Circassian Refugees and the Making of Amman, 1878–1914, by Vladimir Hamed-Troyansky

A Circassian guard of Emir Abdullah, founder of the Kingdom of Jordan, 1940
A Circassian guard of Emir Abdullah, founder of the Kingdom of Jordan, 1940

International Journal of Middle East Studies [Cambridge University Press 2017], Volume 49, Special Issue 4: Forced Displacement and Refugees, November 2017, pp. 605 - 623

Abstract
In the final decades of Ottoman rule, several waves of refugees from the Russian Empire's North Caucasus region immigrated to Transjordan, where they founded Amman and other agricultural villages. This article examines the economy of Amman in its formative years as a Circassian refugee settlement. By exploring connections between North Caucasian refugees, Syrian and Palestinian merchants, and Transjordanian urban and nomadic communities, this study posits refugees as drivers of economic expansion in the late Ottoman period. I argue that the settlement of North Caucasian refugees and their active participation in the real estate market in and around Amman contributed to the entrenchment of the post-1858 property regime in Ottoman Transjordan. Through a study of an upper-class Circassian household and its legal battles, this article also illustrates the rise of refugee elites who benefited from the commodification of land and the construction of state-sponsored infrastructure in the late Ottoman Levant.

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