By W. R. HAY


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Captain attached 24th Punjabis,
Political Dept., Government of India

LONDON: First Edition 1921




Essential Reference


KURDISTAN 1918-1920

Fascinating Photograph Illustrations
more than 85 Years Ago


Sir William Rupert Hay (1893 -1962)

Knight, Lieutenant Colonel Indian Administrator, Born 16 December 1893. Educated University College, Oxford. Served European War in Mesopotamia; entered Political Dept., Government of India, 1920; Political Agent, Resident in the Persian Gulf, 1941-42; Revenue and Judicial Commissioner, Baluchistan, 1942-43; , Resident and Chief Commissioner in Baluchistan, 1943-46; Political Resident in the Persian Gulf, 1946-53; retired, 1953. Died 3 April 1962.

In Mesopotamia, Hay was posted to Mandali after the armistice, a small town on the Persian border, then transferred to Altun Keupri near Kirkuk, before his appointment in Kurdistan as Arbil district Political Officer in 1919.

From Introduction:

DURING the last three years it has been the writer's fortune to serve in the Civil Administration of Mesopotamia, always in more or less remote parts of the country. Mesopotamia, though by no means unmapped, was before the war to most people terra incognita. Baghdad was the capital of the land of fairy tales, the Arabs was pictured spurring fiery steeds over the trackless desert, while Kurd we had never heard of, or heard of only as the wildest of brigands.

In this narrative I shall deal only with my experience in Mesopotamia since the Turkish armistice (October 31st, 1918), and with the country that lies between the Lesser and Greater Zabs, consisting of the Arbil division, the Rania district, which is part of the Sulaimaniyah divison, and the town of Altun Keupri which is now under Kirkuk. In the first five chapters I shall treat of the geography of this area, with the nature of its inhabitants, and their customs, with their agricultural methods and the system of land tenure in vogue, and with the products of the country and its trade. I shall then pass to the narrative of my experiences, starting with Altun Keupri, my first visit to Arbil, and my residence at Koi. I shall devote more space to events during my second long stay at Arbil, describing in detail my series of adventures in the Rawanduz district and the final troubles at Arbil, which so nearly proved a debâcle. I shall conclude with a brief tribute to my fellows in the Civil Administration, especially those who have fallen.




* * *




Contents ...



Geographical : Fauna and Flora

The Kurds

The Tribe

The Population of The Towns, and other Races

Agriculture and Trade

Altun Keupri, and First Visit To Arbil

Koi And Rania

Visit To The Khushnao, and other Tours

Arbil Again

Formation of The Arbil Division

Rawanduz And The Gorge

Yusuf Beg

Three Quiet Months

Visits To Rawanduz and The Persian Frontier

Nuri : The Death of Two Great Men

The Beginning of The Trouble

The Storm Bursts

Khurshid Agha Keeps His Word



Appendix A. -Administrative System of The Turkish Empire

Appendix B. -Summary of The Events In Mesopotamia From The Armistice To The End of I920

Hama Agha





Christian Women of Koi




ARBIL from the south; altitude 1,000 feet





The Gorge of Rawanduz





Kurds of the Rawanduz District





A Koi Mulla




A View of Koi





Muhammad Ali Agha






The Kushano Chiefs
Rashid Beg ~ Qadir Beg ~ Saleh Beg





Ismail Beg





Rawanduz Gendarmes






The Only Road to Rawanduz from the North





Muhammad Ali Agha ~ Capt. J. Marshall ~ Khalifa Rashid
The Spring of Zindian





Joy-Wheel used in Koi during the "Id" 1919






Remains of Lower Town, Rawanduz





Mulla Hawaiz Agha of Koi

















Foundation For Kurdish Library & Museum