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1. Geography
2. Political situation
3. Defense
4. Economy
a. Figures
5. Health
6. Education
a. Universities
7. Demographics
8. Religions
a. Freedom
9. Peoples
10. Languages
11. Human rights
12. History
13. Cities and Towns

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Open map of IraqFlag of IraqIraq /

In this summary, 'Mesopotamia' is used for the region, while 'Iraq' is used from the time of the Arab conquest.
3100 BCE: The civilization of Sumer, with city states, which develops systems of irrigation, trade and writing.
Around 2600: Akkadians moves into Mesopotamia.
Around 2350: Akkadian kingdom established by Sargon.
Around 1950: Invasion of Sumer by Elamites and Amorites.
1728-1686: Hammurabi, the most famous Amoritian ruler of Babylonia.
Around 1590: The Kassites take power.
Around 1370: Assyria starts to become a regional power.
1168: Kassites are driven out of power by the Elamites.
Around 1120: Babylonia becomes a strong power.
Around 1000: Arameans move into the Mesopotamian region.
669: Babylon destroyed by the Assyrians.
629- 539: New Babylonian kingdom under the Chaldeans.
614: Fall of Assyria.
539: Mesopotamian region is conquered by Persians, under the control of Cyrus 2 the Great.
331: Conquest by Alexander the Great.
312: Greek Seleucid dynasty reigns in Mesopotamia, with Seleucia as capital, infusing Hellenistic culture.
192-188: War between the Seleucids and the Romans.
64: The Seleucid dynasty falls apart, and Mesopotamia is conquered by the Persian dynasty Arsacids. Mesopotamia becomes one of the richest provinces here, called Khvarvaran. Persians were the elite, while the Semits represented a clear majority of the population. The Semits spoke Aramaic, but there were several other peoples in the region.
226 CE: The Sassanids take power in Iran. They had their capital in Ctesiphon in Iraq. Many people of this time belonged to Chrisitan Nestorianism, but the religion of the elite was Zoroastrianism.
627: Byzantine invasion, and the region was weakened politically and economically.
637: Muslim Arabs defeat the Sassanids, and Mesopotamia was overtaken after only one year.
680: Battle at Karbala, where the Shi'i- leader Husayn was killed when claiming the leading position in the Caliphate. The battle was not military important, but had decisive political and religious importance, as this became the final schism between Sunnis and Shi'is.
683: Unrest in the region.
701: Control regained by the Caliphate.
747: Revolt by the Iraqi family Abbasi starts.
750: Abbasids overthrow the ruling Caliphate family, the Umayyads.
762: A new capital for the Caliphate is founded, placed on the river Tigris, about 15 km north of Ctesiphon. The new city is called Baghdad, and grows quickly into a beautiful city.
809: Civil war, Baghdad loses its position for some time, as there are several usurps for the position as Caliph.
819: Stability returns, and the Caliph al-Mamun returns to Baghdad.
836: Samarra becomes the new capital of the Caliphate, because of the threat from self-willed Turkic mercenaries.
865: Civil war between Baghdad and Samarra.
870: Stability restored, with the Abbasids as victors, but they are strongly weakened politically and economically.
892: Baghdad is returned to the position as capital of the Abbasids and the Caliphate. The control is now restricted to Iraq alone.
935: The Nahrawan canal, the source of the irrigation system is destroyed by the Iraqis themselves, in order to prevent invasion. But it is never repaired.
945: Baghdad is taken over by the Caspian people Buyids, who were Shi'is who had earlier taken control over much of Iran. The Abbasids stayed in power, but only as puppets under the Buyids. Iraq was divided into small independent regions, and even Baghdad was split, and fights destroyed the economy of the region for decades up to the change of the millennium.
1055: Togrul Bey, of the Turkic Sunni tribe Seljuqs, drives the Buyids out of Baghdad, and the period of the Seljuq kingdom starts with the blessing of the Abbasid Caliph. From 1060 the Seljuqs form a sultanate.
1135: The Abbasids get back at the Seljuqs, and retakes direct control over politics.
1245: Mongol attack on Baghdad, without success.
1258: A weakened Baghdad, after disastrous floods, falls to the Mongols. The city is destroyed, citizens are massacred, and the Caliph executed: The Caliphate is over, and the economy of Iraq is destroyed for centuries.
1405: Iraq falls under control of Turkish tribes from Anatolia.
1508: Iraq is put under Iranian Safavid control.
