كوردستان Kurdistan

The Kurdish people, who are thought to be descended from the Medes of central Asia, have for several thousand years inhabited the region of the Zagros mountains which lies to the north of Mesopotamia and to the east of the Euphrates river. Originally Zoroastrians, the Kurds converted to Islam and are mainly Sunni. Kurdish society is tribally based and the culture has some characteristics in common with that of other Middle Eastern peoples, although ethnically the Kurds have no relationship with the Arabs or Turks. Kurdish women traditionally do not veil and they dress in bright colours, but they are subjected to many of the same social constraints as their Arab and Persian counterparts.

The Kurdish language is Indo-European in origin; different dialects are spoken in different parts of Kurdsitan. Modern 'Kurdistan', meaning the geographical region predominantly inhabited by Kurds, is divided by the national boundaries of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and the former USSR. In southern Kurdistan, which includes north western Iran and northeastern Iraq, Sorani is spoken; in central and northern Kurdistan, which includes the northernmost part of Iraqi Kurdistan and most of southeastern Turkey, Kurmanji is the predominant dialect. Speakers of one dialect have considerable difficulty understanding speakers of the other; and the problem is made worse by the fact that, in Turkey, Kurdish is written in the Latin alphabet, whereas in Iran and Iraq it is written in the Arabic alphabet. (Thornhill 1997, p xiii-xiv)

Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq: With a population of nearly 4 million, the three governorates of Dohuk, Erbil and Suleimaniah cover about 40,000 square kilometres - four times the area of Lebanon and larger than that of the Netherlands. There are fewer than 1,000 US soldiers stationed in Kurdistan and not a single coalition soldier has lost their life in the Region since the start of the conflict. The South Korean Army’s Zaytoun Division has around 1,000 troops stationed in the Kurdistan Region carrying out reconstruction and humanitarian work. The official Regional guard, the Peshmerga forces, are highly trained and experienced in providing security.

