Ottoman Frontier Policies in North-East Africa, 1517–1914


in The Frontiers of the Ottoman World

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780197264423
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734793 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

Ottoman Frontier Policies in North-East Africa, 1517–1914

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This chapter suggests that insufficient attention has been paid in accounts of north-east African history to the role of the Ottoman Turks. With the capture of Egypt from its Mamluk rulers in 1517, the Ottomans established their first foothold in Africa. However, several factors drew them further into the region. First, there was a threat presented by the Portuguese, who sought to establish a monopoly on the valuable Indian Ocean trade and who challenged Ottoman control of the Red Sea and the pilgrimage routes to Mecca and Medina. Second, the Ottomans wished to secure control over Africa's valuable exports, slaves and gold. Third, in accordance with the sultans' quest for legitimacy as rulers of an Islamic empire, their long-term aim was the inclusion of all north-east Africa into Ottoman territory and hence the Dar al-Islam.

Keywords: Ottoman Turks; Islamic empire; Dar al-Islam; pilgrimage routs; Indian Ocean trade; Red Sea

Chapter.  4325 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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