How did the Tanzimat affect North Africa?

In contrast to the rest, as it is not part of the Maghrib, the autonomous vassal of Egypt was well ahead of the Tanzimat, and in fact provided the example the Tanzimat followed. When the Tanzimat started, the Egyptian industry, bureaucracy and military were already those of a modern state: and they remained able to beat the imperial army during the 1840s.

Tunisia provides an interesting counterpoint: it was also a vassal principality, which instead tried to carry out its own Tanzimat patterned after the central one. Making of point of issuing separate decrees (to ensure nobody thought the Sultan had direct authority over the province), the Bey of Tunis carried out a minor re-ordering of his own. This was largely a failure in terms of creating a competitive military, as well as in ensuring the survival of Tunisia against its two hungry neighbours (France and Turkey), falling to the former after its economy collapsed. The positive effect of the reforms, such as the abolition of slavery and the creation of a modern bureaucracy, however, should not be understated.

Libya (aka Tripolitania & Cyrenaica) was very strongly affected, as part of the reforms of the Ottoman Tanzimat entailed sending an army to intervene in a succession crisis of the local principality and re-integrating the province into the empire. This meant that the region participated in the Tanzimat not as a minor reformer of its own (like Tunis) but rather as a backwater of a much larger empire with bigger problems on its plate, and hence with much less effect on the locals.

Algeria was conquered by France before the Tanzimat took off, and Morocco was never part of the empire, hence they fall outside the territory affected by it directly.


The Tanzimat (literally "Reforms" in Turkish) was a period of time during the 1800s (1839-1876) that attempted to make the Ottoman Empire more westernized, also trying to placate nationalist uprisings and free imprisoned non-Muslims, in an attempt to have a happier empire and be more friendly with its neighbors (especially Austria, but there was no stopping them from steamrolling the Turks).

It started in 1839, when Sultan Abdülmecid issued an imperial edict, known as the Tanzimat Fermani. A large amount of reforms were enacted between '39 and '69 including the following:

-Introduction of paper money (1840)

-Opening the first post offices (1840)

-Establishment of a new national anthem and flag (1844)

-The first census, although it only counted male citizens (1844)

-Abolition of slavery (1847)

-Legalization of homosexuality (1858)

The Edict of Gulhane (1839) was the first of these major reforms, and it, among other things, guaranteed the right to life and property to all of the empire's subjects, including non-Muslims.

Unfortunately, this utopia would never develop. At the end of the Crimean War, the entire system was undone, focusing mostly on giving ethnic regions in the Empire autonomy, giving strength to the Christians in the Empire, and undermining the Muslims.

Another effect is the prevalence of Israel. Under the Ottoman land codes enacted in 1858, Jews were allowed to purchase land. Most of this land was bought in the region of Palestine (modern day Israel and Palestine) and Jews flocked to this new safe haven near the Holy Land. So, in effect, the Tanzimat was responsible for the existence of Israel.

These are the major effects of the Tanzimat. It had little to no affect on North Africa, or the whole of Africa for a matter of fact.


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