Ottoman Empire

Map of the Ottoman Empire
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Map of the Ottoman Empire
Map of the Ottoman Empire

Prior to World War I, three Mesopotamian provinces centered on Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul, formed part of the Ottoman Empire. When the Empire was divided in 1920, the League of Nations, a precursor to the United Nations, gave the British a Mandate to establish a new nation-state in the region. The name ‘Iraq,’ chosen for the country, has no obvious etymology, but Arab geographers used it from the 10th century CE when referring to the central and southern part of the modern Republic.

Combining Basra, Baghdad, and Mosul provinces created a country with a diverse ethnic and religious composition, a mix of Arabs, Kurds and Turkoman, Sunni and Shi’i, Christians and Jews, which engendered social problems and armed conflict.

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