Issue of April, 21, 2003
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Mesopotamia
In Mesopotamia, which means "land between rivers", the earliest human civilizations flourished. Thousands of years later, that territory is known as Iraq, a place where the echoes of war threaten the last vestiges of a millenniums-old history.

The ancient story of Mesopotamia became a current topic of interest through the dissemination of news, including televised images of the destruction and pillaging of invaluable archeological sites and historic collections, including those of the Iraqi National Museum in Baghdad.

Since the beginning of the conflict Mar 20, UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) urged special protection for the historic wealth found in Iraq, but all signs are that the history of humanity was not a priority in this modern-day conflict.

UNESCO underscores the importance of the artifacts of Mesopotamia, as they represent the cradle of civilizations that marked the transition from pre-historic times in the history of humanity.

Mesopotamia's geography was a determining factor in the emergence of the first cultures in that area 9,000 years b.c. The Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which encircle the territory, provided optimum conditions for a development capable of changing the course of humanity's path through time: agriculture.

The fertile plains of Mesopotamia began to transform the previously wandering, nomadic groups of humans into the first sedentary and "civilized" society, says one specialized website.

Beginning some 3,500 years b.c., the Sumerians, Acadians, Assyrians and Babylonians began to make their mark on the region. We know it was there that writing, mathematics, the wheel, architecture, astronomy, money, irrigation and laws were developed. In different periods, city-states flourished, and of course, for thousands of years it has been the scenario for war.

The names of cities like Ur or Nippur, of legendary heroes like Gilgamesh, of the Code of Hammurabi, of the amazing buildings known as ziggurats, come from ancient Mesopotamia. And mythic events, like the flood and the loss of languages in the Tower of Babel were set in that ancient land.

For the curious, there is much to be discovered about ancient Mesopotamia on the Internet. A good starting point is a set of hyperlinks on the topic, allowing us to use cyberspace as a bridge

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