Ahmad Pasha Al- Jazzar

Jazzar, Ahmad Pasha Al-


Born circa 1720; died in April 1804 in Acre. Ruler of Palestine and a significant part of Syria from 1775 to 1804. Bosnian by birth.

Al-Jazzar’s career began in 1756 when he was a mameluke in Egypt. For the cruelty which he exhibited during the suppression of an uprising of bedouin, he received the epithet “the butcher” (al-jazzar in Arabic). In 1775 he was designated the wali (governor) of Sidon. In 1790 he became the pasha of Damascus but in fact was the sovereign ruler of almost all of Syria and Palestine and only formally recognized the power of the Turkish sultan. Al-Jazzar created his own army and introduced a system of commercial and agricultural monopoly. He cruelly suppressed popular rebellions. The forces of al-Jazzar withstood a siege of Acre by the French under Bonaparte (Mar. 21-May 20, 1799).

Al-Jazzar left a description of Egypt (Nizam namiyyat Misr) which is an important source on the history of 18th-century Egypt.