Middle East Colonization

Last Updated: 24 Mar 2020
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In the early days of Western Civilization, imperialism and colonization was a primary means of economic and sphere of influence expansion. That is, a country such as France, Belgium or Great Britain would expand their empire by marching their armies into smaller and less powerful nations and conquer. After conquering the nation, the sovereign government would become a subject of the colonizer and the colonizing nation would then appropriate the resources of the dominated country in order to enrich the economy of the colonizer as well as providing further infrastructure for further expansion.

It is no surprise that the European powers found the Middle East to be an area of the world that was a prime target for colonization. In addition to the incredible oil reserves, the Middle East also had a host of other natural resources and export materials that proved quite tempting. Actually, very little temptation was required as numerous countries set about incursions into the Middle East to acquire territory and resources. In many instances, whether it be during the Crusades or during more modern situations such as the French-Algerian War, these colonial conquests would lead to incredible unrest, fighting and instability in the region.

What events were the inciting incidents of the colonization of the Middle East? There were several including France (under Napoleon) invading Egypt in the late 1700’s, an incursion that is considered the first European campaign of colonization of the Middle East by a European power. Of course, further incursions by European nations, particularly the British Empire, would perpetuate into the region of the Middle East and North Africa. This, of course, lead to violent suppression of the indigenous people as well as eventual colonial uprisings over the year and, oftentimes, these uprisings would become quite bloody and violent.

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Eventually, the entirety of the Middle East and North Africa fell under the control of the European nations. The land and resources of the indigenous peoples were appropriated in a violent fashion. In some instances, bloody wars of conquest would carry on for years and, even after their conclusion, insurgent violence would perpetually continue.Because of this, the image of the European powers by those people who inhabited the regions of the Middle East was generally highly negative.

This should come as no surprise as the presence of a foreign military power in the midst of what was once a sovereign territory alone would give rise to negative images. When this is coupled with the fact that the military powers would instill puppet and client governments into the territory in order to suppress the independence of the people whose land has been occupied, it is understandable that a great deal of resentment towards the foreigners would develop. This becomes even more complicated as the military invader starts to procure the natural resources of the indigenous people in order to feed the economy of the foreign power.

In other words, the wealth derived from the natural resources of the colonized territory becomes the booty of the invader. Because of this, the local economy collapses and the quality of living takes a huge nosedive. Poverty and pestilence sets in and there is little that the indigenous people can do to reverse such a situation. In the Middle East (as well as elsewhere in the world) the need to overthrow the foreign colonists became a tremendous priority. Numerous revolutionary movements started with the primary goal of removing the foreigners from the land.  From this scenario, there developed perpetual problems between the people of the Middle East and those who live in the Western World, problems that have never been resolved to this day.

What drove the Europeans to push such a brutal campaign? To a great degree, the motivating factor was a sense of arrogance and superiority that justified the conquest. Often, the dogmatic belief of “civilizing” an underdeveloped world provided a moral grounding in the obvious invasion and suppression of a body of people. This is exactly what occurred in the Middle East during the early days of colonization and even exists to a certain degree to this very day.

To say that great resent built in the Middle East towards European nations would be a dramatic understatement. This resentment festered throughout the 18th, 19th and early 20th Century and yielded a great number of colonial rebellions designed to remove the imperial invaders. While the nations of the Middle East eventually all achieved independence, resentment remained. The current situation of Europe’s involvement in the Middle East oil trade, in fact, still stokes the fires to this day.



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Middle East Colonization. (2017, Apr 07). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/middle-east-colonization/

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