Plague and Environment in Late Ottoman Egypt

Alan Mikhail

in Water on Sand

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199768677
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979608 | DOI:
Plague and Environment in Late Ottoman Egypt

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This chapter uses the example of the plague of 1791 to explain how the disease functioned as a regular feature of the Egyptian environment. Plague came and went in early modern Ottoman Egypt as one component of a cycle that included famine, wind, flood, drought, inflation, and revolt. This chapter thus argues that plague should be understood as an accepted and expected element of the environment and of life in Egypt rather than as an external or “foreign” threat. The chapter also discusses the periodization and mortality of plague in the Ottoman Empire and examines the strengths and weaknesses of various sources for the history of the disease—the works of Egyptian chroniclers, Arabic and Ottoman Turkish archival materials, secondary studies, and travelers' accounts.

Keywords: plague; Egypt; Ottoman Empire; drought; flood; famine; wind; environmental history; disease

Chapter.  10198 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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