Pub. date: 2012 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI: 10.4135/9781452218458 | Print ISBN: 9781412981767 | Online ISBN: 9781452218458| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Arab Revolt: 1250 to 1920: Middle East
In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Arab nationalism was a minority position among the Arab inhabitants of the Ottoman Empire. While certain small-scale Arab proto-nationalist movements did coalesce during the late 19th century, neither cultural Arabism—the articulation of the distinctiveness of Arab identity through cultural forms—nor political Arabism—the desire for greater Arab political unity and independence—had taken hold among the many disparate Arab populations. Dispersed geographically over a large area divided by mountains and deserts, Arab populations had developed distinct cultural and social traits in line with their particular regions and heritages. Diverse religions (Sunni Islam, Shia Islam, Christian sects), tribal affiliations (Hashemite, Juhayna), linguistic dialects, classes, and social customs both provided cause for Arab disunity and served to make Arab identity a less than stable quantity. The 1916 Arab Revolt is often regarded as the culmination of an “Arab awakening” and the event that united disparate Arabs ...