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History of the Middle East

He says that "now Europe could prosper on the captured gold and silver, spices and other products of the new world . . . The Baltic and the Atlantic replaced the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean as the most important centers of world trade" (273).

The enormous wealth generated by the Ottoman Empire enabled it to remain dominant for another two centuries; however, its society, except for its military dynamism was somewhat static by comparison with Europe's. According to Lapidus, after the 14th century, the emphasis in the West was increasingly was on individualism, the scientific spirit and the acquisition of wealth but "in the Middle East individual obligations . . . in terms of religiously commanded participation in a religiously defined community" (270). The wealth and power of the Ottoman Empire also had a slowly corrupting effect. After 1600, most sultans were less active in affairs of state; key elements of the military such as the Janissaries engaged in business and interfered in politics; and military officials and other notables in faroff provinces increasingly acted somewhat autonomously from Istanbul. As the Ottoman Empire turned into the Sick Man Europe in the 19th Century, European powers quarreled over its possessions and over who would succeed it in modern times.

The Ottomans under the Young Turks elected to become allied with the Central Powers whose defeat in World War I led to the collapse in 1918 of the Ottoman Empire. Pan-Arabic and other forms of nationalism had developed in the late 19th century in response to the growing influence of the European powers in the Middle East, especially their economic influence and in some areas, such as Egypt and the Persian Gulf coast, their direct political control. The power of Arab and Islamic nationalism was reinforced by the War itself. The Arabs of the Arabian peninsula under Sharif Feysal became allied with the British against the Turks. Under the Sykes-Picot Agreeme...

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History of the Middle East. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 02:56, September 21, 2017, from
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