For many different reasons, Iraq has been the focus of news media for over two decades. However, regardless of what the six o’ clock news is telling you, many people aren’t even aware of which continent the country of Iraq resides in, being that something as simple as a map isn’t brought to most discussions. In the article below, we’re going to fix that. Iraq is home to millions of people. It is brimming with history and culture, and the region itself is far more important to human civilization than most realize.
One thing that is frequently overlooked when we’re learning about countries and continents is that the boundaries of each don’t necessarily have anything at all to do with one another. In fact, there are even three different continent models that are taught widely enough to be considered global in their recognition. Of course, the seven-continent model is the most prevalent—the one that recognizes Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Europe, Antarctica, and Australia. But there are two six-continent models that are frequently taught and utilized in certain places, too. The six-continent Eurasia model views Europe and Asia as a single continent! And the six-continent Americas model makes no continental distinction between North and South America—they’re both considered part of the same continental landmass.
How does a country fit into all of these different models? Rather easily, as a matter of fact.
No matter which continental model you subscribe to, the borders of Iraq don’t change. It’s located in the same place, and no disparity in how we view the world’s continents can upset the massive and significant importance of the country of Iraq, and its history.
In the remainder of this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the region Iraq inhabits on a global map. We’ll point out which continent it’s in, of course, but we’re also going to take a look at the other countries and landmarks that it’s bordered by. Neighboring countries and an important stretch of sea coast have been critical for establishing trade and prosperity in this country; thus, they’re all details that are important to know, if you want to learn more about the importance of Iraq’s location.
Much of the time, we recognize different areas of the earth based on the continents they’re in. “North American,” for example, might refer to the United States, Canada, Mexico, or any of the other territories that are considered part of the continent. The same might be said for “European” countries, or “Asian” countries. However, certain countries are often grouped into regions that aren’t typically designated based on the continent they reside in.
In this instance, we’re talking about the Middle East. Which is exactly where you’ll find Iraq if you go searching on a map.
The Middle East is actually a point of intersection between two different continents, but this is far from the only reason that this region of our planet is extremely important, both by today’s standards as well as history.
The Middle East
It’s a region that earns frequent reference, being that it’s been at the center of several major global conflicts throughout the past two decades (and more, beyond that, but don’t focus too much on it right now.) However, in spite of the fact that many heavily-populated and prosperous countries inhabit this region, the Middle East is not a continent.
It’s where northern Africa and Asia meet, and the countries that are considered to be part of the Middle Eastern region occupy territory within these various continents. In spite of the Middle East being comprised of countries from Africa and Asia, however, the region also encounters quite a lot of European traffic and influence. Considering how close it is to the borders of countries in the European continent, this should come as little surprise.
Which Continent is Iraq In?
Though the Middle East is comprised of countries from three different continents, the country of Iraq can be found in Asia. Here, it’s bordered by several other countries, as well as the Persian Gulf. Though the country has been through a tumultuous history (in an equally tumultuous region) its borders have not changed.
Technically, Egypt is the only part of the Middle East that isn’t int the continent of Asia, being that it resides in Africa. But Iraq, as well as the rest of the Middle East, is in Asia.
The country of Iraq is situated on the larger Mesopotamia region, a place that’s largely regarded as the birthplace of human civilization, due to its location. Having fertile agriculture lands so close to access to the sea provided a bountiful situation for early human gatherings, and thus most have accepted that the first of them rose up in this place.
Many millions of people reside in Iraq (which we’ll elaborate upon, below) and the two primary ethnic groups of the country are the Arabs and the Kurds. The two languages most frequently spoken correlate with this—Arabis and Kurdish.
Iraq saw several different rulers, usually due to its being absorbed by larger empires and controlling territories, but gained its own independence in the 1930s. The government became an established republic in 1958 after a coup deposed the current government of that time. From 1979 to 2003, Iraq’s government was overseen by Saddam Hussein, under whom numerous acts of terror and genocide were carried out, primarily against the country’s enemies and its own Kurdish population.
Following the U.S. and allied invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein was captured and deposed, his governing party dispersed. The country has been in a state of deteriorating turmoil since, with the brink of civil war between the various factions in Iraq never far away.
Iraq has a consistently large population that has persistently grown since the country’s first being established. Currently, just over 38 million people reside here, with many of them being centered in the various population centers, in addition to the country’s capital.
Below, we’ve listed several of the most populated cities in the country, to give you an idea of how the population is spread:
- Baghdad: 7,216,000
- Basrah: 2,600,000
- Al Mawşil al Jadīdah: 2,065,000
- Al Başrah al Qadīmah: 2,015,000
- Mosul: 1,739,000
- Erbil: 932,800
- Abū Ghurayb: 900,000
- As Sulaymānīyah: 723,170
- Kirkuk: 601,433
- Najaf: 482,576
These are far from being the only population centers within Iraq, and there are several more cities that have numbers well into the hundreds of thousands. However, looking at the way that the majority of Iraq’s population is spread between its cities can help you to understand where many of its citizens live. Especially when you combine this information with the several maps that we’ve included in this article.
As we’ve pointed out above, there are several countries bordering the country of Iraq, across its boundaries. These are Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, Kuwait, and the Syrian Arab Republic. It also has a significant stretch of its border against the Persian Gulf, which gives Iraq a beneficial location in terms of trade.
Even though less than 60 kilometers of Iraq’s border connects with the Persian Gulf, trade has always been prolific and plentiful through the country. It’s situated at the center of the Middle East, which means that it receives quite a lot of trade traffic. But more important than merely its location, however, is the fact that oil is a booming business in the Middle East, and in Iraq in particular. In fact, many of the global-stage conflicts that have involved this country largely revolve around the exporting of oil.
It makes up more than 80% of the country’s economy, which should speak to what a critical facet of that economy it is. However, the massive oil industry overshadowing everything else isn’t necessarily without drawbacks. It has caused unemployment rates to climb for Iraqi citizens, and
Unfortunately, many laypersons who’ve never been to Iraq or have never conducted any amount of research about the region and its people relate primarily to the country by the conflicts that have plagued it for decades. The most recent, of course, was the United States’ participation in the “War on Terror,” which saw Iraq invaded and the country’s leader deposed and captured. Since then, a parliamentary form of government has been established with the intent of giving the country’s citizens greater control of their country’s activities and future; theoretically, more than it ever had under the reign of Saddam Hussein’s regime.
We hope that the above reading has given you a little bit more insight into the country of Iraq—more than just the particular continent that it’s on! While it resides in Asia, Iraq’s positioning among its neighbors, as well as its place in the larger Mesopotamia and Middle Eastern regions, give it a critical historical importance. It’s also an evolving region, and though many of the recent changes happening in Iraq are due to combat, conflict, and unrest, this should all contribute to making it a more significant region of interest for anyone concerned with happenings across the world. If you have any further questions about the topics we’ve discussed, as always, be sure to let us know in the comments below!