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There was no unitary government in the Middle East during this period. The Middle East could effectively be split into four general zones of governing authority: Ottoman Empire, Safavid and Qajjar Empires, Arab Sheikhdoms, and European Colonial Governates.

Ottoman Empire: The Ottomans controlled the largest swath of the Middle East, including Anatolia, the Levant, Hejaz, and Mesopotamia. The Ottoman Empire was an Absolute Theocratic Monarchy based in Sunni Islam that ran affairs through a complex system of bureaucrats and officials in numerous provinces. The Ottomans were ethnically Turkish, which put them at odds with the people they ruled over (usually Arabs in the Middle East).

Safavid and Qajjar Empires: The two Persian Empires controlled what is today Iran as well as some of the Caucasus Region and Afghanistan. The rulership was ethnically Persian and ruled through a mandates and declarations with a much less-developed bureaucracy and more intense theocratic mantle. The empires were Shiite Muslim and actively persecuted all non-Shiites within their borders.


Arab Sheikhdoms: The Arabian Peninsula had an impressive number of Absolute Monarchs (such as those who rule various Emirates like Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Qatar, those who rule Kingdoms like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, and those who rule Sultanates like Oman). These Arab monarchs control their people through direct edicts and typically run a nepotistic government. They were far less powerful or expansive than the above empires and traditionally competed more with each other than with the larger empires.

European Colonial Governates: This prevails more in Egypt prior to 1900 than anywhere else. The Britons used indirect colonial rule to support the Khedivite Turks in bringing about Pro-British policy. The country was governed by British governors in concert with these local rulers, creating intense enmity between the conqueror and the conquered.

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There was no unitary government during this period. There were several different empires, including the Ayyubid Caliphate, the Mamluk Sultanate, the Seljuk Turkish Empires, and numerous smaller Arab Emirates, Turkish Sultanates, and Byzantine Despotates (a Despotate is not the same as despotic regime). From the late 1200s to the late 1500s, the Ottoman Empire conquered all of these States.

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Q: What was the government in the Middle east between the 1600s and the 1900s?
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