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Perspective: Ted Thornton on the Cairo Conference

Excerpt from Ted Thornton’s History of the Middle East Database. Thornton is the chairman of the Department of History and Social Science at Northfield Mount Hermon School.

“The official boundaries of Iraq and Transjordan were the product of a sketch on tracing paper in 1918 by a low level British diplomat named Gertrude Bell, an assistant to Sir Arnold Wilson, the first civil commissioner of the British Mandate. Bell conspired with T.E. Lawrence to set up Faysal as king of the new nation of Iraq [see Janet Wallach, Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell: Adventurer, Adviser to Kings, Ally of Lawrence of Arabia (New York, 1996)]. Iraq resulted from the union of three Ottoman provinces: Mosul in the north, Baghdad in the middle, and Basra in the south.”

Read more on “World War I and the Early Mandate Period, 1914 – 1929” here: