The Ottoman Period – part B

1707 – The traveler Jean Olivier arrives in Acre and drafts a map.

1708 – For a short time, Bedouins and peasant farmers from the Galilee take over the small fortress beside the port.

1710 – Lorenzo Cozza, later to become Cardinal, is the Superior of the Franciscans in Acre. He tells of the increase of Acre’s population in general and particularly of the Christians 156.

1712 – Swedish theologian Paul Michael Eneman visits Acre as an emissary for his King. He conveys many details about the city’s population. Paul Maashouk serves as vice consul for Holland and England in Acre 157.

1714 – Dutch scholar and mapmaker Adriaan Reland prepares an engraving, based on the Tabula Peutingeriana, with the city of Acre indicated as Ptolomaida. On the map, the distance from Tyre to Acre is 32 Roman miles (see 1506, previous). Peasant farmers from the surrounding area make a failed attack on the Khan al-Faranj.

1726 – The traveler Angelicus Maria Myller visits Acre.

1737 – The Franciscan Church of St. John (John the Baptist) is built in Acre on the ruins of the Crusaders’ Church of St. Andreas.

1738 – English prelate and travel diarist Richard Pococke visits Acre and drafts a map of the city.

1741 – Rabbi Chaim ben Moses ibn Attar (1696–1743), a Talmudist and kabbalist, settles in Acre for one year and establishes a yeshivah called Knesset Israel (“Assembly of Israel”). Rabbi ibn Attar is known for his Ohr ha-Chaim (“The Light of Life”), a commentary on the Torah (Pentateuch). Rabbi Avraham Ishmael Chaim Sanguinetti of Modena, Italy, a student of Rabbi ibn Attar, emigrates with him and settles in Acre.

1743 – Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto (b. 1707, Padua, Italy), known by his Hebrew acronym RaMCha”L, arrives in Acre from Amsterdam and resides here with his family until his death in 1747 during an epidemic. Dahr al-Omar of the Bedouin Zaydani tribe conquers Acre. Orman writes that during this same year a Turkish naval fleet arrives at the Acre port to aid in attacking Dahr al-Omar’s position from the west, but the death of Suleiman Pasha of Damascus, Dahr al-Omar’s rival, brings about a cessation in the fighting 158. Joseph Blanc, as the French vice consul in Acre, considerably strengthens Dahr al-Omar’s position during this time, as the French were supplying him with weapons 159.

1747–1775 – Dahr al-Omar is the ruler of Acre (arriving and settling into the city only in 1750). He takes the stones of the ruined buildings of the Crusader city (which had been deliberately destroyed by the Mamluk al-Malik al-Ashraf in 1291) and uses them to build fortifications for the city.

1748 – The al-Muallaq Mosque, the mosque of Dahr al-Omar, is built on the foundations of a Crusader structure.

1750 – Dahr al-Omar builds Acre’s landward walls on the foundations of the previous Arab- built wall from the times of the Fatimid Caliphate and Ahmad ibn Tulun. (The northern and eastern walls of the city are enclosed within the walls built by al-Jazzar 50 years later.) Dahr al-Omar allows Christian pirates from Malta to anchor at Acre for provisioning and trade 160. Construction on the Maronite church is completed, apparently by Jean Baptiste Lafourcade who dies in 1754 and is buried within it.

1751 – Swedish botanist Fredric Hasselquist visits Acre and is the first to report on its new ruler Dahr al-Omar 161.

1752 – The remaining stones from the Templar fortress that had stood in the southwest of the city are taken for the building of the Dahr al-Omar wall 162.

1754–1755 – A Protestant missionary by the name of S. Schultz visits Acre.

1754 – The al-Zeituna Mosque is built by Hajji Muhammad al-Sadiki.

1759 – There is a powerful and destructive earthquake in Safed and some of its Jewish residents flee to Acre. An epidemic of plague subsequently strikes Acre (1812 ?) and many residents die.

1764 – Dahr al-Omar rehabilitates Khan al-Shuna, a pier, and warehouses beside the port. Rabbi Yehoshua of Salositz visits Acre and reports on finding very few Jews of Spanish origin 163.

1765 – San Andreas Church reopens. A Jew visiting Acre mentions that the local Jews are impoverished and few in number 164.

1766 – Carsten Niebuhr, an officer in the German Military Engineers, is appointed a member of a scientific expedition from the University of Göttingen to study the Middle East. In 1766 he visits Acre and drafts a map of the city.

1767 – The Italian traveler Abbé Giovanni Mariti visits Acre, having previously visited in 1760. He reports on a windmill for preparing flour built next to the remains of the “Damned Tower” of the Crusaders 165.

1771 – In this year, or close to it, the French (or Cypriot) traveler Savoir Estienne Lusignan visits Acre.

1775 – Dahr al-Omar is assassinated at the hands of traitors among his Mugrabi soldiers. Hasan Pasha, commander of the Turkish fleet, takes control Acre for a brief period.

