Ottoman Era (1512-1920)

This timeline covers the period when the Ottoman empire ruled Mesopotamia up to the period when the British seized the area during World War I and created the Iraq Mandate in 1920


Musings On Iraq review A Short History of Iraq

Musings On Iraq review An Analysis of Hanna Batatu’s The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq

Musings on Iraq review Mosul Before Iraq, Like Bees Making Five-Sided Cells

Musings On Iraq review Christianity in Iraq

Musings On Iraq review Iraq in Turmoil, Historical Perspectives of Dr. Ali al-Wardi, From the Ottoman Empire to King Feisal

Musings On Iraq review Dictatorship, Imperialism & Chaos, Iraq since 1989

Musings On Iraq review The Kurds, A Modern History

Musings On Iraq review Understanding Iraq, the Whole Sweep of Iraqi History, from Genghis Khan’s Mongols to the Ottoman Turks to the British Mandate to the American Occupation

Musings On Iraq review Iraq Between Occupations, Perspectives from 1920 to the Present

Musings On Iraq review The Modern History of Iraq

Musings On Iraq review Iraq Between the Two World Wars, The Militarist Origins of Tyranny

Musings On Iraq review The Making of Iraq 1900-1963, Capital, Power and Ideology

Musings On Iraq review Arab War Lords and Iraqi Star Gazers, Second Edition, Gertrude Bell’s Arab of Mesopotamia




Safavid governor of Baghdad revolted and declared allegiance to Ottomans



Portuguese took Basra as base to protect its sea routes from Europe to Asia


Safavids retook Baghdad from Ottomans



Sultan Suleiman I launched first of three campaigns in Mesopotamia against the Safavids



Nov 18 Ottoman Sultan Suleiman I conquered Baghdad Renovated the city



Ottomans captured Basra



Treaty of Amasia between Ottomans and Safavids gave Mesopotamia and Shatt al-Arab to




Janissaries took over Baghdad



Janissary officer Bakr Subashi took control of Baghdad



Bakr Subashi gave loyalty to Safavids to try to hold off Ottoman force sent to overthrow him


Safavids under Shah Abbas I conquered Baghdad after 3 month siege Destroyed Sunni tomb

            of Abu Hanif and Gailani shrine



Ottoman Sultan Murad IV laid siege to Baghdad and failed



Safavids failed to seize Basra


Ottoman governor of Basra sold his position to Afrasiyab family that would hold office for

several generations


Ottoman Sultan Murad IV laid siege to Baghdad Gave up in 1626



Safavids failed to seize Basra for a second time


Ottoman Sultan Murad IV laid siege to Baghdad 2nd time and failed



Ottoman Sultan Murad IV laid siege to Baghdad 3rd time and failed



Dec 22 Ottoman Sultan Murad IV began last siege of Baghdad Eventually took city by end of

            year Massacred Shiites afterward



Mar 17 Treaty of Zuhab ended Ottoman-Safavid War and gave Ottomans most of


(Musings On Iraq review An Analysis of Hanna Batatu’s The Old Social Classes and the Revolutionary Movements of Iraq)



Shammar Confederation moved from middle Arabia into Levant waging 20 year war with

            Mawali Confederacy Mawali fled southern Iraq and moved north towards Syria



Floods destroyed parts of Baghdad



Ottomans sent troops to Basra to overthrow Governor Afrasiyab who was moving towards




Janissary riots led Baghdad governor to flee



Baghdad sent troops to overthrow governor Ended Afrasiyab family controlling office



Plague hit Baghdad wiping out most of the population



Floods destroyed parts of Baghdad



Mutafiq tribe took control of Basra



Ottoman governor Hassan Pasha organized Janissaries and Iraqi tribes in campaign against

            declining Safavid empire Captured Karmanshah



Hassan Pasha died on campaign against Safavids Led to tribal revolts in Iraq that had to be

            put down by Ottoman forces


East India Company set up permanent trading house in Basra



Declared Year of the Elephant in Baghdad after Afghans gave elephant as gift to Ottoman

            governor Ahmed Pasha in truce deal


Name Iraq first began being used by Ottomans to refer to area of Baghdad and Basra




