9/17 - Andrew Spath

351 - Spath
Colonialism & Its Legacy
The Ottoman Empire
What are we talking about?
Imperialism and Colonialism both refer to the establishment of political and
economic control by one state or empire over a foreign territory. But they are
-- Colonialism - transfer of population to a new territory, where the new
arrivals lived as permanent settlers while maintaining political allegiance to
their country of origin.
-- Imperialism – one country exercises power over another, whether through
settlement, sovereignty, or indirect mechanisms of control.
So colonialism is a kind of imperialism.
Excerpt from Martin Ewan’s Afghanistan (p. 63):
The main force…was ordered to advance via
Kandahar, with an immense train of 38,000 camp
followers, 30,000 camels and a large herd of cattle.
If there was one thing on which its British officers
were clear, it was that they were going to have a
comfortable campaign. One regiment took with it its
pack of foxhounds, another employed two camels
merely to carry its stock of cigars, junior officers
were accompanied by as many as forty servants and
one senior officer needed as many as sixty camels to
carry his personal effects. In December 1838, thus
encumbered, the 20,000-strong “Army of the Indus”
set out on its invasion…
2 Paradoxes
1) Ancient region with longest history of human settlement only
recently organizing into sovereign states
2) Justification of colonialism by European powers as venture to
modernize and develop ‘backward’ people, but had opposite
Methods of Management and Control
 Institutional
 Coercive
What considerations went into drawing borders?
British & French colonial styles in the MENA area
Business-like, realistic,
calculated. Consistently
readjusts to maintain maximum
gains at lowest cost
Main goal is preservation of
overall empire, control of
extractable resources and
maintaining access to India
Use of overwhelming force in
beginning, then try to minimize
need for costly action
Use of “treaties” to diffuse
crises and maintain critical
No attempt to destroy previous
institutions and social structure
Effective manipulation of elites
to reduce cost of occupation
Consistent reliance on force and
coercion to subdue resistance
Creation of a caste-like system with
Europeans (mostly French) at top
Main goal is to exploit land and
indigenous labor
Destruction of indigenous
institutions, cultures and social
Replacing the indigenous culture
with awe of French culture without
providing an empowering education
Disregard for pre-existing elites
Creation of faits accomplis (facts on
the ground), and adopting an “all or
nothing” attitude towards the colony
Comparative Histories
Colonial Experience in the Middle East varied greatly across time and space.
Compare with colonialism in other regions (Latin America and South
French and British competition (different outcomes: Fashoda Dispute in
Sudan and Sykes-Picot)
Divergent paths of French colonies in Tunisia and Algeria
Other colonial powers
Some places never colonized
Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and Palestinians
* Hussein-McMahon correspondence
* Sykes-Picot Agreement
* Balfour Declaration
Sykes-Picot agreement
Effects of colonization
On colonized
-- Issues of identity
-- stunted development and moves toward constitutional rule
-- reform and opposition movements
On colonizer
-- economic benefits
-- loss of moral superiority
-- domestic political upheaval
-- military and civilian losses after decolonization
-- lasting hatred
Colonizer & colonized in colonial Algeria
European colons (Pieds Noirs):
The Muslims:
• 1 million Europeans (1954) with
Full rights
• Controlled 98% of premium arable
• Owned large holdings or lived in
the wealthy European Quarter
• Almost all children had access to
• Average income for European
farmer: 780,000 FF
• 9 Million Muslims (1954) Subject
to forced labor, detention without
due process
• Land could be seized and given to
colons at any time (215 million
acres between 1871 and 1919)
• Were left with arid agricultural
• Most lived in slums or as
impoverished farmers
• One child in ten was given
schooling, as much as 1 in 70 in
some areas
• Average income for Muslim
farmer: 22,000 FF
The MENA region
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