Location of Mesopotamia

Mesopotamia is located in Southwest Asia between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. In fact, the word Mesopotamia means “land between the rivers.” Much of the region of Mesopotamia is in modern-day Iraq, but it also includes parts of Syria, Turkey, Iran, Kuwait, and several other countries. Its location helped shape Mesopotamia’s history.

First, Mesopotamia’s location between the Tigris and Euphrates River is key in it being the birth of one of the world’s first civilizations. The rivers provided many of the resources necessary to make civilization possible. Most notably, the rivers flooded each year and left behind fertile soil on the river banks. This silt provided a place for the inhabitants of Mesopotamia to grow crops including barley and vegetables. The ability to successfully farm in the land between the rivers provided a food surplus. In turn, the surplus supported more people, and they were healthier, lived longer, and had more children. The result was a population that could settle down, build cities, and specialize in jobs beyond the production of food. These are key factors in what makes a civilization a civilization.

Mesopotamia’s location between the rivers also provided many resources useful to the people living there. The rivers provided clay that was used to make tablets that early writers pressed symbols and shapes into to form the earliest written languages. Mesopotamian shelters were often also made from the river mud. The Tigris and Euphrates provided water and food for animals, both wild and domesticated. This allowed Mesopotamians to further diversify their food supply.

Mesopotamia’s location also helped define its role as a trade center. The rivers provided a mode of transportation between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. Its location in Southwest Asia made it a “gateway” from Africa to Asia as well.