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The Demographic Development of Palestine, 1850–1882

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 January 2009

Alexander Schölch
University of ErlangenWest Germany


In my contribution to a volume edited by Roger Owen, I have studied the economic development of Palestine from the Crimean War up to the beginnings of the first Jewish Aliya. In this article I propose to investigate the concomitant demographic development of Palestine, that is, of the Livās of Jerusalem, Nablus/Balqā', and 'Akkā, during roughly the same period.

Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1985

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1 Schölch, Alexander, “European Penetration and the Economic Development of Palestine, 1856–82,” in Owen, Roger, ed., Studies in the Economic and Social History of Palestine in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (London, 1982), pp. 1087. The present article presents some further results of a study on the socio-political and economic development of Palestine during the period 1856–1882, which was financed by the Volkswagen Foundation.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

2 See for instance Ben-Arieh, Yehoshua, “The Population of the Large Towns in Palestine During the First Eighty Years of the Nineteenth Century, According to Western Sources,” in Ma'oz, Moshe, ed., Studies on Palestine during the Ottoman Period (Jerusalem, 1975);Google ScholarGerber, Haim, “The Population of Syria and Palestine in the Nineteenth Century,” Asian and African Studies 13 (1979);Google ScholarGottheil, Fred M., “The Population of Palestine, circa 1875,” Middle Eastern Studies 15, 3 (1979).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

3 Gottheil, p. 311. The author ignored published Ottoman sources and European statistics based on these.Google Scholar

4 Cf. Hartmann, M., “Die Ortschaftenliste des Liwa Jerusalem in dem türkischen Staatskalender für Syrien auf das Jahr 1288 der Flucht (1871),” Zeitschrjft des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 6(1883).Google Scholar

5 Gerber, pp. 59–62.Google Scholar

6 Ben-Arieh, p. 66, note 145.Google Scholar

7 See also Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv (Vienna), Archiv Jaffa, Fasz. 5, Quadro statistico del distretto di Jaffa, 27.8.1872. In this source, the number of the inhabitants of the town of Jaffa is given as 7,000 (1,131 hānes), that of the qazā of Jaffa as 37,000 (6,402 hānes).Google Scholar

8 Frankl, L. A., Nach Jerusalem!, Vol. 2 (Leipzig, 1858), p. 500, gives the number of the Jewish inhabitants of Palestine as 10,639 in the mid-1850s;Google ScholarThomson, W. M., The Land and the Book (London, 1894), p. 167, estimated the Jewish population as 11,100 in the late 1850s (7,000 in Jerusalem, 2,000 in Safad, 1,500 in Tiberias and 600 in Hebron); in a report to the Alliance Israélite Universelle dated 25/12/1868, Netter estimated the Jewish population of Palestine at 13,000, of which 9/10 lived in the four “Holy Cities”:Google ScholarChouraqui, André, L'Alliance Israélite universelle et la renaissance juive contemporaine (1860–1960) (Paris, 1965), p. 451.Google Scholar

9 Mandel, Neville J., The Arabs and Zionism before World War I(Berkeley, 1976), p. XXIV.Google Scholar

10 Socin, A., “Alphabetisches Verzeichniss von Ortschaften des Paschalik Jerusalem,” Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 2 (1879), 135–36.Google Scholar

11 Cf. Schick, C., “Zur Einwohnerzahl des Bezirks Jerusalem,” Zeitschrift des Deutschen Palästina-Vereins 19 (1896), 121, 127 and the report by Consul Rosen, dated 10/9/1861 and contained in Archives of the German Consulate in Jerusalem (kept in the Israel State Archives, Jerusalem), A. 111.4.Google Scholar

12 See also the detailed table in Hartmann, pp. 146–47.Google Scholar

13 Quoted in note 11. This table was also copied for Petermann,-obviously with some mistakes, by the Dragoman of the Prussian Consulate in Jerusalem: Petermann, H., Reisen im Orient 2nd ed., Vol. I (Leipzig, 1865), pp. 232–33.Google Scholar

