The Levant, Eastern Mediterranean- The Chaldeans or Neo-Babylonians were a semitic speaking people with origins on the Arabian Peninsula. The Chaldeans and the Medes captured the Assyrian capital Nineveh in 612 BCE. This allowed them to establish a new monarchy. Nebuchadnezzar II finally defeated the Assyrians around 604 BCE, and also defeated Egypt to gain control of Syria and Palestine. Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, the center of Hebrew worship, and forced the Hebrew people into exile in Babylon. The Chaldeans are widely noted for their prosperity, including the development of one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, the "Hanging Gardens." The Chaldean Empire lasted less than 100 years, 605- 539 BCE. Around 539 BCE internal religious disputes, and subsequent conquest by Persian king Cyrus the Great lead to the downfall of the empire.