City (pop., 2003 est.: metro. area, 5,750,000), capital of Iraq. Located on the Tigris River, the site has been settled from ancient times. It rose to importance after being chosen in AD 762 by Caliph al-Mansur (r. 754–775) as the capital of the 'Abbasid dynasty. Under Harun al-Rashid it achieved its greatest gloryreflected in the many tales from The Thousand and One Nights that were set thereas one of the world's largest and wealthiest cities. A centre of Islamic civilization, it was second only to the Byzantine capital, Constantinople (modern Istanbul), in trade and culture. The capital was moved briefly to Samarra' in 836, after which the city was prone to bouts of political instability. It was sacked by the Mongols under Hülegü in 1258, taken by Timur in 1401, and captured by the Persian Safavid dynasty in 1508. Under the sultan Süleyman I, the city became part of the Ottoman Empire in 1534 and remained sosave for a brief period (1623–38) when it returned to Safavid ruleuntil the end of World War I (1914–18). It became capital of the kingdom (1920) and then the republic (1958) of Iraq. During the 20th century the city grew greatly in size and population. It was severely damaged during the First and Second Persian Gulf wars (1990–91 and 2003, respectively), and from 2003 it was occupied by a U.S.-led coalition force.