Sumer, located in southern Mesopotamia, was one of the earliest known civilizations in the world. It lasted from the first settlement of Eridu in the Ubaid period (late 6th millennium BC) through the Uruk period (4th millennium BC) and the Dynastic periods (3rd millennium BC) until the rise of Babylon in the early 2nd millennium BC.
Although other cities pre-date Sumer (Jericho, Çatalhöyük and others, either for seasonal protection, or as year-round trading posts) the cities of Sumer were the first to practice intensive, year-round agriculture (from c. 5300 BC). The surplus of storable foodstuffs created by this economy allowed the population to settle in one place instead of migrating after crops and herds. It also allowed for a much greater population density, and in turn required an extensive labor force and division of labor. This organization led to the necessity of record keeping and the development of writing (c. 3500 BC).
Hammurabi (Akkadian, from AmoriteˤAmmurāpi, "the kinsman is a healer", reigned c. 1728 – 1686 BC (short chronology)) was the sixth king of Babylon. He became the first king of the Babylonian Empire, extending Babylon's control over Mesopotamia by winning a series of wars against neighboring kingdoms. Although his empire controlled all of Mesopotamia at the time of his death, his successors were unable to maintain his empire.
Hammurabi is known for the set of laws called Hammurabi's Code, one of the first written codes of law in recorded history. These laws were written on a basaltstele standing over six feet tall that was found in 1901. Owing to his reputation in modern times as an ancient law-giver, Hammurabi's portrait is in many government buildings throughout the world.