Fertile Crescent as the name suggests means land rich in soil and crescent meaning in shape of a new moon, is a region in western Asia. History knows this region as Mesopotamia the land between two rivers, a land of forests complimented by the two rivers that ran within its boundaries.
Originating in the Taurus Mountains of what is now Turkey, the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers run through the plateau of northern Iraq flowing southward into the Persian Gulf. These rivers made Fertile Crescent Mesopotamia, which in turn made agriculture possible in this Fertile Crescent. Archeologists have traced the first known instances of surplus farming to about 8,500 years ago.
The Mesopotamia Fertile Crescent was abundant in a variety of wild plants; two of these plants were wheat and barley which also became the region’s most important crops. The Tigris and the Euphrates, combined with the development of irrigation meant that farmers could harvest surplus crops.
Agriculture was the spark which lit the flame of civilization. Farming gave rise to social planning on a larger scale as groups of nomadic tribes settled down and joined co-operative forces. Irrigation developed as the need increased to feed and support growing populations Small villages became cities, and those cities evolved into an established civilization which is now termed as Mesopotamia.
Along with the advantages that these two rivers provided, followed drawbacks. Rain was sparse during the spring and summer months, and the fear of drought was a constant, but worse than the droughts were the floods that overflowed the river banks. Flooding not only destroyed crops, but also homes and lives of people as well.
With the passage of time Mesopotamians learned to use the environment to their benefit. In order to protect themselves from flooding, levees were built to hold back the flood waters. Those flood waters were then diverted into a series of canals that enabled farmers to irrigate their crops. The flooding was controlled, and the farmers were able to supply their crops with the water they needed to flourish.
The early civilization of Mesopotamia was made up of a group of city states. The region of southern Mesopotamia was known as Sumer. Sumerians were great inventors. Sumerians came up with irrigation methods to promote successful farming, and that it was the Sumerians who created some of the first wheeled vehicles.
Wheels were used to transport goods and people; chariots allowed for quicker travel and the city-states of Sumerians flourished for a thousand years. Each city-state was self-governing, but they were often at war, with each other.
The constant battle for power amongst the city-states themselves caused city residents to erect walls for protection, but the true reason for their warring were the rivers, everyone wanted control of the rivers, and some areas along the two rivers were more desirable than others.
These rivers at a later stage even opened up trade routes for people in the region of Fertile Crescent of Mesopotamia. The Mesopotamian fertile crescent holds a great significance in building up of the world as we see it today. The fertile crescent of Mesopotamia was the beginning or as it is known truly the “cradle of civilizations”.