Considered the first and the oldest civilization in the world, the Sumerians undoubtedly occupy an important place in world history. A fairly archaic civilization that inhabited the area of Sumeria , a region located in the Middle East known by the name of the people of the blackheads that brought great advances to the world today.


Who were the Sumerians?

The Sumerians were a people considered to be the oldest civilization that existed in the world. They were located in the Middle East specifically in the area of Mesopotamia and made great and important discoveries for today’s world.



The Sumerians can be defined as the first great civilization that existed in the long history that encompasses humanity. A town that managed to create an important empire which spanned many years. A culture that managed to leave an immense legacy over time, which made great and important discoveries, many of which still remain today. One of the most important civilizations that managed to give rise to organized societies following state logic.


Characteristics of the Sumerians

There are many characteristics that made the Sumerians a unique people, some of the most relevant are mentioned below:

  • It is the oldest civilization in human history.
  • Its name came from the Semites .
  • They were known by the name of the people of black heads .
  • It was the first civilization that managed to grow crops on a large scale .
  • Wild animals were domesticated for the first time .


The origin of the Sumerians is still unknown since there is no writing documenting this information to date.

History of the Sumerians

To better understand the history of the Sumerians, it can be divided into several historical periods which were:

  • Uruk period: during this period the Sumerians managed to reach their place of settlement, Uruk and began their important development.
  • Archaic dynastic period: there was an important expansion of culture and began with the founding of many cities. It was a period full of wars where the Sumerians built great walls around their cities.
  • Period of the Arcadian Empire : the Sumerian cities were conquered, which were later unified, thus creating the first great empire of humanity. This caused the Sumerian culture to take on greater importance until they were later defeated by the Guti nomads.
  • Sumerian renaissance period : the king of Uruk managed to defeat the Gutis by imposing the Sumerian culture again.
  • Period of Ur III: the fall of the Sumerians occurred which made it possible for the city-states to return, mainly Ur III, which became a center of culture and development.

Geographic location

The summaries were located near the Euphrates and Tigris rivers , very close to the mouth of the Persian Gulf , in a region known as Sumer or Sumeria.


They excelled in architecture thanks to their huge constructions using fired brick . They showed great interest in the fields of mathematics , algebra , geometry, and arithmetic . They wrote on a type of clay tablet using a cuneiform system . They used different material compounds to be able to cure diseases and with this they achieved great advances in medicine and pharmacology.

Social organization

The social organization of the Sumerians was based on social strata or social classes which were made up of ordinary people and characters of great importance. The highest hierarchy was occupied by the king who was also in charge of exercising religious functions, the economic, social and legal fields.

After the king was the social class that belonged to the army warriors whose main objective was to lead battles and ensure the security of the State and the inhabitants. Later, there was the social stratum that belonged to the merchants , they occupied this place because they were seen as important people since they had in their power the exchange of goods with other nations.

Finally, there was the social stratum that belonged to the peasants and slaves who did not have any type of right or, on the contrary, were people who totally depended on the mercy and gifts of their masters. As for the political organization , the Sumerians were ruled by theocracy as they followed the mandate of a sacred king.

Sumerian economy

The economy of the Sumerians was based on agriculture and livestock . They also practiced in fishing and raising animals, mainly pack animals. They were hardworking men and they managed to design important irrigation canals to improve plantings and crops.


They were based on the production of wheat , dates , lettuce , barley , mustard and chickpeas among others. They were totally dependent on irrigation and for this reason, they created important irrigation canals , ponds and water reservoirs.


The contributions of the Sumerians were many, all of great importance today. The invention of the wheel , writing , the formation of cities , their laws , their advances in the medical field and sexagesimal systems are just some of the most important contributions of the Sumerians.


Among the main inventions of the Sumerians we can find the invention of the wheel that helped them move their goods. They invented cuneiform type writing and improved the way of founding and maintaining cities. They also created several laws in order to establish a better system of organization. They also established statutes which should be followed by citizens and thereby improved society . They also managed to create irrigation canals with which they improved agriculture and livestock.


His laws were based on goodness , truth , freedom , order and justice . They gave special attention to righteousness, compassion, and piety. Their kings strove to enforce the law and maintain correct order within their cities. They protected the weakest and were against falsehood . In order to enforce the laws, King Ur-Nammu wrote the first code of laws which influenced the social and spiritual development of the individual.


The Sumerians were a polytheistic people so they believed in magic and spirits . For them, magic was the only reason that could explain all the phenomena that occurred in nature. They believed that the bad things that happened were caused when the gods were angered, who exercised different types of punishments. They considered that everything that existed in the world had been created by the god Nammu .

They thought that the earth was shaped like a plate and that it was also floating in a sea of immense proportions. They believed that the seasonal changes were related to the life and death of their gods . They also blindly believed in the existence of the afterlife and in hell after death.


The Sumerian gods had very similar features to humans and they also had feelings . For them, it was their gods who were in full control of time. The Anunnaki were a group of gods considered very important in this culture, they were Mesopotamian gods and were the most powerful of the pantheon, descendants of An and Ki.

Among the most important gods for this civilization the following are mentioned:

  • Nanar : was the god who represented the moon in Ur.
  • Enlil : represented the wind .
  • Utu : was the god of the sun.
  • Nammu : was a deity seen as a mother to the Sumerians.
  • An : the god of the sky.


Some of its symbols include objects made by the Sumerians such as the courtesan of Ur-Nansha, the High Priestess, the Lady of Warca, the Stele of Ur-Nina, the Relief of Tell el Obeid.


There are many kings that were part of the Sumerian civilization, some of them are mentioned below:

  • Jushur
  • Kullassina-bel
  • In-tarah-ana
  • Babum
  • Puannum
  • Kalumum

Main cities

Among its main cities we find Eridu , Uruk , Ur , Kish , Uma , Nipur and Lagash .


Its importance lies in all the discoveries and inventions that they made which managed to establish the foundations for important advances in fields such as medicine , arithmetic and medicine . They left a very important legacy in writing , in the legal field and even in the formation and maintenance of societies .


The main legacy of the Sumerians is in the invention of writing and in the first annotations made related to the Solar System . They also invented some beverages such as beer and created a calendar , which in fact is very similar to the one used today.

Books about the Sumerians

Some important books from which important information about the Sumerians can be gleaned are:

  • Brief history of the Sumerians by Ana Martos
  • Sumeria, Cradle of the Civilization of Juan de J. Fierro Perdomo.
  • The Sumerian Civilization by Federico Lara Peinado
  • Sumerians: A Fascinating Guide to Ancient Sumerian History, Sumerian Mythology, and the Mesopotamian Empire of the Sumerian Civilization from Captivating History.


Some curiosities of the Sumerians are:

  • The origin of the Sumerian civilization is not exactly known.
  • They had extensive and important knowledge related to astronomy.
  • It was the first civilization to consume beer.
  • Their religion has many similarities to the Bible .
  • All the knowledge of the Sumerians was thought to have come from extraterrestrial beings.

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