1775–1804 – Ahmed al-Jazzar is appointed governor of the vilayet of Sidon and is the ruler of Acre. His principal advisor is Haim Farhi, a Jew. Farhi comes to Acre from Damascus where he had been Minister of the Treasury for the pasha who ruled that city (or perhaps that post was held by his father, Shaul). During al-Jazzar’s rule the aqueduct to Acre is built. Near the city, portions of the aqueduct were destroyed by Napoleon’s army who took its stone blocks to use for hiding places and for defense. Like Dahr al-Omar before him, al-Jazzar continues to remove the remains of the Crusader city beyond today’s walls. His goal was to establish a “top alti” (Turkish term for an exposed, bare, strip of land starting at the walls’ outer base, as wide as the range of the cannons emplaced on the walls).

1777 – In September there arrives in Acre port a convoy of immigrating Hasidim lead by Rabbi Menachem Mendel of Vitebsk, Rabbi Yisrael of Polotsk, and Rabbi Avraham Hacohen of Kalisk 166. The French priest de Binos visits Acre and notes that the ruins of the churches of San Andreas and St. John still stand 167.

1780 – The Carmelite monk and architect Giambattista di Sant’Alessio visits Acre 168. A fanciful painting of Acre by a Greek artist, ÷øéæðúåñ ÷øîñof Brusa, is made public 169.

1781 – The al-Jazzar Mosque, the city’s most magnificent, is established.

1783 – Constantin François de Chassebœuf, Count of Volney, the French orientalist and philosopher, visits Acre and remarks upon the splendor of the al-Jazzar Mosque.

1784 – The French consul in Acre is Jean-Pierre Renaudot. The Frenchman Lusignan visits Acre and reports that the remains of the northern Crusader wall are still in evidence 170. The construction of Khan al-Umdan is completed.

1785 – The waqfiyya of al-Jazzar is written in this year. It refers to all, or most, of the structures built by Ahmed al-Jazzar.

1789 – Ahmed al-Jazzar sets out for Mecca. On his return to Acre he succeeds in suppressing a revolt against him and appoints Bosnian soldiers to his personal guard.

1791 – Jazzar Pasha removes the Frankish (French) traders from the Khan al-Faranj and Acre itself, and takes over the cotton trade.

1795–1863 – Ibrahim al-Aura lives in Acre. He is the most important Arab historian to document the Ottoman rule.

1798 – Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav (1772–1811) stays in Acre for only a single Sabbath prior to boarding a ship that will return him to the Ukraine 171. Nachman is the great-grandson of the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidic Judaism. In June Napoleon publicizes his manifesto calling on the Jews of the Orient to come to Palestine where they can establish their own state and return to themselves their national rights like all other nations 172.

1799 – On March 19, Napoleon arrives at the walls of Acre. On March 20, British Commodore William Sidney Smith captures Napoleon’s siege cannons that had been brought by ship. On May 8, Napoleon and his army leave Acre, having failed to conquer the city. Colonel Pierre Jacotin, Napoleon’s geographic engineer, publishes a series of maps of Palestine and the Napoleonic wars. The maps are scaled 1:100,000 and the city appears both as St. Jean d’Acre and Akka. Tel al-Fukhkhar, the Naaman stream, and the aqueduct to Acre appear likewise 173. F. B. Spilsbury, the British naval surgeon who joined Sidney Smith’s fleet, makes a series of paintings of Acre 174.

1799–1801 – Following Napoleon’s siege, al-Jazzar builds outer walls to the city’s east and north.

1801 – The Englishman Edward Daniel Clarke, chapel clerk, mineralogist, antiquarian, and traveler, visits Acre 175. He records much information about Jazzar Pasha.

1802 – Rabbi Elijah ben Shlomo Zalman, the Vilna Gaon (Hebrew: “genius”) also known as the Gra (Hebrew acronym for “Gaon Rabbi Eliyahu”), drafts the map “The Land of Israel, its Boundaries and Its Division Among the Tribes”. Acre is situated next to Shihor Livnat (as part of the listing of sites in the domain of the Tribe of Asher) 176.

1803 – The Turkish Sultan declares Jazzar Pasha to be a rebel against the Sultanate.

1804 – Ahmed al-Jazzar dies and is buried within a small mausoleum in the courtyard of the mosque that bears his name. Isma’il, a freed Mamluk (slave soldier) of Jazzar, succeeds his master.

1805–1807 – The Spanish explorer Ali Bey al-Abbasi visits Acre and its vicinity and describes the ruined aqueduct that had been built by Ahmed al-Jazzar. He dissents regarding the capabilities of Haim Farhi 177. The construction of the Sea Mosque (al-Bahr, or Sinan Pasha Mosque), in its present location, is completed in this year.

1805–1818 – Suleiman Pasha is the ruler of Acre. He had been the Mamluk of al-Jazzar and then his confidant.

1806 – The German scientist and explorer Ulrich Jasper Seetzen arrives in Acre 178. He chooses Acre as the base for his travels in the north of the country. He describes the city often, and here he wrote one of his most important essays 179.

1807 – The Spanish explorer Ali Bey al-Abbasi describes Acre as “a little city” 180.

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