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Brief History of Iraq - Ancient Antecedents

Iraq lies in what historians and geographers commonly refer to as the Fertile Crescent. Running through the heart of the country are two great rivers (Tigris and Euphrates) that at one time fed and nourished the beginnings of civilization. Because these two rivers flood periodically, leaving behind fertile soil after the waters recede, farmers were able to produce crops in abundance. This surplus meant that not every person in the society had to devote him or herself to subsistence living, and so industry, government, and religion developed.

Map of Iraq and environs.
The first great nation to rise out of the fertile crescent was Sumeria, this in about 4000 B.C. The Sumerians built irrigation canals, and also developed the first known form of writing, known as cuneiform. But like all empires, the Sumerians would pass from the scene. Subsequently, the region would spawn empires or host them over the centuries. These included the Chaldeans, Hittites, Assyrians, Babylonians, the Medes, Greeks (Macedonian and Seleucid), Romans, Parthians, Arabs, Mongols, Ottoman Turks, and the British. The reason so many empires fought over the area was partly the region's agricultural resources. In modern times oil has been a factor because Iraq possesses huge reserves. But the main reason Iraq has been so often fought over is that it lies in a conspicuous place on the world map, in the middle of an invasion route that meets at the crux of three continents, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

  1. Ancient Antecedents of Iraq
  2. Iraq Independence
  3. The Rise of al-Bakr in Iraq
  4. Saddam and the Gulf War
  5. The Iraq War and Its Aftermath

Current day Iraq is situated over a region once known as Mesopotamia.

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