Around 2300 BCE a group of people, the Akkadians, came from northern Mesopotamia into the land of the Sumerian city-states. The Akkadians found the city-states lacking unity and were able to conquer the land. The were led by an ambitious king named Sargon. Sargon would become the first ruler of the Akkadian Empire. Sargon was a strong king and a skilled military leader. His army used effective military strategies such as tight formations, using shields and spears.
Sargon was also a brilliant political leader. Once he established himself as king, he replaced the governors of the city-states with his own officials. He also made the Akkadian language the official language of business. He tore down the walls of many cities to make it harder for those city-states to rebel. After his death, many fought for control of the empire.
The Akkadian empire still had many Sumerian cultural influences. Farmers used the Sumerian irrigation techniques. They adopted the system of cuneiform for writing and even began worshipping their gods. Over time, the Akkadian and Sumerian cultures blended.
After 200 years, the empire began to lose strength. Naram-Sin, Sargon’s grandson, would be the last great king. Soon invaders from northern Mesopotamia invaded and brought the first real empire in history to an end.