MAPS: 1871AD – 1914AD Middle East

Middle East 1871AD – 1914AD


In recent decades,[1] the Suez canal’s immense importance in linking European nations with their empires in East Africa,[2] India,[3] SE Asia[4] and the Pacific[5] has placed the Middle East right at the heart of their concerns. The British, being the leading global power, are at the forefront in establishing their interests in the region. Egypt[6] has now drifted under their political control, as have several small emirates on the Arabian[7] coast. British commercial interests predominate in Iraq[8] and Iran[9] – which is also a target for Russian influence. French commercial influence is strong in Syria.[10]

In the face of these pressures, the Ottoman empire has continued to tighten its control over Anatolia,[11] Syria and Iraq, and is also intent on modernizing its dominions’ economies. The Ottoman government seeks to balance British and French influence by developing closer ties with Germany.

In the Arabian[12] peninsula, a third Saudi kingdom has appeared, and this time it will endure. Two further developments which will have a dramatic impact on the coming decades[13] in the region are the arrival of Jews in increasing numbers in Palestine, from the 1880s onwards, and the discovery of oil in Arabia, in 1901.


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