The idea of continents as separate land masses with different identities is very recent. The Fertile Crescent is a connected area that has been home to successive civilisations since the 6th millennium BC. The area between the Tigres and the Euphrates river, which became known as Mesopotamia, was one of the Cradles of Humankind - linked to the wheel, cursive scripts, mathematics, agriculture and astronomy. Iraq's modern borders had little to do with history and were the product of the League of Nations when the Ottoman Empire was divided up after World War I. Its primary function was to ensure the British Empire still had access to oil. The 'Kingdom of Iraq' gained independence in 1932, but was overthrown and abolished in 1958. The Ba'ath Party took control by force in 1968 - Ba'athism was a nationalist movement promoting the creation of a unified Arab state.