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Abdul Hamid II

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


(1842–1918), Sultan of Turkey (1876–1909), also sometimes known as the “Great Assassin” and “Abdul Hamid the Damned,” and chiefly remembered for his brutal method of governing. It was anticipated that the reign of this highly cultured man might bring about progressive reform. On coming to the throne of Turkey (see turkey and europe ) in 1876 he oversaw the promulgation of the Ottoman empire's first constitution, though this was suspended two years later. Nationalist agitation in the balkans was brutally suppressed and led to the russo-turkish war of 1877–8. The sultan looked increasingly to the german empire for international support and assistance with domestic reform, yet he was unprepared to meet the demands of his own subject nationalities, and his reign was peppered by revolts including those in Crete (1896–7). An Armenian reform movement was crushed with particular brutality, resulting in the killing of anywhere between 100,000 and 300,000 of his Christian subjects (1894–6) – a forewarning of the armenian genocide of 1915. Ultimately Abdul Hamid was unable to hold the empire together. Egypt, cyprus , and Sudan all fell under British protection. In 1908 the young turk reformers forced the sultan to reinstate the constitution and recall parliament, but it was too little too late. A year later, he attempted to recover his powers, but was deposed in a coup. After exile, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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