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The Basra Vilayet (Ottoman language: ولايت بصره‎, Vilâyet-i Basra) was a first-level administrative division (vilayet) of the Ottoman Empire. It historically covered an area stretching from Nasiriyah and Amarah in the north to Kuwait in the south.[1] To the south and the west, there was theoretically no border at all, yet no areas beyond Qatar in the south and the Najd Sanjak in the west were later on included in the administrative system.[3]

ولايت بصره
Vilâyet-i Basra
Vilayet of the Ottoman Empire



Location of Basra Vilayet
Basra Vilayet in 1900
Capital Basra[1]
 •  Established 1884
 •  Armistice of Mudros 1918
 •  1900[2] 42,690 km2 (16,483 sq mi)
 •  1900[2] 500,000 
Density 11.7 /km2  (30.3 /sq mi)
Today part of  Iraq,  Kuwait,  Qatar,  Saudi Arabia

At the beginning of the 20th century it reportedly had an area of 16,482 square miles (42,690 km2), while the preliminary results of the first Ottoman census of 1885 (published in 1908) gave the population as 200,000.[2] The accuracy of the population figures ranges from "approximate" to "merely conjectural" depending on the region from which they were gathered.[2]

The capital of the vilayet, Basra, was an important military centre, with a permanent garrison of 400 to 500 men, and was home to the Ottoman Navy in the Persian Gulf.[1]



It was a vilayet from 1875 to 1880,[1] and again after 1884, when it was recreated from the southern sanjaks of the Baghdad Vilayet.[4]

After 1884, the vilayet was briefly expanded down the littoral of the Gulf to incorporate Najd and al-Hasa, including Hofuf, Qatar, and Qatif, the incorporation of Najd only lasted until 1913[5] before the end of the Basra Vilayet.[6]

In 1899, Shaikh Mubarak concluded a treaty with Britain, stipulating that Britain would protect Kuwait against any external aggression, de facto turning it into a British protectorate.[7] Despite the Kuwaiti government's desire to either be independent or under British rule, the British concurred with the Ottoman Empire in defining Kuwait as an autonomous caza of the Ottoman Empire. This would last until World War I.

Basra fell to the British on 22 November 1914, and the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force had occupied almost the whole of the vilayet by July 1915.[8]

Administrative divisionsEdit

Sanjaks of the vilayet:[9]

  1. Amara Sanjak
  2. Basra Sanjak
  3. Diwanniyya Sanjak
  4. Muntafiq Sanjak
  5. Najd Sanjak; from 1875,[10] conquered by the Saudis in 1913.[5]


Governors of the Basra Vilayet:[11]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Reidar Visser (2005). Basra, the Failed Gulf State: Separatism And Nationalism in Southern Iraq. LIT Verlag Münster. p. 19. ISBN 978-3-8258-8799-5. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b c Asia by A. H. Keane, page 460
  3. ^ Reidar Visser (2005). Basra, the Failed Gulf State: Separatism And Nationalism in Southern Iraq. LIT Verlag Münster. pp. 18, 179. ISBN 978-3-8258-8799-5. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  4. ^   Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Bagdad" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. pp. 193–194.
  5. ^ a b Madawi al-Rasheed (2002-07-11). A History of Saudi Arabia. Cambridge University Press. pp. 41–42. ISBN 978-0-521-64412-9. Retrieved 2013-05-20.
  6. ^ David H. Finnie (1992). Shifting lines in the sand: Kuwait's elusive frontier with Iraq. I.B.Tauris. p. 7. ISBN 978-1-85043-570-9. Retrieved 2013-05-22.
  7. ^ Jasim M M Abdulghani (23 April 2012). Iraq and Iran (RLE Iran A). CRC Press. p. 108. ISBN 978-1-136-83426-4. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
  8. ^ John de Vere Loder Baron Wakehurst (1923). The Truth about Mesopotamia, Palestine & Syria. G. Allen & Unwin Limited. p. 35. Retrieved 2013-06-08.
  9. ^ Nakash, Yitzhak. The Shiʻis of Iraq: With a New Introduction by the Author. p. 13.
  10. ^ Worldstatesmen — Saudi Arabia
  11. ^ World Statesmen — Iraq

External linksEdit

  Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Basra" . Encyclopædia Britannica. 3 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 489.