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The Last Days of Ottoman Rule, 1876-1918

Introduction: The Last Days of Ottoman Rule 1876-1918

PALESTINE was the name applied by Herodotus and other Greek and Latin writers to the Philistine coastland, and sometimes also to the territory between it and the Jordan Valley. Early in the Roman Empire the name Palaestina was given to the region around Jerusalem. The Byzantines in turn named the province west of the Jordan River, stretching from Mount Carmel in the north to Gaza in the south, Palaestina Prima.

Chronology, 1876-1918


Ottoman Constitution promulgated.


First Ottoman Parliament convenes in Constantinople, first Palestinian deputies from Jerusalem elected to this Parliament.


Yusuf Diya-uddin Pasha al-Khalidi

Yusuf Diya-uddin Pasha al-Khalidi, elected from Jerusalem to the first Ottoman Parliament of 1877, where he was an active member of the opposition; mayor of Jerusalem in 1899.

"In the Name of God, Let Palestine Be Left Alone" (2)

Yusuf Diya-uddin Pasha al-Khalidi, elected from Jerusalem to the first Ottoman Parliament of 1877, where he was an active member of the opposition; mayor of Jerusalem in 1899.

"In the Name of God, Let Palestine Be Left Alone" (3)

Yusuf Diya-uddin Pasha al-Khalidi, elected from Jerusalem to the first Ottoman Parliament of 1877, where he was an active member of the opposition; mayor of Jerusalem in 1899.

The Inauguration of a Hospital

Shaikh Badr, a western suburb of Jerusalem near the village of Deir Yassin (see 411).

The Kaiser in Jerusalem

Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany at the Mosque of the Dome of the Rock (see 1), Jerusalem, 1898. The Kaiser's visit was meant to signal to other European powers Germany's interest in the Arab East, and to strengthen German-Ottoman ties.

The Young Turks Revolution (1)

The Grand Serai (see 164, 393), housing local government offices, Jaffa, July 1908: A large Palestinian crowd gathers to celebrate the revolution in Constantinople popularly known by the Arabs as al-Hurriyyah (Ara

Ramleh, from the West

Ramleh, from the west. Ramleh was founded by the Arabs in A.D. 716, and for some time thereafter it was the capital of the Arab province (djund) of Filastin (Palestine).

The Young Turks Revolution (2)

Jerusalem, 1908: A Palestinian rally, with local officials, celebrating al-Hurriyyah.

Jemal Pasha

Jemal Pasha, a member of the "Young Turks" triumvirate, which ruled the Ottoman Empire during World War I, with his staff in Jerusalem. Jemal Pasha became governor general and commander of the Ottoman Fourth Army in Syria-Palestine in 1914.

Jemal Pasha Reviews His Troops

Jemal Pasha reviewing his troops in the western suburbs of Jerusalem, ca. 1917.

Jerusalem Railroad Station

The Jerusalem railroad station, 1917: Jemal Pasha, Ottoman governor general in Syria-Palestine, and General Erich von Falkenhayn, chief of the German Military Mission to the Orient.

Surrendering Jerusalem

Jerusalem, 9 December 1917: British noncommissioned officers belonging to an advance party of the 219th Battalion, London Regiment, accepting the surrender of Jerusalem from Hussein Salim al-Husseini, mayor of Jerusalem (fourth right with cane).

The Citadel, Old City of Jerusalem

The Citadel, Old City of Jerusalem, 11 December 1917: General Sir Edmund Allenby, commander in chief of the Allied Expeditionary Force, on the occasion of the proclamation of martial law after his entry into the city.

Allenby's Proclamation

Allenby's proclamation: "...lest any of you should be alarmed .... "

Fifth Australian Light Horse Brigade

Troops of the Fifth Australian Light Horse Brigade, under Allenby's command, enter Nablus to establish Allied control, 21 September 1918.

Fourth Regiment Chasseurs d'Afrique

Men of one of the French contingents under AIlenby's command, the Fourth Regiment Chasseurs d'Afrique, enter the village of Anabta east of Tulkarm in central Palestine, late September 1918.

Indian Troops

And Indian troops (the Jodhpore and Mysore Lancers, Fifteenth Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade) enter Haifa, 23 September 1918.

Overlooking the Village of Askar

Horseman overlooking the village of Askar east of Nablus, central Palestine.

On the Slopes of Mount Tabor

Horseman overlooking the village of Daburiyyah on the slopes of Mount Tabor, Galilee.

