Akkadian Empire

Map of the Akkadian Empire

What was the Akkadian Empire?

The Akkadian Empire was an empire of Mesopotamia, located in West Asia. The Akkadian Empire was the first empire of Mesopotamia. It was formed sometime around 2300 BC. The Akkadian Empire was centered around the capital city of Akkad.

Akkadian soldiers slaying enemies

How did the Akkadian Empire begin?

Before the Akkadian Empire, the Sumerians were the dominant civilization in Mesopotamia. At this time, the Akkadians lived in northern Mesopotamia. Despite having a similar culture to the Sumerians, the Akkadians had a different language and government structure.

The Akkadian government was divided into many city-states, each of which had its own ruler who controlled the city and surrounding agricultural land. At first, these city-states often fought with each other; but over time, they saw the value in working together, and formed an alliance that became known as the Akkadian Empire.

Sargon of Akkad

Around 2300 BC, an Akkadian ruler named Sargon the Great rose to power. He was the one who established the city of Akkad, which would go on to be the capital of his empire. When the Sumerian city of Uruk attacked Akkad, Sargon fought back and conquered the Sumerian city.

He would go on to conquer all the other Sumerian city-states, too. This was the beginning of the Akkadian Empire, where Sargon the Great fought and conquered the states of Mesopotamia until they were all united under a single ruler.

How did the Akkadian Empire expand?

Over the next two centuries, the Akkadian Empire expanded its base of power. By conquering the Elamites to the east and conquering lands west and south of Mesopotamia, the Akkadian Empire was able to become a very powerful state. They used the resources plundered from these new lands to better develop their technologies and military strategy.

Who were the rulers of the Akkadian Empire?

The first ruler of the Akkadian Empire was Sargon the Great, the man who founded it. His descendants continued to rule the Empire after his death. One of his most famous descendants was Naram-Sin. Naram-Sin was Sargon’s grandchild, who ruled from 2254-2218 BC.

The Akkadian Empire experienced huge growth under Naram-Sin’s rule. Naram-Sin conquered the kingdoms of Ebla and Armum, and built his own royal residence at Tell Brak, a crossroads located close to an important river in Mesopotamia.

Naram-Sin also developed the defense of the Akkadian Empire – he built garrisons and barricades to protect the main roads, and many strong soldiers were trained during his reign.

Historians believe that the successes of Naram-Sin as a ruler may have been due to the helpful climatic conditions of the time, as well as being helped by the confiscation of wealth and resources from the lands he conquered.

What was life in the Akkadian Empire like?

Most Akkadians were farmers, as was the case in the earlier Sumerian civilization, but people also worked as merchants, priests, craftsmen, soldiers, and fishermen. The Akkadian Empire depended a lot on agriculture and was the first empire in the world to make effective use of irrigation.

Irrigation is the practice of transporting water from rivers/oceans to other places, to improve the soil quality. Though historians have discovered art from the Akkadian Empire, it seems as though art didn’t play as important a role here as it did in other empires, such as the Roman or Egyptian empires.

Art from the Akkadian Empire typically showed the kings or gods at work and showed many gruesome images of people in worship of the gods. The Akkadian Empire was based on the system of social hierarchy – meaning that when a person was born, they had a specific role to play in society, and could not rise above that role. Slavery was very common because of this.

Why did the Akkadian Empire collapse?

The Akkadian Empire collapsed around 2100 BC when the city of Ur, the old capital of Sumeria, rose to power once more. When Ur conquered Akkad, the Akkadian Empire was taken over by a Sumerian ruler. However, sometime around 2000 BC, the Empire was invaded once more and conquered by a group called the Amorites. This brought an end to the Akkadian Empire.

Facts about the Akkadian Empire:

  • The Akkadian Empire was an empire of Mesopotamia, located in West Asia.
  • It was the first empire of Mesopotamia.
  • The empire lasted from 2300-2000 BC.
  • The capital of the Akkadian Empire was the city of Akkad.
  • The Akkadian government was based on an alliance between many city-states, each of which had its own ruler.
  • The first ruler of the Akkadian Empire was Sargon the Great.
  • The Akkadian Empire was heavily dependent on agriculture.
  • The Akkadian Empire became wealthy by invading other countries/kingdoms and stealing their resources.
  • The Akkadian Empire collapsed in the year 2000 BC when the Amorites invaded.


  1. Where was Mesopotamia located?

– West Asia.

  1. How many years did the Akkadian Empire last?

– 300.

  1. Who was the first ruler of the empire?

– Sargon the Great.

  1. What was the capital city of the Empire?

– Akkad.

  1. What was the name of the group who overtook the Empire in the year 2000 BC?

–  The Amorites.