This kingdom turned empire was located in Asia Minor facing the Aegean Sea. Homer referred to this civilization as Mæonia in the 8th century BCE. Its capital, Sardis, was quite beautiful and wealthy. In fact, Lydia enjoyed fertile soil and rich deposits of gold and silver. The river Pactolus in Lydia had especially large gold deposits.
The borders of Lydia changed frequently as it expanded into the surronding areas. Lydia originally was contained by Mysia Major, Caria, Phrygia and Ionia, but soon encompassed everything from the Aegean Sea to the Halys river.
Under the dynasty of Mermnadae Lydia began the rise to empire. Around 6th century BCE under the rule of King Croesus Lydia was at its zenith of power until the Persian ruler Cyrus the Great captured Sardis around 548 BCE. Once the Greeks, lead by Alexander the Great in 334 BCE, defeated the Persian Empire Lydia was assimilated by the Greeks and adapted Greek culture and language (they originally spoke a descendant of Anatolian called, appropriately enough, Lydian). After eleven years of being a tribute of Macedon Lydia was absorbed into the Seleucid kingdom. After being absorbed by the Pergamum kingdom in 190 BCE, Lydia finally came to rest with the Roman Empire 57 years later.
Lydia, in the 7th century BCE, was also one of the first countries to produce coinage.