Basra Governorate Explained

Settlement Type:Governorate
Subdivision Type:Country
Subdivision Name:Iraq
Subdivision Type1:Capital
Subdivision Name1:Basra
Population As Of:2003
Population Total:1,761,000
Area Total Km2:19070
Blank Name:Main language(s)
Blank Info:Arabic

Basra province, or Al Basrah province, is a province of Iraq, with an area of 19,070km2 (7,360 square miles). One reported estimate of its 2003 population is 1,761,000[1] . Its capital is Basra City, perhaps Iraq's fourth or fifth largest[1] city; other major cities include Corna (Eden), Az Zubayr, Umm Qasr and Abu Al Khaseeb. The province has international borders with Kuwait to the south and Iran to the east.

Provincial Government


After World War I

After defeating the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the United Kingdom combined the old Ottoman provinces (vilayets) of Basra, Baghdad and Mosul to form the state of Iraq, which Britain controlled as a League of Nations mandate.

After the Baath regime

A proposal to join Basra with the neighbouring governorates of Dhi Qar and Maysan to form a southeastern state in an eventual Iraqi federation is under discussion. A new law, passed by the Iraqi Parliament in 2006, allows for the merger of two or more provinces as of April 2008. Currently, there is movement calling for a referendum on making Basra an autonomous region like the Kurdish Autonomous Region in northern Iraq.[2]

On the 9th of December 2007, it was announced by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown that control of the Basra Governorate would be handed over from Coalition forces to local Iraqi control.[3] The province was formally transferred a week later, on the 16th of December 2007, making it the 9th such province to be transferred to full Iraqi control.[4]

The Basra Governorate tried to gain autonomy through collecting signatures for an autonomy referendum in December 2008 and January 2009;[5] [6] however, the signatures did not reach 10% of eligible voters, and thus the referendum bid failed.[7]


  1. Iraq - City Population - Cities, Towns & Provinces - Statistics & Map
  3. "Iraq to be given control of Basra". BBC NEWS, December 9, 2007.
  4. "UK troops return Basra to Iraqis". BBC NEWS, December 16, 2007.