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Living along the valleys of the Tigris and Euphrates , Sumerian farmers were able to grow an abundance of grain and other crops, the surplus of which enabled them to settle in one place. Prehistoric proto-writing dates back before BC. The earliest texts come from the cities of Uruk and Jemdet Nasr and date to between roughly c. The term Sumerian is the common name given to the ancient non-Semitic-speaking inhabitants of Mesopotamia by the East Semitic-speaking Akkadians. Most historians have suggested that Sumer was first permanently settled between c. Others have suggested that the Sumerians were a North African people who migrated from the Green Sahara into the Middle East and were responsible for the spread of farming in the Middle East. These prehistoric people are now called "proto- Euphrateans " or " Ubaidians ",  and are theorized to have evolved from the Samarra culture of northern Mesopotamia. They drained the marshes for agriculture, developed trade, and established industries, including weaving, leatherwork, metalwork, masonry, and pottery. Some scholars contest the idea of a Proto-Euphratean language or one substrate language; they think the Sumerian language may originally have been that of the hunting and fishing peoples who lived in the marshland and the Eastern Arabia littoral region and were part of the Arabian bifacial culture. Juris Zarins believes the Sumerians lived along the coast of Eastern Arabia , today's Persian Gulf region, before it was flooded at the end of the Ice Age.
A largely Semitic -speaking realm, Assyria was centred on the Tigris in Upper Mesopotamia modern northern Iraq , northeastern Syria , southeastern Turkey and the northwestern fringes of Iran. The Assyrians came to rule powerful empires in several periods. Making up a substantial part of the greater Mesopotamian " cradle of civilization ", which included Sumer , the Akkadian Empire , and Babylonia , Assyria reached the height of technological, scientific and cultural achievements for its time. In the 25th and 24th centuries BC, Assyrian kings were pastoral leaders. From the late 24th century BC, the Assyrians became subject to Sargon of Akkad , who united all the Akkadian- and Sumerian -speaking peoples of Mesopotamia under the Akkadian Empire , which lasted from c.
Mesopotamia is a historical region of Western Asia situated within the Tigris—Euphrates river system , in the northern part of the Fertile Crescent , in modern days roughly corresponding to most of Iraq , Kuwait , the eastern parts of Syria , Southeastern Turkey , and regions along the Turkish—Syrian and Iran—Iraq borders. The Sumerians and Akkadians including Assyrians and Babylonians dominated Mesopotamia from the beginning of written history c. Mesopotamia became a battleground between the Romans and Parthians, with western parts of Mesopotamia coming under ephemeral Roman control.