The British, the Hashemites and monarchies in the Middle East
in Crowns and colonies
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A study of the development of political institutions and elites in the Middle East sheds light on the general process of modernisation in the British Empire. During the nineteenth century, the British extended their informal empire in the region of the Arabian/Persian Gulf primarily in order to protect the pathway from Europe to India. This involved negotiations with local elites, who themselves derived leverage over rivals through their partnership with the British. After the First World War, Britain gained a League of Nations mandate to administer the key territory of Iraq, formerly part of the Ottoman Empire, and they installed the leader of the Hashemite family on the throne in Baghdad in hopes of sustaining their influence. Nevertheless, local elites also used the new political institutions established at the time to reinforce their own client networks and privileges. The foundation of a new monarchical state in Iraq was thus synonymous with the reinvention of traditional political practices within an imperial and modernising context.

Crowns and colonies

European monarchies and overseas empires

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