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Revolt in Palestine in the Eighteenth Century


The Era of Shaykh Zahir al-‘Umar


In the turbulent atmosphere of the eighteenth century when the Ottoman Empire was enfeebled, local leaders far from Istanbul took matters into their own hands. At first, these leaders only regulated local trade and tax collection, but soon, leaders like Shaykh Zahir al-‘Umar — a district tax collector in Palestine— saw opportunities to amass great wealth and power while providing autonomous government and safer roads to their local followers. A gripping and fascinating read, Ahmad Joudah’s biography of Shaykh Zahir is crucial for scholars seeking to contextualize developments in modern Palestinian history within the politics of the late Ottoman Empire.
Publisher: Gorgias Press LLC
Availability: In stock
SKU (ISBN): 978-1-4632-0002-2
  • *
Publication Status: In Print

Publication Date: Jul 1,2013
Interior Color: Black
Trim Size: 6 x 9
Page Count: 246
Language: English
ISBN: 978-1-4632-0002-2
$177.97
$106.78

In the turbulent political and economic atmosphere of the eighteenth century when the Ottoman Empire was enfeebled and deeply wounded by internal corruption and attacked on three fronts by the Persian, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, local leaders far from Istanbul began to take matters into their own hands. At first, these leaders only regulated local trade and tax collection, but soon, leaders like Shaykh Zahir al-‘Umar — a district tax collector in Palestine for the Ottoman government — saw opportunities to amass great wealth and power while providing autonomous government and safer roads to their local followers. Zahir first spread his control over northern Palestine, and later allied himself with Ali Bey of Egypt, a semi-independent leader who dreamed of re-establishing the Mamluk sultanate. When challenged by the Ottoman government, which was at the time at war with Catherine the Great’s Russia (1768–74), Zahir and Ali Bey did not hesitate to ally themselves with Imperial Russia. A gripping and fascinating read, Dr. Ahmad Joudah’s biography of Shaykh Zahir is crucial for scholars seeking to contextualize developments in modern Palestinian history within the power politics of the late Ottoman Empire.

In the turbulent political and economic atmosphere of the eighteenth century when the Ottoman Empire was enfeebled and deeply wounded by internal corruption and attacked on three fronts by the Persian, Austro-Hungarian, and Russian empires, local leaders far from Istanbul began to take matters into their own hands. At first, these leaders only regulated local trade and tax collection, but soon, leaders like Shaykh Zahir al-‘Umar — a district tax collector in Palestine for the Ottoman government — saw opportunities to amass great wealth and power while providing autonomous government and safer roads to their local followers. Zahir first spread his control over northern Palestine, and later allied himself with Ali Bey of Egypt, a semi-independent leader who dreamed of re-establishing the Mamluk sultanate. When challenged by the Ottoman government, which was at the time at war with Catherine the Great’s Russia (1768–74), Zahir and Ali Bey did not hesitate to ally themselves with Imperial Russia. A gripping and fascinating read, Dr. Ahmad Joudah’s biography of Shaykh Zahir is crucial for scholars seeking to contextualize developments in modern Palestinian history within the power politics of the late Ottoman Empire.

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Contributor Biography

Ahmad Joudah

Ahmad H. Joudah was born in 1934 in the village of Isdoud in southern Palestine. He completed his higher education at the University of Cairo (BA 1955), University of Texas - Austin (MA 1964), and the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor (PhD 1971). Dr. Joudah was the first curator of the Middle East collection at UT-Austin (1969-72), after which he returned to the Arab world to serve as Professor of Modern Arab History at the University of Benghazi (1972-79) and King Saud University in Riyadh (1979-1991). In 1991, for political reasons, he and his family immigrated to the United States where he and his wife taught Arabic language and culture until 2004. He is currently residing in Houston, TX and writing a history of his village, Isdoud, as well as his personal memoirs.

  • Dedication (page 7)
  • Table of Contents (page 9)
  • Preface to the Second Edition (page 11)
  • Foreword (page 15)
  • Preface (page 17)
  • Introduction: Ottoman Organization in Syria (al-Sham) (page 21)
  • Chapter I: The Rise of the Zaydanis (page 30)
  • Chapter II: The Consolidation of Power (page 48)
  • Chapter III: Zahir At His Zenith (page 64)
    • The Intra-Family Struggle (page 68)
  • Chapter IV: The Alliance of Zahir and Ali Bey (page 78)
    • Background (page 79)
    • Causes (page 83)
    • Isma'il Bey's Expedition (page 87)
  • Chapter V: The Occupation of Damascus (page 97)
    • The Aftermath (page 106)
  • Chapter VI: The Downfall of Ali Bey (page 119)
  • Chapter VII: The End of Zahir (page 133)
  • Chapter VII: Epilogue (page 153)
    • General Remarks (page 153)
    • The Legacy (page 157)
  • Maps (page 171)
    • Map I: Northern Palestine (The Seat of Zahir) (page 173)
  • Appendices (page 175)
    • Appendix I: The Zayadinah Family Tree (page 177)
    • Appendix II: The Sabbagh Family Tree (page 178)
    • Appendix III: Ali Beys Manifesto to the Damascenes, A.H. 1184 (1771) (page 179)
    • Appendix IV: The Sultans Firman to Zahir, A.H. 1188 (1774…5) (page 180)
    • Appendix V: The Walis of the Province of Damascus (Contemporaries With Zahir) (page 181)
    • Appendix VI: The Walis of the Province of Sayda (Contemporaries With Zahir) (page 182)
  • Images (page 183)
  • Abbreviations and Transliteration (page 221)
  • Bibilography (page 223)
    • I. Sources in Arabic (page 223)
    • II. Sources in Western Languages (page 230)
  • Glossary of Arabic & Turkish Terms (page 239)
  • Index (page 243)
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