Babylonia (Babilu in the Assyrian inscriptions, Babirush in the Persian) was the name given by the Greeks, and after them the Romans, to the low alluvial plain watered by the lower streams of the Tigris and Euphrates, now forming the modern Arab province of Irak-Arabi. In the Old Testament it bears the various names of Shinar, Babel, and ' the land of the Chaldees.' For thousands of years before the Christian era it was the seat of a special type of civilisation; the earliest inhabitants we know of were Sumeri-ans and Akkadians, both probably belonging to the Ugro-Finnic branch of the Turanian races. Subsequently, Semitic tribes settled in the country. After long wars with the neighbouring power, Assyria, Babylonia was conquered in 729 B.C. by the Assyrians, and in 712-705 Babylonia became an Assyrian province. In 625 Nabopolassar rebelled and became an independent king, and was succeeded by his son Nebuchadnezzar. And henceforward Babylonia was a separate state till 538, when it was conquered by Cyrus and became a Persian province. For the site of the city of Babylon, see Hillah.