Mesopotamia (Greek, meaning "between rivers") narrowly refers to the land between the Euphrates river and the Tigris river, and, more broadly, to related (fertile) areas that are now in eastern Syria, southeastern Turkey, and most of what we today call Iraq.
Sumer, in southern Mesopotamia, is commonly regarded as the seat of the world's earliest civilization. Mesopotamia housed some of the world's most ancient states with highly developed social complexity. The region was famous as one of the four riverine civilizations where writing was first invented, along with the Nile valley in Egypt, the Indus Valley in the Indian subcontinent and the Yellow River valley in China. Mesopotamia housed historically important cities such as Uruk, Nippur, Nineveh, and Babylon as well as major territorial states such as the Akkadian kingdom, Third Dynasty of Ur, and Assyrian empire. At other times, the region was ruled by foreign powers and kings, notably the Achaemenid, Seleucid, Rashidun, Umayyad and the Ottoman Empires.
Some of the important historical Mesopotamian leaders were Ur-Nammu (king of Ur), Sargon (who established the Akkadian Kingdom), Hammurabi (who established the Old Babylonian state), and Tiglath-Pileser I (who established the Assyrian Empire).
Mesopotamian history extends from the emergence of urban societies in what is today southern Iraq in the 4th millennium BC to the arrival of the Macedonian king Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC (which is seen as the hallmark of the Hellenization of the Near East, therefore supposedly marking the "end" of Mesopotamia as a power base in is own right).
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- The Middle East by Professor W. B. Fisher, London, 1950, revised 4th edition 1961.