(country of two rivers), the ancient name of the great alluvial tract through which the Tigris and Euphrates pass before reaching the sea--the tract known in later times as Chaldaea or Babylonia. It was a plain country, where brick had to be used for stone and slime for mortar, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. (Genesis 11:3) Among the cities were Babel (Babylon), Erech or Orech (Orchoe), Calneh or Calno (probably Niffer), and Accad, the site of which is unknown. It may be suspected that Shinar was the name by which the Hebrews originally knew the lower Mesopotamian country where they so long dwelt, and which Abraham brought with him from "Ur of the Chaldees."
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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