History of Sultan Ahmed Midhat Pasha

History of Sultan Ahmed Midhat Pasha was one of the greatest statesmen in Ottoman history and he contributed to the modernization and longevity of the Ottoman Empire. His influence was felt all across the Empire. From Eastern Europe to the Persian Gulf. He served as the governor of many Ottoman provinces including Serbia, Bulgaria, Baghdad, and Damascus.

Ahmed Midhat Pasha was born into a family of Islamic scholars from Ottoman Bulgaria. In, he was appointed as the Ottoman governor of Bulgaria which was a province that was directly affected by the Ottoman Russian war. Thousands of Muslim refugees such as Crimean Tartars and Sarcassians flooded into the province after being expelled from Russia.

Sultan Ahmed Midhat Pasha Ottoman Statesman and Reformer

During his time as the Ottoman governor of Bulgaria, Midhat Pasha conducted a census of the population to identify the needs of the refugees. After gaining approval from the Sultan Midhat Pasha built hospitals, schools, roads, and bridges and conducted a vaccine campaign for refugees across the province. During his reign as the Ottoman governor of Bulgaria, Midhat Pasha managed to successfully integrate the refugees into the Ottoman Empire.

In 1869 Midhat Pasha left Bulgaria and was appointed as the governor of Baghdad. You Baghdad and Ottoman Iraq was a region that had been neglected by the Ottoman Empire for decades. Within three years Midhat Pasha managed to completely transform Ottoman Upon entering Baghdad, Midhat Pasha reorganized the administration and included many Iraqis in the local government which had previously been dominated by Turks.

History of Transformation of Baghdad

During his time as the governor of Baghdad, Midhat Pasha invested in urban development, infrastructure, agriculture, and military reforms. He invested in dams and irrigation and he ordered the city’s debris-filled canals to be cleaned and reopened. Therefore, Iraqi farmers whose land had been dried out were once again able to grow food. Midhat Pasha also established land reform laws that enabled people to purchase property.

This encouraged Arab nomadic tribes to give up their way of life and settle down with plots of land. Therefore, many nomadic Arabs exchanged their dependence on camels with a new reliance on commercial trade. Some of these Arabs became powerful land owners and the balance of power shifted from family authority to urban government.

Transforming Iraq’s Economy and Infrastructure”

As a result, tribes began paying taxes to the Ottoman Empire instead of their tribal Sheikhs. Modernization soon arrived in Baghdad and Baghdad’s commercial trade improved. Landowners began to export crops and imported goods began flowing into the city from the Persian Gulf. During his time in Iraq, Midhat Pasha also created a state-operated steamship company on the Euphrates River to challenge the steamship monopoly held by British companies.

The witness to rapid economic growth and improvements in standards of living. Midhat Pasha built a hospital, a textile factory, a technical university, a public park and a tram line that enabled easy transport between Baghdad and Hadimia. I’m the Madat Pasha also founded the city of Ramadi which was previously a small Bedwin settlement that was part of the lowest desert of Anbar.

Baghdad Renaissance

The city of Ramadi was founded after Midhat Pasha invested in irrigation and infrastructure in the region and granted large amounts of agricultural land to the Nomadic Dulaim tribe who settled in the area which eventually became the city of Ramadi. Because many Iraqi tribes were no longer nomadic many roads that had previously been dangerous were now safe and secure.

Midhat Pasha also established good relations with many tribes that chose to remain nomadic. And he relocated tribes that did not get along with each other. One of the tribes that gained the trust of Midhat Pasha was the Al Muntafik Tribal Confederation of Southern Iraq. They helped secure the borders of the Ottoman Empire and protect the Ottomans against hostile tribes.

Iraqi historians Abbas Al Azawi and Ali Alwardi

During his time in Baghdad, Midhat Pasha also managed to create a cultural renaissance in the city of Baghdad which was once the centre of Islamic civilization. He opened a printing press and established Iraq’s first-ever newspaper known as Al Zara and he invested in intellectuals, artists, and poets. Such as the painter known as Usman Hamdi Bay and the known as Midhat Afendi.

