Governments in Arabia today usually ignore the Ottoman Empire’s history in the region, but the Ottomans from 1516 to 1918 played a key role in coastal regions, especially in the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina. While Ottoman administrations intermittently ruled in Yemen and eastern Arabia, their influence was greatest in the holy Hijaz, the site of the worldwide pilgrimage. However, Ottoman rule was limited by Istanbul’s distance from Arabia. Religion played a significant role in determining the nature of Ottoman control, helping to legitimize the state among its subjects. A detailed analysis of one province, the Hijaz, with a particular emphasis on the period from 1840 to 1908, shows the impact of general factors on political history. Hijazi environmental, social, and gender history were modestly influenced by the centralizing Ottoman government. The Ottoman Empire in Arabia succeeded in notably slowing the encroachment of European imperialism into the heart of Islam.
"Ottoman Arabia and the Holy Hijaz, 1516-1918,"
Journal of Global Initiatives: Policy, Pedagogy, Perspective: Vol. 10
, Article 3.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/jgi/vol10/iss1/3