Two major rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, run south through Iraq and into the Shatt al-Arab near the Persian Gulf.
These rivers provide Iraq with significant amounts of fertile land.
The "Cradle of Civilization" is thus a common term for the area comprising modern Iraq as it was home to the earliest known civilisation, the Sumerian civilisation, which arose in the fertile Tigris-Euphrates river valley of southern Iraq in the Chalcolithic (Ubaid period).
It was here, in the late 4th millennium BC, that the world's first writing system and recorded history itself were born.
In the 26th century BC, Eannatum of Lagash created what was perhaps the first empire in history, though this was short-lived.
Later, Lugal-Zage-Si, the priest-king of Umma, overthrew the primacy of the Lagash dynasty in the area, then conquered Uruk, making it his capital, and claimed an empire extending from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean.
It was here that mankind first began to read, write, create laws, and live in cities under an organised government—notably Uruk, from which "Iraq" is derived.It was also part of the Median, Achaemenid, Hellenistic, Parthian, Sassanid, Roman, Rashidun, Umayyad, Abbasid, Ayyubid, Mongol, Safavid, Afsharid, and Ottoman empires.Iraq's modern borders were mostly demarcated in 1920 by the League of Nations when the Ottoman Empire was divided by the Treaty of Sèvres.) is a country in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest, and Syria to the west. The main ethnic groups are Arabs and Kurds; others include Assyrians, Turkmen, Shabakis, Yazidis, Armenians, Mandeans, Circassians, and Kawliya.Around 95% of the country's 37 million citizens are Muslims, with Christianity, Yarsan, Yezidism, and Mandeanism also present.