Safavids invaded Baghdad province



January General Nadir Qali of Safavid empire demanded access to Shiite shrines and return

of Persian prisoners Ended up attacking Baghdad Siege failed


Battle between Safavids and Ottomans outside Kirkuk Ottomans were defeated Rumors of

            succession struggles meant Safavids couldn’t advance on Baghdad



Safavids invaded Baghdad province



Muntafiq Confederacy led Sadoun Revolt declaring sultanate in Najaf and Kufa



Ottoman Governor Ahmed Pasha put down Muntafiq Confederacy’s Sadoun Revolt in Najaf

            and Kufa



Safavids invaded Basra province



Mamluks began rule in Baghdad for Ottomans



British East India Company made Basra its headquarters in Persian Gulf



British set up consulate in Basra as part of overland postal system linking Europe with India



British East India Company signed treaty with Ottomans to allow it naval protection of

            Basra’s trade



Plague hit Basra city wiping out 1/3 of population



Safavids took Basra city after 1 year siege



British set up consulate in Baghdad as part of overland postal system linking Europe with



British secretary of war worried that Napoleon would land an army in Syria, march to

Baghdad and then down to the Persian Gulf and then onto India



Apr 21 Wahabi army from Arabia sacked Karbala 2,000-5,000 killed



Ottomans restored direct rule over Baghdad from Mamluks after plague hit city



Jihad declared against Ottoman Governor of Baghdad Ali Rida Pasha after woman was

violated and populace tired of rampant crime


Shammar tribe threatened Baghdad in tribal revolt



British introduced 1st steamboats along Euphrates and Tigris Rivers Was used as part of

            postal system connecting Europe with India



Ottoman Governor Neguib Pasha laid siege to Karbala what was criminal center Conducted

            massacre of residents afterward



Anglo-Russian commission mapped border between Ottomans and Persia from Mount

Ararat to Persian Gulf


Baghdad governor sent forces to take control of Najaf and Karbala from gangs aligned

            with merchants and clerics



May 21 Treaty of Arzurum to set border between Ottoman Empire and Persia gave

Sulaymaniya and Shatt al-Arab to Ottomans Set up commission to demarcate rest of border between two but never finished Treaty became disputed after Iraq independence in 1932



May 2 Riot in Mosul versus Ottoman reforms Attacked Christians and Jews for

            businesses they ran and control of taxes that caused resentment

(Musings On Iraq review Christianity in Iraq)



Telegraph established between Baghdad and Istanbul



Steamship route from Basra to Bombay established by British



Midhat Pasha became governor of Baghdad Major Ottoman reformer



Iraq held elections for chamber of designees in Istanbul



Sadoun revolt started Mansur Sadoun declared independent emirate from Basra to




Sadoun revolt put down by Ottoman army



Ottmans gave German company contract to build railroad from Istanbul to Basra



Oct 15 Protests in Mosul ended against Ottoman census that included counting women



Jan 5 Riot in Mosul after Kirkuk soldier insulted a woman Organized by elites opposed to

            Ottoman reforms 60 killed


Jan 6 Riots in Mosul killed Sheikh Said Sufi leader in Sulaymaniya Led his followers to

            revolt cutting off trade in northern Mosul province


Oct 17 Mosul representatives to new Ottoman Assembly left for Istanbul Was part of Young

            Turks’ reforms



Ottomans and Persians questioned 1847 Treaty of Arzurum British and Russians pressured two

            sides to mediate border disputes



Oct 28 Secret Ahd Association of Ottoman officers formed Included many Iraqis that

would become leaders and prime ministers under monarchy such as Nuri al-Said Yasin Hashemi Jamil Midfai and others Called for Arab autonomy


Nov 4 Constantinople Protocol set new border between Ottomans and Persia Ottomans kept

