Baṣrah, Al-

Baṣrah, Al-

Port and city (pop., 1987: 406,296), southeastern Iraq.

It lies at the head of the Shatt al-Arab, about 75 mi (120 km) upstream from the Persian Gulf. Founded in AD 638, it became famous under the Abbāsid dynasty; in The Thousand and One Nights it was the city from which Sindbad the Sailor set sail. In the 17th–18th centuries it became a trading centre. Occupied by the British in World War I (1914–18), the town and port underwent many improvements and grew in importance. After World War II (1939–45), the growth of Iraq's petroleum industry turned Al-Baṣrah into a major refining centre. It suffered heavy damage in the Iran-Iraq War (1980–90) and Persian Gulf War (1990–91).

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Universalium. 2010.

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