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History of the Modern Middle East - Lecture Two.docx

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Brock University
Behnaz Mirzai

HIST 2P72 1 15 January 2013 History of the Modern Middle East: Lecture Two Modernism: the Ottoman and Qajar Empires The Transformation of Middle Eastern Societies The Qajar Dynasty (1794-1925):  Economic transformations  Educational reforms  Political reforms  Iranian Constitutional Revolution  The reason for the reform was to protect against European military threats  In Iran, modernization started during the Qajar dynasty  Another major threat for Iran was Russia  There were two major wars with the Russians  Imperialistic approach of policies  In order to safe guard their own interests the Middle Eastern government had no choice but to implement the reformation of various institutions: political, economic, education, and military  This was a difficult task as many opposed these policies and modernization and westernization  Tension (for example, during the constitutional reforms) Economic Transformations  The country’s resources were monopolized by the king (Shah) in Iraq  The government was selling monopolies to Europeans  The building of telegraph lines was marked by direct involvement by the British  In 1862,the rights to the international lines were sold to Britain  In 1872, the concession of Reuter granted monopoly over economy industries such as mines, telegraph lines, railways, all factories, road construction, etc. for 70 years to Britain  Any decisions made during this time were directly influenced by Russia and Britain  Another important issue was that the representation of those Imperial powers shifted, and in this particular period of modernization, European competition was strong  Society is divided in terms of what should be done – what is right and what is wrong?  Newspapers were published outside of the country  Intellectuals were educated outside of the country and they brought back new ideas with them  Government, king, intellectuals, and ulama played extremely important roles  The ulama were not united  Some of these religious scholars were attached to the government or the king  The demand for the establishment of a parliament was advocated by the ulama  Having a parliament and limiting the power of the king followed the French Revolution  Iran and the Ottoman empire were inspired by the French Revolution and the ideology of freedom and equality  In 1890 through to the concession, Britain obtained the rights to the monopoly to buy, sell, and manufacture tobacco for 50 years (tobacco was very common at this time – big industry)  Therefore, this concession was very valuable  In return for this monopoly, 50 pounds and 25% of its profits were to be paid by Britain on an annual basis  People were against the British because of all the occupations  Opposition as huge  The ulama act as both political and religious leaders  In these days, culture and religion are indivisible from one another  Revolutions were all led by the ulama – they were always on the front line  The ulama issued a religious decree (fatwa) that the Qur’an prohibited infidels to have control over Muslims  Also wanted Muslims to restrain from smoking (boycott the British tobacco industry)  People of all social categories were united in this matter  This resulted in the forced government cancellation of the concession  Another interesting development in the Middle East happened in this time, and created a lot of problems that continue today: oil  Specifically, butane  1901 mark the beginning of the interest in oil  In 1901, the government granted concession of Darsi oil concession  Control of the oil reserves of Iran was granted to Britain or 60 years in return of 16% profits annually  Factories and banks were opened  Foreigners were granted low customs rates  Local margins were unable to compete with that of the Europeans  Iran is becoming more and more independent on Europe and European imports/products  Iran was a major exploiter of these raw materials and resources, including Shiraz wine (this city was the main importer of wine)  The traditional and local textile industry and te exploitation of crops such as wheat, rice, and opium declined  The major export now was carpet, and this remained as a major industry Educational Reforms  Traditional schools, the Maktab Khana, existed until the establishment of modern primary schools  Boys and girls used to attend these traditional schools  Students were ages 4-14 years old and would sit next to each other on the floor  The teacher had a beating stick  Schooling for the girls, however, was different  No age limitations for boys  But girls were only allowed to attend these centres up until the age of 7 (considered mature)  After this age they had to stay home and help the family  A private female mentor would help them finish their education  Boys had the freedom to actively participate in public, when girls did not  From 1840, various Western sponsored schools were founded  In 1848, American Presbyterian missionaries opened one of the first girls schools in a city in Western Iran
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