[ARABIA / FIRSTHAND ACCOUNT OF YEMEN AND THE 1871-1874 OTTOMAN EXPEDITION] Tarih-i Yemen ve Sana'a. [i.e., History of Yemen and Sana’a]. 2 volumes set

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FERÎK EBU SAID AHMED RASID PASHA, (Ottoman Lieutenant General), (?-1891), Basiret Matbaasi, Istanbul, AH 1291 = [1874].

Contemporary fine half and quarter calf. The title ("Tarih-i Yemen") lettered gilt on spine of the first volume with volume no and four decorative elements gilt on the compartments; the second volume's spine is decorated fully. Bindings are not homogeneous. Roy. 8vo. (24 x 17 cm). In Ottoman script (Old Turkish with Arabic letters). 2 volumes set: (3, 322, 20 p.; 6, 374 p.), no illustrations and maps. Occasional foxing on pages, a very good set.

Extremely rare first edition of this two-volume set including Lieutenant General Ahmed Rashid Pasha's firsthand account of a fourteen-month expedition of Yemen he participated in with the Ottoman army between 1871-1874. The book also enlarged with the author's detailed eyewitness descriptions of the South Arabian Peninsula's agricultural and natural resources, geographical structure, climate, various sects, and beliefs of the region as well as a history of the Ottoman rule in Yemen from the beginning in 1495.

This exceptional book starts with the author's reason for writing the book (sebeb-i telîf) and a list of the Arabic sources he used. In addition to the author's diary in the form of a travelogue, Isa ibn Lütfullah's Rawha al-Rûhad, which has detailed information about the Zaydis and includes the history of Yemen between 1494 and 1620, as well as Tekmilet al-Ravha al-Rûh, Tibb al-Kesâ, Jami al-mutun bi Ahbari Yemen al-Maymun and Al-Deyba's Qurrat al-'Uyûn fî Akhbâr al- Yemeni'l-Maymûn were used as sources. The first volume is published in AH 1291 Cemâziyelâhir [i.e., July-August 1874] and the second volume is published in AH 1291 Zilhicce [i.e., January-February 1875] in Basiret Publishing House in Constantinople. After the publishing first volume, the author presented it to the Ottoman Sultan Abdülaziz and he was awarded the Medjidi Order of the third rank.

In the book, the activities of the Ottoman Empire in the region since 1495, the region's becoming a province, the governors who ruled the land, the important rebellions, and wars in Yemen, as well as the 14-month Ottoman Expedition between 1871-1874 which also the author participated in, are explained in detail. At the end of this operation, the division of the Yemen Province into four liwâs named Sana'a, Taizz, Hudayda, and Asir and their restructured administrative organization with the situation of peoples and Arab tribes in the region are also valuable firsthand details in the work.

Ahmed Rashid Pasha collected the historical documents of the events between 1680-1844 related to Yemen and Arabia during his duty in Yemen. In the second volume, the author presented himself as "Mirliva" [i.e., Brigadier General], three years later 3 July 1877, he was promoted to the rank of "Ferîk" [i.e., Lieutenant General]. Ahmed Rashid Pasha was promoted to the rank of Major in 1870 when he was the Clerk of the fourth battalion of chefs in Medina in 1862. While he was under the command of Muhtar Ahmed Pasha as a Major, he was given the rank of district governor of the first "Ihtiyât" army of the Hejaz Firkasi due to his activities in Benî Teym.


Since the Ottoman conquest of Yemen in 1517, it has been known as the Yemen Eyalet. After the Tanzimat reforms in the Ottoman Empire, Yemen Vilayet was established from most of the former Eyalet in 1872. In the 1830s, aided by the collapse of the Zaidi Imamate due to internal division and the adoption of modern weaponry after the Crimean War, the Ottomans moved into northern Yemen, eventually taking San'a and making it the capital of the Yemen Vilayet in 1872. Even then, Ottoman control was largely confined to cities, and the Zaidi imam's rule over Upper Yemen was formally recognized.

Starting in 1872, after the Sana'a region was firmly under control, Ahmed Muhtar Pasha set about restructuring the administration of the Yemen vilayet, dividing it into four sanjaks, with San'a city serving as the capital of the vilayet. Asir became a sanjak of Yemen in 1872. Turkish officers with Yemeni soldiers and militiamen before World War I.

In the late 19th century, the Zaidis rebelled against the Turks, and Imam Mohammed ibn Yahya laid the foundation of a hereditary dynasty. When he died in 1904, his successor Imam Yahya ibn Mohammed led the revolt against the Turks in 1904-1905 and forced them to grant important concessions to the Zaidis. The Ottoman agreed to withdraw the civil code and restore sharia in Yemen.

In 1906, the Idrisi leaders of Asir rebelled against the Ottomans. By 1910 they controlled most of Asir, but they were ultimately defeated by Turkish and Hejazi forces.

Ahmet Izzet Pasha concluded a treaty with Imam Yahya in October 1911, by which he was recognized as the temporal and spiritual head of the Zaidis and was given the right to appoint officials over them and collect taxes from them. The Ottomans maintained their system of government in the Sunni-majority parts of Yemen.

In March 1914, the Anglo-Turkish Treaty delimited the border between Yemen and the Aden Protectorate. When World War I broke out, Imam Yahya remained nominally loyal to the Sultan but tried to negotiate with Britain at the same time. Asir, on the other hand, joined Britain as soon as the war began. The Arab Revolt in Hejaz cut off Yemen from the rest of the Ottoman Empire, and the imam took the opportunity to establish his power over all of Yemen.

Turkish forces withdrew in 1918, and Imam Yahya strengthened his control over northern Yemen creating the Mutawakkilite Kingdom of Yemen. (Wikipedia).

Özege 19957., TBTK 2212., As of December 2023, we can’t trace any copies in the OCLC and KVK.