5000 BC - The Sumer form the first towns and cities. They use irrigation to farm large areas of land.
4000 BC - The Sumer establish powerful city-states building large ziggurats at the center of their cities as temples to their gods.
3500 BC - Much of lower Mesopotamia is inhabited by numerous Sumer city-states such as Ur, Uruk, Eridu, Kish, Lagash, and Nippur.
3300 BC - The Sumerians invent the first writing. They use pictures for words and inscribe them on clay tablets.
3200 BC - The Sumerians begin to use the wheel on vehicles.
3000 BC - The Sumerians start to implement mathematics using a number system with the base 60.
2700 BC - The famous Sumerian King Gilgamesh rules the city-state of Ur.
2400 BC - The Sumerian language is replaced by the Akkadian language as the primary spoken language in Mesopotamia.
2330 BC - Sargon I of the Akkadians conquers most of the Sumerian city states and creates the world's first empire, the Akkadian Empire.
2250 BC - King Naram-Sin of the Akkadians expands the empire to its largest state. He will rule for 50 years.
2100 BC - After the Akkadian Empire crumbles, the Sumerians once again gain power. The city of Ur is rebuilt.
2000 BC - The Elamites capture Ur.
1900 BC - The Assyrians rise to power in northern Mesopotamia.
1792 BC - Hammurabi becomes king of Babylon. He establishes the Code of Hammurabi and Babylon soon takes over much of Mesopotamia.
1781 BC - King Shamshi-Adad of the Assyrians dies. The First Assyrian Empire is soon taken over by the Babylonians.
1750 BC - Hammurabi dies and the First Babylonian Empire begins to fall apart.
1595 BC - The Kassites take the city of Babylon.
1360 BC - The Assyrians once again rise in power.
1250 BC - The Assyrians begin to use iron weapons and chariots.
1225 BC - The Assyrians capture Babylon.
1115 BC - The Second Assyrian Empire reaches its peak under the rule of King Tiglath-Piliser I.
1077 BC - Tiglath-Piliser dies and the Assyrian Empire becomes weaker for a time.
744 BC - The Assyrian Empire becomes strong once again under the rule of Tiglath-Piliser III.
721 BC - King Sargon II takes control of Assyria. The empire grows stronger.
709 BC - Sargon II takes control of the city of Babylon.
705 BC - Sargon II dies and Sennacherib becomes king. He moves the capital to Nineveh.
668 BC - Ashurbanipal becomes the last great King of Assyria. He establishes a great library in the city of Nineveh.
626 BC - Ashurbanipal dies and Assyria begins to crumble.
616 BC - Nabopolassar takes control of Babylon back from the Assyrians and crowns himself king. The neo-Babylonian empire begins.
604 BC - Nabopolassar dies and Nebuchadnezzar II becomes King of Babylon. He will rule for 43 years and bring the Babylonian Empire to its peak.
550 BC - Cyrus the Great rises to power and the Persian Empire begins.
539 BC - Cyrus the Great takes the city of Babylon and lets the Jewish people return to Israel.
522 BC - Darius I becomes King of Persia. He expands the empire and divides it up into states each ruled by a governor called a satrap.
518 BC - Darius I establishes the capital of the Persian Empire at Persepolis.
490 BC - Darius I attacks the Greeks. He is defeated at the Battle of Marathon.
480 BC - Xerxes I tries to conquer the Greeks with a huge army. He is eventually turned back in defeat.
333 BC - Alexander the Great invades the land and conquers the Persian Empire.