Nebuchadnezzar II (c. 630-562 B.C.E.), King of Babylon (605-562 B.C.E.)
The most famous Babylonian ruler, Nebuchadnezzar II was a powerful king who annexed part of the Egyptian empire, built a great palace, and ordered the construction of one of the Seven Wonders of the World: the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. His father, Nabopolassar, established the Neo-Babylonian dynasty of kings after overthrowing the existing Assyrian regime. Nebuchadnezzar defeated the Pharaoh Necho at Carchemish in 605. At this point he controlled part of western Asia as well. The Egyptians defeated him in battle three years later. This triggered a Judean rebellion, during which Nebuchadnezzar laid waste to Jerusalem. The destruction of Jerusalem ended Judean independence, and the Hebrews became subject to the Neo-Babylonian Empire.
Today scholars question whether the Gardens even existed, but they continue to be part of the ancient studies curriculum in schools.