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HIST231: Empire and States in the Middle East and Southwest Asia

Unit 8: European Imperialism and the Middle East   By the beginning of the 19th century, European imperialist states began to play a direct role in the political affairs and economic development of the Middle East and Southwest Asia.  Napoleon invaded Egypt in 1798, but British and Ottoman troops drove French forces out three years later.  Anarchy followed until Muhammad Ali took control of the Egyptian government.  Once in power, Ali expanded Egyptian control of the region and challenged the power of the Ottoman regime.  He and his descendants also engaged in a modernization campaign in Egypt with the assistance of European powers.  Egypt fell into debt to French and British investors, who gained effective control of the government.  Elsewhere in the region, Russian forces challenged Ottoman control of the Caucasus region and forced the Ottomans to open the Black Sea to international shipping.  Russian and British forces also challenged Iranian control of the Caspian Sea region and forced concessions from the Iranian government.  By the late 19th century, the Ottoman Empire had lost political control over many of its territories outside Asia Minor.  Internal modernization and developments efforts funded by European investors had put the Empire in debt to European nations and reduced its political independence.  In the early 1900s, the Empire became increasingly unstable as political movements challenged the power of the sultan inside Turkey.  In this unit, you will examine how European imperialism altered Middle Eastern politics, economic affairs, and social life during the 19th and early 20th centuries.  You will also evaluate how European nations gained de facto control over many of the states of the region and how they used this power to enrich European investors.  Finally, you will look at how Ottoman alliances with Germany and Austria-Hungary in World War I led to the downfall of the Empire following the conflict.  

Unit 8 Time Advisory
This unit will take you approximately 20.25 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 8.1: 4.25 hours

☐    Subunit 8.2: 2 hour

☐    Subunit 8.3: 8 hours ☐    Subunit 8.3.1: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 8.3.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 8.3.3: 4 hours

☐    Subunit 8.4: 6 hours ☐    Subunit 8.4.1: 3 hours

☐    Subunit 8.4.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 8.4.3: 1 hour

Unit8 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Explain how European imperialism destabilized the Middle East and Southwest Asia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. - Describe how European nations established political control over many Middle Eastern nations. - Analyze the political impact of World War I on the peoples and nations of the Middle East. - Analyze and interpret primary source documents from the per-Islamic period through the beginning of the 20th century using historical research methods.

8.1 Napoleon and French Imperialism   - Web Media: Khan Academy’s “Napoleon and the Wars of the First and Second Coalitions” Link: Khan Academy’s “Napoleon and the Wars of the First and Second Coalitions” (Youtube)
 
Instructions: Please watch the above video (approx. 13 minutes), which discusses Napoleon’s early military campaigns.  The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon’s French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815.  As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution, they revolutionized European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly owing to the application of modern mass conscription.  This web media should take 15 minutes to complete.
 
Terms of Use: This video is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.  It is attributed to the Khan Academy.

  • Reading: History of War: J. Rickard’s “French Invasion of Egypt: 1798-1801” Link: History of War: J. Rickard’s “French Invasion of Egypt: 1798-1801” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read this text carefully, and then write a few paragraphs about the successes and failures of the French invasion of Egypt.  Keep in mind that this is the first major invasion of a significant Muslim land by a Christian power.  This reading covers the topics outlined in Subunit s 8.1.1 through 8.1.4.  This reading and writing should take you approximately 4 hours to complete.
     
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8.1.1 Egypt before the French   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 8.1.  Pay particular attention to the text below the heading “Egypt before the French.”

8.1.2 French Intentions and Preparations   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 8.1.  Pay particular attention to the text below the heading “French Intentions” and “French Preparations.”

8.1.3 Napoleon and Nelson   Note: This topic is covered by the reading and the video assigned below subunit 8.1.  For the reading, pay particular attention to the text below the heading “Napoleon Lands” through “Napoleon Leaves.”

8.1.4 Egypt after the Departure of French   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 8.1.  Pay particular attention to the text below the heading “After Napoleon” and “Egypt after the French.”

8.2 Greek Nationalism and the Ottoman Empire   - Reading: Michigan State University: Steven W. Sowards’ “The Greek Revolution and the Greek State” Link: Michigan State University: Steven W. Sowards’ “The Greek Revolution and the Greek State” (HTML)
 
Instruction: Please read this entire text, which describes the Greek struggle for independence from the Ottoman Empire in the 19th century.  Please pay particular attention to the first three stages of the uprisings: what makes the Greek revolts succeed?  This text covers the topics outlined in Subunit s 8.2.1 through 8.2.3.  This reading and taking detailed notes should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
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8.2.1 Greek Establishment   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 8.2.  Focus on the text that appears below the heading “The Greek Establishment.” 

8.2.2 Revolutionary Influences   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 8.2.  Focus on the text that appears below the heading “Revolutionary Influences.”

