Easy Geography for Kids All About Iraq - the National Flag of Iraq
Easy Geography for Kids All About Iraq - the National Flag of Iraq

Thousands of years ago, when people in Europe and America stilled lived a nomadic life of hunting and gathering, people in Iraq had developed an advanced civilization. They settled in villages and used the water from the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers to grow food crops. They had music, books and culture.

Easy Geography for Kids All About Iraq - the National Flag of Iraq
Easy Geography for Kids All About Iraq – the National Flag of Iraq

Iraq Facts For Kids

  • Located in the Middle East.
  • Capital city is Baghdad.
  • Ancient Mesopotamia was in modern-day Iraq.
  • Home to Tigris and Euphrates rivers.
  • Major oil-producing country.
  • Babylon was a famous ancient city here.
  • Majority Shia Muslim population.
  • Saddam Hussein was its former president.
  • Invaded by U.S. coalition in 2003.
  • Kurdistan is its autonomous northern region.


As the capital and the largest city of Iraq, Baghdad holds a significant position in the Arab world. Nestled along the Tigris River, this bustling city, with a history tracing back to antiquity, was a pivotal hub of Arab and Islamic culture during the Middle Ages.

Despite being marred by wars and conflicts over the years, Baghdad continues to stand resiliently, its historical sites and museums reflecting its rich past. The city’s vibrant culture and traditions are shaped by its diverse population comprising ethnic groups such as Arabs, Kurds, and Turkmen. Arabic serves as the official language and Islam is the predominant religion, further cementing Baghdad’s place in the Arab world.


The ancient land of Iraq, formerly known as Mesopotamia – Greek for ‘land between two rivers’ – represents a significant part of human history, dating back thousands of years. Situated between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, it’s often referred to as the ‘Cradle of Civilization’.

Pioneering civilizations such as the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, and Assyrians, emerged and collapsed here, leaving behind significant advancements in writing, law, agriculture, and architecture that continue to shape our world.

Among these advancements, the invention of the wheel and cuneiform, the earliest known form of writing, both trace back to Mesopotamia. Thus, understanding Iraq is akin to exploring the origins of human civilization.

Tigris and Euphrates rivers

Known as the cradle of civilization, Iraq, is the birthplace of some of the earliest known civilizations such as the Sumerians, Babylonians, and Assyrians, who sprouted from the fertile region of Mesopotamia, Greek for ‘land between the rivers’.

This region is defined by the world-renowned Tigris and Euphrates rivers that originate from the mountains of Turkey, traverse Syria, and span the entire length of Iraq before they converge into the Shatt al-Arab river and flow into the Persian Gulf.

Since ancient times, these rivers have been instrumental in the development of civilizations in Iraq, and continue to be crucial to the country’s economy today, providing water for irrigation, fishing, and transportation.

Saddam Hussein

Saddam Hussein, a pivotal figure in Iraq’s modern history, served as its President from 1979 until 2003, overseeing a controversial and tumultuous period marked by both progress and conflict. His presidency was characterized by an authoritarian style and involvement in numerous wars, including the Iran-Iraq War and the Gulf War.

Despite the turmoil, Hussein significantly advanced Iraq’s infrastructure and education system. His controversial policies, which sparked both internal and external conflicts, incurred widespread international criticism. His reign ended abruptly in 2003 with the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. Convicted of crimes against humanity, Hussein was executed in 2006, three years after his regime was toppled.

2003 invasion

The 2003 Iraq War, a significant historical turning point, was primarily led by the United States and the United Kingdom, involving other nations as well. The invasion was precipitated by the assumption that Iraq’s then-leader, Saddam Hussein, possessed fatal weapons of mass destruction, posing a global threat.

This conjecture, however, proved to be unfounded as no such weapons were discovered. Despite accomplishing the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, the war inevitably wreaked havoc on the lives of Iraq’s citizens, particularly the children. The destruction of numerous schools and the compromise of national safety and security posed severe challenges for the younger generation, marking it as a tumultuous period in Iraq’s history.


Once hailed as one of the most renowned cities in ancient history, Babylon, now situated within the modern nation of Iraq, served as the hub of the esteemed Babylonian Empire. This empire was globally recognized for its sophisticated culture, advanced architectural designs, and pioneering scientific developments.

Babylon is also famed for housing the Hanging Gardens, an architectural marvel that featured in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Furthermore, this ancient city was the setting for the creation of the Code of Hammurabi, one of the earliest documented sets of laws, etched into history around 1754 BC. These significant historical contributions make Iraq an engaging country for children to study and learn about.

