Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Iraq, 1600–1800 A.D.

Ottoman rule, 1534–1918

Parts of this province pass back into Safavid hands in the 1620s but afterwards remain part of the Ottoman empire until the early twentieth century. The Ottoman presence is negligible in the countryside—which is left for the most part to run under local chieftains—but is concentrated in Baghdad, where defenses against Persia are based, and Basra, a key port in Persian Gulf trade. The change in government is more strongly felt in the many new influences to which Iraq is exposed: under the Ottomans, the province becomes part of the trade between India, Turkey, and the Mediterranean and many Europeans pass through as Iran also opens up to international commerce.

    • early 1600s The Baghdad school of painting, which developed at the end of the 1500s, continues to flourish at the beginning of this century with the patronage of local notables and Ottoman officials posted in Iraq.

    • 1623 The Safavid ruler Shah cAbbas captures Baghdad.

    • 1638 Murad IV leads the Ottoman forces that regain Baghdad from the Safavids. The sultan and his governor sponsor the reconstruction of ancient Sunni sites and the establishment of madrasas throughout Iraq in order to counteract the Shici leanings of the Safavids in neighboring Iran.

    • 1650s French traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier and Turkish chronicler Evliya Çelebi both visit Baghdad and describe life in the city.

    • 1704 As in the other Ottoman provinces, the Istanbul-appointed governor faces tough local opposition throughout the 1600s. With the appointment of Hasan Pasha as governor, Iraq is brought back into order. He is able to check the power of the Janissaries and the Arab tribes, and avert threats from Persia.

    • 1737 and 1743 Nadir Shah of Persia invades Baghdad but is not able to hold onto the city.

    • 1747 After the death of Hasan Pasha's son Ahmed, local officials reject the Ottoman sultan's nomination for governor. From this time onward, the military essentially appoints all governors.

    • 1766 A British residency is established in Baghdad to capitalize on trade through the city.