8.2.3 Greek Revolution   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 8.2.  In particular, pay careful attention to the sections “The Revolution of 1812: The First Phase” through “Phases Three and Four.”

8.2.4 Greek Independence   Note: This topic is covered by the reading assigned below subunit 8.2.  In particular, review the text that appears below the heading “After the Revolution.”

8.3 Modernization and Development in the Late Ottoman Empire   8.3.1 The Tanzimat (Reorganization) Period   - Reading: Michigan State University’s Electronic Middle East Sourcebook: “Redefining Tradition” Link: Michigan State University’s Electronic Middle East Sourcebook:Redefining Tradition” (HTML or PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the “details” link in redefining tradition row.  You may then read the text in HTML format or click on the link at the bottom of the webpage to access the PDF file (4 pages).  The reading will provide a context for the translation of an Ottoman edict called the “Gulhane Decree of 1839.”  Towards the end of the text, you will read the translation of the Gulhane Decree and learn about the Ottoman efforts to modernize the empire.  With this decree, Ottomans tried to reform the administration of the empire and to please the European powers.  This reading should take you approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
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8.3.2 Tanzimat Decree of 1856   - Reading: Web Site of the Turkish Constitutional Law: Kemal Gozler’s version of Islahat Fermani’s “Rescript of Reform” Link: Web Site of the Turkish Constitutional Law: Kemal Gozler’s version of : Islahat Fermani’s “Rescript of Reform” (HTML)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire text.  This is the translation of the second imperial decree in the Ottoman Empire.  It is interesting in the sense that the Ottoman Sultan would promise to take several radical reforms to follow the European model.  Keep in mind that after these reforms the Ottoman Empire will change its regime from Absolute to constitutional monarchy.  Reading this text and taking comprehensive notes should take approximately 2 hours to complete.
 
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8.3.3 Constitutional Monarchy in the Ottoman Empire   - Reading: Web Site of the Turkish Constitutional Law: Kemal Gozler’s version of “The Ottoman Constitution” Link: Web Site of the Turkish Constitutional Law: Kemal Gozler’s version of ’s “The Ottoman Constitution” (HTML)
 
Instructions: The Tanzimat period culminated in the first constitution in 1876.  It was revised in 1909 by the Young Turks.  This reading contains the text of both.  While reading, think about the transition from and Islamic Empire based on Shari’a to a modern state.  You should study the Ottoman Constitution in detail and re-read as necessary.  You should spend approximately 4 hours reading and studying this resource.
           
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8.4 World War One and the Middle East   8.4.1 Arab Nationalism   - Reading: University of Michigan: William Cleveland’s Selection of “Documents of Western Betrayal and Arab Opposition (1915-1919)” Link: University of Michigan: William Cleveland’s Selection of “Documents of Western Betrayal and Arab Opposition (1915-1919)” (HTML or PDF)
 
Instructions: Please read the entire text.  You can access the pdf version from the link at the bottom of the page.  One of the significant Muslim groups to secede from the empire was the Arabs.  After a useful introduction, the text includes the correspondence between the British and the Arab leaders.  The movie, Lawrence of Arabia is based on this episode of Middle Eastern history.  Reading and taking notes should take you approximately 3 hours to complete.
 
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8.4.2 The Sykes Picot Agreement of 1916   - Reading: BBC’s “The Sykes-Picot Agreement” Link: BBC’s “The Sykes-Picot Agreement” (HTML)
 
Instruction: Please read the entire article, and carefully view the map.  This secret agreement exemplifies the ultimate goal of European intervention in the Middle East.  It shows the intentions of Great Britain and France to divide of the last Islamic empire.  Reading and taking notes should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
 
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  • Reading: United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL)’s “The Sykes Picot Agreement Text” Link: United Nations Information System on the Question of Palestine (UNISPAL)’s “The Sykes Picot Agreement Text” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: This is the actual text of the Sykes-Picot Agreement.  Please read the entire agreement.  Please dedicate approximately 1 hour to reading and taking notes on this text.
     
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8.4.3 Middle East beyond World War I   - Assessment: The Saylor Foundation's “European Imperialism and the Middle East” Link: The Saylor Foundation's “European Imperialism and the Middle East” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Please click on the link above to download the assessment.  Please write out approximately one paragraph answers for each question.  After completing this assessment, please check your responses against the Saylor Foundation’s “Guide to Responding to European Imperialism and the Middle East.” (PDF) Your answers should contain, but not be limited to, the information provided in the answer sheet.  This assessment should take approximately 3 hours to complete.

  • Web Media: NPR’s “The Middle East and the West: WWI and Beyond” Link: NPR’s “The Middle East and the West: WWI and Beyond” (HTML, and MP4 or Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: First, please read the text, and then click the “listen” button for the audio clip (8 minutes).  Mike Shuster’s interviews with some well-known scholars will serve as the conclusion of this course.  This is the beginning of the emergence of the modern Middle East.  This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.
     
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