All the people in the Fertile crescent of early civilized times can be assigned either to the Hamitic stock who evolved in the Africa north and north-east of the Sahara, to the Semites of the Arabian peninsula, to the Indo-European who, from Southern Russia, had spread also by 4000 BC into Europe and Iran, or to the true `Caucasians’ of Georgia.

By about 4000 BC most of the Fertile Crescent was occupied by the Caucasians. Probably Semitic people had already began to penetrate it by then, too; their pressure grew until by the middle of the third millennium BC (long after the appearance of civilization) they would be well established in central Mesopotamia, across the middle sections of the Tigris and Euphrathetes.

By 2000 BC the people whose languages form part of what is called the Indo-European group have also entered on the scene, and from two directions. One of these peoples, the Hittites, pushed into Anatolia from Europe, while their advance was matched from the east by that of the Iranians. Between 2000 BC and 1500 BC branches of these sub-units dispute and mingle with the Semitic and Caucasian peoples in the Crescent itself, while the contacts of the Hamites and Semites lie behind much of the political history of old Egypt.

NOTE: Near East is a term often used (mostly archaeologists and historians) to refer to the region encompassing the Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, and Iran. A more common term is Middle East, but this term is more ambiguous.