Iraq Historcal Timeline
1590 BC - 2005 AD
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 Amoritts. 1728- 1686: Hammurabi, the most famous Amorittian ruler of Babylonia.
Around 1590 BC: The Kassites take power.
Around 1370 BC: Assyria starts to become a regional power.
1168 BC: Kassites are driven out of power by the Elamites.
Around 1120 BC: Babylonia becomes a strong power.
Around 1000 BC: Arameans move into the Mesopotamian region.
669 BC: Babylon destroyed by the Assyrians.
629- 539 BC: New Babylonian kingdom under the Chaldeans.
614 BC: Fall of Assyria.
539 BC: Mesopotamian region is conquered by Persians, under the control of
Cyrus 2 the Great.
331 BC: Conquest by Alexander the Great.
312 BC: Greek Seleucid dynasty reigns in Mesopotamia, with Seleucia as capital,
infusing Hellenistic culture.
192-188 BC: War between the Seleucids and the Romans.
64 BC: 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 AC: 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
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
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
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 forces invaded Mesopotamia and occupied Baghdad; Iraq became
British Mandate. 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
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.
1951 - Mossadigh takes power in Iran and declares that they will control
their own oil
1953 -After 2 years of U.S. sponsored sanctions CIA supports plot to overthrow
Mossadigh and place Shah in power. American Gen. Norman Schwartzkopf Sr. helps
Shah develop SAVAK secret police.
1963 -coup aided by CIA overthrows Kassem. Baathist party briefly in power. Hussein runs torture center
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. Popular revolution led by Abd al-Kassem Quassim overthrows
British-installed king of Iraq. 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. - Saddam Hussein was one of assassins
who wounded Quassim
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
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
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
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
November 10: Iraq recognizes formally the sovereignty of Kuwait.
1999 February: Russia signs a deal with Iraq on upgrading the country's MiG
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.
July 23 2003 MOSUL, Iraq Saddam Hussein's sons Odai and Qusai were killed Tuesday when U.S. soldiers stormed a house in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, U.S. military officials said Tuesday. The six-hour raid was the most successful American operation since the war and comes as a much-needed tonic for U.S. troops, who recently have suffered a dozen attacks a day by Saddam loyalists and other anti-American groups. News of the sons' deaths touched off celebratory gunfire in Baghdad and at least one southern city. But L. Paul Bremer, Iraq's top civilian administrator, cautioned "there will be some people who will be pretty unhappy that we killed these two guys."
December 14th 2003 - With three words – "We got him" U.S. forces converged on a farmhouse near Tikrit and discovered the Ace of Spades literally in the hole -- Saddam Hussein with a pistol, hiding in a dirt pit 6 feet in the ground. Without any shots fired, American troops pulled a bearded and haggard Saddam from his hiding place near his hometown of Tikrit. U.S. officials announced Sunday morning. Hours later, when President Bush addressed the nation, he declared that "a dark and painful era is over."
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 attacks 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.
November 5th. 2006 - Saddam was found guilty over the killing, torture and other crimes against the Shi'ite population of the town of Dujail after Shi'ite militants tried to assassinate him there in 1982.
December 2006 - Persident George W. Bush said on Thursday Dec. 28th that he was making "good progress" in coming up with a fresh strategy on Iraq. He stated; "It's important for the American people to understand success in Iraq is vital for our own security." Otherwise, extremists would be emboldened and they would be in a position to threaten the United States of America."
December 2006 - The appeals court this week upheld a November 5 conviction for crimes against humanity over the killings of 148 Shi'ite men. Judge Munir Haddad said Saddam's half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and former judge Awad al-Bander would also hang on Saturday. A television station run by Maliki's party said a gallows was ready on a parade ground dominated by a triumphal arch -- formed of crossed swords held in hands modeled on Saddam's own. But other sites are also possible for any execution.
December 2006 - The butcher of Baghdad (Saddam Hussein) is condemned to die
We just received word that the butcher of Baghdad (Saddam Hussein) is DEAD at 9:00 P. M. ct U. S. (6:00 A. M. Iraqi time) Saterday December 30, 2006 setting a dramatic end for a leader who ruled Iraq by fear for three decades of oppression and the murder of at least 1.5 Million Muslims. Thousands of Iraqis celebrate around the World!
It is noteworthy to bring out the fact that an execution at the start of Eid would be highly symbolic. The feast marks the sacrifice the prophet Abraham was prepared to make when God ordered him to kill his son and many Shi'ites could regard Saddam's death as a gift from God. Such symbolism could further anger Sunnis, resentful of new Shi'ite power.
The great thing I have learned from these recent events is that it does not matter if a man has the power and riches of the greatest Kings it is still very lonely when he stands on the gallows. Author of the Master's Table ~ Timothy M. Youngblood