Faisal - Encyclopedia




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"FAISAL (1885-), Arab Emir, third surviving son of Husein, King of the Hejaz, was born at Taif in 1885. He spent his infancy at Rihab in accordance with the tradition of the Qoreish. At the age of eight he was brought to Mecca, where he began his early studies, but was afterwards sent to Constantinople to join his father and here he received a good modern education. On attaining manhood he held official appointments under the Turkish Government. With his brothers, he took an active part in the constitutional movement which led to the deposition of `Abdul Hamid, as a part consequence of which the emirate of Mecca was restored to his father Husein ibn `Ali in 1908, Faisal returning to Mecca with him. He followed a military career, and commanded the Arab contingent in the Turkish operations against the Idrisi in 1911-3. In 1914 he was elected deputy for Jidda in the Turkish Parliament. Up to that time he was not markedly prominent among his brothers, but from 1915 he favoured Arab Nationalist aspirations, and (with his brother `Abdulla) furthered his father's anti-Ottoman designs. At the outbreak of the Arab revolt in 1916 he commanded the rebels at Medina, and, in the crisis which followed the failure to capture the city, he came much to the front. He organized the revolting tribes each under its tribal leader, devised a scheme for the formation of an Arab regular army, and developed a particular school of irregular warfare. He commanded the Arab northern forces which, after the taking of Akaba (July 1917), constituted a friendly army of the right wing of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. He led the Arab troops at their entry into Damascus 1918, and to him, subsequently, was entrusted the task of setting up, in the eastern area of Syria, a provisional military administration to exercise control until peace was signed. Faisal presented the case of the Arabs before the Peace Conference in Paris on Feb. 6 1919. His administration maintained comparative security throughout 1919. In March 1920 he was proclaimed King of Syria at Damascus by the Syrian National Congress, but this proceeding received no official sanction from the Allied Powers, and the regime was overturned by the entry of French troops into Damascus in July of the same year, Kerak then becoming the headquarters of Faisal's administrative district. He spent some time in London in 1919 and again in 1920-21. On Aug. 23 1921 - with the support of the Arab notables, ascertained by a referendum - he was crowned King of Iraq (see Mesopotamia) and became ruler of the new State set up under the mandate accepted by the British Government.

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