Los Angeles Protest2010 03 24A coalition of Armenian and Kurdish organizations gathered in front of the Turkish Consulate Wednesday afternoon to demand the release of 15 year old Berivan. Organized by the United Human Rights Council (UHRC), the protest brought together several Armenian and Kurdish youth organizations, including the Armenian Youth Federation, the ARF Shant Student Association, American Kurdish Information Network, and the Kurdish American Youth Organization. The protest included: reading of "excerpts from letters Berivan has written to friends and family, detailing her countless beatings from officers, coerced confession of guilt, and other hardships she faces in jail"; distribution of fact sheets about her plight; an eight by eight cage representing the plight of minors trapped in Turkish prisons; speeches by Ralph Fertig of USC and Sanan Shirininan of UHRC; and culminated by "the releasing of doves, which Shirinian said, represented freedom for Berivan and all the other minors currently detained in Turkish prisons today." (link)
Berivan Arrested2009 10Berivan was detained last October at a pro-Kurdish rally in Turkey for allegedly shouting slogans and throwing stones. Berivan pleaded not-guilty, contending that she was just watching the rally on the way to her aunt’s house. She was sentenced to 8 years in prison on trumped-up charges of terrorism in Turkey.
Barzani Visits Brussels2009 11 20The Kurdish president Massoud Barzani embarked on a diplomatic visit to Brussels. The president asked Europe for support and emphasized that the Regional Kurdistan Government (KRG) maintains good relations with the Turkish government. Massoud Barzani was received by EU MPS Fiorello Provers and Struan Stevenson and Jim McEvoy from the EU Protocol department. The Kurdish president held a speech about the role of the Kurdistan region in Iraq and said he is proud on the role his people played in democracy and free elections, compared to the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein.
PUK and KDP Unite2006At the start of the year, the PUK and KDP agree to unify the two administrations. On 7th May, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani announces a new unified cabinet.
Liberation of Iraq2003The Peshmerga, Kurdistan’s official armed forces, fight alongside the coalition to liberate Iraq from Saddam Hussein’s rule.
Washington Agreement1998The PUK and KDP sign the Washington Agreement, ending the civil war.
Kurdish Civil War1994Power-sharing arrangements between the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) fall apart, leading to civil war and two separate administrations, in Erbil and Suleimaniah respectively.
1993 10 06Conveying the Coffin of Mustafa and Idris Barzani to Kurdistan.
1993 04 25The second Cabinet of Kurdish Government.
1992 10 04Declaration of federalism for Kurdistan-Iraq.
1992 07 04First Cabinet for the Kurdish Government has been named.
1992 06 04First Parliament meeting intended.
1992 05 19The Iraqi Kurdistan Front, an alliance of political parties, holds parliamentary and presidential elections and establishes the Kurdistan Regional Government. This is the first Kurdish election of parliament.
1991 03 20Liberation of Karkuk City.
1991 03 13Liberation of Duhok City.
1991 03 11Liberation of Erbil City.
1991 03 07Liberation of Sulaimaniya City
1991 03 05Kurdish Entifatha. The people in Kurdistan rise up against the Iraqi government days after the Gulf War ceasefire. Within weeks the Iraqi military and helicopters suppress the uprising. Tens of thousands of people flee to the mountains, causing a humanitarian crisis. The US, Britain and France declare a no-fly zone at the 36th parallel and refugees return. Months later, Saddam Hussein withdraws the Iraqi Army and his administration, and imposes an internal blockade on Kurdistan.
1988 05 07Kurdish Front establishment.
1988 04 14Anfal against Kurds by Iraqi regime.
1988 08 25Chemical weapon attack on 25 Kurdish villages by Iraqi regime.
Halabja Massacre1988 03 16Halabja massacre occurs over three days, killing an estimated 12,000 people. According to the findings of Iranian physicians, the mustard, nerve and cyanide gases have been used against civilians in Halabja and its surroundings.
1987 04 16Chemical attack on Dolly Balisan and Shikh Wasanan.
Anfal Genocide1987-1989The Iraqi government carries out the genocidal Anfal campaign against Kurdistan’s civilians, of mass summary executions and disappearances, widespread use of chemical weapons, destruction of some 2,000 villages and of the rural economy and infrastructure. An estimated 180,000 are killed in the campaign.
Barzani Massacre1983The Iraqi government disappears 8,000 boys and men from the Barzani clan. In 2005, 500 of them are found in mass graves near Iraq’s border with Saudi Arabia, hundreds of kilometres from the Kurdistan Region.
1976 05 26Anniversary of the Gulan Revolution
1980 04 05Faily Kurd been ignored as Iraqi citizen, been drive out of Iraq.
1979 03 01Mustafa Barzani died. Was President of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) when he died on 1 March 1979 at Georgetown Hospital, Washington DC.
