Mesopotamia is a historic region in western Asia centred around the Tigris-Euphrates river system; most of it is located in modern-day Iraq. Upstream, the rivers feeding into the system originate in Turkey and Iran and also flow through Syria; the modern-day country of Kuwait is also in the Meso­pot­am­ian region. “Mesopotamia” itself is a name of Greek origin, meaning something like “middle of the rivers”. It forms the northern part of a broader region known as the Fertile Crescent.

Mesopotamia is one of the six regions of the world where civilisation began independently. It’s where the Neolithic Revolution began c. 10,000 BCE, referring to the development of agriculture.

At the beginning of Mesopotamia’s written history, it was controlled by the Sumerians, and later by the Akkadians (which include the Babylonians and the Assyrians). In 539 BCE, the Persian Archaemenid Empire conquered the region. In 330 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered it, after which it was for a time part of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. The Arameans were also hanging out in Mesopotamia around this time. By 150 BCE the Persians were back, now as the Parthian Empire; over the following centuries, the Romans and the Persians fought a succession of wars over the area. The region remained divided by the two powers and their successors until the 7th century Muslim conquests.