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Mesopotamia (from the Ancient Greek: "[land] between rivers"); is a toponym for the area of the Tigris–Euphrates river system, corresponding to modern-day Iraq and to a lesser extent northeastern Syria, southeastern Turkey and smaller parts of southwestern Iran. Ancient farming communities made their appearance here between 9000 and 000 BC. woman, anxious to have a fixed abode in which to raise their children, influenced the decision to abandon hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Sumer was a civilization and historical region in southern Iraq. It is the earliest known civilization in the world, making Iraq one of the "Cradles of Civilization". The Sumerian civilization spanned over 3.000 years and began with the first settlement of Eridu (mid-6th millennium BC) until the rise of Assyria and Babylonia in the late 3rd and early 2nd millennium BC. By the late 4th millennium BC, Sumer was divided into about a dozen independent city-states, which were divided by canals and boundary stones. Each was centered on a temple dedicated to the particular patron god or goddess of the city and ruled over by a priestly governor (ensi) or by a king (lugal) who was intimately tied to the city's religious rites.

The city states were united in the 24th century BC by Sargon, King of Akkad. during his reign he created an empire that reached westward as far as the Mediterranean Sea and perhaps Cyprus (Kaptara); northward as far as the mountains of Burushanda, (well into Anatolia); eastward over Elam; and as far south as Magan (Oman)
The independent city state of Babylon was founded in 1894 BC. Initially Babylon was a small nation which did not control much territory until the reign of its sixth ruler, Hammurabi (1792–1750 BC). His empire, with Babylon as its capital, extended nothwards from the Persian Gulf through the Tigres and Euphrates river valleys, and westward to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. He was a very efficient ruler, establishing a bureaucracy, with taxation and centralized government, and giving the region stability after turbulent times. One of his most important works was the compilation of a code of laws, which deals with personal property, real estate, trade and business, the family, injuries, labour and rates of pay. A sense of fairness and social justice semms to be a guiding principle, and no-one is excluded from legal protection.

Assyria, extant as a nation state from the late 25th or early–24th century BC to 608 BC. centred on the Upper Tigris river, in northern Mesopotamia, that came to rule regional empires a number of times through history. From the 14th to 11th centuries BC Assyria became a major power with the rise of the Middle Assyrian Empire which dominated the whole of Mesopotamia and much of the Near East and Anatolia. After an interregnum of a hundred or so years, Assyria began to expand once more with the rise of the Neo Assyrian Empire. During this period, Assyria assumed a position as the most powerful nation on earth, successfully eclipsing Babylonia, Egypt, Urartu/Armenia and Elam for dominance of the Near East, Asia Minor, Caucasus, North Africa and east Mediterranean.

In 620 BC, Nabopolassar take's power in Babylonia. At that time, Assyria riven by a series of bitter civil wars being fought for control of the empire after the death of its last great ruler, Ashurbanipal. Nabo-Polassar allied Babylonia with the Medes, Persians and Scythians. A weakened Assyria could not withstand this added pressure, and in 612 BC, Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, fell. The entire city, once the capital of a great empire, was sacked and burned.
Later, Nebuchadnezzar II (Nabopolassar's son) inherited a proportion of the former Assyrian empire for Babylonia. He added territory to Babylonia and undertook much building work in the city. In 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II conquered Judea (Judah), destroyed Jerusalem; Solomon's Temple was also destroyed; Nebuchadnezzar II carried away an estimated 15,000 captives, and sent most of its population into exile in Babylonia. Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC) is credited for building the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Various invaders conquered Mesopotamia after the decline of Babylonia, including Cyrus the Great in 539 BC and Alexander the Great in 331 BC, who died there in 323 BC. Thereafter (until the mid-6th century AD) the region became a part of the Persian empire.
In AD 637 the Muslims ended Persian rule in Iraq. The city of Baghdad (built in the 8th century) became the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. During this period, Baghdad served as the intellectual center of the Muslim world for several centuries, up until the sack of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258. Many famous Muslim scientists, philosophers, inventors, poets and writers were active in Iraq during the 8th to 13th centuries.

The Ottoman Empire began to establish itself around 1300 and lasted until 1918. At the height, it controlled what is now Turkey, parts of north africa, southwestern asia and southeastern Europe.The Ottomans were descendants of Turcoman nomads who entered Anatolia in the 11th century as mercenary soldiers.
Throughout most of the period of Ottoman rule (1533-1918) the territory of present-day Iraq was a battle zone between the rival regional empires and tribal alliances.

After the war the Ottoman Empire was divided up, and the British Mandate of Mesopotamia was established. Britain imposed a Hashimite monarchy on Iraq and defined the territorial limits of Iraq without taking into account the politics of the different ethnic and religious groups in the country, in particular those of the Kurds and the Assyrians to the north. During the British occupation, the Shi'ites and Kurds fought for independence.

Saddam Hussein formally rose to power in 1979, though he had been the de facto head of Iraq for several years prior. He suppressed several movements, particularly Shi'a and Kurdish movements seeking to overthrow the government or gain independence, and maintained power during the Iran–Iraq War of 1980 through 1988.
In 1990 he ordered the invasion and looting of Kuwait. An international coalition came to free Kuwait in the Gulf War of 1991, but did not end Saddam's rule.
In March 2003, a coalition of countries led by the U.S. and U.K. invaded Iraq to depose Saddam, after U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair accused him of possessing weapons of mass destruction and having ties to al-Qaeda. Saddam's Ba'ath party was disbanded and the nation made a transition to a democratic system. The war was declared formally over in December 2011.

I visited Iraq in september 2012.

On that trip i have seen

Iraqi Kurdistan

Please let me know when you're having questions.
i would be pleased to help you.

Things to do and other tips

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This illustrate's my memories of Iraq:

Unfortunatly it's not possible to visit Iraq.
See the "Iraq Kurdistan" pages.

See my "Things to do" pages for more pictures.
These are divided in:

Iraqi Kurdistan

When i'am visiting a country i like to be prepared;
So i know something about the Country and i can plan the things to visit.
That's why i 'm reading books;looking at travel maps etc.

See my "Things to read" pages for Books/Maps about Iraq