Iraq 979 CE

The great city of Baghdad, the seat of the caliph, is the brilliant centre of Islamic learning and culture.

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What is happening in Iraq in 979CE

In 762, the new ‘Abbasid caliph founded a new capital, Baghdad, which soon became one of the largest cities in the world. Iraq experienced a period of peace and prosperity. From the early 9th century, however, destructive civil wars caused a great deal of damage, to both the city of Baghdad and the surrounding countryside. The complex irrigation systems were again neglected, and large areas of land were lost to cultivation. A ferocious revolt by black slaves in southern Iraq (869-883) made matters worse, with Basra experiencing a terrible sack.

Despite all these troubles, Baghdad has remained a brilliant centre of scholarship, science and culture.

The fertile region of northern Iraq freed itself from Baghdad’s control in 905, under a Bedouin tribe, the Hamdanids. They are based in the city of Mosul.

After 945 a group from northern Iran, the Buyids, marched on Baghdad and seized power for themselves. The Buyids have since built an empire that includes most of Iran and all of Iraq, whilst at the same time remaining theoretically subordinate to the caliphs.

Next map, Iraq in 1215

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