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Friday 24th November
Iraq Facts
The highest point in Iraq is Haji Ibrahim (3600 m).

Ancient Mesopotamia is part of present-day Iraq.

Mesopotamia is Greek for between two rivers: the Euphrates and the Tigris.

Sumer in Southern Mesopotamia was one of the world's first civilisations.

Eridu (Abu Shahrain), a Sumerian settlement, is one of the earliest known cities in the world. The site was inhabited from around 5000 BC.

The Sumerians had a form of writing and a system of law; they were civil engineers and studied subjects such as astronomy.

The epic "Gilgamesh" is a poem from Mesopotamia dating back more than four thousand years.

Ur, in Sumer, is said to be the birthplace of Abraham.

Between 1922 and 1934 Leonard Woolley, a British archaeologist, excavated Ur.

Babylonia was another of the early civilisations in Mesopotamia. Archaeologists have found evidence of Babylonian religion and the study of astronomy, botany, chemistry, medicine, zoology, mathematics and history.

The Assyrian civilisation in Mesopotamia started in Ashur.

The city of Ninevah became the capital of Assyria.

Satellite images of northern Iraq and Syria show evidence of major roads used over four thousand years ago. These ancient roads connected civilisations such as those in Ninevah (Iraq) and Aleppo (Syria).

Ancient temples in Mesopotamia, known as ziggurats, were built on stepped platforms.

The Tower of Babel, recorded in the Bible, may have been a ziggurat.

The Hanging Gardens of Babylon in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BC) were one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The Hanging Gardens were built on very high stone arches on terraces. Water came from the River Euphrates via a system of tunnels and pulleys.

The Book of Daniel in the Bible tells the story of Daniel who became a captive during Nebuchadnezzar's attack on Jerusalem in 607 BC. Daniel was later appointed a minister at the Babylonian court.

In 323 BC Alexander the Great died in Babylon at the age of 32.

Jabir Ibn Haiyan, also known as Geber, was a doctor and alchemist in Iraq during the Middle Ages. He is said to be the founder of chemistry.

The world "muslin" is derived from the name of the city of Mosul, in Northern Iraq, whose chief export was cotton.

The Ottoman Empire took control in the region in 1534 and assumed direct rule of Iraq from 1831 until the First World War (1914-1918).

After the War Britain administered the country under a League of Nations mandate, developing the country's oil industry in the 1920s.

Iraq became a republic in 1958.

Saddam Hussein took over from Ahmed Hassan Al-Bakr as President of Iraq in 1979.

In the 1980s Iraq and Iran were at war for eight years.

Iraq annexed Kuwait in August 1990 and refused to obey a resolution of the United Nations to leave the country.

The United States led an international military campaign, Operation Desert Storm, to force Iraqi troops out of Kuwait.

The region known as Kurdistan includes parts of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and Armenia. The Kurdish region of Iraq became a semi-autonomous region after the Gulf War in 1991.

At the end of March 2003 US and British armies invaded Iraq.

In April 2003 looters destroyed the Baghdad Museum. Items reported missing from the Museum's twenty-eight galleries included cuneiform tablets, the sculpture of a head of a woman from ancient Uruk, Sumerian jewellery and a solid gold harp, also from Sumer.

In February 2005 a group dominated by Shi'a Muslim candidates won Iraq's National Election.

Saddam Hussein was executed in December 2006.

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