1917-1921 1932-1939

Iraq 1921-1932

Status and Administration . The newly created Kingdom of Iraq was a British protectorate, since 1920 a League of Nations mandate. In 1932, Iraq was released into independence. King Faysal I. ruled from 1921 to 1933. The Kingdom of Iraq was created at the Cairo Conference in 1921. Contemporary English language sources kept treating Iraq under the headline Mesopotamia for a number of years to come.
In a 1921 plebiscite, the Iraqi population accepted the monarchy. In 1923 elections to the National Assembly were held. In 1924 an Organic Law was passed which functioned as a constitution, turning Iraq into a constitutional monarchy.

Foreign Policy . In 1922 Britain coerced Iraq into signing the first Anglo-Iraqi Treaty. In 1930 it was replaced by a negotiated second Anglo-Iraqi Treaty.
The Treaty of Sevres 1920 was a peace treaty dictated to the Ottoman Empire, which was defunct as her remaining territory was taken over by the Turkish Republic, which opposed the implementation of the Treaty of Sevres. In 1923 the Turkish Republic was given the Treaty of Lausanne, which defined the border between Turkey and Iraq and turned the Treaty of Sevres into a dead letter.
The border with the Kingdom of Nejd (the nucleus of what became Saudi Arabia in 1932) was defined in 1922, terminating acts of sabotage by the Ikhwan.

The Economy . Since the beginning of British occupation in 1917, the Egyptian Pound and Indian Rupee were used as currency in Iraq. Oil production began in 1927. Yet, prior to the completion of the Kirkuk-Tripoli pipeline in 1933, oil production remained low.

Social History . Jan Lahmeyer estimates the population of Iraq in in 1921 as 2.93 million, in 1932 as 3.44 million.

Ethnic, Religious Minorities . As a state, Iraq was a British creation, including Arab Sunni Muslims, Arab Shia Muslims, Kurdish Sunni Muslims, Kurdish Yazidi, Turkomans, Assyrian Christians, Chaldaean Christians, Jews.
The Kurdish north, according to the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916, was to be split in a south within the British sphere of influence and a north in the French sphere of influence. Here, 1919-1923, centered on Sulaymaniah, a Kurdish State existed, clearly opposed to the idea of the new Kingdom. Iraqi Kurdistan was promised political autonomy in 1923, annexed into Iraq in 1924.
In the Arab-speaking core of Iraq, the Shia formed the clear population majority. The Shia clergy opposed the British manoeuvres in Iraq. In 1923 Shia clergy called for the boycott of the elections to the National Assembly; the political institutions of the young state were dominated by Iraqi Arab Sunnis; the ruling dynasty Sunni Arabs from the Hejaz.
The NIYB 1922 reports that the authority of the king did not extend beyond the walls of Baghdad, that he was regarded a creature of the British, in control of Baghdad because of an army mainly composed of Hindu soldiers (NIYB 1922 p.442). Thus the establishment of an Iraqi army composed of Iraqi soldiers and officers became a political priority.
The Kurdish revolt resumed in 1930.

Wars of Iraq, 1800-1999, from ACED
Global Currency History : Iraq (B. Taylor)
Articles History of Iraq, Faysal I of Iraq, Sykes-Picot Agreement, Iraqi Kurdistan, Mustafa Barzani, Assyrian Independence, Mar Eshai Shimun XXIII, from Wikipedia
Iraq, from Library of Congress Country Studies
History of Oil in Iraq, from Global Policy Forum
Jewish Virtual History Tour : Iraqi Jews
History of Iraq 1921-1933, by Garrett Johnson
The Roots of Iraqi Secularism, by Zeyad
DOCUMENTS World Statesmen : Iraq, by Ben Cahoon; Rulers : Iraq, by B. Schemmel
Historical Statistical data : Iraq, from Population Statistics (J. Lahmeyer)
REFERENCE IHS : International Historical Statistics : Africa, Asia & Oceania 1750-2000, edited by B.R. Mitchell, Basingstoke : Palgrave MacMillan 4th ed. 2003
Encyclopaedia Britannica, 15th edition, Macropaedia, Vol.21, pp.972-996 Article Iraq. KMLA Lib. Call Sign R 032 B862h v.21
Charles Tripp, A History of Iraq, Cambridge : UP 2000 [G]
Courtney Hunt, The History of Iraq, Westport CT : Greenwood 2005, KMLA Lib. Call Sign 956.7 H939h
Article : Mandated Territories in Asia : Iraq (Mesopotamia), in : Statesman's Yearbook 1924 pp.178-181, 1925 pp.180-184, 1926 pp.184-188, 1928 pp.1015-1020 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : Statesman's Year Book 1929 pp.999-1005 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : Americana Annual 1927 pp.453-455, 1928 pp.410-411, 1930 pp.406-408, 1931 pp.405-407, 1932 pp.370-371 [G]
Article : Mesopotamia, in : New International Year Book 1921 p.441 [G]
Article : Mesopotamia, Irak or Iraq, in : New International Year Book 1923 p.451, 1925 pp.418-419, 1928 p.442 [G]
Article : Iraq, in : New International Year Book 1930 pp.383-385, 1932 pp.389-391
Article : Irak, in : Funk & Wagnall's New Standard Encyclopedia Year Book 1932 [G]

This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on June 18th 2007, last revised on August 25th 2007

Click here to go Home
Click here to go to Information about KMLA, WHKMLA, the author and webmaster
Click here to go to Statistics

Impressum · Datenschutz