Babylonian empire, and he successfully fought and
conquered Judea and Jerusalem. In 597 B.C. he destroyed Jerusalem and
captured part of the population. During his rule Babylonia flourished and the
economy was good. However, in 539 B.C. the Persian king Kyros took
control of Babylonia, supported by the clerical rulers, and this is regarded as
the end of Babylonia.
Babylonia remained under Persian rule until Alexander The Great conquered
it in 331 B.C., planning to make Babylon his capital. Alexander The Great died
in Babylon in 323 B.C..