What Was Iraq Called in Ancient Times?

Iraq is a country located in Western Asia, bordered by Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, Kuwait to the southeast, Saudi Arabia to the south, Jordan to the southwest, and Syria to the west. But what was Iraq called in ancient times? Let’s take a journey back in time.

The Mesopotamian Region

The Mesopotamian region is considered one of the cradles of civilization and is known for its ancient cities such as Babylon and Nineveh. The region was home to several empires and kingdoms throughout history, including the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, and Persians.

The Land of Sumer

One of the earliest civilizations in Mesopotamia was that of Sumer. The Sumerians lived in what is now southern Iraq and were known for their advancements in agriculture, writing, and mathematics. The land of Sumer was called “Ki-en-gir” by its inhabitants.


Another powerful kingdom that emerged in ancient Mesopotamia was Assyria. The Assyrians lived in what is now northern Iraq and were known for their military conquests and impressive architecture. The land of Assyria was called “Aššur” by its inhabitants.


Perhaps one of the most well-known empires from ancient Mesopotamia is Babylonia. The Babylonians lived in what is now central and southern Iraq and were known for their advancements in astronomy and law. The land of Babylonia was called “Bābili” by its inhabitants.

The Islamic Era

In 637 CE, Arab Muslims conquered Mesopotamia and brought Islam with them. The region became part of the Islamic empire known as the Caliphate.

During this time, Baghdad was established as the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. The region was referred to as “Al-‘Iraq” by its inhabitants, which means “the fertile land.”


From the land of Sumer to the Islamic empire, Iraq has gone by many names throughout history. Each civilization that inhabited this region left its mark on the land and contributed to its rich cultural heritage. Understanding these ancient names helps us to better appreciate the history and significance of this important country.