The oldest civilization that we know of is the Sumerian civilization, which emerged between 6000-5000 BCE. Sumer was located between the Tigris and the Euphrates River, which is in current day Iraq in the Middle East. Before Sumer, it is believed that people did not create such large civilizations because of the need to constantly move for water sources and for finding and gathering food.
The area between the Tigris River and Euphrates River is called the Mesopotamian River Valley. The word Mesopotamia is an ancient Greek name that is translated as the land between two rivers. The area being situated between two large rivers provided a year-round water source. This gave the people access to fish to eat, as well as animals to hunt that came to the rivers to drink. Having an abundance of food and water all year around in the same location allowed for people to settle there permanently. Today we believe that those people, the Sumerians, created the first permanent civilization in the world.
Along with permanent residence comes free time for people, which creates free time and inspires creativity. Today we still have many stories about Sumer passed down by both word of mouth, and for the first time in history, the written word. The Sumerians created cuneiform, possibly for accounting purposes originally, but it grew to hundreds of different characters. The language consisted of different wedge-shaped markings that were etched into tablets. Eventually, cuneiform became a complete writing system, out of which came the ability to record history, laws, and even poetry. We still have tablets from ancient Sumer in museums today.
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