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June 2003


Faisal I came to Iraq's throne with on-the-job experience. As prince of Mecca, he helped lead the Arab revolt in World War I and was later proclaimed king of Syria—until the French forced him out in 1920. When uprisings in Iraq persuaded occupying British authorities to find an Arab ruler, Faisal got another chance to be in charge. The British installed him as Iraq's king in 1921, establishing a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad that lasted until his grandson's assassination in 1958. This photograph of Faisal and his pet leopard was made in his palace courtyard in 1925.
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Photograph by Ernest B. Schoedsack