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Ottoman Syria
Syria
refers to the parts of modern-day Syria
Syria
or of Greater Syria
Syria
which were subjected to Ottoman rule, anytime between the Ottoman conquests on the Mamluk Sultanate
Mamluk Sultanate
in the early 16th century and the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
in 1922. The conquered territories were at first divided under the jurisdictions of the eyalets (provinces) of Damascus and Aleppo. The Eyalet
Eyalet
of Tripoli was formed in 1579, and later the Eyalet
Eyalet
of Adana was split from the Eyalet
Eyalet
of Aleppo. The Eyalet
Eyalet
of Safed was established in 1660 and renamed " Eyalet
Eyalet
of Sidon" shortly afterwards. These eyalets were transformed into the Vilayet
Vilayet
of Syria, the Vilayet of Aleppo
Aleppo
and the Vilayet of Beirut
Vilayet of Beirut
in 1864 as part of the Tanzimat reforms.

Contents

1 History 2 Administrative divisions

2.1 1549–1663 2.2 1833–1840 2.3 1861 2.4 1864 2.5 1872–1918

3 Contemporary maps, showing Eyalets (pre- Tanzimat
Tanzimat
reforms) 4 Contemporary maps, showing Vilayets (post- Tanzimat
Tanzimat
reforms) 5 See also 6 References 7 Sources 8 External links

History[edit] See also: Timeline of Ottoman Syria Before 1516, Syria
Syria
was part of the Mamluk Empire centered in Egypt. The Ottoman Sultan Selim I
Selim I
conquered Syria
Syria
in 1516 after defeating the Mamlukes at the Battle of Marj Dabiq
Battle of Marj Dabiq
near Aleppo
Aleppo
in northern Syria. Selim carried on his victorious campaign against the Mamlukes and conquered Egypt
Egypt
in 1517 following the Battle of Ridanieh, bringing an end to the Mamluk Sultanate. Administrative divisions[edit] See also: Subdivisions of the Ottoman Empire When he first seized Syria
Syria
in 1516, Selim I
Selim I
kept the administrative subdivisions of the Mamluk period unchanged. After he came back from Egypt
Egypt
in July 1517, he reorganized Syria
Syria
into one large province or eyalet named Şam (Arabic/Turkish for "Syria"). The eyalet was subdivided into several districts or sanjaks. 1549–1663[edit] In 1549, Syria
Syria
was reorganized into two eyalets. The northern Sanjak of Aleppo
Aleppo
became the center of the new Eyalet
Eyalet
of Aleppo. At this time, the two Syrian Eyalets were subdivided as follows:

The Eyalet
Eyalet
of Aleppo
Aleppo
(Arabic: إيالة حلب‎)

The Sanjak of Aleppo
Aleppo
(حلب) The Sanjak of Adana
Adana
(أضنة) The Sanjak of Ablistan ( Marash
Marash
(مرعش)) The Sanjak of Aintab
Sanjak of Aintab
(عينتاب) The Sanjak of Birejik
Birejik
(البيرة) ( Urfa
Urfa
(أورفة)) The Sanjak of Kilis (كلز) The Sanjak of Ma'arra (معرة النعمان) The Sanjak of Hama
Sanjak of Hama
(حماة) The Sanjak of Salamiyah
Salamiyah
(سلمية) The Sanjak of Homs (حمص)

The Eyalet
Eyalet
of Damascus (Arabic: إيالة دمشق‎)

The Sanjak of Damascus
Sanjak of Damascus
(دمشق) The Sanjak of Tripoli
Sanjak of Tripoli
(طرابلس) The Sanjak of Acre (عكا) The Sanjak of Safad
Sanjak of Safad
(صفد) The Sanjak of Nablus
Sanjak of Nablus
(نابلس) The Sanjak of Jerusalem
Sanjak of Jerusalem
(القدس) The Sanjak of Lajjun
Lajjun
(اللجون) The Sanjak of Salt (السلط) The Sanjak of Gaza
Sanjak of Gaza
(غزة)

