Documentary: World War One Through Arab Eyes – Episode 2: The Ottomans (Video)
One hundred years after the Ottomans joined the war, this three-part series tells the story from an Arab perspective. Episode two tells the story of the decline of the Ottoman Empire, the fall Sultan Abdul Hamid II, the rise of the young Turk government in his place – and the history of the Ottoman-Germany relationship which led to the Treaty of Alliance between them in August 1914.
The Birth of the Ottoman Empire
According to the political philosophy of Ibn Khaldun, empires have lifespans like humans. They are born, grow, reach maturity, and then decline and die. Understanding the infancy of empires is crucial to understanding why an empire became powerful, and where it derives its strength from.
This article will look at the infancy of the Ottoman Empire. From a small Turkish state in Anatolia in the 1300s, the House of Osman ended up ruling a state that extended throughout Eastern Europe, Southwest Asia, and North Africa in the 1500s. The early period of the Ottoman State sowed the seeds for this great empire.
Granddaughter of Ottoman Sultan smashes stereotypes with novel
A strong, Muslim Indian woman who stands against British colonialists in 19th century India is the central focus of the latest novel by the granddaughter of Ottoman Sultan Murad V. Kenize Mourad’s “In the City of Gold and Silver”, tells the story of Begum Hazrat who stands bravely against the East India Company, but is eventually forced into exile in Nepal. Begum is an orphan and aspiring poet who gains the attention of the Indian ruler and finally becomes his wife. From this powerful position, Begum is a principal figure that leads the uprising against British colonialist in India.
The streets of Gaza in November 1917 after a British attack on the city in WWI. (IMAGE)
The streets of Gaza in November 1917 after a British attack on the city in WWI. The First Battle of Gaza was fought on 26 March 1917 during the first attempt by the Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) to invade the south of Palestine in the Ottoman Empire during the Sinai and Palestine Campaign of the First World War. Fighting took place in and around the town of Gaza on the Mediterranean coast when infantry and mounted infantry from the Desert Column, a component of theEastern Force, attacked the town. Late in the afternoon, on the verge of capturing Gaza, the Desert Column was withdrawn due to concerns about the approaching darkness and large Ottoman reinforcements. This British defeat was followed a few weeks later by the even more emphatic defeat of the Eastern Force at the Second Battle of Gaza in April 1917.
The Cedid Atlas (The New Atlas in Ottoman Turkish) was one of the first printed atlases in the Muslim world
The Cedid Atlas (The New Atlas in Ottoman Turkish) was one of the first printed atlases in the Muslim world. It was commissioned by the Ottoman government in 1803 as part of its 19th century reforms to bring the empire up to par with other European powers. All of the maps in the atlas were thus adapted from an earlier atlas made by the English cartographer, William Faden. Only 50 copies were printed of the atlas, and of those, only about 10 survive today.
An incredible Ottoman map of the United States from 1803 (IMAGE)
The Roots of Iraq’s Sectarian Division
The land of Iraq is home to some of the most ancient and precious civilizations in history. In the Mesopotamian valley that encompasses the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, Babylonia, the world’s first empire was born. Writing was first developed along the banks of the rivers with tablets made of clay. Advanced government bureaucracies were first implemented here. It is truly one of the cradles of human civilization.
And when Islam was revealed in the deserts of Arabia south of Mesopotamia, the people of Iraq were some of the first to accept Islam outside of the Arabian Peninsula during the caliphate of Abu Bakr. As Islamic history went on, Iraq became one of the centers of the Muslim world, with Baghdad being established in the 8th century as the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Politics, culture, science, and religion all flourished here in early Islamic history. After the Mongol invasion, however, Iraq’s importance declined, it eventually became a part of the Ottoman Empire from the early 1500s until the end of the empire in the First World War. After the war, it was organized into a British-controlled mandate, which sought to create an independent nation-state in this ancient land.
Which brings us to the question: what is Iraq? The British assumed they’d find a homogeneous people in this land that would easily coalesce into one united nation, but the reality has been much more complicated. When the British drew Iraq’s borders, the people within those false borders were of different ethnic groups, religious beliefs, and languages, yet they were all expected to adopt a new identity – Iraqi – and function as a modern nationalistic European nation. This article will address the origins of these problems of identity in 20th century Iraq.
How the British Divided Up the Arab World
The development of the modern nation states throughout the Arab world is a fascinating and heartbreaking process. 100 years ago, most Arabs were part of the Ottoman Empire/Caliphate, a large multi-ethnic state based in Istanbul. Today, a political map of the Arab world looks like a very complex jigsaw puzzle. A complex and intricate course of events in the 1910s brought about the end of the Ottomans and the rise of these new nations with borders running across the Middle East, diving Muslims from each other. While there are many different factors leading to this, the role that the British played in this was far greater than any other player in the region. Three separate agreements made conflicting promises that the British had to stand by. The result was a political mess that divided up a large part of the Muslim world.
Non-Muslim Rights in the Ottoman Empire
Much like previous Muslim Empires, the Ottomans showed great toleration and acceptance of non-Muslim communities in their empire. This is based on existing Muslim laws regarding the status of non-Muslims. They are protected, given religious freedoms, and free from persecution according to the Shariah. One of the first precedents of this was the Treaty of Umar ibn al-Khattab, in which he guaranteed the Christians of Jerusalem total religious freedom and safety.