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Monday, May 4, 2009

The History of Baghdad Linked to Islamic Faith

The History of Baghdad Linked To Islamic Faith

Although Bagdad, Iraq currently is ravaged by strife and warfare, the history of Bagdad includes an interlude of golden years beginning in 762 AD when the Abbasid dynasty assumed control of the vast Muslim world and made Baghdad its capital.

For the following 500 years, Baghdad was the centerpiece of the Muslim world. Because of flooding, fires, and internal strife between rival Shia and Sunni factions, political stability faltered, and in 1258 AD Mongols under the leadership of chief Hulegu sacked the city and slaughtered 100,000 people or more.

Since then, the ancient city with the Tigris River running through it has been subjected to many political overthrows.

Important dates, events, and persons involved with the history of the city of Baghdad include:

* 632 AD Death of the Prophet Muhammad in Medina

* 632-661 Three of four “Righteous Caliphs” who followed Muhammad assassinated

* 661-750 Umayyads, the first Muslim dynasty

* 750 Abbasid caliphs murder all but one Umayyad male, who flees to Spain

* 762 Abbasids move Muslim capital to Baghdad

* 836 Muslim caliphs leave Baghdad for Samarra, one of four Iraqui Holy Cities 75 miles north of Baghdad

* 892 Muslim caliphs return to Baghdad

* 945, then 1055 Buyids followed by Suljuqs invade Baghdad, ravage much of city

* 1258 Mongols, led by Hulegu, invade and sack Baghdad, slaughter more than 100,000 people

* 1401 Baghdad sacked by Timur Lenk, another merciless Mongol warlord

* 1534 Sultan Suleyman I conquers city, adds to Ottoman (Turkish) Empire

* 1623 Baghdad conquered by Persians

* 1638 Ottomans regain control of city

* 1917 British take control over Ottomans

* 1920 Baghdad capital of new entity called Iraq, a League of Nations mandate administered by Great Britain

* 1980-1988 Inconclusive war with Iran

* 1991 Gulf War sees much of Baghdad ravaged by bombs

* 2003 U.S. forces bomb Baghdad

During its 500 years of glory, Baghdad was one of the wealthiest cities in the world, and the heart of that region’s culture and education. Muslim scholars made major contributions in the fields of medicine, mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, and literature. Museums, hospitals, libraries, and mosques flourished. Greek was studied and, in that region, Baghdad was second only in size to Constantinople.

Since Iraq received its independence from Great Britain in 1932, the population of Baghdad has soared from about 360,000 to about 7.5 million people. Long known as the nation’s richest and economically most important city, Baghdad’s industries include oil refineries, food processing, tanneries, and textile mills.

An estimated 97 percent of all people living in Baghdad, like the nation as a whole, are of the Muslim faith.

Baghdad is only about 30 miles east of the Euphrates River, which parallels the Tigris until they join shortly before entering the Persian Gulf about 560 miles southeast of Baghdad.

The history of Baghdad, much of it torn with strife, always has been linked to Muhammed and the Islamic faith.

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