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The Frontiers of the Ottoman World$
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A.C.S. Peacock

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264423

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264423.001.0001

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‘Aqaba Castle in the Ottoman Period, 1517–1917

‘Aqaba Castle in the Ottoman Period, 1517–1917

(p.95) 5 ‘Aqaba Castle in the Ottoman Period, 1517–1917
The Frontiers of the Ottoman World


British Academy

For most of the period during which 'Aqaba belonged to the Ottoman Empire, the precise nature of its frontier status needs to be nuanced, since, in theory at least, all of the provinces adjoining it formed part of the same political unit, and the Red Sea itself was a largely Ottoman lake. In practice, however, Ottoman political and military control in the Syrian and Arabian deserts was often tenuous and reliant on individual deals struck with Bedouin leaders, often within the context of the sultan's fulfilment of his obligation to protect the pilgrimage to the Holy Places of Arabia. From this perspective, forts along the pilgrimage routes such as that at 'Aqaba, were none the less frontier places, mediating relations, whether peaceable or belligerent, between populations who regarded themselves as either belonging to or extraneous to the polity of the Ottoman state.

Keywords:   Ottoman Empire, Syria, Red Sea, pilgrimage routes, Arabia

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