Kurdish region

Located in the northern part of Iraq, Kurdistan, a semi-autonomous region, serves as the home to the Kurdish people – one of the largest ethnic groups in the country. Kurdistan is renowned for its rich culture, history, and natural beauty, characterized by rugged mountains and lush valleys, with the ancient city of Erbil, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities worldwide, acting as its capital. The Kurdish people, distinguished by their unique language, traditions, and customs, set themselves apart from the Arab majority in Iraq. Despite facing numerous challenges, they have successfully created a stable and prosperous region within Iraq.

Shia and Sunni divide

Situated in the Middle East, Iraq is a nation that prides itself on its rich history and diverse culture, which is predominantly shaped by the Islamic faith. The majority of Iraq’s population practices Islam — the country’s dominant religion — with the populace broadly divided into two primary sects, Shia and Sunni, accounting for approximately 60-65% and 35-40% respectively.

This religious dichotomy, originating from an ancient dispute over the succession of leadership after Prophet Muhammad’s demise, remains a significant characteristic of Iraq’s demographic landscape. Despite the sectarian divide, both Sunni and Shia Muslims in Iraq adhere to many shared customs and beliefs, a prime example being the five pillars of Islam.

However, the country’s history has been marred by intermittent conflict and violence fuelled by the Shia-Sunni divide. Notwithstanding these tensions, it is critical to underline that a substantial number of Iraqis, irrespective of their sect, are striving for harmony and unity within their nation.

Ancient Sumer

Located in what is now present-day Iraq, Ancient Sumer was one of the world’s earliest civilizations. It was renowned for its groundbreaking contributions to various fields, including writing, architecture, and law. Around 3200 BC, the Sumerians devised one of the world’s first writing systems, cuneiform, which involved pressing wedge-shaped marks into clay tablets.

In terms of architecture, they pioneered the development of the ziggurat, a massive pyramid-like edifice utilized for religious purposes. Furthermore, their legal system was nothing short of revolutionary, with the Code of Hammurabi, one of the most comprehensive and earliest written legal codes, being credited to a king from this region. Thus, Ancient Sumer played a significant role in shaping the present-day history and culture of Iraq.

Oil reserves

As a leading global producer of oil, Iraq’s economy significantly hinges on the oil industry. It’s essential for children to understand that Iraq boasts one of the largest oil reserves worldwide, with an estimated 143.1 billion barrels, ranking it among the top five oil-rich countries. The oil sector, encompassing extraction and export, serves as a crucial income and employment source for Iraq. Most of these vast reserves are found in the country’s southern region, specifically near the Persian Gulf.

Iraq is often called the cradle of civilization because it was one of the first places on Earth where people began living in one place together. Because it is so old, the country has naturally endured many conflicts and wars. In 1979, Saddam Hussein took power of Iraq and become a ruthless dictator. He invaded both Iran and Kuwait. The United States went to war against Iraq in the late 1980s. In 2003, the U.S. invaded Iraq because the U.S. government was worried that Iraq was making chemical and nuclear weapons.

Most of Iraq is rocky desert or craggy mountains. The country in the North gets very cold in the winter, while the southern regions are blazing hot in the summer. Most people live along the plains of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, as they have for centuries.

Fun Facts About Iraq for Kids

  • About 27,499,638 people live in Iraq.
  • Iraq has 168,754 square miles of land.
  • Baghdad is the capital city of Iraq.
  • People in Iraq speak Arabic, Kurdish, Turkoman, Assyrian and Armenian.
  • Most people in Iraq are Muslim.
  • People in Iraq can expect to live 69 years.
  • 74 percent of adults can read.

Iraq Vocabulary

  1. Nomadic: wandering from place to place in search of food
  2. Advanced: complex
  3. Civilization: settlement
  4. Ruthless: violent, harsh, without mercy
  5. Dictator: a ruler who rules absolutely and does not allow other people to make choices

All About Iraq Video for Kids

This is the best video we found for kids to learn about Iraq:

Iraq Q&A

Question: Is Iraq a wealthy country?

Answer: Iraq has the second largest supply of oil in the world. However, sanctions against the country and the war have left Iraq impoverished. In 2005, the country held its first elections in more than 50 years. People are hopeful that things will get better.

Map of Iraq

Here’s a map of the country of Iraq and all its cities and villages. Zoom in to get into street level or zoom out to see other countries around Iraq! You can see the terrain, but also see the roads, images of the buildings and even take a 3D tour through the streets of the cities of Iraq, as though you are actually there!