Minorities in the Middle East: Druze Communities 1840–1974

  (13) 978-1-84097-165-1   Extent:  4 volumes, 2,000 pages
Editoor: B. Destani, with an introduction by Nadim Shehadi, St Antony's College, Oxford
Published: 2006
Paper: Printed on acid free paper
Binding: Library bindings with gilt finish
See sample pages: not available

These four volumes of primary source documents establish the historical record from original political despatches, correspondence and reports which describe events affecting the Druzes of Syria and Lebanon from the time of Ottoman rule under Bashir II, through the Turkish rule of Lebanon under the double Kaimakamship, the 1860 massacre of the Christians and the tensions in the aftermath that persisted through to the occupation of Lebanon by the French and British during the First World War. The documents record the period of the French Mandate and events leading up to the Druze Rebellion of 1925, as well as the history of the Druzes up to and during the Second World War, observing the power struggles of the leading families. More recent papers note the Druze position with regard to Palestine and Israel, and the position of Druze communities within Israel. Although they cover more than 100 years the papers do not form a continuous record of events but rather provide a series of snapshots of history from which it is possible to ascertain something of the contemporary position of the Druze community at particular points.


From the Introduction by Nadim Shehadi, St Antony’s College, Oxford, and Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs
These four volumes on the Druzes as a minority community form part of a document collection prepared by Archive Editions which includes material in other volumes on many other minorities in the Middle East. The work is published at a time when the question of minorities and ethnicities and their role in the region is of great significance and at the forefront of political and ethical discussion. These issues, which were eclipsed by authoritarian regimes and by the rhetoric of Arab nationalism and pan-Arabism, as well as by fashions in ideas, have now resurfaced. This is a process that began in the Balkans in the late 1980s with the Yugoslav crisis and is now unfolding in the Middle East, where it is most salient in Iraq. This awakens echoes of crises past in such areas, where the dismantling of empires made these regions the fault lines of disappearing and emerging international systems. Hence the events of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and the interaction between the Western powers - in their rivalries and interventions as well as in their policies towards the Ottoman Empire - and the minorities of the region are of interest to understanding the world we live in now. The editor of this collection, Beitullah Destani, brings to the task an extensive knowledge of the Balkans and a keen interest in the conditions of minority communities. Such sensitivity and expertise have been applied to the selection of documents in these volumes, making them a most valuable contribution to historical study.


This is the third title in a series of more than 30 volumes presenting a documentary record of conditions in modern times for the numerous ethnic and religious minorities in the Arab world. The documentation starts in the mid-19th century and continues up to the last quarter of the 20th century; many governmental records remain closed after this point. Geographically the collection covers the Arab Middle East and the Maghreb countries, but excludes the (non-Arab) states of Turkey and Iran.


Volume 1: 1840–1854
Volume 2: 1855–1866
Volume 3: 1866–1926
Volume 4: 1927–1974


Volume 1: 1840–1854
Starts at the end of the rule of Bashir II in 1840, amid the turmoil of Druze revolt against Egyptian rule, records conflicts between Christians and Druzes, the partition in 1842 of the Lebanon into Druze and Christian sections, the Ottoman policy of fomenting strife in order to increase control, and the reflections of the British on the French governance in the Lebanon
records how political intrigues, disquiet and disorder were inflamed by foreign interests and resentment against the land tax.
Volume 2: 1855–1866
Describes how foreign intervention transformed social and political struggle into civil war culminating in the Druze massacres of about 10,000 Christians in 1860; records the attempts at negotiations for peace through the Turkish authorities; describes the situation for the Druzes – the trials and reprisals – in the aftermath of the civil war; and presents the work of the Syrian Commission to introduce good governance in the Lebanon in order to avoid a repeat of the tragedy of 1860.
Volume 3: 1866–1926
Traces late 19th-century tensions between the Druzes and the Turkish authorities, also between Druzes and Kurds; covers the dispute in 1879 in the Hauran over conscription; describes the arrival of Turkish troops in Lebanon in 1910 and the following campaign against the Druzes
explores the fears of the Druzes of the pro-French Maronites following the withdrawal of the British Army after the First World War; records Druze reaction to the French Mandate; records the quashing of the movement for an independent Jebel Druze Emirate by the French; and reveals the repression of the Jebel Druze by the French and the subsequent Druze Revolt of 1925/6.
Volume 4: 1927–1974
Reviews the leading Druze families and their disputes; includes British military reports at the time of the Second World War; records Druze unrest following 1947 Syrian elections; records the position of the Druzes with regard to Palestine, following the Second World War; reveals pension provisions made for officers of the Druze Regiments by the British Government; and records the position of the Druzes within Israel towards the middle of the 20th century.