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April 2003



Baghdad with an estimated population (1988) of 3,843,000 and land area of 97 square miles, slightly smaller than Philadelphia,Pennsylvania was founded in 762 A.D. on the west bank of the Tigris River. Baghdad rose to become one of the greatest cities of Islam and a leading cultural center. The period of its utmost glory is reflected in the Thousand and One Nights, in which many of the tales are set in Baghdad. In 1258 the Mongols sacked the city and repeatedly contested by Persians and Turks until 1638, when it became part of the Ottoman Empire. The city was captured by the British in 1917, and in 1920 it became capital of the newly constituted kingdom of Iraq.

Columbia Gazetteer of the World, 1998

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