Tigris River


Tigris (tī´grĬs), river of SW Asia, c.1,150 mi (1,850 km) long, rising in the Taurus Mts., E Turkey, and flowing SE through Iraq to join the Euphrates River, with which it forms the Shatt al Arab. It flows swiftly and receives many tributaries, including the Diyala, originating in the Zagros Mts., and the Great and Little Zab. The lower Tigris is connected to the Euphrates by semipermanent natural channels and by ancient canals. Much of the marshland along the lower Tigris was drained in the early 1990s; restoration began in 2003. Dams across the river divert water for irrigation.

The Tigris is subject to sudden, devastating floods, and the Wadi Ath Tharthar Scheme, Iraq's largest flood-control project, protects Baghdad and vicinity from floods in addition to irrigating c.770,000 acres (311,600 hectares) of land. New large-scale projects in Turkey aimed at increasing irrigated land area there threaten to cause problems in countries downstream that rely on the river's resources. The Tigris is navigable to Baghdad for shallow-draft vessels; above Baghdad, rafts carry much of the trade to Mosul. Its importance as a trade artery has declined with improved road and rail connections. Basra, at the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates, is Iraq's chief port.

In antiquity, some of the great cities of Mesopotamia, including Nineveh, Ctesiphon, and Seleucia, stood on the banks of the Tigris, and the river served as an important transportation route. The Tigris floodplain was cultivated by irrigation from the earliest times; the Sumerians dug a canal from the Tigris to Lagash c.2400 BC The Tigris is called the Hiddekil in the Bible.

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Tigris River: Selected full-text books and articles

Turkey's Approach to Utilization of the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers
Tomanbay, Mehmet.
Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ), Vol. 22, No. 2, Spring 2000
Defining the Political/ecological Threshold for the Euphrates and Tigris Rivers
Kolars, John.
Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ), Vol. 22, No. 2, Spring 2000
A New Challenge: Water Scarcity in the Arab World
Swain, Ashok.
Arab Studies Quarterly (ASQ), Vol. 20, No. 1, Winter 1998
Water Resources and Conflict in the Middle East
Nurit Kliot.
Routledge, 1994
The Fertile Crescent, 1800-1914: A Documentary Economic History
Charles Issawi.
Oxford University Press, 1988
Librarian’s tip: "The Year 1757: The Freezing of the River Tigris" begins on p. 96
FREE! A History of the Babylonians and Assyrians
George Stephen Goodspeed.
Charles Scribner's Sons, 1902
Librarian’s tip: Chap. I "The Lands of the Euphrates and Tigris"
The Economic Development of Iraq: Report of a Mission Organized by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development at the Request of the Government of Iraq
World Bank.
Johns Hopkins Press, 1952
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of the Tigris river in multiple chapters
The Middle East: A Geographical Study
Peter Beaumont; Gerald H. Blake; J. Malcolm Wagstaff.
David Fulton, 1988 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of the Tigris river in multiple chapters
Iraq, 1900 to 1950: A Political, Social, and Economic History
Stephen Hemsley Longrigg.
Oxford University Press, 1953
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of the Tigris river in multiple chapters
The Near East: A Modern History
William Yale.
University of Michigan Press, 1958
Librarian’s tip: "The Two Great Rivers" begins on p. 304
Area Handbook for Iraq
Harvey H. Smith; William Giloane; Nancy W. Al-Any; Irving Kaplan; Donald W. Bernier; Rinn-Sup Shinn; Frederica M. Bunge; Suzanne Teleki; Richard F. Nyrop; Newton B. Parker; Beryl L. Benderly.
US Government Printing Office, 1971
Librarian’s tip: "The River System" begins on p. 18
FREE! History of Babylonia and Assyria
Robert William Rogers.
Eaton & Mains, vol.1, 1901 (2nd edition)
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of the Tigris river begins on p. 267
The Reconstruction of Iraq, 1950-1957
Fahim I. Qubain.
F.A. Praeger, 1958
Librarian’s tip: "Control over the Water Systems" begins on p. 54
FREE! Natural History of Pliny
John Bostock; H. T. Riley.
H. G. Bohn, vol.2, 1855
Librarian’s tip: "The Tigris" begins on p. 75
Iraq: Eastern Flank of the Arab World
Christine Moss Helms.
Brookings Institution, 1984
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of the Tigris river begins on p. 10
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