2nd Edition

The Arab Lands under Ottoman Rule 1516–1800

By Jane Hathaway Copyright 2020
    316 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    316 Pages 15 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

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    The Arab Lands under Ottoman Rule assesses the effects of Ottoman rule on the Arab Lands of Egypt, Greater Syria, Iraq, and Yemen between 1516 and 1800.

    Drawing attention to the important history of these regions, the book challenges outmoded perceptions of this period as a demoralizing prelude to the rise of Arab nationalism and Arab nation-states in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As well as exploring political events and developments, it delves into the extensive social, cultural, and economic changes that helped to shape the foundations of today's modern Middle and Near East. In doing so, it provides a detailed view of society, incorporating all socio-economic classes, as well as women, religious minorities, and slaves. This second edition has been significantly revised and updated and reflects the developments in research and scholarship since the publication of the first edition.

    Engaging with a wide range of primary sources and enhanced by a variety of maps and images to illustrate the text, The Arab Lands under Ottoman Rule is a unique and essential resource for students of early modern Ottoman history and the early modern Middle East.

    Introduction: Rewriting Arab History, 1516-1800

    The Arab Lands

    Sources for the study of the Ottoman Arab lands

    "Decline" and decentralization

    State and society

    Local notables and localization


    Households and localization


    Rural populations

    Non-Muslims and non-Sunnis

    Underrepresented populations


    Chapter 1: Land and Peoples

    Regions and nomenclature

    Geographical features


    Religious minorities


    Chapter 2: The Ottoman Conquest of the Arab Lands

    The rise of the Ottomans

    The Mamluk Sultanate (1250-1517)

    The Safavids

    The Portuguese

    Conquest of the Mamluks

    Süleyman I’s conquest of Iraq


    North Africa


    Chapter 3: The Organization of the Ottoman Provincial Administration

    Administrative subdivisions

    Land tenure

    Early challenges to Ottoman rule

    Chapter 4: Crisis and Change in the Seventeenth Century

    The "decline" paradigm

    The crisis of the seventeenth century

    Competing households

    Janissary hegemony in the Arab provinces

    Jelali governors and their equivalents

    The loss of Yemen

    The Köprülü reforms

    Chapter 5: Provincial Notables in the Eighteenth Century


    The ayan household

    Georgian mamluks in ayan households



    Chapter 6: Religious and Intellectual Life

    The religious milieu

    Religious institutions and personnel

    The ulema


    Changes to religious and intellectual life in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries


    Chapter 7: Urban Life and Trade

    Arab provincial cities

    Urban change in the Ottoman era

    Government regulation of markets


    Long-distance trade

    The Red Sea coffee trade and its cultural effects


    Chapter 8: Rural Life

    Land tenure

    Village life

    Cash crops

    Migration and change



    Chapter 9: Non-Normative Populations I: Non-Muslims; the Poor and Disabled

    Religious minorities


    Syrian Catholics

    Jews and Christians in financial service

    Twelver Shia

    Druze, Alawis (Nusayris), Yazidis

    The poor and disabled


    Chapter 10: Non-Normative Populations II: Women, Non-Elite Slaves, Eunuchs

    Stereotype and reality: veiling and the harem

    Women in the household




    Non-elite slavery



    Chapter 11: Ideological and Political Changes in the Late Eighteenth Century (and


    Agricultural crisis

    Military challenges and attempted reform under Selim III

    Nineteenth-century reforms

    European imperial encroachment

    Sufism and anti-imperialism

    Conclusion: The Ottoman Arab provinces after 1800

    Conclusion: Transformations under Ottoman Rule

    The effects of Ottoman rule

    Turk vs. Arab, Balkan vs. Arab? Persistent scholarly dichotomies

    Present-day relevance

    Ottoman Sultans

    Political Chronology




    Jane Hathaway is Arts and Sciences Distinguished Professor of History at Ohio State University. Her previous publications include The Politics of Households in Ottoman Egypt: The Rise of the Qazdağlis (1997); A Tale of Two Factions: Myth, Memory, and Identity in Ottoman Egypt and Yemen (2003); Beshir Agha, Chief Eunuch of the Ottoman Imperial Harem (2006); and The Chief Eunuch of the Ottoman Harem: From African Slave to Power-Broker (2018).

    'I am very pleased to see a new edition of The Arab Lands under Ottoman Rule, 1516-1800, an essential text for courses on the history of the Ottoman Empire and the early modern Middle East. In addition to introducing readers to the political structure and developments in the region, this clearly written and engaging text offers rich descriptions of the social and cultural lives of a wide range of people in the Arab provinces of the Ottoman Empire. ​Hathaway's revisions include the careful incorporation of recent scholarship and restructuring of several chapters; her expansion of the discussion about ​non-normative populations, which is now two chapters, is especially welcome.'

    Corinne Blake, Rowan University, USA.