Middle East from 1450-present

Present-day Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Oman, Egypt

Ottoman Empire

  • Ottoman Empire in Anatolia had religious tolerance

    • Provided Muslims, Jews, Christians a safe place to flee from persecution

  • Ottomans recruited Christian boys to join the janissaries (Ottoman army)

  • All land was property of the state, so peasants paid taxes to use it

  • Istanbul was the capital of the Ottoman Empire

    • Home to Topkapi palace, where the sultan lived

    • Sultan had many concubines, each produced one male heir who would govern the provinces

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Modernization of Ottoman Empire

Ottoman Empire was very large, couldn't maintain authority throughout its realm. Many nations (Greece, Serbia, Egypt, Algeria) evaded Ottoman rule

In 1839, liberal Ottomans launched reform called Tanzimat: Redesigned army according to Western standards

Sultan Abdulmejid I issued Imperial Rescript of 1856: Equality before the law (regardless of religion), western army, free trade

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Young Turk Party (group of exiled Ottomans) mounted a coup in 1908, forced Sultan Abdulhamid II to sign liberal constitution. Eventually, Ottoman collapsed & led to modern nation of Turkey after WW1

Sultan Abdulhamid II sought to remove foreign powers from Ottoman Empire but failed

Ottomans businesses prospered, but since all had excessive loans from foreigners, foreigners got most of the money. Little money went to Ottoman gov

Industrialization in Egypt

  • Under Muhammad Ali, Egypt started industrializing

    • When Napoleon left Egypt after invading it, he created a power vacuum, which Muhammad Ali filled

    • Muhammad Ali drafted soldiers, used technologies to develop his agriculture, etc.

    • His son Ismail continued these reforms & built more industrial tech

    • Egypt financed these with loans from Europe, which it couldn't pay, leading to severe debts

      • Britain took advantage of these debts & conquered Egypt in 1882


Battle of Gallipoli (1915-1916)

Britain wanted to take over Ottoman-controlled Dardanelles strait to get easy access to Russia

Britain lost miserably after attacking Ottomans at Dardanelles

Britain tried again, this time attacked Gallipoli Peninsula. Used troops from British colonies

Britain lost miserably. Led to weakened control over British colonies

War in the Middle East

  • Ottoman Empire joined the war with Central Powers against Allies in 1914
  • Armenians (last major non-Muslim ethnic group in Ottoman Empire) sought Russian help to liberate them from Ottoman rule
    • Ottomans were against the Russians in the war, so Ottomans ordered mass deportation of all Armenians​​

    • Ottomans killed millions of Armenians

  • British allied with Arab states against the Ottomans, liberating them from the Ottomans

    • Hussein ibn-Ali, chief magistrate of Mecca, allied with British​

    • British freed Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine from Ottoman rule

Peace Settlement in the Middle East

  • When Britain & France allied with Arabs against Ottomans, they made vague promise of independence

  • In Sykes Picot Agreement (1916), Britain & France would establish mandates (protectorates) over the Arab states instead of giving independence

    • Britain had Palestine, Transjordan, Iraq

    • France had Lebanon, Syria, South Turkey

  • In Balfour Declaration (1917), Britain would create a Jewish state in Palestine

    • Eventually, as Palestinians revolted, this plan was canceled (the UN later created Israel in 1948)​

  • Arab nationalists hated the mandate system & created General Syrian Congress (1919)

    • French hated this & took over Syria

  • Britain & France occupied parts of Turkey, and Greece also took some Turkish territory

  • Mustafa Kemal founded modern nation of Turkey

    • Treaty of Lausanne (1923) recognized nation of Turkey (Ottoman empire disintegrated)

    • Kemal was known as Ataturk ("father of the turks")

    • Made Turkey a secular nation

    • Kemal was a military general & helped defend Turkey from Britain & France


Decolonization in Middle East & Crisis in Israel (1948)

Former British & French mandates in Middle East got independence. Britain had earlier promised a Jewish homeland in Palestine, so British gave Palestine to the UN to decide

The UN decided to divide Palestine into Jewish & Muslim lands. In 1948, Jews proclaimed nation of Israel

Palestinians & Arabs hated this agreement & attacked the Jews. Jews were backed by the US & won even more territory

Suez Canal Crisis (1956)

Gamal Abdel Nasser mounted a coup in Egypt in 1952, promoted pan-Arab nationalism. Nationalized the foreign-owned Suez Canal Company

British, French, & Israeli armies attacked Suez Canal because Western powers actually owned the Suez Canal, not Egypt

US ordered British, French, & Israeli armies to stop. US believed Egypt might align with USSR against the West