Nimrod/Etana and the Kingdom of Cush/Kish
Which of the Sumerian kingdoms known to us from the historical record best fit the scriptural description of Nimrod and his people as found in Genesis? The best candidate for Nimrod's kingdom appears to be the Sumerian kingdom of Kish, known from the earliest times for having consolidated the entire region into a single empire. Sumerian primary sources state that the first dynasty of Kish immediately followed the great deluge (Kramer, History Begins at Sumer, 227), and that one of the most important city-states of Sumeria was Kish "which, according to Sumerian legendary lore, had received the 'kingship' from heaven immediately after the 'flood'" (Kramer, History, 31). Later Sumerian rulers coveted the title "king of Kish" to reflect sovereignty over the whole land. The presence of a unified state with hegemony over all the land in the earliest times, in contrast to the later warring city-states, is consistent with both the Genesis account and the additional details offered in the Book of Jasher.
I had independently concluded that Nimrod must have been the legendary king of Kish who united Sumeria because of the correspondence of many historical and scriptural details, only to subsequently find that Roy Hales has written about this topic from a slightly different perspective while arriving at many of the same conclusions while citing additional supporting evidence (see Etana and the First Kingdom of Man," http://www.creationism.org/csshs/v10n1p19.htm). The name Kish corresponds closely with that of Nimrod's father Cush. Hales observes that among the kings of Kish, one strongly stands out as a candidate for the scriptural Nimrod. Etana, the thirteenth king of Kish on the Sumerian King's list, is listed as having become "king and ruler" by virtue of having "consolidated all countries." The passage regarding the reign of Etana calls to mind the story of Nimrod, builder of the tower of Babel: "They planned the city; the [...] gods laid the foundation; they planned the shrine...May the city be the nest, the resting place of mankind, may the king be the shepherd...may Etana be the builder." Hales states: "A subsequent king of Ur around 2040 BC dug up this inscription: "The erection (building) of this tower (temple highly offended all the gods. In a night they threw down) what man had built and impeded their progress. They were all scattered abroad and their speech was strange" (need source). Nimrod is referred to in scripture as "a mighty hunter," and the author or scribe of Genesis observes that the proverb "even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord" remained in common use down to his own day (Genesis 10:9). Etana was known as the "king of animals." Hales further observes: "The scattering of Etana Nimrod's kingdom would appear to have taken place during Sumeria's late Uruk, and early Jemdet Nasr phase. A strong Sumerian influence is known in Egypt from this time."