In 626, Babylon’s throne was seized from Assyrian control by Nabopolassar. Weakness and instability in the heartland of the Assyrian kingdom, which followed the death of Assyria’s last great king, Ashurbanipal, were exploited by the vigorous new Babylonian leader to throw off the shackles of Assyrian overlordship and establish a new independent kingdom in the south. ‘The Neo-Babylonian empire’ describes Nabopolassar’s reign before considering the defining figure of the Neo-Babylonian era: his son, Nebuchadnezzar II. Militarily, Nebuchadnezzar established the most powerful and the most far-reaching empire of any Babylonian king. The last ruler of the empire was Nabonidus, who spent much of his reign in Tayma in northern Arabia.