- 2.1Prehistoric Era:
- 2.2Ancient Iraq:
- 2.2.1Bronze Age:
- 2.2.1Iron Age:
- 2.2.1Babylonian and Persian Periods:
- 2.1Middle Ages:
- 2.2Ottoman Iraq:
- 2.1British Administration and Independent Kingdom:
- 2.1Republic and Ba'athist Iraq:
- 6Flag of Iraq:
Iraq is a federal parliamentary republic consisting of 19 governorates (provinces) and one autonomous region (Kurdistan Region). The country’s official religion is Islam. Culturally, Iraq has a very rich heritage and celebrates the achievements of its past in both pre-Islamic as well as post-Islamic times and is known for its poets. Its painters and sculptors are among the best in the Arab world, some of them being world-class as well as producing fine handicrafts, including rugs and carpets. Iraq is a founding member of the UN as well as of the Arab League, OIC, Non-Aligned Movement and the IMF.
Between 65,000 BC and 35,000 BC, northern Iraq was home to a Neanderthal culture, archaeological remains of which have been discovered at Shanidar Cave. This same region is also the location of a number of pre-Neolithic cemeteries, dating from approximately 11,000 BC.
Since approximately 10,000 BC, Iraq, together with a large part of the Fertile Crescent also comprising Asia Minor and the Levant, was one of centers of a Caucasoid Neolithic culture known as Pre-Pottery Neolithic A (PPNA), where agriculture and cattle breeding appeared for the first time in the world.
The following Neolithic period, PPNB, is represented by rectangular houses. At the time of the pre-pottery Neolithic, people used vessels made of stone, gypsum and burnt lime (Vaisselle blanche). Finds of obsidian tools from Anatolia are evidences of early trade relations.
Further important sites of human advancement were Jarmo (circa 7100 BC), a number of sites belonging to the Halaf culture, and Tell al-‘Ubaid, the type site of the Ubaid period (between 6500 BC and 3800 BC). The respective periods show ever-increasing levels of advancement in agriculture, tool-making and architecture.
The historical period in Iraq truly begins during the Uruk period (4000 BC to 3100 BC), with the founding of a number of Sumerian cities, and the use of Pictographs, Cylinder seals and mass-produced goods.
The “Cradle of Civilization” is thus a common term for the area comprising modern Iraq as it was home to the earliest known civilization, the Sumerian civilization, which arose in the fertile Tigris-Euphrates river valley of southern Iraq in the Chalcolithic (Ubaid period).
It was here, in the late 4th millennium BC, that the world’s first writing system and recorded history itself were born. The Sumerians were also the first to harness the wheel and create City States, and whose writings record the first evidence of Mathematics, Astronomy, Astrology, Written Law, Medicine and Organised religion.
The language of the Sumerians is a language isolate. The major city states of the early Sumerian period were; Eridu, Bad-tibira, Larsa, Sippar, Shuruppak, Uruk, Kish, Ur, Nippur, Lagash, Girsu, Umma, Hamazi, Adab, Mari, Isin, Kutha, Der and Akshak.
The cities to the north like Ashur, Arbela (modern Erbil) and Arrapha (modern Kirkuk) were also extant in what was to be called Assyria from the 25th century BC; however, at this early stage, they were Sumerian ruled administrative centers.
In the 26th century BC, Eannatum of Lagash created what was perhaps the first empire in history, though this was short-lived. Later, Lugal-Zage-Si, the priest-king of Umma, overthrew the primacy of the Lagash dynasty in the area, then conquered Uruk, making it his capital, and claimed an empire extending from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean. It was during this period that the Epic of Gilgamesh originates, which includes the tale of The Great Flood.