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Darwin Books SLAEI Series


Revolt in Palestine in the Eighteenth Century


The Era of Shaykh Zahir Al-Umar


by Ahmad Hasan Joudah



About the Book:

    In the turbulent political and economic atmosphere of the eighteenth century, when the Ottoman Empire was wounded by internal corruption and attacked on three fronts by the Persian, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, local leaders--such as Shaykh Zahir, a district tax collector in Palestine for the Ottoman government--began to take matters into their own hands. At first they only regulated local trade and tax collection. Then, they saw opportunities to amass great wealth, while giving followers better government and safer roads. One of those, Shaykh Zahir, spread his control over northern Palestine, then allied himself with another leader, Ali Bey of Egypt, who sent Zahir his best generals to help Zahir take control of Damascus and other major cities in Syria; their dream was to re-establish the Mamluk Kingdom that the Ottomans had eliminated in 1517. When challenged by the Ottoman government, which was at that time at war with the Russia of Catherine the Great (1768-74), Zahir and Ali Bey signed a treaty of mutual assistance with imperial Russia. Zahir's defiance of the Ottoman authorities, and Bey's rebellion against the Porte, and their expedient alliance with Russia, are the subject of the game of power politics that was to prove but a prologue to the expedition of Napoleon to Egypt and further turmoil in the Levant. It is hoped that this book will add to our understanding of the economic, political, religious, and social forces that have characterized historical developments in the Middle East.


About the Author:

    Ahmad Hasan Joudah was born in Isdud in British Palestine. He completed his B.A. degree at the University of Cairo, his M.A. at the University of Texas (Austin), and his Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. Professor Joudah was curator of the Middle East collection of the University of Texas. He taught at the University of Ben Gazi in Libya, and presently serves as professor of Modern Middle East History at King Saud University.


Publication date: 1987

2 maps; appendices; bibliography; glossary; index

Size: 6 x 9 (15.2 x 22.9 cm); 163 pages

L.C. 86-83198

ISBN 978-0-940670-11-2  $35.00 (Out of Print)