The origin of the Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia It is still debated today, but archaeological evidence indicates that they established roughly a dozen city-states in the fourth millennium BC.
These generally consisted of a walled metropolis dominated by a ziggurat, stepped pyramid shaped temples, while the houses were built from marsh reeds or mud bricks, and complex irrigation canals were dug to harness the sediment-laden waters of the Tigris and Euphrates for agriculture.
The main Sumerian city-states include Eridu, Ur, Nippur, Lagash and Kish, but one of the oldest and most extensive was Uruk, a thriving center of commerce that counted almost 10 kilometers of defensive walls and a population of between 40,000 and 80,000 inhabitants.
At its peak, around 2800 BC, most likely this was the largest city in the world.
One of the biggest sources of information on ancient Mesopotamia is the call «King's List', A clay tablet documenting the names of most of the ancient rulers of Sumer, as well as the length of their reigns.
Even though they shared a common language and cultural traditions, Sumerian city-states engaged in almost constant wars that gave rise to several different dynasties and reigns.
The list is a strange mix of historical facts and myths (a primitive king is said to have lived for 4300 years), but also includes the only female monarch of Sumer in the way of Kubaba, a "woman innkeeper" who supposedly took the throne in the Kish city-state sometime around 2500 B.C.
Very little is known about the Kubaba's reign or how she came to power, but the list credits her with "affirm the foundations of Kish" Y forge a dynasty that lasted 100 years.
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