In the centuries following, Mesopotamia never regained its former prominence. In World War I, however, it was an important battlefield. The kingdom of Iraq was formed in 1921 (Iraq became a republic in 1958) and is of international importance because of its rich oil fields, but its status in the world is enhanced by the rich archaeological finds of the incredibly distant past.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.