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Palestine in the Ottoman Empire

During the Ottoman Empire, historians divided Palestine into four time periods as follows:

  • First: The Golden Age (the 16th Century)

The golden age is due to the era of the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Suleiman II, known as “Kanuni” (the Lawgiver). In the meantime, Palestine annexed five sanjaks, administrative division of the Ottoman Empire, which are Jerusalem, Gaza, Lajjun, Safed and Nablus. Ottomans kept local princes in Palestine for achieving security and tax levy. This period was a period of security and stability.

  • Second: Palestine in the 17th Century (Interim Period)

This period prominently remarked the 17th century. In 1660, some parts of Palestine were annexed to Sidon province. What signified the Palestinian history in the interim period was the emergence of three families descended from the regional leaders: Redwan, Terbawi and Farroukh families. However, the Ottoman Empire sought to weaken the role of these families at the end of this period.

  • Third: Emergence of Sheikhs and Dignitaries

This period was characterized by the weakness of the central administration and the ruling power as a result of the engagement of Ottoman Empire with foreign affairs. Thus, the influence became greater in the hands of scholars and sheikhs for their social and economic statuses. In addition to the previous three families, new families emerged such as: Toukan, al-Nemr, Jarrar, in Nablus, and Al-Husseini, in Jerusalem.


  • Egyptian Governance, Foreign Influence and Tanzimat (Reorganization of the Ottoman Empire)

The Egyptian governance by Ibrahim Pasha lasted from 1840 to 1931. Regarding foreign influence, the first European British Consulate was opened in Jerusalem in 1838 followed by another European Consulates in Jerusalem.

On the other hand, Tanzimat Period (1836-1878) was a period of reformation that the Sultan Abd al-Majeed and the Sultan Abdulaziz declared, since the late of 18th century till the death of the Sultan Mahmoud II in 1839. This period is divided into two phases: the first (1840-1856) and the second (1856-1878).

Prepared by: Islam el-Zant.

Translation: Ishraq Othman