Challenges of a Frontier Region: The Case of Ottoman Iraq in the Nineteenth Century


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

Challenges of a Frontier Region: The Case of Ottoman Iraq in the Nineteenth Century

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Throughout its four centuries of Ottoman rule, Iraq remained a frontier of geographical, tribal, religious, economic and imperial boundaries. Iraq was an outlying region; it had a large Shi'i population; it remained a tribal and economically poor country; as a frontier region, it was vulnerable to invasion and peaceful penetration by foreign powers, Iran and Britain. The Ottoman central government expended considerable effort to overcoming these challenges, but proved unable to resolve them completely, and as a result, both its authority and reform efforts were undermined. These obstacles to the Ottoman administration of the Iraqi provinces, due to Iraq's location in a frontier region, compounded by the government's inability to satisfy the conflicting desires and interests of those involved, presented a dilemma to the empire which it was unable to transcend.

Keywords: Iraq; Istanbul; Shi'I Iran; India; Britain; Ottoman administration

Chapter.  8478 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Asian History

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