Modern Middle East

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Urabi Revolt

The revolution was led by nationalists in Egypt and occurred from 1879 to 1882. The leader of the revolt was Colonel Urabi Ahmed hence the name Urabi revolt. The main reason for the start of the revolt was to end the French and British influence over Egypt together with the deposing of khedive Tewfik pasha. The uprising was however put to a stop after the bombardment of Alexandria by the British together with the invasion of Egypt that left the country being ruled by foreigners until the wake of the Second World War. Both the khedival and British governments worked up and down to discredit the name of Urabi and his revolution; despite all these efforts, the name Urabi still remained popular among the common people. The government therefore resorted to the use of the education system and media to declare Urabi a traitor and described the revolution as a mere mutiny within the military. The Urabi revolution played a significant role in shaping the anti-colonial nationalism movement in Egypt (Mayer 1988). In fact, Gamel Abdel Nasser referred to the revolt as a glorious struggle by the Egyptians against foreign rule. The revolt is seen as the 1952 revolution precursor.


In simple terms, the word Tanzimat means the restructuring of the Ottoman Empire. This period began in 1839 and ended in 1876 during the first constitutional era. During this period, there were numerous attempts to achieve modernization in the empire together with securing the integrity of its territory from nationalist movements and aggressive powers that were mushrooming both internally and externally (Eryilmaz). Due to the diverse ethnicity existing in the kingdom, the reforms advocated basically for Ottomanism among the members; the emancipation of the non-Muslims in the kingdom together with the integration of non-tucks through granting them equal rights within the kingdom and fostering their civil liberties. The reforms mainly originated from sultans such as Abdulmecid I and Mahmud II.

These sultans recognized the fact that olden military and religious institutions did not live up to the standards of the empire; many changes were aimed at emulating European practices that they saw to be successful. Among the reforms include;

  • Introduction of paper banknotes in 1840.
  • The first empire post office was opened in 1840.
  • The system of finance was reorganized (1840).
  • The criminal and civil code was also reorganized in 1840.
  • Army reorganization- duration of service, recruitment techniques.
  • Creation of the ottoman flag and anthem in 1844.
  • The first census was conducted together with issuance of identification cards to the people (1844).
  • Abolition of slavery (1847).

The reforms generally led to the restructuring of numerous institutions within the empire; everything was updated in line with the ever changing world. This restructuring made the number of bureaucrats within the empire to increase.

Dinshaway Incident

This incident occurred in 1906 after an outbreak of dispute between the local residents of Dinshaway in Egypt and the British officers. Despite the fact that the incident was not too bad; this is in terms of the injuries and casualties, it has left a long lasting impact on the history of Egypt. In fact, the Dinshaway museum was built in commemoration of this event. The incident occurred after some British officers were spotted hunting down pigeons as a form of recreation. The local residents of Dinshaway were unhappy about the event since they were the ones raising the pigeons which they considered as their source of livelihood. They therefore attacked the officers. One of the officers fired his gun wounding a Muslim prayer leader’s wife. This event provoked the local residents. This was followed by numerous arrests and court sentencing. This event contributed a lot in shaping up the anti-colonials struggle in Egypt especially during the First World War.

Young Ottoman Movement

Established in 1865, the young ottomans was a secret society movement by intellectuals in the Ottoman Empire who were not happy with the Tanzimat reforms that were taking place in the empire. They believed that the empire could only be transformed through preserving the olden traditions of the empire along with adopting a constitutional government from the European traditions. Despite the fact that most of the time they disagreed when it comes to ideologies, the one thing they all agreed on was the fact that the constitutional government they were trying to adopt should be founded on the basis of Islam; in other words, they sought to emulate certain European government models together with upholding the Islamic way of life the empire was founded upon. Members of the movement include; Ziya Pasha, Ibrahim Sinasi, Agah Effendi and Ali Suavi. Historically, the movement is considered to be one of the earliest movements of modern ideologies among elites within the Ottoman Empire. Moreover, they are considered to be the first people to use the press as an instrument of political criticism. They contributed greatly to the promulgation of the very first constitution in the Ottoman Empire (Zurcher 2014).

Muhammad Ali

Born in 1942, Muhammad Ali was an American activist and boxer on the international platform. Even after his death in 2016, Muhammad is still considered one of the most celebrated and significant sports personalities of the 20th century. All throughout his career, Ali was considered a polarized, controversial and inspiring person (Hauser 1992). By changing his name from clay to Muhammad Ali, he acted as a good example of racial pride to all the African Americans. Up to date, Ali is considered one of the greatest heavyweight boxers; he is still the reigning three time heavyweight champion. After retirement, Ali dedicated his time to carrying out charity work and religion. In 1999, Ali was among the top 100 most important people of the 20th century according to the time magazine. He was recognized by both president bill Clinton and President George bush. Various streets and malls have been named after this legendary sports person. Moreover, the Muhammad Ali boxing reform act was passed in 2000; the act looked into protecting the welfare and rights of boxers in USA.

Reuter concession

This was a contract between Baron de Reuter Julius; a British-Jewish businessman and banker and Nasir al-din Shah; the Qajar king of Persia (present day Iran). It was signed in 1872 giving baron control over all Persian mills, the extraction of natural resources, telegraphs, factories and other public activities. In exchange, the Persian government could receive a sum agreed upon for five years and an additional 60% of all the revenue collected for a total of 20 years. The local clergy in Persia were however not happy with the concession; they therefore went ahead to distribute flyers in Tehran claiming that the control of country affairs was being handed over to baron who was a Jew. They also claimed that he was planning to construct a railway through south Tehran which had the holy shrines of the land. They therefore believed all this was the work of the devil in a bid to bring corruption to the land of Muslims. The concession also received external outrage from the Russian government.

Due to the intense pressure, Nasir al-din Shah decided to cancel the concession despite the poor financial situation of the country. The British government also refused to offer financial support to Baron which also contributed to the cancellation of the concession; it therefore lasted for only one year. There was however the signing of a second Reuter concession which subsequently led to the birth of the imperial bank of Persia, engineered by Baron Julius

D’Arcy Concession

This was a petroleum oil concession signed in 1901. It was between Mozzafar al-din of Persia (now Iran) and William D’Arcy. This concession gave William rights to exploit oil in Persia. However, during the process of exploitation, William and his colleagues faced numerous financial problems together with the inability to find stable oil fields. In 1908, they were able to find a large oil reserve but one year later, the concession was taken over by the Anglo-Persian oil company. During this period however, Russia and Great Britain had great rivalry over control of Persia. Both parties believed that controlling Persia could be instrumental to their military and economic interests (Danielson 2007).

The British government therefore fully supported the D’Arcy concession with the hope that it could help outpace Russia in the quest for Persia. D’Arcy however faced numerous challenges including hostile terrains together with certain tribes that did not recognize the authority of Mozzafar hence not recognizing the concession. Communities that lived near the mining site had cultures that did not accommodate western ideas and presence.

Tobacco concession

In March 1890, the shah of Iran entered into a secret agreement with a British company, giving them concession over all the tobacco that existed in Iran. At this time, tobacco was an important commodity in the economy of Iran and therefore, signing the concession granted monopoly to the British company with regard to the exportation, internal sale and growing of the commodity. This therefore…

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Modern Middle East. (2019, Oct 10). Retrieved December 4, 2023 , from

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