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Gertrude Bell and IraqA life and legacy$
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Paul Collins and Charles Tripp

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266076

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266076.001.0001

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Gertrude Bell and the Ottoman Empire

Gertrude Bell and the Ottoman Empire

(p.25) 2 Gertrude Bell and the Ottoman Empire
Gertrude Bell and Iraq

Peter Sluglett

, Paul Collins, Charles Tripp
British Academy

Gertrude Bell was the only senior member of the Mesopotamian Administration to have had any significant experience of the Ottoman Empire before the First World War. Percy Cox had spent most of his career in Persia and the Gulf before coming to Iraq. Arnold Wilson had spent his career in India, south-west Persia and the Gulf. Reader Bullard is probably the only exception, as he had served in Constantinople, Trebizond and Erzurum between 1907 and 1914, after which he was posted to the consulate in Basra and subsequently to Baghdad and Kirkuk. In contrast, Gertrude Bell had made extensive visits to various parts of the region, beginning with a visit to Iran in 1892. She spent 1899–1900 in Palestine and Syria, and also travelled elsewhere in the region, as described in Syria: The Desert and the Sown (1907) and From Amurath to Amurath (1911). The chapter discusses what Bell wrote about the Ottoman Empire, both in these books and in her letters, and the extent to which her views of its politics and administration may have influenced her thoughts on the future administration and structure of Iraq.

Keywords:   Ottoman Empire, First World War, politics, Mesopotamian Administration, Sir Percy Cox

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