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Arab Anti-Colonialism


Subject Imperial, Colonial, and Postcolonial History » Postcolonial History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781444334982.2016.x


The history of anti-colonial thought and activism among Arabic-speaking peoples in the region known today as the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) extends to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. (MENA comprises the geographic area stretching west to the Atlantic coast of Morocco, east to the tip of Oman on the Indian Ocean, south to the Sahel and the Horn of Africa, and north to the Zagros Mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan.) Over the past 300 years it has appeared in numerous locales and found myriad articulations throughout the Arab world. As such, Arab anti-colonialism defies simple definition or categorization. Insofar as a unifying theme exists in its multiple iterations, it is the demand for self-rule and treatment as equals upon the international stage. Direct colonization in the modern Arab world did not begin apace until after 1830, but European, and later American, military aggression and occupation commenced at the end of the eighteenth century and the first decade of the nineteenth. These campaigns signaled two dominant features of European–Arab relations that foreshadowed the coming era of colonialism: first, the substantial imbalance of power European imperial states held vis-à-vis the Ottoman Empire, its vassal Arab provinces, and the independent emirates of “Barbary” (the Maghreb); and, correspondingly, the growing attitude of impunity European Great ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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