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Historical Iraq

5900 BC3800 BCUbaid Culture
3800 BC3200 BCUruk Period
3300 BC2900 BCJemdet Nasr Period
2900 BC2400 BCSumeria
2844 BC2650 BCKish
2500 BC2270 BCLagashLagashGudea
2340 BC2135 BCAkkadiaAkkadSargon
2112 BC2004 BCUr III Ur
2083 BC1992 BCGuti
2017 BC1794 BCIsin - 1st DynastyIsin
1894 BC1595 BCAmorite [Old Babylon]BabylonHammurabi
1600 BCHittite Invasion
1530 BC1170 BCKassiteKurigalzuGandash
1155 BCElamite Conquest of Kassites
1157 BC1026 BCIsin - 2nd DynastyIsin
1314 BC789 BCFirst Assyrian Empire AssurTiglath-Pileser I
746 BC609 BCSecond Assyrian EmpireNinevehTiglath-Pileser II
630 BC539 BCChaldea (New Babylon)Babylon Nabopolassar
539 BC331 BCAchaemenidCyrus
331 BC281 BCMacedonAlexander
126 BC224 ADParthia
68 BC363 ADRome SPQR
227 AD637 ADSassanid
634 AD636 ADArab Conquest
637 AD750 ADUmayyad CaliphateDamascusMu'awiyya I
750 AD1258 ADAbbasid CaliphateBaghdadMansur
946 AD1055 ADBuyidsBaghdadMu'izz-ad-Dawlah
1055 AD1194 ADSeljukBaghdadTughril Beg
1258 AD1335 ADIlkhan / MongolHulagu Khan
1335 AD1401 ADJalayiridHasan Buzurg
1401 AD1405 ADTamerlaneTamerlane
1410 AD1508 ADTurkoman
1508 AD1534 ADSafavidIsfahanShah Isma'il
1534 AD1918 ADOttomanIstambulSuleyman
1921 AD1958 ADHashemite MonarchyBaghdadFaisal
19682003Baath RegimeBaghdadSaddam Hussein

In Iraq, the cradle of civilization, over 10,000 archaeological sites weave a fascinating story.

A thousand centuries ago, families of palaeolithic-age man gathered in and around the fertile Mesopotamian plain. Abundant fresh water flowing from the uplands of Armenia and Anatolia via the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers drew game and provided vegetation and fish for these nomadic hunter-fisher gatherers.

The annual springtime flooding and subsequent summertime drying, and the ever-changing courses of the Great Rivers and their tributaries made living in the Plain difficult. Most lived in the mountains and foothills surrounding the Delta.

For ninety thousand years, these early tribes moved their camps seasonally to hunt wild animals and to collect seeds, fruit, nuts, wild wheat, barley, and rye when they were ripe. Remains from their encampments show the slow development of the culture of man. Mesopotamian man left artifacts in Shanidar Cave about 50,000 B.C. showing elements of their life. They left flowers on the graves of their dead, a touching tribute to these early predecessors of modern man. Over these millennia the bands began trading raw materials such as obsidian and bitumen for making spears.

By 10,000 B.C., groups at Shanidar and Karim Shahir had developed herds of sheep which they took to the mountains in spring and fall to graze on the sweet grass there. Various millstones, small stone hoes, and other implements excavated at these sites show that cultivation of grains including bread wheat also occurred at this time. The cultivation of gardens and fields and the domestication of livestock brought a change in living habits, as people could now remain in one place instead of wandering about according to the migratory habits of animals or the availability of stands of wheat, barley, and rye.

By 6,000 B.C. in the Neolithic Age, permanent villages were formed where man learned farming, animal husbandry, house building, weaving, pottery, and even the creation of art objects by painting and sculpture. Sites at Jarmo, Hassouna, Um al Dabbaghlya, Matara, and Tel al Suwan are among these earliest villages of man. The lush valley of the Fertile Crescent with its ample water proved able to sustain larger populations as man learned to harness and to control the natural irrigation formed by the levees and rivulets resulting from the ever-changing seasonal flooding of the Tigris and Euphrates.