            Shatt al-Arab waterway



Jun 19 Germany and England asked Ottomans for oil concessions in Mosul and

            Baghdad provinces


Jun 28 Ottomans agreed to oil concessions for British and Germans in Mosul and

            Baghdad provinces Never happened because of WWI


Aug 2 Ottomans signed alliance with Germany that would bring Mesopotamia into WW1




Nov 5 England and France declared war on Ottoman Empire Would lead Mesopotamia

            into WWI

Nov 5 British Gen Delmain head of Indian Expeditionary Force told to protect oil

            infrastructure and only take Basra if the Ottomans joined WWI


Nov 6 British troops landed at Fao, Basra starting war against Ottomans in



Nov 7 British forces started march from Fao to city of Basra


Nov 8 British troops seized Ottoman fort at Fao


Nov 11 Battle of Basra began when Ottomans attacked and were turned back by British


Nov 12 British forces in Fao launched reconnaissance in force near Salhan, Basra


Nov 15 British troops began attack on Basra City


Nov 16 British forces attacked Zain, Basra


Nov 18 British launched second attack on Zain, Basra


Nov 19 British troops took fort at Sahil in the city of Basra


Nov 20 Arab tribes told British forces Ottomans had abandoned Basra British forces set

            out to take city


Nov 21 British troops entered Basra city


Nov 23 British forces officially took Basra city


Dec 3 Start of Battle of Qurna British attacked but beaten back


Dec 6 British forces attacked Qurna 2nd time and forced Turks to surrender Took 1,000



Dec 9 Ottomans defeated by British at Battle of Qurna and surrendered Basra province



Jan 2 Suleiman Bey took over Iraq command for Ottomans Called on Arab Sheikhs to

            join war against British and planned on retaking Basra


Apr 11 Ottomans launched operation to try to retake Basra from British forces


Apr 12 Battle of Shaiba began in Basra province


Apr 13 British won Battle of Shaiba by counterattacking and routing Ottoman forces


Apr 14 Ottoman campaign to try to retake Basra from British failed


Apr 22 Lord Curzon asked why British should promise Basra and Baghdad vilyats to

            Arabs if they were fighting on Ottoman side


May 13 British forces moved north to try to encircle Ottoman forces in Qurna


May 31 British forces set out to capture Amarah from Ottomans


Jun 3 British forces captured Amarah after convincing Ottoman garrison to surrender


Jun 27 British forces began campaign to capture Nasiriya from Ottomans


Jun 30 UK committee wrote paper advocating for break up of Ottoman Empire and creation

            of Iraq to control its oil and agriculture Cabinet didn’t agree with ideas


Jul 24 British forces captured Nasiriya


Sep 12 British forces launched campaign to capture Baghdad starting in Wasit


Sep 27 Battle of Es Sinn began


Sep 28 British defeated Ottomans at Battle of Es Sinn driving them back to Kut, Wasit


Sep 29 British forces took Kut


Oct 5 6th Army created by Ottomans under command of German Gen von der Goltz to

            defend Mesopotamia from British


Nov 22 Start of Battle of Ctesiphon


Nov 23 French diplomat Picot visited London told officials Mosul Baghdad Basra

            vilyats should be given to Arabs after WWI to placate them


Nov 24 Battle of Ctesiphon ended with both British and Ottomans retreating Ottomans

            Suffered 6,100 casualties British 4,600 casualties


Dec 3 British expeditionary force driven back to Kut, Wasit after losing Battle of

Ctesiphon to Ottomans


Dec 7 Battle of Kut began with Ottoman forces arriving at city after they lost Battle of




Jan 6 Start of Battle of Sheikh Saad as British forces moved up the Tigris River and

            ran into Ottoman defenses


Jan 7 British made second assault on Ottomans during Battle of Sheikh Saad taking

            part of Ottoman defenses


Jan 9 Battle of Sheikh Saad ended with British defeating the Ottomans


Jan 13 Ottomans retreated 10 miles up Tigris River after defeat at Battle of Sheikh Saad

            and were beaten again by British at Battle of Wadi


Jan 21 Ottomans retreated up Tigris after defeat at Battle of Wadi only to lose again to

