The Arabs: A Short History
A SHORT HISTORY
PHILIP K. HITTI
PROFESSOR EMERITUS OF SEMANTIC LITERATURE
MACMILLAN & CO LTD
This book is copyright in all countries which
are signatories in the Berne Convention
First Edition 1948
Second Edition 1950
Reprinted (with corrections) 1953
Third Edition 1956
Fourth Edition 1960
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The events of the last war and the post-war period have made us realize as never before the importance of the Arab world, the world that lies athwart the great international highway of trade and transit connecting the three historic continents. The military operations in North Africa and the eastern Mediterranean, the use of the supply route through Persia to Russia and the holding of historic inter-Allied conferences at Casablanca, Cairo and Teheran called attention to the region's strategic position. More recent events relating to Zionism and the East-West conflict are making it clear that the establishment of a firm peace may depend to some extent on the solution of some of the region's political problems. These problems involve potential conflicts between all of the larger European countries, and they cannot be dealt with without affecting the politics of a much larger area in Africa, Asia and south-eastern Europe, where 420,000,000 Moslems form an important part of the population.
Oil in Arab lands has in recent years loomed higher and higher as a factor in the life and economy of the people and in international affairs. The greatest known store of this liquid energy lies in that soil. Its proved reserves are estimated at about two-thirds of the total known to exist on earth. Millions upon millions of pounds sterling and of American dollars are invested in its industry.
Our interest in the region is not merely political or economic. We have long had significant cultural tics with the Near East, through the British and American schools and colleges which have played a leading part in its intellectual development and through the work of large numbers of missionaries.
Until the first World War almost the entire Arab Asia was in the embrace of the Ottoman Empire. Now Iraq and Jordan, after a period of tutelage as British mandates, arc independent states. Syria and the Republic of Lebanon have been freed from the French mandatory. Most of the Arab peninsula is today under two native potentates: Saud in the north and al-lmam Ahmad in the south. Egypt, which aspires to the headship of the Arab world, became an independent sovereign state in 1922, and Libya in 1951. All those states are now represented by ambassadors or ministers in London and Washington. All have found admission to Western comity through various doors. Ten of these states, of which eight were born after the second World War, have joined to form the League of Arab States. They extend from Morocco to Iraq, including the Sudan, and their influence is mounting in world affairs. Their problems and aspirations, national and international, cannot be fully understood unless projected against the background of the past.
The following pages are addressed not to the scholar, but to the general reader. They tell, very briefly, the story of the rise of Islam in the Middle Ages, its conquests, its empire, its time of greatness and of decay. The story of the Arabians and the Arabic-speaking peoples unrolls before us one of the truly magnificent and instructive panoramas of history. It is hoped that this brief history of the Arab world will suggest how intimately a part of our own history it is.
|LIST OF MAPS|
|THE MOSLEM WORLD||3|
|EMPIRE OF THE CALIPHS||55|
|THE IBERIAN PENINSULA||63|
|SICILY AND SOUTHERN ITALY||159|
|CRUSADING STATES OF SYRIA||171|
|ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY||177|
|THE MAMLUK KINGDOM||187|
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