chapter  9
21 Pages

Shaping the City: Aleppo’s Foreigner Community and the Earthquake of 1822


Historical disaster research on the eastern Mediterranean region is still in its infancy. This is due, on the one hand, to the limited access to the sources; most became known and available only in recent decades. On the other hand, and linked to the already mentioned, although the number of historical studies has increased considerably since some time, we still have insu cient insight into the history of Middle Eastern societies. For the premodern (which corresponds roughly to the pre-Ottoman) period, archival sources are scarce. Information about disasters has mainly been transmitted by Arab historians and geographers.1 It is these historiographical sources that were used by historians and geologists to establish historical earthquake lists with the aim to study long-term patterns of seismic events.2 For the Ottoman period (1516-1918) in general, but especially from the eighteenth century onwards, sources are more abundant. Ottoman imperial and local archives exist, as well as consular archives (mainly French and British).