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34Western Asia and Egypt3500–500 B.C.Key EventsAs you read, look for the key events in the history of Southwest Asia and Egypt.• The Sumerians in Mesopotamia were among the first groups to build a civilization,and they were the first to develop a system of writing.• Due in large part to the Nile, early Egyptian civilization was stable and prosperous.Massive monuments, the pyramids, were built to honor the deaths of the pharaohs.• The Israelites emerged as a distinct people.• Of the other empires that came into being in Southwest Asia, the longest lasting andmost powerful were the Assyrian and the Persian Empires.The Impact TodayThe events that occurred during this time period still impact our lives today.• The peoples of Mesopotamia and Egypt built cities and struggled with the problems oforganized government.• The Israelites developed a major world religion, which influenced the development ofChristianity and Islam, and has a continuing effect on Western civilization.World History VideoThe Chapter 2 video, “Egypt,”chronicles the rise of Egyptian civilization.3000 B.C.Sumeriancities emergein southernMesopotamia3000 B.C.Cuneiformwritinginvented2700 B.C.Old Kingdombegins2540 B.C.GreatPyramid ofKing Khufufinished1792 B.C.Hammurabicomes topower1652 B.C.MiddleKingdomends1567 B.C.NewKingdombegins3000 B.C.2700 B.C.2400 B.C.2100 B.C.1800 B.C.1500 B.C.Sumerian cuneiform scriptHammurabi establisheda code of law.
970 B.C.First templebuilt inJerusalem539 B.C.Babyloniafalls521 B.C.Darius beginsto expandPersianEmpire1200 B.C.900 B.C.600 B.C.300 B.C.100 B.C.50 B.C.Death mask of KingTutankhamen of EgyptKing Solomon’s temple in JerusalemHISTORYChapter OverviewVisit the Glencoe WorldHistoryWeb site atand click on Chapter 2–ChapterOverview to preview chapter information.wh.glencoe.comThe Great Sphinx and the Great Pyramids at Giza, Egypt, symbolize the power and longevity of Egyptian35
36n the winter of 1849, a daring young Englishman made adifficult journey into the deserts and swamps of southernIraq. He moved south down the banks of the river Euphrateswhile braving high winds and temperatures that reached 120degrees Fahrenheit (48.9° C). The man, William Loftus, led asmall expedition in search of the roots of civilization. As hesaid, “From our childhood we have been led to regard thisplace as the cradle of the human race.”Guided by native Arabs into the southernmost reaches ofIraq, Loftus and his small group of explorers were soon over-whelmed by what they saw. He wrote, “I know of nothingmore exciting or impressive than the first sight of one of thesegreat piles, looming in solitary grandeur from the surround-ing plains and marshes.”One of these “piles” was known to the natives as themound of Warka. The mound contained the ruins of theancient city of Uruk, one of the first real cities in the worldand part of one of the world’s first civilizations. SouthernIraq, known to ancient peoples as Mesopotamia, was one of four areas in the world where civilization began.I