History of the Assyrians
Known as the Cradle of Civilisation, the region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers saw the rise of the earliest civilisations of the Sumerians (~5300-2000BC) and later the Akkadians (~2350-1950BC). These civilisations established agriculture, trade, writing, built cities and military armies which dominated the region.
The Assyrians descended from the ancient Akkadians. After 2000BC, inscriptions of the Assyrian rulers began to appear in the northern region city-states and kingdoms of Mesopotamia. The Assyrian nation ruled for nearly 1400 years.
The Assyrian empire was a powerful military force which could boast about its conquests, it also contributed greatly to the development of civilization and was innovative in the fields of medicine, mathematics and astronomy that have left a lasting impact on the world to this day.
Assyrians excelled at architecture and agriculture, construction of canals that irrigated vast regions of land. They were the first to divide the circle into 360º, and invented the concept of longitude and latitude for geographical locations.
With the growth of their empire, Assyrians developed large scale government and administration. They introduced civil law, and standardised language. They created libraries of law and literature, whilst their art and music influenced neighbouring regions.
The Assyrians ruled from 15th century BC until the capture of their last capital Nineveh in 612BC, by the combined forces of the Medes, Babylonians, and the Scythians.
The fall of the Assyrian Empire did not mean the end of its people. They maintained their culture customs, and survived many hardships and adversities for over 2000 years.
The modern Assyrians became known to the West in the 19th century when contact was established through the British and American missionaries.
During WWI, the Assyrians joined the Allies in battle against the Ottoman Empire, and were forced to leave their homeland and seek refuge with the British, who were occupying Iraq.
The Assyrians suffered enormous losses in people as a result of war and migration. Nearly half of their population perished during this time.
In the past 90+ years, tens of thousands of Assyrians have left Iraq and migrated to various other countries such as America, Australia, Iran, Lebanon, Syria, the United Kingdom and many other European countries.