In preparation for the peace conference that was expected to follow World War I, in the spring of 1917 the British Foreign Office established a special section responsible for preparing background information for use by British delegates to the conference. Mesopotamia is Number 63 in the series of more than 160 studies produced by the section, most of which were published after the conclusion of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. The study describes Mesopotamia as a loosely defined region consisting “of a great depression running south-east from the north-western corner of Syria and the mountains of Armenia down to the head of the Persian Gulf,” roughly corresponding to the territory of present-day Iraq, along with small parts of present-day Syria, Turkey, and Iran. Chapter I discusses physical and political geography. Chapter II covers political history, with emphasis on the period of Turkish occupation from 1638 to 1914. Chapter III discusses social and political conditions and Chapter IV economic conditions. Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire at the end of World War I, Britain was granted a League of Nations mandate over Mesopotamia, which was constituted as the state of Iraq on November 11, 1920. Britain granted independence to the Kingdom of Iraq in 1932.

Last updated: November 14, 2017