Looking Toward Marj Ibn Amer

Standing figure looking toward Marj Ibn Amer (the Plain of Jezreel).

View of Shepherds' Field from Bethlehem

Shepherds' Field as seen from Bethlehem. The village in the background is Beit Sahur. Note the terraces.

The Village of Battir

The village of Battir, southwest of Jerusalem.

General View of Jenin

A general view of Jenin, central Palestine. (Bonfils)

Village of Ein Karim

The village of Ein Karim, west of Jerusalem. (Bonfils)

Mar Saba

The Christian monastery of Mar Saba, commemorating a Byzantine ascetic of this name who died in A.D. 531. The monastery is located in the wilderness southeast of Jerusalem. Mar is the Arabic word for "saint." Many Palestinian Muslim shrines honor Hebrew prophets and Christian saints.

The Mosque of Nabi Samu'il

The Mosque of Nabi Samu'il (the prophet Samuel), just northwest of Jerusalem. (Bonfils)

Tomb of Nabi Yusuf

The Muslim shrine at the traditional tomb of Nabi Yusuf (the prophet Joseph), east of Nablus.

Tabitha's Well

The Muslim shrine at the traditional site of Tabitha's Well, east of Jaffa. Tabitha is mentioned in Acts 9:36-41.

Group of Villagers

A group of villagers in Bethlehem, south of Jerusalem.

Water Pipe and Coffee

Bethlehem women at home drinking coffee and smoking a water pipe, or "hubble-bubble."

Two Young Girls from Bethlehem

A Bonfils portrait of two young girls from Bethlehem. Each region in Palestine has its distinctive embroidery patterns and style for adorning women's clothing. The headdress often has coins sewn into it.

Musa Janini

Musa Janini (1858-1938), a village elder from Ain Karem, Jerusalem district. Note the sheepskin coat turned inward.

Auja al-Hafir

Auja al-Hafir, near the Egyptian border; in the foreground is the central square. Note the Ottoman army camps on the outskirts.

Gaza, "The City of Hashim"

Gaza, "the City of Hashim"; so called because Gaza is the burial place of Hashim, grandfather of the prophet Muhammad. (Bonfils)

Hebron (Al-Khalil)

Hebron (aI-Khalil in Arabic). The Arabic name means "friend" or "companion," the reference being to Abraham, the "friend" or "companion" of God, who is believed by Muslims as well as Jews to have been buried in Hebron.

The Old City of Jerusalem from the Church of the Saviour

The Old City of Jerusalem (looking east toward the Mount of Olives) as seen from the belfry of the Church of St. Saviour. Note the Mosque of the Dome of the Rock, top right. (Bonfils)

Peeking Over Jaffa Gate

Scenes at Jaffa Gate, the Old City of Jerusalem: (40) a Bonfils photograph taken just inside the walls looking out.

Outside Jaffa Gate

Scenes at Jaffa Gate, the Old City of Jerusalem: the view from outside the walls.

Jaffa's Railroad

Jaffa: one of the first railroad piers to be built at the port.

Al-Aqsa Mosque

The Mosque of al-Aqsa, Jerusalem (see 1), built by the caliph al-Walid ibn-Abd aI-Malik (A.D. 705-715).

Dome of the Rock from al-Aqsa

The Dome of the Rock as seen from the al-Aqsa Mosque. In the foreground is al-Kas (the Cup), a fountain for ritual ablutions. (Bonfils)

Russian Pilgrims at the Jordan River

Russian pilgrims at the Jordan River. Following the development of steamship navigation, the number of Christian pilgrims from Europe greatly increased.

Grotto, Church of the Nativity

Grotto of the Nativity, Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem (see 2). Note the Ottoman gendarme standing guard to prevent intersectarian Christian conflict.

Christmas Day

Pilgrims entering the town of Bethlehem on Christmas Day. (Bonfils)

Praying at the Wailing Wall

Jewish women praying at the Wailing Wall, Jerusalem. Throughout the centuries of Arab and Muslim rule in Palestine, Jews had free access to the Wailing Wall. Access became an issue only after the 1948 War and the resultant Palestinian diaspora.

The White Mosque

The minaret of the White Mosque at Ramleh; also known as the Tower of the Forty Martyrs. Rebuilt in A.D. 1318, it was situated at the midpoint of the mosque enclosure's north wall. The mosque is otherwise in ruins. (Bonfils)

St. Anne

The Crusader church of St. Anne in the Old City of Jerusalem, built in A.D. 1140. The Ottoman govemor gave the church to France in 1856, hence the tricolor French flag. (Bonfils)

Easter Procession

Christian Orthodox procession on Easter Day (note the lighted candles) from the Greek Patriarchate to the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City of Jerusalem, ca. 1910.

