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Perry-Castaneda Library Map Collection AT UT
Lonley Planet
Interactive map at the BBC
Maps at Arab Gateway
Ethnoreligious Groups at U. Texas

Brief History
See ancient timelines at:

  • 900,000 BC Homo Erectus probably reached this area.
  • 50,000 BC Modern man reached this area from Africa.
  • 5700 - 4500 BC Early Samarra and Ubaid Cultures. Cities of Ur (Uruk) and Eridu in what is now southeastern Iraq.
  • 4000 - 1000 BC This area, which is part of the "Fertile Crescent" that included the area around the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea and on into the Nile delta in Egypt included Sumer (Sumeria) (map) is considered the first settled society in the world to have manifested all the features needed to qualify fully as a "civilization" 3500 BC. The first writing probably developed here.
    Some of the places in the Bible were in Mesopotamia which is the region between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers now occupied by modern Iraq. See The history of Iraq in Biblical perspective.
    Rise of Babylonian rulers in the south starting around 2300 BC and Assyrian rulers in the north starting around 1900 BC.
  • 911-612 BC Neo-Assyrian kingdom .
  • 669 BC Babylon destroyed by the Assyrians
  • 626 BC Babylon throws off Assyrian rule.
  • 539 BC the Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to Cyrus the Great, king of Persia.
  • 331 BC Alexander the Great defeats Babylon. Greek Seleucid dynasty, successor to Alexander rules.
  • 141 BC The Parthian Empire, a civilization situated in the northeast of modern Iran, takes over the region. They hold off the Roman expansion to the east and survive until about 224 CE.
  • 224 CE second Persian Empire (Sassanids).
  • 627 Byzantine (Greek speaking Romans) take over.
  • 637 Arab, Muslim army defeats Persians.
  • 680 Battle at Karbala between Shi'i and Sunnis.
  • 680-892 alternating periods of unrest and stability.
  • 1258 A weakened Baghdad, after disastrous floods, falls to the Mongols.
  • 1405 Iraq falls under control of Turkish tribes from Anatolia.
  • 1533-34 Iraq is conquered by the Ottoman Empire.
  • 1600-1870 Increase of local power followed by more Ottoman control.
  • 1914 - As a part of World War 1, British forces invade southern Iraq and occupy it.
  • 1920 - Iraq declared a League of Nations mandate under UK administration.
  • 1932 - Iraq attains its independence as a kingdom.
  • 1958 - A "republic" was proclaimed, but in actuality a series of military strongmen ruled the country.
  • 1979 - Saddam Hussein, for years the power behind the ailing president, Ahmed Hassan Bakr becomes head of state.
  • 1980-88 Iraq-Iran War
  • August 2 1990 - Iraq invades Kuwait. UN security council resolution 660 calls for full withdrawal.
  • January 16 1991 - Gulf War starts. US-led coalition begins air strikes against Iraq.
  • February 27 1991 - Kuwait is liberated after a three-day ground operation.
  • June 21 1997 - UN demands Iraq allow inspection teams access to sites of suspected weapons of mass destruction.
  • December 16-19 1998 - Operation 'Desert Fox' begins: four days of US-British air strikes against Iraqi weapons programs.
  • Jan, 2005 - More than 8.5 million Iraqis defied threats of violence and terrorist attacks to cast their ballots January 30 in the country's first open, multiparty democratic elections in more than half a century. They elected a 275-member Transitional National Assembly (TNA). Voter turnout was slightly above 58%.
See Iraq War for more.


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last updated 5 Apr 2004