Colonial under-development in Mandate Palestine: British governance in Nablus, 1917-1936

Higginson, Roger Edwin (2021) Colonial under-development in Mandate Palestine: British governance in Nablus, 1917-1936. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis considers the impact of the British Mandate on the town of Nablus from the end of World War I to the 1936 Arab Revolt. Starting with its role as a regional trading centre under the Ottomans, it goes on to consider the impact of the arrival of the British, combined with the challenges of natural disasters and the growth of Jewish enterprises along Palestine’s Mediterranean littoral. The first two chapters establish the general political and economic features of British rule in Nablus, before the thesis looks at three specific case studies (chapters 111 – V). It examines in some depth British projects for the development of the urban water supply, the impact of the 1927 earthquake, and the relationship between the civil and military authorities during the first year of the Arab Revolt.

The research is designed to fill a gap in the existing historiography of Mandate Palestine, which has tended to focus either on the Jewish national home controversy, or on Jerusalem and the area of the coastal strip. This is a study of British policy at the local level, in a town located in the relatively neglected and marginalisedarea of the central hill district. At the same time, the thesis proposes this localized approach has wider implications for our view of British imperial history in the aftermath of World War I, arguing that a focus on such ‘peripheries’ of empire allows us to understand more closely the minimalist state that ruled over large swathes of colonial subject populations in this period. Its primary source material is composed of British Government records held at the National Archives in Kew, supplemented by a range of other sources, including French and Moroccan, used for the purposes of comparison between the British and French colonial systems.

The work concludes that Nablus was not a priority for the Mandatory Government, which was focused on the coastal strip, and in particular the port of Haifa, to the detriment of the smaller towns in Palestine’s interior. Nablus was neglected, and ill-prepared for the growing competition from new Jewish enterprises. The city’s hostile reaction to the Mandate reflects the perspective of locations which have become marginalised in relation to the dominant metropolitan centres of imperial power.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > History
Subjects: D History > D History (General) > D720 Period between World Wars (1919-1939)
D History > DS History of Asia > DS101 Israel (Palestine). The Jews > DS114 History > DS121 By period > DS125 19th-20th centuries > DS126 1919-1948. Period of British control
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 11 May 2021 10:00
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:48

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