Iraq Geography and History



According to Payhelpcenter, Iraq borders Turkey to the north, Iran to the east, the Persian Gulf and Kuwait to the south, Saudi Arabia to the southwest, Jordan to the west and Syria to the northwest.

The main axis of Iraq coincides with the subsidence area of ​​the “Mesopotamian Trough”, which extends from the Persian Gulf in the southeast to the northwest. Euphrates and Tigris have created vast alluvial plains in Lower Iraq that have been used for irrigation agriculture for thousands of years. The extensive reed and lake areas in the lowlands of Lower Iraq have meanwhile been extensively drained. In between there are salt plains without vegetation. The national territory encroaches on the adjacent large landscapes. The land west of the Euphrates (Syrian Desert) and the areas between the middle Euphrates and Tigris (Djesire) belong to the Mesozoic and Tertiary table land, which is superimposed on the crystalline base of the Arabian plate in the northern part of Arabia. Monotonous, often flat, gravel deserts and desert steppes predominate here. Northeast Iraq has the young chain mountains of the Taurus and Zagros Mountains with altitudes up to over 3,500 m above sea level proportion (in Cheekha Dar 3 611 m above sea level). In the foreland sloping to the southwest between the mountains and the Tigris, wide gravel areas, often covered by fertile loam, were piled up.

The two large rivers Euphrates and Tigris have floods due to winter rain and snowmelt in spring. The lowest water level is in autumn, at the time of greatest water demand. Dams were built on the Euphrates, Tigris and Dijala to regulate the water flow.


Iraq still belongs to the area of ​​subtropical winter rains; the amount of precipitation decreases rapidly from the mountains in the northeast (up to 1,200 mm) to the deserts in the southwest (less than 100 mm). The summer is dry and hot (up to 52 ° C). In winter, night frosts are not uncommon in Lower Iraq.


Desert steppes and desert predominate, light oak forests in the mountains, and montane vegetation in higher altitudes. The cultural landscape is largely determined by wide treeless plains with extensive grain cultivation; Along the canals and rivers intensive cultivation of vegetables, fruits and special crops. From the earliest antiquity to the present day, the settlement of Iraq was mainly concentrated in two core areas: Assyria , the rain- fed areas of the northern Iraqi foothills, and Babylonia , the irrigation areas of the lower Iraqi lowlands.


To the prehistory of the Middle East ; on the history and culture of antiquity in the area of ​​today’s Iraq, the Ancient Orient , Assyria , Assyrian culture , Babylonia , Babylonian culture , Mesopotamia , Sumerians.

Since the conquest of Babylonia by Cyrus II (539 BC), Mesopotamia, the major part of which occupied what is now Iraq, belonged to the Persian Empire and shared its fate under Alexander the Great and his successors (Iran , history). Under the Sassanids (224–651) the area was the heartland of the new Persian empire with the capital Ctesiphon.

From the Arab conquest to the end of Ottoman rule

After the conquest by the Muslim Arabs (Battle of Qadissia 637) it became under the Umayyads (661–749 / 750) next to Egypt the most important province of the caliphate and under the Abbasids (750–1258) the core area of ​​the Islamic world empire. In 637/638 Basra and Kufa, 702 Wasit, were founded as military camps; In 762, the Baghdad caliphate was founded. 836–883 the caliphs ruled Samarra. In the 8th – 10th In the 19th century, Iraq was the center of Arab-Islamic culture. By Turkish Praetorians (since 833) and Hausmeier dynasties such as the Bujids (945-1055) and the Seljuks (since 1055) as well as local rulers, a gradual decline began, to which also constant disputes between Sunnis and Shiites contributed. In 1258 Iraq was conquered by the Mongols and became part of the Ilkhan Empire, which was again followed by local princes, including those of the Turkmen tribal associations of the “Black Mutton” and the “White Mutton” (15th century). In the 16th century, Iraq became an object of contention between the Persian Safavids and the Ottoman Empire. After Baghdad fell to the Ottomans in 1534 and – after a brief Iranian rule from 1623 – finally in 1638, Iraq, divided into several provinces, belonged to the Ottoman Empire until 1918.

Iraq under British administration and as a kingdom (1920–1958)

After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire (1918) in World War I, Great Britain, which had occupied large parts of Iraq since 1914/17, received Mesopotamia in 1920 as a League of Nations mandate and set the Hashimite Feisal as king (Feisal I , 1921-33).

In 1924 the mandate was given a constitution (constitutional monarchy) under the name »Iraq«. In 1926 Turkey renounced its claim to the province of Mosul. With the Treaty of Baghdad (1930; effective since 1932) Great Britain gave Iraq independence while maintaining its military presence.

Under the kings Ghazi (1933–39) and Feisal II (1939–58, 1939–53 under the reign of Abd al-Ilah), many governments broke away. One of the leading personalities was Nuri as-Said (several times Prime Minister), who kept the country on a moderately nationalist, pro-British course. In the 1930s the technical and economic structure of Iraq improved (including the construction of a dam at Kut el-Amara; railway construction). After reaching an understanding with neighboring states (especially with Iran over the border in the area of ​​Shatt al-Arab in 1936), Iraq joined the Sadabad Pact in 1937. Iraq was on the British side during World War II; a riot of forces around Rashid al-Gailani , who leaned towards the Axis powers, failed (1941).

In 1945 Iraq helped found the Arab League and became a member of the UN in the same year. In 1948/49 the country took part in the war against Israel (Palestine War). In the struggle against the conservative-monarchist ruling class (around Nuri as-Said), republican-nationalist (Istiklal) and socialist (Baath) forces emerged ever more strongly under the pan-Arab auspices. After violent anti-British demonstrations, the Iraqi parliament rejected a British-Iraqi treaty renegotiated by the government in 1948. In the area of ​​tension of the East-West conflict, Iraq was pro-Western after the Second World War and joined the Baghdad Pact in 1955 (CENTO) at. In disputes with the nationalist-republican forces within them, the kingdoms of Iraq and Jordan merged to form the Arab Federation in 1958.

Iraq History