Commerce and Quarantine in Baghdad: Contending Visions of Ottoman and British Imperialism in Iraq, 1862-1908
Chess, Kearby Matthew
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This thesis argues that in the second half of the 19th century, the Iraqi provinces of the Ottoman Empire constituted a frontier of imperial contestation between the Ottoman and British empires. The Ottoman Empire sought establish political hegemony over these far-flung provinces through military conquest and a program of developmentalist and colonialist policies in order to defend against the expansion of British strategic interests in the Persian Gulf. Simultaneously, a network of British commercial and diplomatic interests in Iraq sought to create conditions favorable to British economic expansion into this region, adopting strategies of "informal empire." This contestation is visible in repeated disputes over matters of commercial shipping and the public health policies of quarantine in the face of plague and cholera. Through records of incidents involving the Baghdad-based and British-owned Lynch Brothers shipping firm, I argue that neither the Ottoman nor the British empires achieved the level of dominance that they sought in the region.
- East Asian studies