Document identifier: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-77993
Keyword: Engineering and Technology, Civil Engineering, Geotechnical Engineering, Teknik och teknologier, Samhällsbyggnadsteknik, Geoteknik, Soil Mechanics
Publication year: 2020
Relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 1 No povertySDG 11 Sustainable cities and communitiesSDG 15 Life on land
The SDG label(s) above have been assigned by OSDG.ai


In more than six centuries which followed the fall of Baghdad to the hands of Hulagu and his Mongol troops in 1258 until the establishment of the modern state of Iraq in 1920. The timeline of the country cannot be described but only as a sequence of tragic events in which this once most prosperous land sank into unending bloodsheds, destruction, constant retrogression and deep poverty. Calamities such as flooding, epidemics, locusts and famines did not spare millions of its population, and to speak of Baghdad only, the 1,000,000 who used to live there in the golden days of the Abbasids dwindled to merely few thousands at the turn of the twentieth century. The early stage of this severe collapse was due to the interference of the Mongols with the irrigation systems on which the life of people had depended. Admitting that the damage that was sustained during the Buwayhids and Seljuks times left these systems in dilapidated and bad conditions, but the Mongols managed to add more destruction so that agriculture diminished to small plots of lands, which could not keep up the large population anymore and made any effort of reform nearly impossible. Borrowing from the words of Stephen Hemsley longrigg in his book “Four Centuries of Modern Iraq” he says:

“Most ruinous of Holagu’s acts had been the studied destruction of the dykes and head works, whose ancient and perfect system had been the sole source of the wealth. Disordered times, and the very silting and scouring of the rivers once let loose, soon made the restoration  of control the remote, perhaps hopeless problem today still unsolved”[1].


Nasrat Adamo

Consultant Engineer, Norrköping, Sweden
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Nadhir Al-Ansari

Luleå tekniska universitet; Geoteknologi
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