According to the Iraqi historians Abbas Al Azawi and Ali Alwardi, the rule of Midhat Pasha was the greatest period in the history of Ottoman Because of his just and prosperous rule the people of Iraq gave him the nickname Abu Al Ahar meaning father of the free. After his successful reign as the Ottoman governor of Baghdad Midhat Pasha was appointed as the grandvisor of the Ottoman empire.

Sultan Abdul Aziz

Which was the highest-ranking position of the caliphate after the Sultan himself. However, Midhat Pasha was removed from his position after he tried to limit the extravagant personal spending of Sultan Abdul Aziz. After Midhat Pasha was removed he began planning a coup against the Sultan. In May with the help of various Ottoman ministers, Midhat Pasha managed to overthrow Sultan Abdul Aziz and replace him with Abdul Hamid the Second.

As a result, Ahmed Midhat Pasha was appointed as the advisor for a second time. After becoming advisor Midhat Pasha established the first Ottoman parliament and created the first Ottoman constitution. He also expanded the Ottoman military and invested in infrastructure, education, urban development, and health care.

Sultan Abdul Hamid Ottoman history

Midhat Pasha also opened multiple Ottoman embassies in Western European countries. However, a new constitution created by Midhat Pasha limited the power of Sultan Abdul Hamid who eventually removed Midhat Pasha and exiled him to Italy. The removal of Midhat Pasha had a detrimental effect on the Ottoman Empire.

Ahmed Midhat Pasha’s Struggle for Reforms A Limited Budget and Lasting Impact in Damascus”

All of the reforms made by Midhat Pasha were reversed and the Ottoman government returned to despotism and corruption. However, Midhat Pasha was eventually allowed to return from exile after various Ottoman politicians mediated on his behalf and pleaded with the Sultan to allow him to return. Although Midhat Pasha was allowed to return he was banned from serving as the grandvisor.

Instead, he was appointed as the governor of Damascus. This was Midhat Pasha’s last major position within the Ottoman government before he eventually resigned from politics. As the governor of Damascus, Midhat Pasha had a very small budget due to the careless and excessive spending of Sultan Abdul Hamid.

Therefore, Midhat Pasha was not able to make many major infrastructure reforms in Damascus as he had done in Baghdad. For example,Ahmed Midhat Pasha attempted to establish a railway network across Syria. However, the budget for this plan was not approved by the Ottoman Central Government. Midhat Pasha also proposed to build roads connecting the Al Nuseria mountains to the rest of Syria in order to end the isolation of the impoverished Shia population from the rest of Syria.

Anti-Corruption Initiatives and Cultural Resurgence”

However, these roads were never built as the budget for this plan was not approved by Sultan Abdul Hamid. Because of his low budget as the governor of Damascus Midhat Pasha focused on fighting corruption and making social and educational reforms. During his time as the governor of Damascus, Midhat Pasha removed corrupt officials and replaced them with local reformers such as Tahir Al Jazayri who was appointed as the minister of education.

Midhat Pasha also opened an orphanage in Damascus and many new schools throughout the province including two schools for girls. Midhat Pasha also established Syria’s first public library known as the Zahriya library. The Zahiria Library consisted of, manuscripts and books which were collected from all across Ottoman Syria with the help of Syrian scholars and intellectuals such as Mahmood Afenddi Hamza,

Ottoman Empire

Sheikh Aladdin Abidin, Sheikh Saleem Al Aktar, Sheikh Salim Al Bukhari, Sheikh Mohammed Al Muneni and Sheikh Ahmed Muslim Al Kuzbari. During his time in Syria, Midhat Pasha also reopened and funded the Syrian musical theater which had been closed for many years. The Syrian musical theatre produced great actors and playwriters such as Abu Khalil Al Qabani who contributed to cultural revival in Syria.

Despite his low budget and lack of resources Midhat Pasha’s reign as the governor of Syria was highly successful and it left a mark on the Syrian people who named a market after him known as Sheikh Midhat Pasha. The Syrian writer Kadri Al Kalaji wrote a book about Midhat Pasha entitled Midhat Pasha the father of the Ottoman Constitution and the dethroner of the Sultan.

In the year 1881

Midhat Pasha eventually resigned from his position as the governor of Syria and began calling for reform in the Ottoman central government. However, he was later silenced by the Ottoman Empire who arrested him In the year 1881. Midhat Pasha was sent to a prison in Hijas where he died in the year eighteen eighty-three.

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