The Indo-European-speaking Hittites probably began arriving peacefully in northwestern Anatolia from the Balkans about 2500 B.C., traveling from the Kurgan pit-grave culture of the Eurasian steppe. They settled in northwestern Anatolia, across the west and south of the peninsula about 2300 B.C., although many more may have immigrated from the south over the next three centuries. A northeastern route, through the Caucasus has also been suggested, but that seems linguistically and archaeologically less likely. In any event, when Assyrian traders reached central Anatolia around 1900 B.C., they found an Indo-European-speaking people firmly established, who had harmoniously integrated with the indigenous Hattian population of the local city-states.
By 1650, the ruler Hattusilis I founded the Hittite Kingdom when he established the capital of Hattusas. The ensuing two centuries constitute the period known as the Hittite Empire's Old Kingdom. Hattusilis recognized that controlling trade routes and metal sources were fundamental to the early empire's prosperity, and he and his successor, Mursilis, began tracing the commercial route running along the Euphrates to northern Syria. ...Show more