1533-34: Iraq is conquered by the Ottoman Empire. The peace this brought, represented a clear improvement to Iraqi economy, primarily the in the agricultural sector.
17th century: Increase of local power. British, Dutch and Portuguese interests get a foothold in trade in the region.
1623: Baghdad is back under Safavid control.
1638: The Ottoman control over Baghdad is restored.
18th century: Mamluks are used to suppress tribal risings and Iranian infiltration, and they stayed to become a local ruling dynasty.
1831: Iraq is back under direct Ottoman rule, as the last Mamluk ruler is deposed.
Around 1870: Modernizing activities in Baghdad, tramways are introduced, as well as regular steamship services.
1914: As a part of World War 1, British forces invade southern Iraq.
1917: British occupation of Baghdad begins.
1920: Arabs of southern Iraq starts military actions towards the British, who did not fulfill their promises to leave the area to the locals after the Turks were defeated. The British responded military in the beginning, but soon realized that it would be impossible to control the area.
1921: Prince Faisal of Hijaz (now: southwestern Saudi Arabia) wins a popular election, with 96% of the ballots, and is declared king of Iraq August 23. The new state did not get an easy birth, as the Shi'is in the south and the Kurds in the north fought for their independence. And outer forces, like Arabia in the south and Turkey in the north, tried to destabilize Iraq, and the cooperated with the Kurds to take control over the Mawsil area in the north. British forces stayed in the country, much because of a request from king Faisal.
1922 October 10: Alliance with Britain is signed.
1925: Elections for a parliament is held. Concessions to search for oil are given to international companies.
1930: A treaty declares that Iraq shall become independent from 1932.
1931: Concessions in the north for oil winning is given to an international company. The Iraqi government is to receive fixed yearly royalties.
1932 October 3: Iraq is declared independent kingdom with king Faisal in power. Iraq is admitted to the League of Nations.
1933: Faisal dies. His son, Ghazi, succeeds him.
1936: Pan-Arab attempts from Iraq, involving suggestions to merge Arab states. A treaty of nonaggression is signed with Saudi Arabia.
1939: King Ghazi dies.
1941: A war of 4 weeks is fought against Britain, where after British control is regained. The British sees to that a pro-British government is formed.
1943: Iraq declares war on the Axis (headed by the Germans).
1945- 46: Unrest among the Kurds, believed to be supported by the Soviet Union.
1947: Treaty with Transjordan on mutual military and diplomatic aid.
1948: After Israel declares independence joins the Arab states in their attacks on the new country.
Around 1950: Strong increase in oil revenues.
1953: Direct parliamentary elections. King Faisal 2 assumes throne, as he was only 3 when his father died.
1954: Political instability, as USA tries to enhance its influence in Iraq.
1955: The Baghdad Pact, a military-security agreement, comprise in the beginning Iraq and Turkey, later Britain, Pakistan and Iran.
1958 February 12: Federation between Jordan and Iraq, called Arab Union of Jordan and Iraq, with a common premier minister.
July 14: Military coup, led by the general Karim Kassem, where the king, the crown prince and the prime minister were killed.
July 15: A new government is proclaimed, and the Arab Union with Jordan is declared dissolved, and Iraq is to work for close relations with the United Arab Republic, which was established by Egypt and Syria earlier this year. Kassem acts to keep up Western confidence by not interfering with the oil production.
1959: Iraq withdraws from the Baghdad Pact.
1960: Iraq makes claims on Kuwait, which receives its independence this year.
1963 February 8: Kassem is overthrown by a group of officers, mainly from the Ba'th Party. Abdul Salam Arif becomes the new president.
1966 April 13: President Arif dies, and is followed by his brother Abdul Rahman Arif.
1967: Iraq acts to make relations with the Western powers worse, following the Six-Day War.
1968 July 17: Arif is overthrown, and Ahmed Hassan al-Bakr becomes the new president. Iraq follows a politics of orientation away from the West, with improved relations with the Soviet Union.
1970: After years of unrest, the Iraqi governments agrees to form an autonomous Kurdish region, and Kurds are let into the cabinet.
1971: Borders to Jordan are closed, as a protest to Jordan's attempt to curb PLO.
1972: Nationalization of the oil industry starts.
1974 March: Fights between government forces and Kurdish groups. The Kurds received aid from Iran. Kurdish cities like Zakho and Qalaat Diza are razed to the ground, and hundreds of thousands of Kurds flee the cities.
