The Iraq – History

Ancient History

Rio Tigre no IraqueIn prehistory, the region of Mesopotamia, between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, was under the control of various civilizations. In about 4000 BC, the territory belonged to the Sumerians, who built advanced irrigation systems, developed agriculture of cereals, invented the earliest form of writing, a mathematical system in which the clock as designed is currently based, the wheel and the first plow. Unlike their Egyptian counterparts, who believed that all land belonged to the Pharaoh, the Sumerians believed in private property, even important concept in Iraq.

O Código de HamurabiWhen occurred the collapse of the Sumerian civilization about 1700 B.C, King Hammurabi took over the region and named as Babylon. Hammurabi, a great leader known for creating the first legal code written in history, united the Assyrians and the Babylonians in order to coexist harmoniously. After many changes of power, Nebuchadnezzar II ruled between 604 and 562 B.C and restored the former glory of Babylon, which became the most famous city in the world, home to the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Representação dos jardins suspensos da Babilónia, como imaginados por Martin HeemskerckIn 323 B.C. Babylon became part of the Persian Empire and remained so until the Arab Muslims took in 634 A.D.. In 762 A.D. the capital Baghdad was founded, becoming an important commercial, cultural and educational center. She linked the trade from Asia to the Mediterranean countries, thus receiving visitors, scholars and merchants from around the world and producing philosophical and scientific works of Arab and Persian thinkers.

History of the Medium, Modern and Contemporary age

The Ottoman Empire conquered the Mesopotamian region in 1410. In 1508 the Persians, led by Shah Ismail I, the founder of the Safavid dynasty, conquered the region, initiating a series of protracted battles with the Ottomans. In 1514 the Sultan Selim the Grim attacked Ismail’s forces and, in 1534, the Ottomans, under the leadership of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent (or Suleiman), have come to dominate much of the region.

Sultão Murad IVThe Sultan knew how to win the loyalty of the border areas and found no resistance in their decisive attack on the capital. The Safavids, under the leadership of Abbas Shah recaptured Baghdad and much of the current Iraqi territory in 1623, and remained until 1638, when they were expelled after a series of brilliant military maneuvers of Sultan Murad IV. The current territory of Iraq was part of the Ottoman Turkish Empire for nearly three centuries.

The greatest impact of the conflict between Ottomans and Safavids on Iraqi history was the deepening of disagreements between Shiites and Sunnis. Ottomans and Safavids used, respectively, Sunnis and Shiites to mobilize domestic support. So the Sunni population suffered greatly during the brief reign of Safavid (1623-1638), while the Shiites were completely excluded from power during the long period of Ottoman supremacy (1623-1916). During the Ottoman period, the Sunnis gained administrative experience that allowed them to monopolize power in the twentieth century. They were able to take advantage of economic and educational opportunities while Shi’ites, marginalized from the political process, remained politically powerless and economically depressed.

Faisal I, primeiro rei do IraqueIn 1638 until the First Word War, the Iraqi territory was part of the Ottoman Turkish empire. When the Ottoman Empire collapsed after the war ended, the League of Nations gave Britain the administration of Mesopotamia. The modern Iraq came in 1920, when the British defined the Iraqi territory with little attention to natural frontiers and ethnic divisions. They established an institutional framework for government and politics, which included the installation of a monarchy and influenced the constitution.

On July 14, 1958 the monarchy was overthrown and Iraq was declared a republic. The subsequent years were followed by much political instability. On July 17, 1968, a new coup brought the Baath party to power, ruling the country until 2003, when, with the fall of the government and the end of the economic embargo, a provisional government was established under US tutelage.