MESOPOTAMIA (-ta'inia), in ancient geography, a country of western Asia, situate between the Tigris and the Euphrates. It was called, in the Old Testament, Aram Naharaim, or "Syria between the two waters," and Padan Aram, i. e., "Syria of the Plain," and is first mentioned in the Scriptures as the country where Nahor and his family set tled (Gen. xxiv: 10). It was long part of the seat of the very ancient Babylonian dominion, and subsequently of the Mede, Persian, and Macedonian. The Romans obtained possession of Mesopotamia in 165. Jovian surrendered it to the Per sians in 363. The Carmathians overran it in 902, and the Turks conquered it be tween 1514-1516.
Modern Mesopotamia is largely peopled by Arabs, and comprised of the two pashalics of Bagdad and Diarbekr. Many years before the World War Ger many longed for Mesopotamia, which would place her in a position to strike at India and Egypt. In 1897 a German company obtained a concession from the Sultan for a railroad from Konieh to Bagdad and Basra, on the Persian Gulf.
Great Britain remonstrated, and diplo matic exchanges continued until the World War broke out. A British force invaded Mesopotamia in 1915, and after defeating the Turks, General Townshend occupied Kut-el-Amara, 100 miles from Bagdad. General Sir John Nixon, com manding the expedition, ordered General Townshend to advance on Bagdad, but when within 18 miles of that city the Anglo-Indian force met with a heavy defeat, and fell back on Kut, where they were besieged for 143 days and surrendered on April 28, 1916. The Turks subsequently defeated three Rus sian and British invasions. A British army under General Maude was more successful in 1917. Kut was recaptured on Feb. 23, and Bagdad fell March 7-10, but it was not until October of 1918 ,,,nat the Turk was completely vanquished in Mesopotamia. In 1919 Great Britain was given practically a protectorate over the country.