14 Cf. Die Warte of 26 October and 7 December, 1865, in Carmel, Alex, ed., Palästina-Chronik 1853 bis 1882 (Ulm, 1978);Google ScholarArchives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères (Paris), Correspondance Politique des Consuls: Turquie - Jérusalem, Vol. 9 (Jerusalem, 3 and 22 November, 1865 and 13 June, 1866); Public Record Office (London), F.O. 195, Vol. 808 (Jerusalem, 13 November, 1865); Haus- Hof- und Staatsarchiv (Vienna), Administrative Registratur des Ministeriums des Äußeren, F8/49 (Bethlehem, 2 November, 1865);Google ScholarTobler, Titus, Nazareth in Palästina (Berlin, 1868), pp. 303–7.Google Scholar

15 Gerber, pp. 63, 76.Google Scholar

16 Kalla, Mohammad Sa'id, The Role of Foreign Trade in the Economic Development of Syria, 1831–1914, Ph.D. thesis, The American University (Washington, 1969), p. 280.Google Scholar

17 Gottheil, p. 318.Google Scholar

18 Gerber, pp. 60–61.Google Scholar

19 Schumacher, G., “Population List of the Lîvâ of 'Akka”, Palestine Exploration Fund, Quarterly Statements (1887), p. 170.Google Scholar

20 Schick, pp. 120–21.Google Scholar

21 Compare also Gerber, p. 60 and Erder, Leila, “The Measurement of Preindustrial Population Changes: The Ottoman Empire from the 15th to the 17th Century,” Middle Eastern Studies II, 3 (1975), 298.Google Scholar

22 Schick, p. 126.Google Scholar

23 Schumacher, p. 170.Google Scholar

24 Schwöbel, V., “Die Verkehrswege und Ansiedlungen Galiläas in ihrer Abhängigkeit von den natürlichen Bedingungen,” Zeitschrufi des Deutschen Paläsgina- Vereins 27 (1904), 48, 98–99;Google Scholar reference is made to Guérin, Victor, Description géographique, historique et archéologique de la Palestine, reprint, 7 vols. (Amsterdam, 1969).Google Scholar

25 Schwöbel, pp. 52, 97, 104.Google Scholar

26 Compare, for example, the table in Gottheil, p. 312.Google Scholar

27 Finn, James, Stirring Times, Vol. 1 (London, 1878), p. 238.Google Scholar

28 Finn, Vol. 2, p. 188.Google Scholar

29 Warren, Charles, Underground Jerusalem (London, 1876), p. 468.Google Scholar

30 For example, Ruppin, A., Syrien als Wirtschaftsgebiet (Berlin, 1917), pp. 89;Google ScholarKarasapan, Celâl Tevfik, Filistin ve Sark-ül-Ürdün, Vol. 2 (Istanbul, 1942), p. 19;Google Scholarad-Dabbāgh, Mustafā Murād, Bilādunā Filastīn, 2nd ed., Vol. 1/1 (Beirut, 1973), p. 23;Google Scholar on the demographic development of Palestine after 1882, see Schölch, A., “Araber und Juden in Palästina,” Journal für Geschichte I, 4 (1979), 1518.Google Scholar

31 Bonne, Alfred, Palastina — Land und Wirtschaft (Leipzig, 1932), p. 36.Google Scholar

32 Parliamentary Papers, 1880, LXXIV, pp. 259–60.Google Scholar

33 Deutsches Handelsarchiv, 1883, II, p. 416.Google Scholar

34 Notes et renseignements sur la Syrie et le Liban au point de vue de leur produits, des voies de communications, ports et échelles etc., Décembre 1878, in Archives du Ministère des Affaires Etrangères (Paris), Mémoires et Documents, Vol. 123.Google Scholar

35 Parliamentary Papers, 1881, XC, p. 661.Google Scholar

36 Trietsch, Davis, Palaestina Handbuch (Berlin, 1910), p. 30.Google Scholar

37 The general statements in this conclusion are derived from a larger study of the economic and socio-political development of Palestine; see note I and my forthcoming book, Palästina im Umbruch 1856–1882: Untersuchungen zur wirtschaftlichen und sozio-politischen Entwicklung.Google Scholar

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