In 1579, the Eyalet
Eyalet
of Tripoli was established under the name of Tripoli of Syria
Syria
(Turkish:Trablusşam) (Arabic: طرابلس الشام). At this time, the eyalets became as follows: The Eyalet
Eyalet
of Aleppo
Aleppo
included the Sanjaks of Aleppo, Adana, Marash, Aintab, and Urfa. The Eyalet
Eyalet
of Tripoli included the Sanjaks of Tripoli, Latakia, Hama and Homs. The Eyalet
Eyalet
of Damascus included the Sanjaks of Damascus, Beirut, Sidon, Acre, Safad, Nablus, Jerusalem, Gaza, Hauran
Hauran
and Ma'an In 1660 the Eyalet
Eyalet
of Safad was established. It was later renamed the Eyalet
Eyalet
of Sidon, and later, the Eyalet
Eyalet
of Beirut. 1833–1840[edit]

1851 map of Ottoman Syria, showing the Eyalets of Aleppo, Damascus, Tripoli, Acre and Gaza.

1851 map showing the southern Eyalets of Ottoman Syria
Syria
—Damascus, Tripoli, Acre and Gaza.

In 1833, the Syrian provinces were ceded to Muhammed Ali of Egypt
Egypt
in the Convention of Kutahya. The firman stated that "The governments of Candia and Egypt
Egypt
are continued to Mahomet Ali. And in reference to his special claim, I have granted him the provinces of Damascus, Tripoli-in-Syria, Sidon, Saphet, Aleppo, the districts of Jerusalem and Nablous, with the conduct of pilgrims and the commandment of the Tcherde (the yearly offering to the tomb of the Prophet). His son, Ibrahim Pacha, has again the title of Sheikh and Harem of Mekka, and the district of Jedda; and farther, I have acquiesced in his request to have the district of Adana
Adana
ruled by the Treasury of Taurus, with the title of Mohassil."[1] In this period, the Sublime Porte's firmans (decrees) of 1839 and, more decisively, of 1856 – equalizing the status of Muslim and non-Muslim subjects – produced a

"dramatic alienation of Muslims from Christians. The former resented the implied loss of superiority and recurrently assaulted and massacred Christian communities – in Aleppo
Aleppo
in 1850, in Nablus in 1856, and in Damascus and Lebanon in 1860. Among the long-term consequences of these bitter internecine conflicts were the emergence of a Christian-dominated Lebanon in the 1920s – 40s and the deep fissure between Christian and Muslim Palestinian Arabs as they confronted the Zionist influx after World War I. "[2]

1861[edit] Following the massacre of thousands of Christian civilians during the 1860 Lebanon conflict, and under a growing European pressure, mainly from France, an Ottoman edict issued in 1861 transformed "Al Kaimaqumyateen", the former regime based on religious rule that led to civil war, into the Mount Lebanon Mutasarrifate, governed by a mutasarrıf who, according to law, had to be a non-Lebanese Christian. 1864[edit] As part of the Tanzimat
Tanzimat
reforms, an Ottoman law passed in 1864 provided for a standard provincial administration throughout the empire with the eyalets becoming smaller vilayets, governed by a vali (governor) still appointed by the imperial Porte but with new provincial assemblies participating in administration. 1872–1918[edit]

"Independent" Sanjak of Jerusalem
Sanjak of Jerusalem
shown within Ottoman administrative divisions in the Eastern Mediterranean coast after the reorganisation of 1887–88

Ottoman Syria
Syria
until World War I. Present borders in grey.

