Sumerians moved to the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers about 3500BC, but
we do not know where they came from. They were probably nomads who
discovered the fertile land between the rivers. Nomads travel in small
groups until they have eaten the food that grows wild and hunted the
animals in the area. When food is no longer plentiful, they move to a
new area. Some people continue to live like this in remote parts of
the world to this day.
Eventually the Sumerians developed a
civilization. They learned that by planting seeds and plowing their
land, they were able to grow crops. They learned to domesticate, or
tame animals to help them plow their lands. The Sumerians learned to
use irrigation, or a system of watering crops, to grow more food. The
Sumerians also made a very important invention--the wheel. The
invention of the wheel made it possible for to pull heavy loads.
Sumeria was composed of several
city-states, or nations the size of cities. Walls around each
city-state protected the citizens from outside invaders. Farmland was
usually outside the city walls, and people would seek protection from
the walls of the city when under attack.
The Sumerians were polytheistic,
which means they believed in many gods. They worshiped their gods at
huge temples they called ziggurats. Each ziggurat was dedicated to a
specific god, whom the Sumerians believed ruled over their city. Often
when a rival city attacked, the invaders would force the conquered
people to accept their gods. Most people in the Western Hemisphere
today are monotheists, which means they believe in only one god.
Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are all monotheistic faiths.