These volumes of original despatches, correspondence and reports record aspects of the Kurdish situation starting from the period following the First World War. Although the Kurdish peoples are numerous, their aspirations for unity and independence have been repressed by the dominant regimes in the region, effectively minoritising the Kurds within a group of established states. Since the end of the First World War the former Ottoman Kurdistan has been administered by five sovereign states: Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the former Soviet Union. In 1918 Kurdish hopes for an independent Kurdistan provided for by the Treaty of Svres (1920) were quashed by the constitution of modern Turkey, founded by Mustafa Kemal (Ataturk), and by the division of Kurdistan between Turkey, Syria and Iraq by the French and British, formalised in the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923.
These four volumes, concerning Muslim minority communities from 1843 to 1973, consist of contemporary political despatches, correspondence and reports composed by British diplomats, some of whom were resident in the country under debate. The papers are written very clearly from a British perspective but this authoritive voice of government allows us an insight into high politics at a time when the British were inextricably involved in the government of the Middle East. The kind of information and insight that the documents provide is aptly illustrated in the extracts below but what is also evident, from even a quick reading, is the extent to which the position and treatment of minority cultures is a central consideration in achieving peace and good governance. Perhaps inevitably the material concerning minorities is partial and unsatisfactory in some ways; but taken together these volumes provide a continuity of evidence for how little has changed from historical to modern times.
This large collection of primary source material consists of original political despatches, correspondence and reports covering: Christian communities in the Levant 1838 to 1955 in overview, and the affairs of the Assyrian communities 1880 to 1951, the Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Jacobite, Chaldean and Syrian Catholic communities, and Protestant communities in the Levant and Iraq, in particular, with further detail about the Maronite communities in the Levant 1841 to 1958, and Coptic Christian communities in the Levant and Egypt 1917 to 1967. These volumes also cover the Jeddah murders of 1858 and 1895, and the treatment of Armenians in Turkey and the Levant, including the Armenian massacres during the First World War.
This group of six volumes is the first available set in the multi-part collection of Minorities in the Middle East. It covers the arrangements and conditions for Jewish communities living under Islam, throughout the Arab world, from 1840 to 1974. The situation of Jewish communities has varied according to the country of habitation and the particular time period although it is thought generally to have deteriorated from 1800 with the decline of the Ottoman Empire. Up to 1948 more than a million Jews lived in the Muslim countries of the Middle East. By 1992, excluding the non-Arab states of Turkey and Iran, the number was only c. 20,000. Although they cover more than 100 years the papers do not form a continuous record of events but rather provide a series of snapshots of history from which it is possible to ascertain something of the contemporary position of Jewish communities at particular points.