Babylonia was an Amorite state in Lower Mesopotamia (modern southern Iraq), with Babylon as its capital. Babylonia emerged when Hammurabi (fl. ca. 1728 – 1686 BC, short chronology) created an empire out of the territories of the former kingdoms of Sumer and Akkad. The Amorites being a Semitic people, Babylonia adopted the written Semitic Akkadian language for official use, and retained the Sumerian language for religious use, which by that time was no longer a spoken language. The Akkadian and Sumerian cultures played a major role in later Babylonian culture, and the region would remain an important cultural centre, even under outside rule.