1975: Settlement of border disputes with Iran, makes Iran stop aid to the Kurds, and the revolt is crushed.
1979 June: President Bakr is stripped of all positions and put in house arrest. Saddam Hussayn becomes new president.
August: About 400 members of the ruling Ba'th Party are said to have been executed, by the command of the new president.
— Unrest among Kurds, inspired by unrest in Iran, after the Islamic revolution there. Religious animosities in Iraq are linked to what is happening in Iran. Relations between the two countries are worsened.
1980 September 17: The agreement on Iraqi/Iranian borders from 1975 is declared null and void by Saddam, who claims the whole Shatt el-Arab, a small, but important and rich landscape.
September 22: Iraq invades Iran, and gets quickly control over Iranian land.
1981: Israelis bombs a nuclear reactor outside Baghdad.
1982: Counter offensive from Iran, reclaiming much of the land occupied by Iraq.
1988 August 20: Cease fire with Iran. Iraq rebuilds its military power, much with bank credits and technology from Western Europe and USA.
— Brutal actions against Kurds inside Iraq, where poisonous gas is used to kill thousands of civilians.
1990 August 2: Invasion and occupation of Kuwait. UN demands a withdrawal by January 15, 1991.
August 6: UN imposes heavy sanctions on Iraq, involving no trade regulations.
September 25: UN imposes interdiction on air traffic to and from Iraq.
1991 January 16: International invasion from bases in Saudi Arabia, of occupied Kuwait and Iraq. Bombings were followed by movements of land troops. Tens of thousands of Iraqis killed, and most of the military infrastructure destroyed together with much of the civilian infrastructure.
March 3: A cease-fire is agreed between the allied international forces and Iraq.
April: Iraq suppresses rebellions in the south by Shi'is, and in the north by Kurds. Millions of Kurds flee to Turkey and Iran. US, British and French troops are eventually moved into northern Iraq, to set up refugee camps, and protect the Kurds from the Iraqi government.
May: Iraq is presented with an international claim for compensation of between US$50 billion and 100 billion.
1992: As Iraq is believed not to comply to UN demands to eliminate the remaining weapons of mass destruction, international sanctions are not lifted. Living conditions are worsening, food supplies are limited, prices rise, inflation strikes hard, infrastructure is only partly rebuilt and health system remains highly defective. The result is has been the death of now as many as 800,00 Iraqi children, and high numbers of adults.
1993: New US military actions in Iraq, as Iraq did not remove police posts near the Kuwaiti border.
1994: New government military actions against Kurds and the marsh Arabs (mainly Shi'is).
November 10: Iraq recognizes formally the sovereignty of Kuwait.
1999 February: Russia signs a deal with Iraq on upgrading the country's MiG jet fighters.
2002 November: United Nations resume inspections following the unanimous resolution in the Security Council (no. 1441) and the threat from USA of an attack if Iraq does not comply. The aim of the inspections is to check if Iraq still has weaponry of mass destruction (bacteriological and chemical with long distance rockets to carry the material) and if the country has resumed its programme of creating nuclear weaponry.
2003 February 5: Colin Powell presents proofs to the United Nations Security Council that Iraq still produces and holds weapons for mass destructions. Powell also presents proofs that there is a link between Iraq and Al-Qa'ida by the Kurdish group Ansar al-Islam. Western non-US affiliated inspectors to Iraq later declared Powell's proofs on mass destruction to be a "lie", and US has never issued any arrest order on the leader of Ansar al-Islam living in full freedom in Oslo, the capital of Norway.
March 20: USA and Britain starts the war against Iraq (see article on US/British-Iraq War), following a final demand from US president George W. Bush on March 18 (Iraqi time) that Saddam Hussein and his sons must leave Iraq no later than March 20, 4 o'clock. Attacks are first performed by bombing of southern Iraq and Baghdad.
2004 June 28: Autonomy is restored for Iraq as an interim government under the leadership of Iyad Allawi takes power. Still, there are large foreign troops (mainly US and British) in Iraq which does not answer to the iraqi government.
— Through the second half of 2004 the situation in Iraq worsens, involving more and more effective attack on both Iraqi government installations and foreign troops. Kidnappings of foreign civilians, often leading to their execution has become a preferred strategy for disrupting the establishment of a new state.
2005 April 6: Kurdish Jalal Talabani elected President of Iraq.
April 7: The Shi'i Ibrahim Jaafari is appointed Prime Minister

By Tore Kjeilen