Once known as Mesopotamia, Iraq was the site of flourishing ancient civilizations, including the Sumerian, Babylonian, and Parthian cultures. In the case of a history so ancient, one might well he content if a chronology were vague merely to the extent of the variations indicated. The parade of exact dates with reference to very early times is generally fallacious, unless it be understood as adopted simply for the sake of convenience.

Knowledge of mesopotamian chronology is based upon (1) lists of kings and dynasties, (2) chronicles, (3) references to dates of earlier kings by their successors, (4) documents dated in the years of various kings, (5) synchronisms with "rulers in other lands, (6) excerpts from the history of Berosus,' (7) Ptolemy's Almagest, and (8) dates that can be fixed astronomically. It is extremely improbable that contemporaneous dynasties were counted as successive; in the case of the second dynasty of Babylon the supposition proved mistaken. But an occasional overlapping of dynasties is very probable, though the Babylonian scribes seem to have been aware of this and taken account of it. Much weight cannot be given to the absence of documents for the centuries between the Gutian conquest and Ur Engur.

Misplacements show how very inexact and misleading these classes of arguments may prove in estimating chronology. Until the late 19th Century, one of the most obscure chapters in the world's history was that which related to ancient Babylonia. With the exception of the Scriptural notices regarding the kingdom of Nimrod and the confederates of Chedor-laomer, there was nothing authentic to satisfy, or even to guide, research. So little, indeed, of positive information could be gathered from profane sources, that it depended on mere critical judgment - on an estimate, that is, of the comparative credibility of certain Greek writers.

Muslims conquered Iraq in the seventh century AD. In the eighth century, the Abassid caliphate established its capital at Baghdad. The territory of modern Iraq came under the rule of the Ottoman Turks early in the 1500s. At the end of World War I, Ottoman control ended and Iraq came under the authority of a British mandate. When it was declared independent in 1932, the Hashemite family, a branch of which also ruled Jordan, ruled as a constitutional monarchy. In 1945, Iraq joined the United Nations and became a founding member of the Arab League. In 1956, the Baghdad Pact allied Iraq, Turkey, Iran, Pakistan, and the United Kingdom, and established its headquarters in Baghdad.

A "republic" was proclaimed in 1958, but in actuality, a series of military strongmen ruled the country until 2003. The last was SADDAM Husayn. Territorial disputes with Iran led to an inconclusive and costly eight year war (1980-88). In August 1990, Iraq seized Kuwait but was expelled by US-led, UN coalition forces during the Gulf War of January-February 1991. Following Kuwait's liberation, the UN Security Council (UNSC) required Iraq to scrap all weapons of mass destruction and long-range missiles and to allow UN verification inspections.

Continued Iraqi noncompliance with UNSC resolutions over a period of 12 years led to the US-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the ouster of the SADDAM Husayn regime. Coalition forces remain in Iraq under a UNSC mandate, helping to provide security and to support the freely elected government. The Coalition Provisional Authority, which temporarily administered Iraq after the invasion, transferred full governmental authority on 28 June 2004 to the Iraqi Interim Government, which governed under the Transitional Administrative Law for Iraq (TAL). Under the TAL, elections for a 275-member Transitional National Assembly (TNA) were held in Iraq on 30 January 2005. Following these elections, the Iraqi Transitional Government (ITG) assumed office. The TNA was charged with drafting Iraq's permanent constitution, which was approved in a 15 October 2005 constitutional referendum. An election under the constitution for a 275-member Council of Representatives (CoR) was held on 15 December 2005. The CoR approval in the selection of most of the cabinet ministers on 20 May 2006 marked the transition from the ITG to Iraq's first constitutional government in nearly a half century.

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Page last modified: 30-08-2012 16:52:17 ZULU