Soccer Match

A soccer match in the Palestinian quarter of Bab al-Zahirah (Herod's Gate), outside the Old City walls to the northeast - perhaps the earliest photograph of a sports event in Jerusalem. Note the Muslim tomb in the foreground, extreme right.

Christian Orthodox Girls' School

Staff and students of the Christian Orthodox Girls' School in Beit Jala (near Bethlehem), 1906. Note that the students are wearing their traditional costumes.

The Dusturiyyah (Constitutional) School

The Dusturiyyah (Constitutional) School, Jerusalem, 1909; named after the Ottoman Constitution promulgated in 1908 (see 3, 6-

St. George's British Anglican School for Boys

St. George's British Anglican school for boys, founded in Jerusalem in 1899, was one of many schools established in the second half of the nineteenth century by European and American missionaries. Many of the students at St.

St. George's Soccer Team

St. George's soccer team. One of its proudest feats was to beat the American University of Beirut's team on the latter's home ground in 1909.

Khalidi Library

A comer of the Khalidi Library, Bab al-Silsilah (Gate of the Chain), the Old City of Jerusalem, ca. 1914. The library was established in 1900 through an endowment provided by the mother of Haj Raghib al-Khalidi (seated second from right).

Izzat Tannous

The St. George's player on the left is Izzat Tannous, a Protestant Palestinian who became a medical doctor and a representative of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee at the United Nations General Assembly.

Ruhi al-Khalidi

Ruhi al-Khalidi (1861-1913), elected from Jerusalem to the Ottoman Parliament in 1908 and 1912, and vice-president of the Parliament in 1911. Earlier in his career he had lectured at the Sorbonne and served as Ottoman consul general in Bordeaux.

Faidi al-Alami

Faidi al-Alami, mayor of Jerusalem between 1906 and 1909, and Jerusalem representative in the Ottoman Parliament from 1914 to 1918. Alami was also a scholar, who published a concordance of the Koran.

Arif Pasha Dajani

Arif Pasha Dajani (died 1930), mayor of Jerusalem during World War I. Immediately after the war he headed the Muslim-Christian Society in Jerusalem.

Shaikh As'ad al-Shukairi

Shaikh As'ad al-Shukairi, elected to the Ottoman Parliament from Acre in 1908 and 1912. He was trained in Islamic religious law, having graduated from Azhar University, Cairo.

Nicola Abdo

Nicola Abdo, an administrator in the Orthodox Patriarchate, Jerusalem.

Khalil Jawhariyyah

Khalil Jawhariyyah was the brother of Wasif Jawhariyyah, a noted Christian Orthodox connoisseur, and the owner of one of the rich collections of photographs widely used in this album. Khalil is seen here in the uniform of a private in the Ottoman army during World War I.

Khalil Raad

Khalil Raad, a famous Palestinian Protestant photographer from Jerusalem, and the owner of another of the collections used in this album. He studied photography in Basel, and appears here in his Ottoman army uniform during World War I.

Sa'id al-Shawwa

Sa'id al-Shawwa, a leading Gaza notable and grain exporter. After the British occupation, he became mayor of Gaza and a member of the Supreme Muslim Council - the highest body in charge of Muslim community affairs.

Theodore Baramki

Theodore Baramki, a Christian Orthodox Jerusalem judge, in formal Ottoman dress.

Saba Ya'qub Sa'id

Saba Ya'qub Sa'id, a Christian Orthodox lawyer, and legal counselor to the Orthodox Patriarchate in Palestine.

George Humsi

George Humsi, a Christian Orthodox lawyer and author, Jerusalem.

Nazif al-Khalidi

Nazif al-Khalidi, a Jerusalem engineer. He was one of the principal aides to the German chief engineer Meissner, who supervised the building of the Hijaz Railway, begun in 1900; this railroad linked Damascus and Medina.

Musa Kazim Pasha al-Husseini

Musa Kazim Pasha al-Husseini, the elder statesman of Palestinian politics in the 1920s and early 1930s. A graduate of Maktab Mulkiye (Civil Service School) in Constantinople, he held important administrative positions in the Ottoman Empire.
He was the father of Abd aI-Qadir al-Husseini, who became a leader of the Palestinian resistance during the Great Rebellion of 1936-39 and again in the 1948 War (see 253, 396,