the world view of the people liked to be organized. Unpredictable your body, however, were. Around 150,000 pilgrims flocked to 1865 in the Holy sites of Mecca and Medina, many of them about Jeddah, the port city on the Indian ocean. Unhindered, they entered the bottom of the Peninsula. And freely the Cholera bacteria spread there, then, which they carried in their body. Quickly the disease took hold, around 30,000 pilgrims to the Hajj in the year of 1865, the disease succumbed to.

In all the brutality, the epidemic showed the Ottomans that ruled at that time, the Hijaz, the Western part of the Gulf Peninsula, such as the nodes at risk could be points of their Empire. Also and particularly in Jeddah, the city, the Middle East, Asia and Africa combined, was a meeting place of people of different origins and therefore also the diseases that they carried with themselves.

it was taken by the Ottomans as early as 1850, the first quarantine measures to contain disease, but which proved to be insufficient. Added to this was the accelerated mobility: With the invention of the steam ship travel was shortened for many pilgrims, but also merchants the trip.

pilgrims on steam

ships so Far, they had held up over the course of days or even weeks on Board the ships and were in a sort of natural quarantine. By the motor-driven ships, the journey accelerated and the so far usual quarantine period was to run. The authorities took a while to respond. In 1865, they were not yet so far, still lacked many: in hospitals, hospitals, pharmacies and Doctors. So the pilgrimage that year was for many of the faithful to the biological case.

“gate to Mecca”

The spread of the disease is one of the most impressive examples of the international character of Central Jeddah, head already in the 19th century. Century you can read. The German Islam scholar and historian Ulrike Freitag has now written the biography of the city. “A History of Jeddah. The Gate to Mecca in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Century” is published in February in the Cambridge University Press.

First, in 1869, quarantine stations and hospitals were built on a larger scale in and around Jeddah. However, not brought the desired success. In 1882, when on the today Yemen belonging to the island of Kamaran, a larger quarantine station was set up with stricter regulations, the British government is concerned: they feared the social peace in the Muslim-populated Parts of their Indian colony. The pilgrims, so the concern would not tolerate for too long the quarantine to present sufficient grounds for London, as the protective power of the Muslims. This example shows that health policies need not originate exclusively sanitary Considerations. It can also be used to pacify the population symbolically.

but Because, in particular, European countries – such as France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands were also in the following years, a massive expansion in Devices on site, they sent for the protection of their representatives, private medical professionals in the Region. Epidemics are an indicator of international networking.

point of attraction for “Foreign” from India to Greece

the city today, about 25,000 were in the late 19th century. Century. The city, formerly a small fishing village, attracted early inhabitants from various regions. “Strangers or their descendants” observed the Swiss of the Orient rice, Johann Ludwig Burckhardt during his Hijaz travel in 1814.

These “Strangers” came from all kinds of regions: present-day Yemen, India, Egypt, Syria, North Africa, the European and Anatolian provinces of the Ottoman Empire, from Afghanistan, Southeast Asia, Dagestan, Greece.

Many had come as merchants in the city, such as immigrants from North Africa, Yemen and India. But as different as the geographical origin was also, the immigrants were United in two things: firstly, they were almost all Muslims and on the other, they are mostly based on an ethno-cultural model: the Arab.

it could hardly be otherwise, because the old families of the Hijaz gave it continues to set the tone.

The Scherifen for instance, until 1925 the ruler of Mecca, had in Jeddah in a market, cisterns, as well as several houses. The dominance of this on the religion founder Mohammed back going family also shaped the social and cultural – Arab character of the city.

slaves and forced labour

to Add another population group: the slaves came. In 1888, the French Consul estimated that in Jeddah the proportion of East and West Africa deported forced labourers in the total population to about a fifth. High demand for female slaves was. These were much used in the household and, as an Ottoman civil servant, said that time, above all for religious reasons: “Muslim women as servants because they can’t work with veiled faces. Would you reveal your face, would break this is the law of the Koran. Christian women can be engaged – this would be a pollution.”

Light skin and the satisfaction of Desire

Where you have not been to the house, forced to work, forced the women to other work: Either they served their masters in the pacification of sexual pleasure. Or should you bear children, preferably male successor. The slaves brought with them, however, repeatedly girl to the world, you had to expect to be sold. Another was the slave holders of Jeddah at the heart of your descendants should have a light skin.

“A prominent personality (“A notable”) of Jeddah in the late nineteenth century, is said to have owned dozens of slaves, because he was desperately seeking a son,” – said in Friday’s study. “Because he had very dark skin, he bought skin, Syrian, Armenian, and other slaves of light.”

the model for the Future of Jeddah?

“Jeddah is different”, declared nowadays, is an advertising slogan of the Saudi tourism Agency. And really, writes Ulrike Freitag, is the difference between the light, lively character of the city by the stringent character of the other Saudi Arabian cities. The multi-cultural identity of the city was never a pure Idyll. But you gave her a touch of liberality, which has been preserved until today. It may be no coincidence that the first, last summer, opened a nightclub in the country located in Jeddah. The diversity of the city could be a Kingdom with a view to the most recently pushed for cautious social relaxations and reforms, leading the way for the future of the king.

author: Kersten Knipp

*The post “Saudi Arabia: Jeddah – a touch of liberalism in the past” is published by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

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