To the average observer, these twin streams of water may seem pretty, boring and inconspicuous. Not even worth a second thought.
And 20 thousand years ago There was no one here. And to be honest, could humans even live here? I mean outside of these two rivers, there is nothing but deserts, heat, and extremely dry climates that no ancient human would want to live under for sure…right?
Yet..around 10,000 BC, we began to see the first settlements occur around these rivers. One such settlement was Abu Hureyra.
6,000 years later, we began to see more advanced human settlements like the cities of Ur, and Uruk which had many structures that we would recognize today like houses, monuments, walls, and ofcourse…government buildings run by theocratic kings.
And all of this advancement of human civilization was only possible because these settlers had two sources of fresh water, that they could use to drink, and cultivate food. I mean…if these two rivers were to disappear, than these cities are essentially in the middle of the desert with no food or water in sight.
But these cities kept expanding. Eventually, there were so many different cities and territories along this river, that someone thought it might be wise to conquer and unite them all.
And of course this man was…a local gardener. But not just any gardener, he was actually the gardener and cupbearer for the King of Kish, meaning the this young man named Sargon, had more power than his employment title would suggest.
And years later, he would use this political power to displace his own king, and crown himself the true king of Kish. And it was after Sargon declared himself king, that he began his conquests over all cities and kingdoms along the Euphrates and Tigris rivers.
His conquests were successful, and decades after his death, the succeeding rulers of the newly founded, Akkadian empire, would continue his mission by trying to unite all people along the twin rivers under one ruler.
And it was by this point at around 2200 B.C that the empire became something that mankind had never seen before. There was a flourishing of culture, technology, economics, and unification all under one ruler. This was truly, the first great empire, that the world had ever seen.
So…if things were going so great, then why isn’t the akkadian empire still around today? Well, one of the troubles with trying to build an empire out of people with vastly different beliefs, cultures, and lifestyles, is that there will almost always be some sort of conflict or revolting within the empire at all times.
But, many historians think that these revolts were actually only a small reason as to why the akkadian empire isn’t around today.
Because in the year 2200 B.C the Empire was at its peak, but less than 5 decades later, the entire empire ceased to exist…so something else must have happened.
And maybe to figure that out, all we have to do is to look 2000 kilometres west, to find an old kingdom.
You see the great pyramids over there? Well even in the year 2200 BC, these pyramids were already quite old. In fact, many people back then viewed the pyramids as we today view buildings like the taj mahal or Buckingham palace. Thats how old the pyramids are.
And many of us have seen images and videos of the pyramids like this, where its the 3 classic structures, in the middle of a desert, with nothing else in sight. But if we take a slightly different angle, we might start to see a clue for why the Akkadian empire collapsed.
You see, less than 2 kilometers away, exists a branch of the Nile river, surrounded by the sprawling metropolitan cities of Giza and Cairo, with lush farmland on the outskirts. And just 10km away from the pyramids is the heart of the Nile river.
All this means is that humanity, over 4000 ago, built vast structures, sprawling empires, and large metropolitan centers, solely around one water source, in one of the harshest climates in the world.
And at the time, this was a great idea, and no one had a reason to believe that something…very very bad…could happen to their rivers…as there was no recorded evidence that anything extraordinarily bad could happen.
But then…seemingly over the course of a few months to a few years, the Nile, Euphrates, and Tigris rivers
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