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The CUP subordinated the religious establishment to
secular control, improved the rights of women, and
westernized the educational system. The Young Turks
fostered Turkish culture, used Turkish instead of Arabic
as the language of the Empire, and promoted panTuranism. Arabs were offended by this, and Arab
nationalism was born.
When faced with popular unrest in 1913, the CUP
installed a dictatorship. Germany had been currying
favor with Turkey since the 1880s, investing in the
railroad system and providing military training and
assistance. When World War I broke out, Germany on
one hand, and France and Britain on the other, wanted
Turkey as an ally. Turkey offered to join France and
Britain if they would give up the Treaty of Capitulations,
but France and Britain refused. Turkey then allied with
Germany, upon payment of $5,000,000 in gold. Iran
In 1501 Isma’il I, an Iranian, declared himself Shah (
King) of Iran and recruited an army from Central Asia
and used it to conquer Iran. He established the Safavid
Dynasty. Isma’il was a devout Shi’a Muslim. He
declared Shi’a Islam the state religion, and he used it to
foster the development of a unifying Iranian national
Shah Abbas I (1588-1629) brought the Safavid
dynasty to the peak of its power, wealth, and territorial
expansion. Abbas centralized and streamlined his
government and army and increased the use of firearms.
He was able to defend Iran from Ottoman aggression
and preserve its independence.
Abbas employed Armenian merchants to promote
trade with Europe and particularly fostered the
production of silk textiles and “Persian” (as Iran was
known in Europe) carpets.
After Abbas died in 1629, he was succeeded by a
series of incompetent and corrupt rulers. The
extravagance of the court and the expense of a large
standing army led to excessive taxation; trade declined,
internal rivalries weakened the army, and at the end of
the century the Shah’s court was rife with greed,
corruption, and incompetence. The last ruler, Shah
Hussein (1694-1722) was very religious, but he was an
incompetent ruler. In 1722, he was deposed by an
invading Afghan army, and the Safavid dynasty to and
end. Essentials of Modern World History. Wk 8: Mid-East and North Africa, 1453-1914, © D. G. Rowley, 2004. Rev. 2011. 4 The Qajar Dynasty
Russia and Turkey planned to divide Iran between
themselves, but before this could occur, Nadir Khan
(1736-47), a Turk from eastern Iran, forged an alliance
with remnants of the Safavids and restored a Persian
empire, whose leaders were known as the Qajars.
Russia immediately switched sides and allied with
Iran against Turkey. Nadir Khan then defeated the Turks
and drove them out of western Iran and the Caucasus.
He added Afghanistan and Central Asia to his empire,
but in 1747 he was assassinated and Iran again
descended into anarchy.
As the Qajar dynasty declined in the nineteenth
century, England and Russia took advantage of Iran’s
weakness to intrude. England wanted to subordinate
Iran politically in order to protect its own access to India,
while Russia, who shared a border with I...
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