Middle Eastern Royalty

Figure 1.--

Middle Eastern royalty is somewhat complicated. Most of the Middle East was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire (16th century). The Ottoman emperor was the Sultan. He exercized both temporal religious authority. Even while local rulers ererted their indeoendence or European powers seied control, the Ottomn Sultan still retained religious authority. Some of the local rulers also styled themselves sultan, influenced by the Ottoman precedent. After world war I, the new Arab states adopted the title king using the European precent. The new kings, however, did not carry the religious authority of the sultans. The same process occured when Middle Eastern countriws began to become independent after World War II. Some Arab countries rejected monarchy, but the rulers of new republix generally ruled like monarchs and some have ven provided for dynastic sucesssion.


We have done some basic work pn the pharohs of ancient Egypt. Most of the information we have developed concerns the New Kingdom.


The dynasties of ancient Egypt are roughly organized in to the Old, Middle, and New Kingdoms. After the Ptommies of the New Kingdom, Egypt became a province in the Roman Empire. With the division of the Romsan Empire into Eastern and Wesdtern Empires, Egypt became a province in the Eastern Empire. The Eastern Empire became knoen as the or Byzantin Empire after the fall of Rome (5th century). Egypt was conquuered by the Arabs (7th century) and gradually Islamicized. The subsequent Egyptian dynasties are comolicated by the fact that Egypt since the rab conquest hasd been mominally a part of the Caliphate or Ottoman Empire. Even so Egyptians preserve a distinct national consciousness managed to retain a separate entity during the years of foreign conquest (Arab, Mameluke, Ottoman, and British). At times the foreign rullers exerted central control and at other times with the foreign power wained, Egyptian rulers were able to obtain a high degree of authonomy bordering on independence. After World War II, Egypt achieved complete independence under King Farouk I, but after only a few years he was deposed by Arab nationsalists led by Col. Nassar who established a republic.

Holyland: Crusader Kingdoms

The Arab Islamic outburst from Arabia defeated Byzantine and Persian armies and encountered ;ittle organized resistance as it swept west across North Africa. In Europe, nation states had not yet formed and there were no strong Christian military forces except the Byzantine Empire in the waake of the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. Even so, Muslim forces only managed to seize the Iberian Peninsula. Christendom suffered several centuries of unrmitting assault from the Caliphate and Turkish armies. Gradually the Caliphate declined and strong Chrustian states began to form (11th century). And for the first time the Christian West struck back in the form of the Crusades promoted by Pope Urban. Chritian forces managed to seize Jerusalem in the First Crusade (1095-96) after an extended iege. The Crusader victory was brutal, the Crusaders mssacered some of the Muslim and Jewish population. Accounts vary on the extent of the killing. The practice of killing people in a city that resisted conquest was not uncommon in a violent age. The Crusaders did not form a single united Crusader Lingdom, rather cities were parcelled out to important knights who had not desore to form a inited state. The result was several Crusader kingdoms along the coast of the Levant where the Crusader armies had past. These incluse the County of Edessa, the Principality of Antioch, the County of Tripoli, and of course most importantly, the Kingdom of Jerusalem. Conquering a city and territory in an area that had been Islamicized was one thing, holding it was quite another. The first Crusader kingdom ro fall was the County of Edessa in the north. The Seljuk Turks took the city (1144) This resulted in the Second Crusade (11-47-87) with the purpose of the Seljuk capital at Damascus. This time the Crusader failed, but the Seljuk s failed to take any more of the Crusader kingdoms. Thid would come lader by Mislim forces led by Saladin.


