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RE: Re: Bedouins

Have to admit that one of the fun things about Ridecamp is that there are
some history buffs on it too. I've collected a pretty good library over the
years and can fill in a couple of blank spots here.

The donkey is still the basis of the farming and Bedouin equine culture
here. They guard the flocks and can carry AMAZING loads.

"The economic life of semi-nomadic tribes [as opposed to
the straight bedouin] combined nomadic livestock raising
with more or less intensive cultivation of the land...sheep
and goats were raised...The number of camels was small...

<Talks about the collapse of the bedouin livestock economy
in the late 19th and early 20th century, first because of
competition from foreign livestock exporters in Australia,
Argentina, and South Africa, and then the replacement of
the camel routes with roads and lorries after WWI.>

I bother with all this for general reasons of enlightnment about
Arab society, but also because I've heard that Arabian horses
almost disappeared from Arabia itself, and I've never understood
how or why that happened, nor what of the original cataloged
mare lines survived, and where or how.  What happened in
Hashemite Jordan (where the English prevented ibn Saud
from extending his power northward, despite them letting
him take the Hashim's traditional center of power in Mecca and
the Hedjaz) where the Hashims commenced to rule after
WWI would have been different from what happened in the
lower Arabian peninsula.  Anybody know?"

Even before the Brits moved the Hashemites to Jordan the Wahabbi's were a
problematic group. The French under Napoleon, closely followed by the Brits
for a short period, arrived in Egypt in the late 19th century (1850's or
so). Napoleon's defeat of the Mamelukes in Egypt created a power vacuum into
which stepped Mohamed Ali, an Albanian soldier in the Egyptian army with
more brains and ambition than any normal person should have. When the Brits
left in pursuit of Napoleon who slipped out of Egypt leaving his poor army
in the Mansura area of the Delta, where they proceeded to breed some of the
most amazing auburn-haired women and children, Mohamed Ali took control of
Egypt, solidifying his authority by inviting all the remaining Mamelukes to
a dinner at the Citadel in Cairo, after which they were slaughtered except
for one guy who is said to have jumped a wall on his horse. He then
proceeded to build the economy and infrastructure of Egypt based on the
shortage of cotton due to the American Civil War. The Mamelukes had been a
weird class of rulers of Egypt in that they were usually Caucasian slaves of
the Turks and the group was non-hereditary...they gave their property to
other slaves.

Anyway, Mohamed Ali was not terribly interested in being a vassal of the
decaying Ottoman empire and he "volunteered" to go do something about the
Wahabbi's who were claiming that the Ottomans were just a bunch of upstarts
and not really the leaders if Islam. So he sent his son to take care of the
problem, which he did admirably, acquiring some of the best blood of the
horse herds of the local sheikhs of a good portion of the Arabian
penninsula, Syria and part of Iraq in the process. This massive exodus of
horseflesh was the basis of the Egyptian Royal Stud, and the Ali Pasha stud
and ultimately a good part of the Crabbet stud when some of the herds of
Egypt were dispersed later. The Sultan in Istanbul became justifiably
concerned at the military success and bribed the Mohamed Ali family into
returning to Egypt by giving them a promotion and making them

Does that help?

Maryanne Stroud Gabbani
Cairo, Egypt

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