In 1872 Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and the surrounding towns became the Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem, gaining a special administrative status. From 1872 until World War I
World War I
subdivisions of Ottoman Syria
Syria
were:

Aleppo
Aleppo
Vilayet
Vilayet
(Arabic: ولاية حلب‎) Sanjak of Zor (Arabic: سنجق دير الزور‎) Beirut Vilayet
Vilayet
(Arabic: ولاية بيروت‎) Syria
Syria
Vilayet
Vilayet
(Arabic: ولاية سورية‎) Mutasarrifate of Mount Lebanon
Mutasarrifate of Mount Lebanon
(Arabic: متصرفية جبل لبنان‎) Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
(Arabic: متصرفية القدس الشريف‎) Mutasarrifate of Karak
Mutasarrifate of Karak
(from 1895) (Arabic: متصرفية الكرك‎)

The sanjak Zor and the major part of the vilayet Aleppo
Aleppo
may or may not be included in Ottoman Syria. The Geographical Dictionary of the World, published in 1906, describes Syria
Syria
as:

"a country in the [south-west] part of Asia, forming part of the Turkish Empire. It extends eastward from the Mediterranean Sea to the river Euphrates
Euphrates
and the Syrian Desert
Syrian Desert
(the prolongation northward of the Arabian Desert), and southward from the Alma-Dagh (ancient Amanus), one of the ranges of the Taurus, to the frontiers of Egypt (Isthmus of Suez) It lies between the parallels of 31° and 37° [north latitude]. It comprises the vilayet of Syria
Syria
(Suria), or of Damascus, the vilayet of Beirut, the [south-west] part of the vilayet of Aleppo, and the mutessarrifliks of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and the Lebanon. Palestine is included in [the country] Syria, comprising the mutessarriflik of Jerusalem
Jerusalem
and part of the vilayets of Beirut and Syria. The designation Syria
Syria
is sometimes used in wider sense so as to include the whole of the vilayet of Aleppo
Aleppo
and the Zor Sanjak, a large part of Mesopotamia
Mesopotamia
being thus added."[3] About Syria
Syria
in 1915, a British report says:

"The term Syria
Syria
in those days was generally used to denote the whole of geographical and historic Syria, that is to say the whole of the country lying between the Taurus Mountains
Taurus Mountains
and the Sinai Peninsula, which was made up of part of the Vilayet
Vilayet
of Aleppo, the Vilayet
Vilayet
of Bairut, the Vilayet
Vilayet
of Syria, the Sanjaq of the Lebanon, and the Sanjaq of Jerusalem. It included that part of the country which was afterwards detached from it to form the mandated territory of Palestine."[4]

Contemporary maps, showing Eyalets (pre- Tanzimat
Tanzimat
reforms)[edit]

Maps of Contemporary Ottoman Syria
Syria
showing Eyalets (pre 1864 Vilayet Law)

1696 (Jaillot), showing Eyalets 

1707 

1740 (Seutter), showing Eyalets 

1803, from Cedid Atlas 

1842, showing "Pashalics" 

1851 

Contemporary maps, showing Vilayets (post- Tanzimat
Tanzimat
reforms)[edit]

Maps of Contemporary Ottoman Syria
Syria
showing Vilayets (post-Tanzimat reforms)

1855, showing sanjaks 

1862 

1873 

1893 

1896 

1897 

1900 (Stanford), showing Vilayets 

1909 

1911 

See also[edit]

Arab Kingdom of Syria French Mandate for Syria
Syria
and the Lebanon History of Syria Southern Syria Sykes–Picot Agreement Syria
Syria
(Roman province)

References[edit]

^ The Syrian Question, 1841 ^ Benny Morris, Excerpt from Righteous Victims: A History of the Zionist-Arab Conflict, 1881–1999, accessed 27 September 2015 ^ Geographical Dictionary of the World in the early 20th Century. Logos Press, New Delhi, 1906. ISBN 8172680120 ^ Report of a Committee set up to consider certain correspondence between Sir Henry McMahon (his majesty's high commissioner in egypt) and the Sharif of Mecca in 1915 and 1916 Archived 21 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine., ANNEX A, para. 3. British Secretary of State for the Colonies, 16 maart 1939 (doc.nr. Cmd. 5974). unispal Archived 24 October 2015 at the Wayback Machine.

Sources[edit]

Bayyat, Fadil, The Ottoman State in the Arab Scope (in Arabic; 2007) Johann Ludwig Burckhardt, Travels in Syria
Syria
and the Holy Land, Appendix II: On the Political Divisions of Syria

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ottoman Syria.

Ottoman History Podcast: History of Ottoman Syria

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