Iraq Lesson for Kids: History & Facts

Instructor: Mary Beth Burns

Mary Beth has taught 1st, 4th and 5th grade and has a specialist degree in Educational Leadership. She is currently an assistant principal.

Can you imagine what it would be like to live in Iraq? Come and learn about its history from the early years to the 21st century, as well as the geography and culture.

History of Iraq

Let's start this lesson off by thinking about a cradle. That may seem like a strange way to start a history lesson, but think about what it is - a place where a baby sleeps, right? Eventually, babies leave the cradle to grow up into adults. In many ways, cradles can be looked at as a starting point for someone's life.

'The Cradle of Civilization' is a nickname for Iraq because many groups of people started there and flourished into large empires. The first peoples to do so were the Sumerians, who were a very smart group of people. In fact, they were so intelligent that they actually developed the first known system of writing. Some empires were more successful than others, and violence and war was a common theme throughout the early history of Iraq.

Fast forward to 1932, when things began to look up for Iraq under the leadership of Prime Minister Nuri es-Said. Iraq was admitted to the League of Nations (which was eventually replaced by the United Nations), which is a group of countries around the world that work together to maintain peace.

Unfortunately, corrupt and harsh leaders began to take over Iraq once again, including a man named Saddam Hussein. He was known as a dictator, which is a ruthless individual who leads by force. Many of the people of Iraq lived in fear and had little to no civil rights. As a result of his leadership, Iraq started many wars with other countries. These wars had horrible effects on the quality of life in Iraq.

21st Century Iraq

The rest of the world, especially the United States, was not happy with Saddam Hussein. After all, Iraq was not living up to what the United Nations stood for, which was world peace. Therefore, the United States 'ousted' Saddam Hussein in 2003, or forced him or step down as leader. In 2006, Saddam Hussein was executed for all of the terrible things he did to the Iraqi people.

People knocking down the statue of Saddam Hussein after he was ousted
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Today Iraq is on its way to having a democracy, where people have civil rights just like they do in the United States. In 2010, Iraq had an election where 325 people were voted into office.

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