Mesopotamia is a historical region in southwest Asia where the world's earliest civilization developed. The name comes from a Greek word meaning "between rivers," referring to the land between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, north or northwest of the bottleneck at Baghdad. It is known as Al-Jazirah, or "The Island," to the Arabs (3). South of this lies Babylonia. However, in the broader sense, the name Mesopotamia has come to be used for the area bounded on the northeast by the Zagros Mountains, and on the southwest by the edge of the Arabian Plateau, and stretching from the Persian Gulf in the southeast to the Anti-Taurus Mountains in the northwest (5). Only from the latitude of Baghdad do the Euphrates and Tigris truly become twin rivers, the "rafidan" of the Arabs, which have constantly changed their courses throughout the ages. This region was the center of a culture whose influence extended throughout the Middle East and even the rest of the known world. This paper will focus on the importance of geography in raising this small region to such a level of high importance in the history of the world.
Explanation of the Applicable National Standards for Geography
The National Standards for Geography are being employed into school education programs throughout the United States. The source for the standards is Geography for Life in which they are published. The book suggests the essential knowledge, shills and perspectives that students should master by grades 4,8,and 12. One of these such standards is "knows and understands the physical and human characteristics of places." This is very important to the extent that people cannot fully understand a place unless they first ...
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...peoples. The geography of this area certainly played a central role in the importance and influence of these lands. Geography has had a heavy hand in the culture and history of Mesopotamia, as it does in all areas of the world.
1. Fertile Crescent Civilizations. http://killeenroos.com/1/mesodata.htm (4-27-99)
2. Fertile Crescent Home Page. http://www.leb.net/~fchp/FC-MNFM.HTML (4-27-99)
3. Kramer, Samuel Noah. The Sumerians. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1963.
4. Mallowan, M.E.L. Early Mesopotamia and Iran. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, 1965.
5. "Mesopotamia." Encyclopaedia Britannica: Macropaedia. 15th ed. 1997.
6. Oates, David. Studies in the Ancient History of Northern Iraq. London: Oxford UniversityPress, 1963.
7. Oppenheim, A. Leo. Ancient Mesopotamia. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1964.
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