            British at Battle of Hanna


Mar 7 British forces attacked Ottomans at the Dujaila Redoubt


Mar 8 British tried and failed to take the Dujaila Redoubt from Ottomans losing

            4,000 men


Apr 5 British forces attacked Fallahiya to try to relive surrounded British troops in Kut


Apr 7 Start of Battle of Bait Alsa and Sannaiyat


Apr 8 British forces defeat Ottomans at Fallahiya


Apr 17 British took Beit Asia from Ottomans and pushed Turks out of Edheim River in



Apr 19 German commander of the Ottoman forces in Mesopotamia Gen Goltz died of



Apr 22 British attacked Sannaiyat but Ottomans turned them back British suffered

            1,200 casualties


Apr 24 British attempt to re-supply besieged garrison at Kut failed


Apr 26 British arranged a ceasefire with Ottomans in Kut after 146 day siege British lost

            33,000 casualties


Apr 29 Ottomans defeated the British at Battle of Kut after 4 months captured 13,000



May 16 France and England agreed on Sykes-Picot Agreement creating two spheres of

influence over Middle East Basra and Baghdad was in British zone Basra French to act as buffer with Russia


Jun 10 Hussein Ibn Ali sheriff of Mecca declared Arab revolt against Ottomans

backed by British Many Iraqi Ottoman officers joined


Sep 18 British leaders told troops to continue advance in Mesopotamia vs Ottomans

            after huge loss at Kut


Dec 13 New British offensive launched up Tigris River to retake Kut from Ottomans


Dec 22 British forces began digging lines towards Ottomans defenses at Khadairi Bend



Jan 7 British made divisionary attack along Tigris River to draw Ottoman forces away

            From Khadairi Bend fort


Jan 9 Battle of Mohammed Abdul Hassan

Jan 9 British began assault upon Khadairi Bend fort


Jan 11 Battle of Hai salient started


Jan 25 British attack Ottoman positions along Hai River


Jan 29 British captured Ottoman fort at Khadairi Bend in campaign to recapture Kut


Feb 4 British defeated Ottoman forces at Hai River


Feb 16 British defeated Ottoman forces at Dahra Bend


Feb 17 British crossed Shumran bend outflanking Ottoman forces in campaign to

            recapture Kut


Feb 24 British retake Kut from Ottomans in 2nd Battle of Kut


Feb 26 3 British gunboats fired upon by 4 Ottoman ships at Nahr-al-Kalek, Wasit 3

            Turkish ships sunk and 4th captured


Mar 5 British forces started march on Baghdad from Kut


Mar 9 1st British assault on Baghdad turned back by Ottomans


Mar 10 British forces defeated Ottoman defenses outside Baghdad in Diyala River Led

            Ottomans to abandon Baghdad


Mar 11 British army took Baghdad


Mar 13 British started Samarra offensive against Ottomans after taking Baghdad


Mar 16 British War Cabinet created Mesopotamia administration committee to decide

            on form of govt in captured areas


Mar 17 British forces captured Baquba from Ottomans


Mar 19 British forces captured Fallujah from Ottomans

Mar 19 British commander in Mesopotamia Gen Maude sent message to Iraqis saying

British had not come as conquerors but liberators Maude said British would not impose their institutions on locals and called on Arabs to help rule


Mar 25 British forces defeated by Ottomans at Battle of Mount Hamrin, Diyala


Apr 11 British defeated Ottomans at Battle of Shiala


Apr 21 Battle of Istabulat in Diyala started with Ottomans being defeated


Apr 23 British Samarra Offensive ended in victory over Ottomans British suffered

            18,000 casualties


Apr 30 Battle of the Boot at Band-i-Adhaim


May 19 Gen Sir Stanley Maude commander of British forces in Iraq said they

            had come as liberators not conquerors


May 27 UK Col Clayton in Egypt worried Sykes-Picot would create opposition by

            Sharif of Mecca against UK taking Baghdad


Jul 11 1st Battle of Ramadi started Ottomans forced British to retreat


Sep 28 2nd Battle of Ramadi started


Sep 29 2nd Battle of Ramadi ended with Ottomans losing city


Nov 5 Battle of Tikrit started



Jan 5 Lloyd George said Ottoman provinces including Mesopotamia should have

            “separate national conditions”