Algiers Agreement1975The Iraqi government signs the Algiers Agreement with Iran, in which they settle land disputes in exchange for Iran ending its support of the Kurdistan Democratic Party and other concessions.
1974 04 24Attack on civilian and Students in Qala Dizah by Iraqi Air force.
1975 03 06Algiers agreement.
Kurds Expelled from Iraq1971-1980The Iraqi government expels more than 200,000 Faili (Shia) Kurds from Iraq.
1970 08 29The day of establishing Kurdish scientist Committee.
1970 03 11Peace agreement between Kurds and Iraqi regime. The Kurdistan Democratic Party, lead by Mustafa Barzani, reaches an agreement with Baghdad on autonomy for Kurdistan and political representation in the Baghdad government. By 1974, key parts of the agreement are not fulfilled, leading to disputes.
1970 02 10The Authors establishes its Kurdish Authors Union
1961 09 11The anniversary of the biggest Kurdish revolution.
1958 10 06Mustafa Barzani return to Kurdistan-Iraq from Soviet Union.
1958 07 14Iraq's national day " from Kingdom to Republic"
1956 08 01The Kurdish Students in Europe establishes its Kurdish Students Society"KSSE"
1953 02 18The Students establishes its Kurdish Students Union.
1952 12 11Kurdish Women Union Establishment
1952 12 11The day of Raman for Yazzidi
1948 12 10The declaration of Human Right
1947 06 19Four legend Kurdish officers hanged.
1947 03 30Qazi Muhammad and his followers hanged in Mahabad by Iran Shah.
1946 08 16The day of establishing the KDP.
1946 01 22Declaration of Democratic Republic of Mahabad.
1930 09 06Sulaimania's dark Day.
1925After sending a fact-finding committee to Mosul province, the League of Nations decides that it will be part of Iraq, on condition that the UK hold the mandate for Iraq for another 25 years to assure the autonomy of the Kurdish population. The following year Turkey and Britain signed a treaty in line with the League of Nation’s decision.
1923The Treaty of Lausanne between Turkey and the allied powers invalidates the Treaty of Sevres, which had provided for the creation of a Kurdish state.
1920 08 10Siver Agreement
1918Sheikh Mahmoud Barzinji becomes governor of Suleimaniah under British rule. He and other Kurdish leaders who want Kurdistan to be ruled independently of Baghdad rebel against the British. He is defeated a year later.
1908 03 08Woman Day
1903 03 14Mustafa Barzani's Birthday.
1898 04 22First Kurdish Newspaper.
1847Collapse of Botan, the last independent Kurdish principality, which included the towns of Amadiya and Akra
1784The city of Suleimaniah is founded by Prince Ibrahim Pasha Baban when he decides to transfer the Baban emirate’s capital from Qala Chwalan.
1514After Turkish sultan Selim I defeats the Shah of Persia, Kurdish scholar Idriss Bitlissi persuades the sultan to give back to the Kurdish princes their former rights and privileges, in exchange for their commitment to guard the border between the two empires. The principalities in Kurdistan enjoy wide autonomy until the early 19th century.
Early 16th CentKurdistan becomes the main stake of the rivalries between the Ottoman and Persian empires.
12th - 19th CentsToday’s Kurdistan Region is ruled by several semi-independent principalities, the Ardalan, Botan, Badinan, Baban and Soran.
7th - 8th CentsArabs conquer Kurdistan and convert many to Islam.
331 BCAlexander the Great and Darius III of Persia fight the Battle of Gaugamela, also known as the Battle of Arbela, about 75 kilometres north-west of Erbil. In the aftermath, Darius is murdered by his kinsmen and Alexander goes on to conquer the Persian Empire including Babylon, and extends his empire to the Punjab.
539 BCAfter Persian leader Cyrus the Great takes over Babylon, Arbela, today’s Erbil, joins the vast Achaemenid or ancient Persian empire.
612 BCAfter the Babylonians destroyed the Assyrian capitals of Ashur and Nineveh, the Assyrian empire city of Arbela, today’s Erbil, becomes part of the Babylonian empire
4,000 BCEvidence that Arbela, today’s Erbil, was occupied, making it one of the oldest continuously inhabited sites in the world. Excavation is difficult because the modern city lies on top of the ancient town.
6,750 BCAt Jarmo, evidence of the oldest known permanent farmed settlement of mud houses, with wheat grown from seed, herds of goats, sheep and pigs.
9,000 BCAt Karim Shahir near Chemchemal, the earliest evidence of wild wheat and barley cultivation and domesticated dogs and sheep. Start of the global change from food gathering to food producing culture.
30 - 300,000 BCEvidence of Old Stone Age (Middle Paleolithic) people living in six caves near the village of Hazar Merd, south-west of Suleimaniah. In one cave near Zarzi village, many flint implements of the Upper Paleolithic era were found.
60 - 80,000 BCEvidence of Neanderthal man living in caves. From 1957-1961 nine Neanderthal skeletons were found in Shanidar cave, close to the Big Zab River in Erbil province just above the Kahlon-Rezan road.

Glossary

DolmaTraditional Kurdish dish of aubergine, tomatoes and onions stuffed with spiced rice.

KDP's List of Important Holidays (link)

KRG: Kurdistan's history until the 19th century (link)

KRG: Contemporary history (link)

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