Babylonia was an ancient Akkadian-speaking state and cultural area based in central-southern Mesopotamia (present-day Iraq). A small Amorite-ruled state emerged in 1894 BC, which contained at this time the minor administrative town of Babylon. Babylon greatly expanded from the small provincial town that it had originally been during the Akkadian Empire (2335-2154 BC) during the reign of Hammurabi in the first half of the 18th century BC, becoming a major capital city. During the reign of Hammurabi and afterwards, Babylonia was called Māt Akkadī "the country of Akkad" in the Akkadian language.
It was often involved in rivalry with its older fellow Akkadian-speaking state of Assyria in northern Mesopotamia, as well as Elam to the east, in Ancient Iran. Babylonia briefly became the major power in the region after Hammurabi (fl. c. 1792 – 1752 BC middle chronology, or c. 1696 – 1654 BC, short chronology) created a short-lived empire, succeeding the earlier Akkadian Empire, Third Dynasty of Ur, and Old Assyrian Empire; however, the Babylonian empire rapidly fell apart after the death of Hammurabi and reverted back to a small kingdom.