The British after World War I helped set up Emir Fisel as king of Iraq. He was the leader of the Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the War. He was a member of the Sunni Hashimite family from Mecca. He was the first king of the new state of Iraq. This was the first independent state in what is now Iraq since the Islamic Caliphate. Feisal manage to obtained the Iraqi throne in part because of his close association T. E. Lawrence, the famed British officer who helped organize the Arab Revolt. The British drive the Ottomans out of Iraq at the end of the War and were granted a mandate by the League of Nations. The Iraqi monarchy was legitimized by a plebiscite (1921). The British Mandate ended (1932). The Iraqi Army moved toward the NAZIs during World War II and the British reoccupied the country (1941). It was the major source of oil for the British Royal Navy and 8th Army in the Wrstern Desert Fisel proved to be a moderate, moderizing ruler. He was overthrown and brutally murdered in a military coup, the first step in Saddam Husein's rise to power.


The modern Kingdom of Jordan has dates it history to World War I and the post-war settlement. For most of its history since independence from British administration in 1946, Jordan was ruled by King Hussein. King Hussein bin Talal claimed to be the 42nd generation direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through the male line of the Prophet's grandson Al-Hassan. Prince Abdallah, the eldest son of King Hussein and Princess Muna, assumed the throne following his father's death in February 1999.



The Alawi dynasty has reigned over Morocco for centuries (17th century). The Alawi Sultan over this period exercised varying degrees od authority. France established a colony in Algeria (1830s). Morocco managed to maintain a decree of indeoendence. After the tirn of the 20th century, several European powers viws to incorporate Morocco in its empire. Sultan Abd al-Aziz IV felt forced to cooperate with the Europeans. He was forced from the throne (1908). Abd al-Hafiz, his brother, seized power. He was ih turn forced to abdicated after the French seized control and establishd a protectorate (1912). He was succeeded by his brother Yusuf. Under thecFrench, the sucession was more orderly. Yusuf's son Mohammed who was crowned Sultan Mohammed V (1927). While young, Mohammed played a crfafty game with the French. He did not openly challenge rheir authority, but he was a strong nationalists and constantly attempted to promote Moroccan interests within thevlimits permitted by France. Nationalists in both Algeria and Morocco began to more openly challenge the French after World War II, mohammed became more open withsupporting the nationalists. The French deposed him (1953). Increasing turmoil forced the French to bring him back (1955). France granted independence (1956). Sultan Mohammed adopted the more European title of king. Mohammed's sun suceeded him as King Hassan II (1961). King Hassan has been accused of human rights abuses which is true using European standards. He has, however, presided over a muchbmore open society than is tge case in Arab world. He has been a forced for peace in the Arab world and has promoted some democratic reforms. Hassan's son suceeded him as Mohammad VI (1999). King Mohammad Vi like his father and grandfather rules Morocco as a virtual absoluter ruler. While there have been some reforms, but tge King still controls the Joriccan Govrment. King Mohammad married Princess Lalla Salma (2002). Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, was born (2003) and Princess Lalla Khadija (2007).


The modern Iranian monarchy was founded by Ismail I (1501). He ended what is called the "fourth era" of political fragmentation. Ismail founded the Safavid dynasty (1501-1740). The other dunasties were the Afsharids, Zands, Qajars, and Pahlavis. The Iranian shahs or emperors ruled as absolute monarchs until the Persian Constitutional Revolution (1905-11). At that time, Iran became a constitutional monarchy. Reza Shah overthrew Ahmad Shah Qajar and founded the Pahlavi Dynasty (1925). He changed the name of the country to Iran, a name wgich had racist associations with the pre-historic Aryan peoples. Reza Shah had NAZI orientations. The Soviet Union and Britain occupied the country during World War II to ensure the safe passage of Lend Lease materials. The British replaced Reza Shah with his young son--Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. He proved to be the last shah. The Islamic Revolution led by the Ayatollah Khomeini forced Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to flee the country. The Islamic Revolution abolished the monarchy and created a theocratic republic.


We have not yet succeed in collecting images on Turkish royals, but we have begun to collect some information on Ottoman royals.


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Created: 12:30 AM 9/18/2008
Last updated: 9:18 AM 7/12/2017