Kingdom of Kurdistan

The Kingdom of Kurdistan[2][3] was a short-lived Kurdish state proclaimed in the city of Sulaymaniyah following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It lasted from September 1921 until July 1925.[4] Officially, the territory involved was under the jurisdiction of the British Mandate of Mesopotamia.

Kingdom of Kurdistan
Keyaniya Kurdistanê
شانشینی کوردستان
StatusUnrecognized state
Common languagesKurdish
Sunni Islam (Specifically Qadiriyya Sufi Order)
Mahmud Barzanji
 Prime Minister
Qadir Barzanji
Historical eraInterwar period
10 August 1920
September 1921
24 July 1923
July 1924/1925
3 October 1932
CurrencyKurdish notes
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Kurdish state (1918–1919)
Mandatory Iraq

Sheikh Mahmud revolts

During the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Kurds attempted to establish an independent state.

Mahmud Barzanji, the Shaykh of the Qadiriyyah order of Sufis, the most influential personality in Southern Kurdistan,[5] was appointed governor of the former sanjak of Duhok, but rallied against the British and declared an independent Kurdistan in May 1919. He was defeated in June.

On 10 October 1921, a statement was issued in Suleymanyah, the capital of Kurdistan, to establish a Kurdish government. Sheikh Mahmud Barzanji declared himself as the King of the Kingdom of Kurdistan.[6][7][8]

After the Treaty of Sèvres, which settled some territories, Sulaymaniya still remained under the direct control of the British High Commissioner. After the subsequent penetration of the Turkish "Özdemir" Detachment into the area, an attempt was made by the British to counter this by appointing Shaykh Mahmud governor again, in September 1922. The Shaykh revolted again, and in November declared himself King of the Kingdom of Kurdistan. Members of his cabinet included:[9]

  • Shaikh Qadir Hafeed – Prime Minister
  • Abdulkarim Alaka, a Christian Kurd – Finance Minister
  • Ahmed Bagy Fatah Bag – Customs Minister
  • Hajy Mala Saeed Karkukli – Justice Minister
  • Hema Abdullah Agha – Labour Minister
  • Mustafa Pasha Yamolki – Education Minister[10]
  • Shekh Mohammed Gharib – Interior Minister
  • Zaky Sahibqran – Defence Minister of the Kurdish National Army

Barzanji was defeated by the British in July 1924, and in January 1926 the League of Nations gave the mandate over the territory back to Iraq, with the provision for special rights for Kurds. In 1930–1931, Shaykh Makhmud Barzanji made his last unsuccessful attempt.

The British Royal Air Force's Iraq Command acting on behalf of the Iraqi government in Baghdad played a part in bringing the Kingdom of Kurdistan to an end.

See also



  1. "Rojî Kurdistan* 1922-1923 (Silêmanî) official newspaper of Kinddom of Kurdistan". Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  2. Facts On File, Incorporated (2009). Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Africa and the Middle East, Kingdom of Kurdistan. ISBN 9781438126760. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  3. Asadi, Awat (2007). Der Kurdistan-Irak-Konflikt: der Weg zur Autonomie seit dem ersten Weltkrieg. ISBN 9783899300239. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  4. Prince, J. (1993), "A Kurdish State in Iraq" in Current History, January.
  5. Eskander, S. (2000) "Britain's policy in Southern Kurdistan: The Formation and the Termination of the First Kurdish Government, 1918-1919" in British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies Vol. 27, No. 2. pp. 139-163.
  6. Ham, Anthony (2010-09-15). Middle East by Anthony Ham. ISBN 9781742203591. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  7. Fatah, R. (2005) Mustafa Pasha Yamolki: his life and role in the Kurdish nationalist movement Archived 2014-03-30 at the Wayback Machine
  8. Simon, Reeva S.; Tejirian, Eleanor Harvey (2004). The Creation of Iraq, 1914-1921, by Reeva S. Simon, Eleanor Harvey Tejirian. ISBN 9780231132930. Retrieved 23 October 2014.
  9. Fatah, R. (2006) The Kurdish resistance to Southern Kurdistan annexing with Iraq Archived 2014-04-19 at the Wayback Machine
  10. Mustafa Paşa bir müddet sonra Süleymaniye'de İngiliz destekli bir hükümet olan Şeyh Mahmud Berzenci hükümetinde Eğitim Bakanlığı görevine getirilmiştir. (Ferudun Ata, Süleymaniyeli Nemrut Mustafa Paşa: Bir İşbirlikçinin Portresi, Temel, 2008, ISBN 9789754101003, p. 103.)


  1. McDowell, D. (1996) A Modern History of the Kurds, pp. 155–163, 194-196

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