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The kings of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty (626-539 BC) established Babylon's domination of much of the Near East. In 626 BC, following the death of the Assyrian-appointed governor of Babylon, Nabopolassar - a man of unknown background, acceded to the throne. The king fought for control of Babylonia and, by 616 BC, was able to launch attacks on Assyrian territory to the north. With assistance from the Medes, Nabolopassar captured some of the most important cities of the Assyrian empire, including the capital Nineveh in 612 BC.
With the fall of Assyria, the main challenge to Babylonia's control of the Near East was Egypt. In 605 BC Nabopolassar's son, Nebuchadnezzar II, succeeded to the throne and continued the fight to control his territory, capturing Jerusalem in 597 BC. Following Nebuchadnezzar's death in 562 BC, Babylonian kings came and went in rapid succession. Nebuchadnezzar's son Amel-Marduk reigned two years before being assassinated by his brother-in-law, Neriglissar (559-556 BC). Neriglissar's son, Labashi-Marduk, survived only a month before Nabonidus came to the throne (555 BC). In 539 BC, however, the armies of Cyrus, king of Persia, invaded. They defeated the Babylonians in battle and captured Babylon, Nabonidus and the empire.