Mar 9 British took Hit, Anbar without a fight from Ottomans


Mar 26 Battle of Khan al-Baghdadi began


Mar 27 British defeated Ottomans in Battle of Khan al-Baghdadi


May 21 UK PM George abrogated Long-Berenger UK-French oil deal due to

disagreement with France over Iraq-Syrian border George wanted Iraq to extend to Mediterranean


Aug 11 British Foreign Secretary Balfour said British war in Mesopotamia should be

            justified by securing water that would also give it control of oil

Aug 11 Balfour’s statement about Mesopotamia’s oil prompted Premier Lloyd George to

            call for British to seize Ottoman’s Mosul province


Apr 18 France and England signed Long-Berenger oil deal France got 20% of Iraqi oil via

Turkish Petroleum Company France agreed to help build oil pipeline from Iraq to Mediterranean


Oct 2 British War Office told commander in Mesopotamia to seize as many oil

            producing areas as possible


Oct 23 Battle of Shirqat started as British forces moved north from Baghdad to seize

            Mosul province and its oil before war ended


Oct 30 British forces took Shirqat from Ottomans

Oct 30 Armistice of Mudros signed between British and Ottomans 6th Army in

Mesopotamia surrendered to British Ended WWI in Iraq Weren’t able to seize Mosul province and its oil before end of war

Oct 30 British officials in Baghdad told London to create central council of chiefs of

            southern Kurdistan


Nov 2 British invaded Ottoman’s Mosul vilayet after WWI armistice

(Musings On Iraq How The Ottoman Province Of Mosul Became Part Of Iraq)

(Musings On Iraq interview with Princeton’s Sara Pursley on Sykes-Picot and creation of Iraq)

(Musings On Iraq review The Creation of Iraq 1914-1921)


Nov 3 British troops took Mosul city from Ottomans after WW1 armistice

(Musings On Iraq How The Ottoman Province Of Mosul Became Part Of Iraq)

(Musings On Iraq interview with Princeton’s Sara Pursley on Sykes-Picot and creation of Iraq)

(Musings On Iraq review The Creation of Iraq 1914-1921)


Nov 16 UK commissioner for Iraq Arnold Wilson wrote that Iraqis were happy with

British occupation


Dec 1 UK PM George asked French PM Clemenceau to renegotiate Sykes-Picot giving

Mosul to British Got French to agree to give it Mosul province In return France got stake in Iraqi oil and Syria



Jan 23 British cabinet decided Iraqi oil would be developed by a public company Foreign

Secretary Lord Curzon overturned decision Decided Turkish Petroleum Company would keep its oil rights signed with Ottomans


Jan 28 Turkish National Pact said Turkey gave up rights to all Ottoman provinces with

Arab majorities including Basra and Baghdad Did not include Mosul province which Turkey claimed had a Turkish majority Kurds were called Turks

Jan 28 British also claimed Mosul province which it occupied after armistice with

            Ottomans in 1918


Feb 7 War Minister Churchill wrote there were far too many British troops in

            Mesopotamia that could be sustained


Mar 8 Hundreds of ex-Ottoman soldiers including many Iraqis petitioned Prince Faisal

            about how Arab revolt didn’t work out during WWI


Apr 19 Start of San Remo meeting with Britain France Italy and Japan Decided on split

            up of Ottoman Empire and creation of Iraq


Apr 23 Ataturk gave speech demanding Turkey’s southern territories include Mosul and



Apr 24 UK and France gave France 25% of Turkish Petroleum Company in return for

            agreeing to British mandate in Iraq




Apr 25 San Remo Agreement created British Mandate in Iraq France agreed to give up

            Mosul vilyat in return for oil concessions in Iraq


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