Syrian Peasant Revolt (1834–35)

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The Syrian Peasant Revolt[1] was an armed uprising of Levantine peasant classes against the rule of Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt in 1834–35. The revolt took place in areas of Ottoman Syria, at the time ruled by the semi-independent ruler of Egypt, who conquered the region from loyal Ottoman forces in 1831.

The main arena of the revolt evolved in the Damascus Eyalet - Jerusalem,[2] Nablus and Hebron (Palestine or Southern Syria), as well as a major tribal Bedouin rebellion in Al-Karak (Transjordan);[3] other peasant revolts also erupted in Sidon Eyalet - led by Muslims and Druze and encompassing Mount Lebanon,[2] Hauran and Galilee; and a revolt[2] in Aleppo Eyalet - led by Alawites of the Syrian coast. The cause of the revolts was mainly refusal of Syrian peasants to answer conscription and disarmament orders of new Egyptian rulers of the Muhammad Ali dynasty,[2] in line with anti-Egyptian attitudes of local Ottoman loyalists.[4]


The First Egyptian-Ottoman War (1831–1833) was a military conflict brought about by Muhammad Ali Pasha's demand to the Ottoman Empire for control of Greater Syria, as reward for his assistance in Crete against Greece. As a result, Muhammad Ali's forces temporarily gained control of Syria, and advanced as far north as Adana.


Peasant revolts in Palestine and Transjordan[edit]

The Peasants' Revolt[5][6] was a rebellion against Egyptian conscription and taxation policies in Palestine. It was a collective reaction to the gradual elimination of the unofficial rights and privileges previously enjoyed by the various societal groups in the region under Ottoman rule.[7] While the local peasantry constituted the bulk of the rebel forces, urban notables and Bedouin tribes also formed an integral part of the revolt.

Sidon Eyalet revolt (1834)[edit]

In parallel to the Peasant uprising in Palestine (south of the Damascus Eylaet), Galilee-based rebels captured Safad and Tiberias in the eastern Galilee.[3] The Hauran was also encompassed by the rebellion.

The most severe events took place in Galilee, climaxing with the 1834 looting of Safed which was mostly an attack against the Jewish community of Safed, which began on Sunday 15 June 1834, and lasted for the next 33 days.[8][9] The governor of Safed and thirteen of the ringleaders were taken captive, summarily tried, and put to death. The district governor tried to quell the violent outbreak, but failed to do so and fled.[10]

Upon arrival of Muhammad Ali was in Damascus Eyalet, he requested military assistance from Emir Bashir Shihab II of Mount Lebanon, via an emissary, Emir Shihab's son Amin. The arrival of Bashir's Druze troops followed intervention of foreign consuls. In late July 1834, Emir Bashir led his forces toward Galilee, but before advancing further southward, he made a number of proclamations advising that the rebels of Safad surrender. The rebel leadership in Safad agreed to negotiate and sent Sheikh Salih al-Tarshihi as an emissary to Bashir to arrange a meeting. Bashir invited the leaders of Safad to the village of Bint Jbeil where they agreed to surrender and submit to Egyptian authority. Afterward, Bashir arrived in Safad where he arranged for rebel leaders from nearby areas to surrender as well.[11] Bashir's Druze forces under the command of his son Amin,[12] entered Safad without resistance on 18 July 1834, making way for the displaced residents from its Jewish quarter to return.[13] The instigators were arrested and later executed in Acre.[citation needed]

Alawite revolt[edit]

Between 1834 and 1835, Bashir's forces commanded by Khalil and his relatives participated in the suppression of revolts in Akkar, Safita, the Krak des Chevaliers and an Alawite revolt in the mountainous region of Latakia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kimmerling, Baruch (14 August 2012). Clash of Identities: Explorations in Israeli and Palestinian Societies. Columbia University Press. ISBN 9780231512497 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ a b c d Capar, A. Thesis: The History of Nusayris ('Alawis) in Ottoman Syria, 1831-1876. University of Arkansas. 2013.
  3. ^ a b Rood, 2004, p. 131
  4. ^ Talhamy, “The Nusayri and Druze Minorities in Syria in the Nineteenth Century: The Revolt against the Egyptian Occupation as a Case Study,” 983.
  5. ^ Baer, 1982, p. 254
  6. ^ Grossman, 2011, p. 47
  7. ^ Rood, 2004, p. 139
  8. ^ Bloch, Abraham P. One a day: an anthology of Jewish historical anniversaries, 1987. pg. 168.
  9. ^ Louis Finkelstein (1960). The Jews: their history, culture, and religion. Harper. p. 679. Retrieved 17 February 2012. Rabbi Isaac b. Solomon Farhi records that the pillage continued for 24 days.
  10. ^ Andrew G. Bostom (2008). The legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: from sacred texts to solemn history. Prometheus Books. p. 594. ISBN 9781591025542.
  11. ^ Safi, Khaled M. (2008), "Territorial Awareness in the 1834 Palestinian Revolt", in Roger Heacock (ed.), Of Times and Spaces in Palestine: The Flows and Resistances of Identity, Beirut: Presses de l'Ifpo, ISBN 9782351592656
  12. ^ Farah 2000, p. 22.
  13. ^ Lieber, Sherman (1992). Mystics and Missionaries: The Jews in Palestine, 1799-1840. University of Utah Press. p. 215. ISBN 9780874803914.